Cat lover

The Cafeteria is closed reveals a deeply guarded secret within the Vatican.

He only has little time for himself. Recently he told his "roommates" in the Papal apartment what he does when he has time to daydream - thinking about writing a book on cats.

After the funeral of his friend Pope John Paul II., Joseph Ratzinger thought he'd be able to return home to Germany after 24 years in Rome. He had a plan - writing stories, stories about cats.

Joseph Ratzinger had cats around himself for decades, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The CDF is on the Via Aurelia, one of the most traffic-heavy streets in Rome. Daily, cats are killed or injured. Quite a few drag themselves into the garden of the CDF, where Ratzinger resided and movingly cared for them, feeding them, bandaging their wounds, watching them lie in the sun and slowly get better. And he gave names to all of them.

He wanted to write about these cats, but the election to the Papacy foiled these plans, now he has to take care of the global Church instead of the little cats at the Via Aureli.

Über diese Katzen wollte er schreiben. Doch die Wahl zum Papst durchkreuzte alle Pläne. Als Papst Benedikt XVI. musste er sich von nun an um die große Weltkirche statt um die kleinen Katzen an der Via Aurelia kümmern.
His friendship with cats has changed the Vatican a little bit. I park my Vespa on my way to work at the Vatican border, the hall of Paul VI., where Swiss guardsmen keep watch. When stray animals tried to enter the Vatican gardens in the past, they shood them away. But now, when the guards see a cat, they simply let it pass, into the Pope's beautiful garden, because they know that Benedict XVI., when he prays at the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in the afternoon is happy to see a cat, and he thinks again of his old dream: writing books about cats.
Check the link for some nice photos of felines and the Holy Father!


  1. Love this story! It's not often you see a "German shepherd" who really takes to cats! ;-)


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