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The Pope’s Christmas Message

Christmas Day 2008
We watched the Pope on telly on Christmas Day give his address to his followers worldwide, that he does from his balcony in St Peter’s in a number of languages. These followers must be located truly worldwide, as the number in the piazza actually watching the Pope was not that many – there seemed to be plenty of space to walk about. And the main motive of a large proportion who were there seems to be to wave their national flag – this particularly so if they are from a ‘developing’ nation – and to appear on the telly, for they can obviously see on monitors what we are seeing, and when they see themselves they beam and wave. Pope Ratzinger appears to take all this with evident amusement.
Three years ago Italian television showed the Pope speaking in each of the various languages, and it still does, but now they’ve seen fit to have a commentator talk over the top of all but the Italian, which is a pity. So we don’t know exactly what languages were chosen and how il Papa pronounces them, all we can detect is that he still has trouble with w and qu, still says kwesto and kwando for the Italian questo and quando, and this year has the additional difficulty of asking for prayers for the people of Zimbabve.


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