Red and Black

Swiss Guards at Consistory Ceremony at Vatican. February 18, 2012. Freeze Frame of APTN Video shot by Gianfranco Stara

Dear Blog Readers, I have been busy this week preparing for today’s Consistory during which 22 men were raised to Cardinals.  During a majestic ceremony today in Saint Peter’s Basilica, each of the Cardinal-designates knelt in front of the Pope who placed a Cardinal’s red biretta hat on each one’s head and slid a cardinal’s ring on each one’s finger.  Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York was the most jolly of the bunch and told the press afterwards that he owes it all to New Yorkers and he wants to hang his hat on the top of the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty or on Home Plate at Yankee Stadium.  He also said he wants to shoot for sainthood now, but admitted that he has “a long way to go.”  I had a chance to interview his lovely Irish school teacher (1st, 2nd and 5th grade) Sister Briscoe Daly who was proud as a peacock of her former student. Several other new Cardinals had big crowds there to cheer them on.  John Ton, the new Cardinal from Hong Kong had a large Chinese group waving little Chinese flags, and George Alencherry of India had elegant women in saris, and petite Indian nuns gathered round him.

Here are a few photos to give my readers a behind-the-scenes peek at the day.

Petra Plank working for ORF, Austrian Broadcast Association, working on a documentary on Cardinals. Photo by Trisha Thomas

9:30am – I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a picture of Petra Plank who was carrying an extremely  heavy tripod into St. Peter’s Basilica for the ceremony.  She and the rest of the ORF team are working on a documentary on the Cardinals. Petra and I were among the dozens of journalists from around the world covering the event.

10:30am Once inside I snapped a shot of the pom-pom on a the hat of a bishop who just happened to be seated below the platform for journalists.

A pom-pom on a bishops's hat. Photo by Trisha Thomas
A pom-pom on a bishop's hat. Photo by Trisha Thomas

11am There are strict rules for how one must dress when covering events at the Vatican (See Watch Your Tongue, Hands and Eyes). I noticed one correspondent from a local TV from New York got most of the outfit right, except for the shoes.  I snapped this photo of her feet as she stood near me.

Converse sneakers at a Consistory! Photo by Trisha Thomas

She may also be interested in reading my post on clothing rules for women in Italy (See Sweatpants at the Supermarket)

On Friday, February 17th (note that in Italy Friday the 17th is the equivalent of our Friday the 13th, in other words, bad luck)  the Cardinals gathered for a day long meeting that was over-shadowed by recent infighting and political intrigues at the Vatican (See Report of Plot to Kill the Pope).

As I was leaving the Vatican I noticed this spooky black cat and decided to take his picture.

Black Cat at Vatican Friday, February 17. Photo by Trisha Thomas

Black and Red, overall it has been a colorful week of Vatican coverage.

Cardinals and Bishops at Consistory Ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica Saturday, February 18, 2012. Photo by Trisha Thomas



6 thoughts on “Red and Black”

  1. Red and Black; aren’t those your old college colors? A tip of the hat to Stendahl as well. I think we need to know more about the cat too. It looks healthy and well cared for. Where might he live and who its benefactor. Must have been quite exciting to be there for the Consistory even if it was assuring that power would remain in the hands of the traditionalists of the Roman Catholic faith.

    1. A few words on the black cat. I had finished covering the Cardinals arriving for the morning meeting, filed my first story from the Vatican press office and then went to a coffee bar to grab a cappuccino with my colleague Pietro. After the cappuccino we were walking to the coffee stand when I saw the cat. I ran after the cat because I wanted to get just the right photo. The cat actually looks a bit scruffy so I think he must be a stray. Pietro and I followed him for a bit as I tried to get the right photo. I was hoping the cat would step out into the piazza so I could snap a shot with St. Peter’s Basilica in the background. But instead the cat hid under a metal detector machine that had been covered with a big cloth to keep in dry. As I was chasing the cat, and snapping photos, a couple people stopped and said, “oh, no a black cat on Friday the 17th”!! People in Italy tend to be superstitious — Neapolitans especially. Actually I will do a post on superstitions soon. Thanks for the comment, I wish I could say I made the references to Haverford and Stendhal on purpose, but it was pure accident.

    1. Trisha Thomas

      Thanks Mary Jane — I think I forgot to mention in this post that as I was leaving the Vatican that day, I wanted to get a close up photo of one of the Swiss Guards plumed helmets from behind. I only had my blackberry on me and one has to get very close for a decent photo with a blackberry. So I snuck up behind a guard and snapped the shot. He whirled around and yelled at me, “don’t do that, I am a trained soldier, I might shoot you next time if you surprise me like that.” I was pretty surprised myself and apologized. Indeed they are trained soldiers, and I had forgotten. As you can see from the post, I did not use my photo, instead I used a freeze frame of a shot the cameraman got — he has a zoom lense, so he didn’t have to be that close. It must have been fun for you living in their neighborhood.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *