GQ just published a long and fascinating piece on the intrigue surrounding the Pope’s butler, who smuggled sensitive documents to the press about corruption in the Vatican. The Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who was the butler’s main contact in the media, relays a haunting anecdote about a monsignor within the Vatican walls:
One warm night, when the monsignor had guests for dinner and the window open to catch the breeze, the cats that prowl the tiled roofs were making a racket, howling and mewling in the twilight. The monsignor despised those cats. So he got up from the table, retrieved an antique carbine, and fired a few shots out the window. Then he sat back down as if nothing unusual had occurred.
The next morning, two nuns climbed to the roofs with buckets, into which they deposited a few dead cats. And nothing more was ever said about the incident.
The point, Nuzzi said, the key to understanding everything else, was what never happened: No one suggested taking away the monsignor’s rifle. The real problem was what was left littering the rooftops. And so it was enough, it was proper, to simply cart away the bodies.