religious illiteracy, Italian style
Who's the boss at the Vatican?
No, this isn't a trick question. I'm trying to make a point. It's easy. The Pope is the boss. Everyone knows that. Right?
Wrong. Check the lede from this news story:
Vatican City, November 4 - Pumpkins will be more common than crosses in Italian classrooms if a European court ruling is confirmed, the Vatican's top official said Wednesday.
''This Europe of the third millennium only leaves us with Halloween pumpkins and takes away our dearest symbols,'' said the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
A remarkable blunder, don't you think? Still more remarkable because the story is from ANSA, the Italian news agency with editorial offices just a bit more than 1 mile from St. Peter's Square. They're not exactly writing about foreign affairs. And speaking of foreign affairs, the story continues:
Bertone, the Vatican's equivalent of an interior minister,...
Wrong again. An interior minister handles only questions of domestic policy. (Within the 110-acre confines of Vatican City, domestic policies don't require the full-time attention of a "top official.") The Secretary of State, whose office handles virtually every aspect of Vatican business, is the equivalent of the prime minister in an ordinary secular regime.
Good to know that religious illiteracy is not confined to the English-speaking media.
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