It’s been a busy day here at the Vatican.  The press briefing for today ran longer than usual, as there won’t be time for a press briefing tomorrow, and Fr. Lombardi and his team wanted to give as much detail as possible.  I review that and some of the other events of the day in my latest Vatican Dispatch:

Since I don’t have easy access to the printers in the media room, I’m taking notes from media briefings on Evernote, which is why I’m reading from my cell phone.  That actually works better than trying to hold papers in hand in the breezy piazza.  I wanted to get this one done early, since I won’t be able to get into the square to do it tomorrow or the next few days; there will very likely be a large crowd waiting to see if the cardinals cast a vote on the first evening of the conclave, although they aren’t required to do so under the present rules.

A few other observations:

After a few days of walking back and forth from my hotel to the media center — about a mile, with all of my equipment — I bought a pass for the Metro system at a tabachi shop this afternoon across from the media center.  When I asked for a two-week pass, I was told I could only buy one week at a time.  “You don’t need two weeks,” the woman added. “One week is all you need. We will have a new Pope in two, three days.”

“You think it will be that quick?” I asked.  Both the woman and her co-worker, a rather daunting man working a grill, agreed vigorously on that, but not on who the new Pope will be.  “Turkson,” said the cook, meaning Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.

The woman gave him a skeptical look, so I asked, “Who do you think?”

Americano,” she replied.

“Really?” As much as I’d heard that in the Italian media, I had yet to hear anyone else believe that.

“Oh yes,” she replied with a smile. “They have a song on the radio,” she explained, “called Papa Americano.  They changed the words,” she added, meaning that it’s apparently a parody song.  “So it will be Papa Americano.”

I didn’t ask what song it parodied, but it occurred to me after I said goodbye that it might just be Mambo Italiano, the old Rosemary Clooney song you can hear endlessly at Italian restaurants in the US.  The meter is perfect, but that’s not what she meant.  There was a popular song here called We Speak No Americano, also known as Pa-Pa l’Americano, from a few years ago, which might give you a worse earworm than Mambo Italiano:

Hey, I’ve seen worse reasons for predictions …

Tags: Vatican