CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy — How does the pope spend his vacation? Most people would be right when they guess: reading, writing, playing the piano, walking, and praying. But who knew he also likes to feed the goldfish at one of the artificial pools in the gardens of the papal summer residence?
Thanks to footage released to news agencies by the Vatican Television Center, we got a sneak peek of some of the things the pope has been doing since he began his month-long vacation July 7 in this beautiful mountain town about 20 miles south of Rome.
The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, also published a rundown of the pope’s summer program just a few days ago saying the pope was enjoying a relaxing period dedicated to prayer and reflection. It said he also sets aside time to listen to or play music and take long walks in the afternoons with his personal secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein.
Because all public and private audiences have been suspended until Aug. 4, the pope has been able to catch up on a number of projects, most importantly, beginning work on his third and final volume of “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Among the few special guests the pope will receive at the papal summer residence include his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the pope’s brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.
From Aug. 28-29, the pope will host his traditional “Ratzinger Schulerkreis” (Ratzinger student circle) with former students of his. This year the topic will be the hermeneutic of Vatican II, a theme the pope talked about in his address to the Roman Curia Dec. 22, 2005. Here’s another interesting take on the topic.