Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Vatican Diaries

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Vatican Diaries

Article excerpt


By John Thavis (Vikinq, 2013)


License plates on cars registered in Vatican City bear the abbreviation SCV for Stato della Citta del Vaticano. The local joke in Rome is that the initials really stand for Se Cristo Vedesse, "If Christ could only see!" It's a reminder that the Vatican might seem strange indeed to a poor Galilean carpenter.

If you are looking for a Vatican guide, however, you could do far worse than John Thavis, the recently retired Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service. In his new book The Vatican Diaries, Thavis assembles some of the most interesting stories from his 30-year tenure in the Eternal City.

Some of these stories are hilarious and often play on the contrast between the Vatican staff's obsession with protocol and the freewheeling ways of various visitors--usually Americans-who commit faux pas without realizing it. One visiting American president accidentally saluted a Vatican elevator operator, whose snappy uniform would no doubt have put the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to shame. …

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