As head of the Roman Catholic Church and probably the world's most visible theologian, Pope Benedict XVI has all sorts of demands on his time. But one of them apparently won't be appearing as a witness at the trial of a man accused of complicity in stealing from him. Stealing what? Water. Yes, ordinary water.
Before he was elected in 2005 to succeed the late Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict was better known as Joseph Ratzinger of Pentling, Germany, where he still owns property. Last August, acting on what they thought was a bright idea, three masked intruders sneaked onto the premises with armloads of bottles that they intended to fill from his garden hose and then sell as "holy water" on eBay, the Internet auction site.
There to document it all was freelance photographer Hubertus Wiendl - that is, until neighbors called the police. The others fled with barely one full bottle. Wiendl wasn't as nimble and was arrested. Prosecutors didn't buy his denial of any advance knowledge and hauled him into court. Reasoning that the pope, once he was made aware of the situation, might be sympathetic and appeal for mercy, Wiendl's lawyer sought to issue him a subpoena. "That's not gonna happen," the judge said and fined the defendant $134 (100 Euros).
Source: March 20, 2007
Christian Science Monitor
Image: Benedictine blessing.