Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 22, 2005
Pope keyed up over German visit
By Catholic News Service
Castel Gandolfo, Italy
With his thoughts already turned to leading World Youth Day in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI forgot to bless the crowd gathered for his weekly general audience.
On Aug. 17, the day before his departure for Cologne, Pope Benedict was beaming, but uncharacteristically absent-minded when he forgot to greet visitors in Italian and failed to remember to offer the faithful the traditional apostolic blessing.
"Today I am forgetting the things that are most important; you can tell that I am already in Cologne," he said to jubilant pilgrims after an aide directed him back to the window to bless the crowd.
Earlier, the pope had greeted visitors in eight languages, but not Italian. He waved goodbye and stepped away from the second-floor balcony window.
But the pope's secretary quickly alerted him to the oversight and the pope returned, smiling, to the podium.
"I forgot, and I ask your pardon, the most important greeting - greeting pilgrims in Italian," he said to roaring applause and cheers.
He then said he hoped World Youth Day would bear "rich spiritual fruit for the entire Church, which very much depends on the dedication and evangelical witness of young people."