00 6/17/2009 7:23 PM

A Pope in Capri
Translated from
the 6/18/09 issue of

Cardinal Ratzinger starting out in Piazza Rosso, Anacapri, on the 'prophetic' walk described in the article. He is accompanied by Raffaele Vacca, one of his hosts in Capri. Mons. Clemens is the red-headed cleric behind them; and the man on the left is Marco Roncalli, later journalist and biographer of his uncle, the late John XXIII.

On Sunday morning, September 12, 1992 [it was actually Sept. 13, going by the records of the Premio San Michele] , Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger celebrated Mass at the parish Church of St. Sofia in Anacapri.

The night before, he had received Capri's San Michele Prize for his book Svolta per l'Europa (Turning-Point for Europe) published by Edizioni San Paolo.

After the Mass, as he was walking through the narrow alleys near Piazza Boffe, a five-year-old girl, seeing him with his red zucchetto and cardinal's sash, asked, "Who is he?"

Her cousin, two years older, answered, "It's the Pope!"

And the cardinal broke into laughter, a witness recalls.

A marker recalling the episode will be unveiled on Saturday, June 21, in the presence of Mons. Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who was with Cardinal Ratzinger on that occasion, when he was his private secretary.

On the same day, a photographic exhibit on Cardinal Ratzinger's two succeeding visits to Capri (June 1997 and October 2004) will also be inaugurated.

Additional info from a press bulletin on the Premio San Michele website:

The marker recalls the prophetic event which happened on the morning of Seotember 12, 1992, when a boy from Anacapri refrred to then-Cardinal Raztinger as 'the Pope'.

The 'prophecy' was immediately caught by don Antonio Tarzia, now editor of Edizioni San Paolo's magazine Jesus, who called the cardinal's attention to it.

The placement of the marker was promoted by the Associazione di Varia
Umanità [sponsors of teh Premio Capri San Michele], with the unanimous approval of the Communal Council of Anacapri.

Inauguration of the photographic exhibit on Cardinal Ratzinger's other visits to Capri will precede the unveiling of the marker.

I lucked in - I found all those earlier photos (with captions, too), including the main photo above (previously unpublished, to my knowledge), on the site of the Premio Capri San Michele:

Awards night, Sept. 12, 1992.

Sept. 13, 1992: The cardinal sutographs books; and taking in
the scenery from one of the balconies of Villa San Michele).

Mons. Clemens is on the left here.

June 21, 1997: The Cardinal leaves the Eden Paradiso after visiting an exhibit about the Premio San Michele.
He came on a holiday with his brother Georg.

October 9-10, 2004: Left photo, the cardinal received his second Premio San Michele; right photo, with his hosts (Fr. Tarzia is the priest with him).

The Premio Capri San Michele was started in 1984 to reward what jurors consider to be the best books published in Italy during the year in various categories, but the Premio Capri San Michele itself goes to what is considered the outstanding book of the year. It has tended to favor serious books by Catholic writers.

Cardinal Ratzinger won his second Premio Capri San Michele in 2004 for Fede, tolleranza, verita (Faith, toelrance, truth).

In 2002, the sponsors started giving out the Gran Premio Capri San Michele, whose first recipient was John Paul II for Strade d'Amore (Paths of Love)(no English edition), a collection of reflections and exhortations from his Pontificate.

The second such Grand Prize was given in 2007 to Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's JESUS OF NAZARETH.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/18/2009 1:07 PM]