Vacationing Pope Enjoying Piano

Local Clergy Say He Is "Relaxed and Happy"

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INTROD, Italy, JULY 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- During his vacation in the Italian Alps, Benedict XVI is enjoying his favorite pastime at least twice a day: his neighbors in the Aosta Valley can hear his music at the piano.



According to the Italian newspaper Avvenire's reporter, Salvatore Mazza, the Pope sits at the piano at least twice a day -- in the morning and the afternoon -- and plays his favorite classical pieces.

The local parish priest said "the Pope seems to really appreciate these days of rest; he is very relaxed and happy"; "when greeting him, on his arrival, I said to him: 'I continue to be the parish priest of Introd.' And he answered me: 'Good, the Church needs continuity,'" Father Paolo Curtaz recounted on Saturday to Avvenire.

On Sunday, pictures from the Vatican Television Center allowed one to see the Pope's activities over these days: time spent in his study in the Salesian residence, walks in the garden, moments of prayer before an image of Our Lady, and time spent at the piano playing favorite pieces.

Writing a book

Insofar as Benedict XVI's work is concerned, Mazza wrote in the Sunday edition of Avvenire that "it seems, among other things, that he has gone back to the book he was writing before being elected John Paul II's successor," "a theology text."

In statements on Vatican Radio today, Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi said "The Pope is relaxed. He certainly enjoys the freedom of not being subjected to work. He also shows that he finds time to walk, to pray …"

"Conversation with him is extremely simple, as is proper to his character. Moreover, when he speaks, he is attentive to all. We have seen that the people who come to Les Combes [where the Pope is residing] are persons who love him very much, young people who call him … There are many families (…), also many sick have come."

Bishop Anfossi told Vatican Radio that "as soon as he got into the car for the trip from the airport to the house, the first thing the Pope asked me was news on my mother's health. Frankly, I was not expecting so much delicacy."