Pope not bugged by small creatures

VATICAN CITY — This is not news, nor is it important in the scheme of things. This is just a simple blog post about a simple matter.

Today a bug landed on Pope Benedict XVI’s forehead during a visit to a home for the elderly in Rome.

The pope greets guests, ignoring the guest closest to him. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Instead of brushing his guest away, the pope stayed focused and continued greeting other guests. Five seconds later, the bug left on his own.

The small guest, right, flies away after spending five seconds meeting the pope. (CNS/Paul Haring)

This was not the pope’s first encounter with a wayward insect. In 2009, a spider took his time climbing on the pope’s cape as he gave a speech inside the presidential palace in the Czech Republic. While the pope seemed not to notice and did not react, the incident drew a lot of international media attention. In fact, the spider garnered more media coverage than the pope’s speech.

Pope Benedict XVI is known for his immense powers of concentration. This is likely why he seems to not be bothered by little creatures.

“De Pontificia Academia Latinitatis condenda”

VATICAN CITY — On Saturday the Vatican published — in Latin — Pope Benedict XVI’s document establishing the “Pontifical Academy for Latinity,” a title meant to project the fact that it won’t be concerned only with the Latin language, but also with the Latin culture and literature that are part of the Western cultural and intellectual heritage. (See CNS STORY: Pope establishes pontifical Latin Academy)

Until the academy’s establishment was announced Saturday, the Vatican’s Latin scribes were doing double-duty as the manpower behind “Latinitas,” a Latin-studies journal.

U.S. Msgr. Daniel B. Gallagher is one of the seven staff members of the Vatican Secretariat of State’s Office of Latin Letters, which translates papal correspondence and documents into Latin, which is still the official language of the church.

Msgr. Gallagher said it was significant that the papal document was signed Nov. 10, the feast of St. Leo the Great, “whom most of us consider to be the most outstanding Latin stylist.”

CNS interviewed Msgr. Gallagher in September. You can watch the video here:

Earlier, Msgr. Gallagher and some students at the Pontifical North American College in Rome spoke to CNS about their interest in Latin studies: