LONDON — When the pope travels, the Vatican and the host government and local church prepare an incredibly detailed schedule. It’s as if everything is scripted.
Even if Pope Benedict XVI does not appear to be as spontaneous as Pope John Paul II was, unscripted moments are always part of the program.
Today, the pope had lunch and a rest at the Vatican nunciature in London’s Wimbledon neighborhood. Before the pope left to drive into town to meet the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, television cameras outside the nunciature showed a woman coming out the front door with a child.
The woman, an Anglican, told reporters she was babysitting her granddaughter and just stopped by the nunciature to see what was going on. The police waved her in and she and the baby met the pope.
There could be serious envy further along the papal motorcade route. Right near Westminster Abbey, where the pope is expected in a few hours, there is a woman holding a colorful sign saying, “We love U papa more than beans on toast.”
(In culinary terms, beans on toast is a VERY popular British comfort food.)