With unprecedented access to the Vatican and the people who live there, this is a unique profile of the heart of the Catholic Church and the world's smallest sovereign state.
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And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church.
And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
A tiny sovereign state in the middle of Rome.
The focus of the faith of a billion people.
Tourists flock to St Peter's Square,
but the Vatican's inner life has been shrouded in secrecy.
For the first time,
the Vatican has allowed cameras
deep into a world few have ever seen,
filming a unique community of faith.
women and children who devote their lives to serving the Pope
and his guests.
The curators who tend its treasures.
The archivists who guard its secrets.
-This is the interrogation of 12th April 1633,
the first time Galileo was summoned before the Inquisition.
From the bones of St Peter
to the marvels of the Sistine Chapel.
This is a journey into the hidden world of the Vatican.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
The capital city of the Catholic Church is a place of great beauty
and profound controversy.
NEWSREADERS: Pope Benedict XVI set off another political firestorm,
saying condoms could make the HIV/AIDS crisis worse.
The excommunications of four bishops,
including one who denied the Holocaust,
angered Jewish groups and perplexed the Vatican...
The crisis for the Roman Catholic Church over child sex abuse
has deepened tonight.
..launching an all-out defence of the Pope
as a priest abuse scandal rocks his native homeland...
Since he was elected here by the College Of Cardinals in 2005,
Pope Benedict XVI has faced doctrinal disputes,
intense criticism of his attitude to AIDS and contraception,
and the revelation of shocking abuse
in Catholic institutions throughout the world.
And it's a job he never even wanted.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Five years before he became Pope,
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger formally requested to retire to private life.
The answer was no.
TRANSLATION: 'The Pope carries a very great weight on his shoulders'
because the task of leadership is demanding.
A leader bears great responsibility and with that comes great strains.
Cardinal of the Curia,
Angelo Comastri is one of the most powerful men in the Vatican,
and one of Pope Benedict's few close friends.
TRANSLATION: I remember the words of Don Primo Mazzolari,
a wonderful priest of the Italian Church, who said a few decades ago,
"there will come a time
when leadership will almost resemble a crucifixion."
The Vatican exists because of a crucifixion,
but not that of Jesus Christ.
According to Christian tradition,
the Roman Emperor Nero had the apostle St Peter executed here.
Peter, the first Pope, asked to be crucified upside down,
because he did not feel worthy of the same death as his messiah.
When Christianity became Rome's state religion,
the world's largest church was erected over his tomb.
Two storeys beneath today's basilica,
the 2,000-year-old cemetery still survives.
The tombs were largely untouched
until archaeologists were allowed to dig in the 1950s and '60s.
They found human bones, confirmed by carbon dating
to be those of a man from the first century AD.
The cemetery is now sealed airtight
to maintain a constant temperature and humidity.
Few have unrestricted access here.
Cardinal Comastri is one of them.
TRANSLATION: When I step before the tomb of Peter The Apostle,
I feel as though I'm encountering a centuries-old procession.
A long procession of souls from the times of Emperor Nero up to today
is coming towards me and calling to me,
"Behold, 2,000 years have passed."
We are slowly approaching the most sacred part of St Peter's Basilica,
the place where everything was born.
This orange light indicates the site of St Peter's grave.
There was nothing here.
We would have stood under the open sky.
The Christians took Peter's dead body.
Just imagine - they came to this spot, dug a grave,
and with great emotion, great trepidation,
and I would add with tearful eyes,
they buried the body of the first Pope,
who, like Jesus, had been crucified.
That's the wall where the inscription was found,
"Here lies Peter."
During the excavations, a blow from a pick axe opened that small crack.
Behind that, a room with marble panelled walls was discovered.
This indicated that something of great value was here.
We believe that the bones which were discovered here
belong to the body of St Peter,
that they are actually St Peter's bones.
When I pause in prayer before the tomb, I feel immensely safe.
It seems to me as if I can feel Jesus, the breath of Jesus,
the voice of Jesus, who speaks to me,
"Fear you not, I will build my church,
"and I guarantee to you that the gates of Hell
"will not prevail against it."
2,000 years after the time of St Peter,
the Vatican consists of a complex of buildings and gardens
built around the basilica that still bears his name.
Officers from the papal Swiss Guards and the Vatican City gendarme
tightly control access to the world's smallest state,
the size of just 40 football pitches.
350 CCTV cameras cover every corner of the city,
and staff at the control room work around the clock.
Their main challenge comes when the Pope
holds his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square.
up to 30,000 visitors are screened
like passengers at an international airport.
It's always a tense moment for the Pope's head of security.
TRANSLATION: One must appreciate that the Pope is very special.
The Pope's persona is not that of a president or a pop star.
You're not trying to keep people away from him.
The Pope must be able to approach people,
and we have to give him that option while at the same time,
guaranteeing his safety with a minimum of fuss.
Also on duty today is Vatican head photographer Francesco Sforza.
He's been taking pictures of the Pope for 23 years.
TRANSLATION: I'm probably here because of my discretion,
the discretion that one has to show
when one is as close to the Holy Father as we are.
One must be as inconspicuous as possible.
We have to ensure that we don't cause the slightest upset.
You have to be...
Not a perfect person, but somebody who doesn't talk,
somebody who doesn't gossip.
As thousands file through the security gates,
Pope Benedict prepares for his weekly encounter with the faithful
in the chapel
of his private apartment high above St Peter's Square.
A lifelong academic with a passion for the music of Bach and Mozart,
Pope Benedict does not appear to relish
the public aspects of his job,
unlike his gregarious predecessor, John Paul II.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The Popemobile enters the square -
always a dramatic moment for security chief Davide Giulietti,
especially since Pope Benedict refuses to wear body armour.
TRANSLATION: When you're actually there, honestly,
you really don't see or hear anything else.
You're concentrating on anything that might be happening.
It's become a habit of mine to watch a person's eyes or else the hands.
It can be a quick way of assessing
what kind of person you have in front of you.
Of course, you can still be deceived.
GUNSHOTS AND SCREAMING
NEWSREADER: Suddenly, shots from the crowd.
According to eyewitnesses, the Pope froze in shock for a second
and then slumped to the seat of his jeep.
During a general audience in 1981, a gunman tried to kill John Paul II.
Shooting from the crowd,
he hit the Pope three times, inflicting near-fatal injuries.
That day radically changed the way the Vatican security forces worked.
TRANSLATION: In earlier times,
probably nobody imagined that somebody would shoot at the Pope.
Naturally, today, we have units and security detachments
that didn't exist before.
I definitely think that everyone is more on guard now.
In contrast with 20 years ago, today we assume that anything can happen.
Except for the bodyguards,
only one man is permitted to get close to the Pope
when he's exposed to the public like this - Francesco Sforza.
TRANSLATION: There is one Pope, one photographer.
This is the thing, the uniqueness that gives me most strength because,
well, you sometimes find yourself in difficulty,
emotionally, I mean, because
it's not easy when you're in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
When you stand before the Pope, he's a figure that...
Well, it's almost as if it were the first time.
When I happen to greet him, it's always very emotional,
even though I'm close to him a lot.
Sometimes, I think about it honestly and ask myself, "Is this for real?
"Is it really me?"
Or, "Am I really doing this on a regular basis, like, forever?"
I don't know, I still think that I'll wake up sooner or later.
The crowds have long departed,
and the rituals of another morning begin.
This is the future of the Vatican,
altar boys and trainee priests reporting for work at dawn.
The boys' first duty is to dress the priests.
TRANSLATION: On some mornings, there really are lots of them,
and we have to be prepared for them. As soon as one of them turns up,
we dress him immediately and then get out of the way,
otherwise, another altar boy may pass by and grab the altar,
the one that you and your priest go to every morning.
By 6am, altar boy Valentino Dumitrana
is already hard at work in the vaults beneath St Peter's Basilica.
Seven hours of formal schooling lie ahead, but before that,
he must prepare the 12 subterranean chapels for early Mass.
He's hoping one day soon to serve the Pope himself.
TRANSLATION: I said to myself, the good ones always go to the Pope's Mass.
They're all showing off saying, "I've seen him three times already."
I haven't even seen him once, so I'll work really hard during normal Masses in order to meet the Pope,
which isn't an easy thing to do.
The well-being of the Vatican altar boys
is another of Cardinal Angelo Comastri's many responsibilities.
TRANSLATION: Young people are the future of the Church.
This is obvious.
This is one group of boys who have been chosen to perform the liturgy in the Basilica.
What we try to offer them
is a beautiful and deep Christian path in life.
They are nurtured in loyalty, in generosity, in altruism,
and in sacrifice.
No calling or mission in life can be built without sacrifice.
A vocation may develop out of this education, out of this nurturing,
if it's God's will.
It's a hard life, with the hours of formal classes supplemented by homework every evening.
A real challenge for the not-very-academic Valentino.
TRANSLATION: Life here is really strict for me so I don't know what to do.
I can't keep up with all the schoolwork.
The others are already used to it and can easily keep up, but not me.
With the praying and the Masses, we're really tired all the time.
It would definitely improve things if there was more leisure time
because we're really exhausted.
On the northern side of the city stands the Vatican's secret archive.
Religious laws and diplomatic messages from over nine centuries
lie in every corridor,
along with thousands of restricted files.
Only bishop Sergio Pagano and his team are allowed to enter.
TRANSLATION: "Secret" immediately evokes an air of mystery.
Those who know their history, however, know that in the Renaissance
all sovereigns' archives and libraries were referred to as secret.
Everything belonging to a prince was secret, the library, the archive,
even the kitchen, so the Pope, who is the Prince of Princes after all,
also had his secret archive.
In the archive's laboratory, Bishop Pagano oversees the restoration
of important documents such as this, the actual transcript
of astronomer Galileo's interrogation by the Inquisition in 1633.
At the time, the Church taught that the Earth
was the centre of the universe.
Galileo incensed the papacy
by arguing that earth was just one of many planets orbiting the Sun.
When he published the mathematical evidence for his theories,
Galileo put his life on the line.
TRANSLATION: The further interrogation commenced, which was more arduous for Galileo,
because his dialogue, his positions, were questioned.
Also, at the end of this, he signed in his own hand, "I, Galileo Galilei, confirm the above."
He attested to everything,
thereby saying that his words were reflected completely and truly
in the record and did not differ, that it was the absolute truth.
There was no falsification committed either by the notary or the Inquisition.
To save his life,
Galileo was forced to abjure, curse and detest his heretical beliefs.
His books were banned and he spent the rest of his life
under house arrest.
Bishop Pagano and his team are trying to repair
over three centuries of damage to the Galileo manuscripts,
some of the most important documents in the history of both science and religion.
TRANSLATION: The Church could have been far more advanced than it was in the 17th and 18th centuries
had it listened to Galileo's scientific reasoning.
So, the deep regret that we clergymen feel over this makes us study this man,
makes us study his time and the mechanisms that led up to this trial,
because the repercussions of this trial are still affecting us today.
In 1992, the Vatican formally rehabilitated Galileo,
359 years after these manuscripts were written.
This is Castel Gandolfo, 18 miles south of Rome.
It's the Pope's home during the heat of the summer
and the site of the Vatican's very own observatory.
Here, the Vatican's astronomers, all Jesuit priests,
are using technology and exploring ideas that would have horrified the papacy in Galileo's time,
searching for evidence of life way beyond Planet Earth.
We've found hundreds of stars now that have planets.
Many of them might be systems that could have Earth-like planets.
It's a wonderful idea.
We'd love to find life, because we don't really understand life now
and to have more than one example of life, more than one example of a planet with life,
would allow us to understand better what is unique about life on Earth
and what is common to life everywhere in the universe.
Will there be intelligent life in the universe?
I'd be shocked if there wasn't.
Will it change the way that we view our understanding of God?
I hope so, because I know my understanding of God is woefully incomplete,
but I'm not going to speculate about how it's going to change it until I find the life.
Before he joined the Church, Consolmagno worked for NASA
and taught at prestigious universities such as Harvard and MIT.
Reconciling science and faith is his life's work.
It's funny, the people who think there's a contradiction between science and religion
generally don't really know what science is, or they don't know what religion is, or both.
Now, within the universe, there are laws, there are effects
on energy and matter and we can study how energy and matter interact,
but there are truths about life, about the universe, that science will never approach.
The truths of love, the truths of beauty.
We can describe, but we can never explain why
beauty exists, why love exists.
And yet life without love and beauty is clearly incomplete.
So, I think you need this wide range of understanding, this wide range of saying,
"My religion tells me that God made the universe, but my science can tell me the way it's done."
As Guy Consolmagno looks to the heavens for a new insight into creation,
Cardinal Comastri, the Vatican's chief renovator,
works to keep the Church's ancient wisdom intact.
TRANSLATION: My job is to make the stones talk.
They are full of history and messages
and one must listen to these messages.
A hundred feet above ground,
on scaffolding clinging to the side of St Peter's Basilica,
Comastri is checking up on the latest restoration project.
He's responsible for the maintenance of the entire city-state,
and many buildings are showing their age.
It took 120 years to build St Peter's.
Its dome is still the biggest self-supporting brick structure in the world.
But smog and pollution are taking their toll.
TRANSLATION: The Basilica is like a living body, and therefore
it shows signs of the passage of time, one could say the signs of age.
We are rejuvenating it,
but without concealing the wrinkles that time has inevitably created.
Some of the Vatican's treasures need a different kind of care.
Deep below the museum is the ethnological and missionary department.
It's home to a unique collection of religious and cultural artefacts from all around the world.
Stefania Pandozy is head restorer, and she's facing a serious backlog of work.
TRANSLATION: Ten years ago, when we were entrusted with this project,
this collection was in a hideous state of decay.
The artefacts had been neglected for a long time
and their state of conservation was really bad.
Some of the priceless objects in these vaults have deteriorated almost beyond repair.
TRANSLATION: There's a nucleus of 70,000 works, but it's always expanding.
We've now counted 80,000 in all.
We still have no complete record of the entire scale of the material.
This 18th-century Indian goddess is riddled with woodworm.
Before Pandozy's team can restore her,
she needs some radical treatment.
The scientists wrap the statue in plastic,
seal it carefully and pump in nitrogen gas.
It takes a month for the gas to kill the worms
and, while they wait, they move on to the next challenge.
TRANSLATION: Our work is both prevention and conservation.
It's a bit like first aid, really.
We're like an emergency room where we treat some symptoms
and then send the patients on when they're a little better.
Amid the history and the high culture, there's an everyday side to life inside the Vatican.
The altar boys are allowed to play football in the Pope's private gardens,
but this does not bring Valentino Dumitrana any closer to the man he most wants to meet.
TRANSLATION: Everyone thinks that those who live near him see him every day, but it's not like that.
When the Pope takes a walk in the garden, all the streets and paths are blocked off
and nobody can pass, even in an emergency.
If we're playing football,
they make us move somewhere else, or they won't let us play at all.
It depends who's on watch.
Today, the man on watch is Davide Giulietti.
His task - to make sure that Pope Benedict can have absolute privacy
during his daily 30-minute walk in the garden.
There are dozens of CCTV cameras hidden in the trees and bushes,
but Giulietti likes to take a look for himself.
TRANSLATION: The Holy Father's daily walk is certainly a private moment,
so if the Holy Father manages to find half-an-hour during the whole day
it's our highest duty to ensure that he may be by himself,
that he doesn't meet anyone and that he doesn't even see the police,
because we hide ourselves in order to guarantee him
a certain amount of privacy and discretion.
The security chief, like most Vatican employees,
is a devout Catholic,
and for him a job protecting the Holy Father
is the fulfilment of a childhood dream.
TRANSLATION: My priest took us to an audience when I was 12, 13 years old
and I was fascinated by this world, and particularly by the people taking care of the Pope's security.
Those people made a great impression on me.
So, I guess, that's how this got started.
It was a kind of obsession to come and work here one day.
if you don't have a minimum of faith, then who are you working for?
To be here, at the service of the Pope, means that in any case
you believe in him and in who he represents.
In my opinion, if you have no faith here, then you're in the wrong job.
Everything is ready for the Pope's walk in the garden.
Davide Giulietti takes over control of the operations room.
The emphasis on secrecy is so intense that, once the Pope arrives,
even the CCTV cameras protecting him are switched off.
When he was elected in 2005,
Benedict XVI had to give up his private life almost completely.
Before his walk, he likes to pause at the Vatican's replica of the grotto at Lourdes.
It's one of the few quiet moments in his day.
His time in the garden is also a chance to discuss important Church business in total privacy.
And there's a lot to talk about.
Pope Benedict must combine being a spiritual leader
with running one of the largest institutions in the world.
The Vatican has many of the trappings of a nation state.
There's a post office, a daily newspaper, a world-famous library,
a chemist - where you can't buy contraceptives - and a radio station.
..the English programme of Vatican Radio.
Radio Vatican broadcasts around the world in 48 languages.
Gudrun Sailer has worked in the German department for seven years.
TRANSLATION: As a journalist at Vatican Radio, you have to obey certain rules.
You obviously cannot call and say, "Hey, Eminence, what about lunch
"and telling me what's really going on in there?"
No, you must always be respectful.
A hierarchical thinking is very much in place here, stronger than many would like to have it,
and it's not always easy to get along here, especially when, as a journalist,
you ask questions and don't get answers because the doors are closed.
It's not an easy terrain.
In the Vatican, it's still unusual to see a woman.
TRANSLATION: The first...and I'm very sorry to say so, but the first were the toilet attendants
at the end of the '60s.
Those were the first jobs to be given to women,
and then there were secretaries,
and there were more of them.
I think it is quite important that there will be more women
at the Vatican, because they bring, well, a certain normality
into the state of priests.
Gudrun Sailer is visiting the personnel department
to research the history of women in the Vatican and the story of
the first woman ever employed here.
She was a German archaeologist called Erminia Speier, and she was Jewish.
TRANSLATION: Erminia Speier was also a pioneer and fascinated me
because as far as we know she was the first woman in the Vatican
and I thought, "Wow, a Jewish German woman in the '30s, that alone contradicts so many cliches."
TRANSLATION: This is interesting.
"..whether she was of Jewish faith."
The reply comes a week later, on 15th February, 1938,
from the Pontifical Gendarmerie, the Vatican's police forces.
"She is Jewish."
Someone obviously must have given the matter some thought and decided to go against their principles twice -
not only do we employ a woman,
but also a woman who's not even Catholic.
I, for example, had to produce my baptism certificate
and confirmation record when I signed a contract with Vatican Radio.
Erminia Speier was a very fortunate woman.
Millions of other European Jews faced Nazi persecution
and finally fell victim to the Holocaust.
Pope Pius XII was elected shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.
His behaviour towards Nazi Germany and other fascist regimes
remains deeply controversial.
Many key Vatican papers from this era remain under lock and key.
But not all.
Gudrun has been given permission to see letters written by desperate Jews to the Vatican,
one of them from Edith Stein, a philosopher who converted to Catholicism in 1922.
TRANSLATION: "All of us being loyal children of the Catholic Church,
"following the events in Germany with open eyes,
"do fear the very worst for the Church's reputation if its silence persists."
She's imploring the Pope to raise his voice against the persecution of the Jews,
and he didn't.
The answer she got was a standard reply full of empty phrases such as,
that the letter had been duly presented to the Pope.
That was it.
The tragedy of the matter is that, 11 years after writing the letter,
Edith Stein died, being murdered in a gas chamber.
Here I see an analogy to Erminia Speier that...
that leaves me speechless.
They do have a similar biography.
They were both German Jews, who converted to Catholicism.
One is murdered while the other is saved, because she was fortunate enough to be in the right place
at the right time, namely, at the Vatican, under its protection.
The galleries in the Vatican Museum attract some 12,000 visitors a day.
But, once they leave,
Stefania Pandozy and her fellow curators have the place to themselves.
TRANSLATION: During the day, the rooms are bursting with people.
We, however, can experience the museum in another way,
once everything is closed, when we are ending our working day.
The lights are still on, some employers are still tidying up or checking that the windows are shut.
Then there's an extraordinary magical atmosphere.
It's as if the din of the world is fading and one hears is the music of the paintings
and the harmony of those compositions instead.
Perhaps the greatest perk of Stefania Pandozy's job
is the chance to enter the Sistine Chapel at night-time
for a private view of one of the greatest artistic achievements of all time -
It took the artist four years to paint these vast religious images.
Many believe them to be the most sublime artistic expression of faith
Michelangelo spent most of that time
on top of elaborate wooden scaffolding,
gradually conjuring scenes from the Old Testament and the Last Judgments
Here, Christ judges the resurrected, sending them to heaven or hell.
TRANSLATION: Before the Last Judgment, we are lost for words.
It's beyond architectural design.
There's nothing here but man.
Man in all his suffering and his humanity.
When I linger here, I'm enthralled, but I'm also scared.
It really is a new experience every time you enter the Sistine Chapel,
a new search for meanings and symbols.
And for me, in my smallness, I always find myself saying,
"Lord, Thy will be done,"
because there are too many questions we could ask ourselves,
and Michelangelo asked himself those questions
through every character he painted
and in some ways I think he found answers.
It's Sunday morning and altar boy Valentino Dumitrana
attends the Pope's weekly Angelus prayer in St Peter's Square.
TRANSLATION: At the Angelus prayer, you see all these people
and then you realise that they come from all over the world.
The ones you notice the most are the Chinese.
It's nice to listen to the sound of a language that you don't understand at all
and it's beautiful to realise that there are so many people around the globe sharing the same faith.
Every year, 1.5 million people take part in the Angelus prayer.
From the window of his offices in the Apostolic Palace,
Pope Benedict XVI gives his blessing to the faithful.
TRANSLATION: To see him from far away is a good experience,
but my biggest wish would be to meet him personally.
The idea I have of the Pope is...
I don't how to say it, that he's a person above all others
and that, of course, he's the kindest person in the world.
I think the Pope is the crossover, he's the bridge between heaven and Earth.
..Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.
The Pope receives many important visitors,
all photographed by Francesco Sforza.
Today, it's President Barack Obama, welcomed with full state honours.
Chamberlains and Swiss Guards lead the President through the Apostolic Palace
to his first meeting with Pope Benedict.
TRANSLATION: When there are such highly important events, like a president, like President Obama,
there's a moment for me of quiet composure, almost like a football player going out on a pitch,
and then I always say, "May God be with me and there's truly hope I can do a good job."
Thank you so much. It's a great honour for me.
There's a general photo call for the press, but Francesco Sforza has special access.
TRANSLATION: You're making history, that's the main thing.
You succeed in bringing to others, to the world, things they cannot see,
some angles of the Palace that nobody else gets access to,
so we feel like we're the window of the outside world.
The official photo is taken and everyone looks at the camera.
What I look for, though, is that little bit extra, something more natural, maybe as they walk away,
shortly before the goodbyes, they both look each other in the eye,
and in those last moments sometimes you get the most relaxed smiles,
as if they were both at home.
As someone who makes headlines every week, some flattering, some not,
Pope Benedict is also a keen consumer of news and makes time to watch it every day.
Valentino Dumitrana, who came to the Vatican when he was just 14,
will soon have to face the most important question of his life.
TRANSLATION: Maybe I will be a priest, I don't know.
A priest's life is very strict and difficult.
It requires a lot of patience, which I don't have.
I really don't know what my future will be.
Cardinal Comastri, in overall charge of Valentino's curriculum,
experienced no such confusion of feeling when he was young.
TRANSLATION: I served as an altar boy when I was young
as my family was very religious.
This was a really important experience for me,
since I was so close to the priest
that I came to understand a little about his mission.
I then met priests who were very enthusiastic about their vocation
and, of course, their joy affected me and became my own joy
and slowly turned into my own vocation.
There are still moments in the Vatican
that feel closer to Cardinal Comastri's childhood than to Valentino's.
One of them is the Feast of Corpus Christi.
For 700 years, Rome's Catholics have paraded to celebrate this day.
Such a close connection to the rituals of the past
nourishes the cardinal's faith,
but he worries about the future.
TRANSLATION: Nowadays, the vocation to become a priest is certainly much more difficult,
as we live in a frivolous world, a noisy world,
a world full of distractions,
and that's why today it's become much more difficult to hear the voice of Christ and to respond to it,
because you need greater courage, greater coherence, greater strength
to break from a culture that is often completely opposed to the Gospel.
After months of studying and serving,
Valentino's wish finally came true.
TRANSLATION: I thought it would be a normal Mass, but the master of ceremonies asked,
"Which of you has never served the Pope at Mass?"
Everyone had, even two or three times, so I said, "I haven't yet.
"I have only received communion."
Then he said, "OK, you and you."
And so we went over there. "What do we have to do?"
"You take care of the microphone and you do the book."
And it struck me immediately, the mic has to be very close to him.
Then he explained a couple of things, two or three times, because we just couldn't get it into our heads.
Then we joined the procession and I started immediately with the mic
and went up there, and was about to make a mistake,
but the master of ceremonies, who stood close to the Pope, immediately corrected me.
I stayed there, and my hands were trembling so much that the mic kept moving.
Photographer Francesco Sforza was close at hand to record Valentino's big moment.
I was paralysed. I couldn't leave while I was standing in front of the Pope.
He must have wondered why I wasn't talking.
"What's wrong with him, that he's not talking?"
But he wasn't strict. He was a normal person, calm, happy, he was smiling.
Maybe he understood that this was the first time I'd seen him,
so it was normal to behave like that.
Usually, when I'm feeling emotional, my eyes start burning and they fill with tears.
I almost had to shut my eyes,
but then I rushed, bowed and I left with tears in my eyes.
I don't do that on purpose, it just happens.
I was standing there thinking, "Oh, no, not now,"
and my eyes began to water, but I couldn't stop.
My eyes were burning so bad.
With Christmas approaching, the altar boys are looking forward to
returning home to their families for the holidays.
Some of them come from remote regions
and seldom see their relatives.
Their secluded life in the Vatican has forged firm friendships.
But Valentino is going home with mixed feelings.
TRANSLATION: After being here for two years now, I feel that I won't become a priest.
I don't feel the calling the way the others do.
I think I'll choose to be a person like everyone else.
I'll have a family, but I'll be the only one... Well, maybe not the only one.
There will be others whose faith is as strong as mine,
but not many of them will have had the experiences that I've had in here.
The Pope is due to lead a procession through the centre of the Eternal City.
Whenever he appears in public, huge crowds throng the streets
to proclaim their faith.
Francesco Sforza and his assistant move to their position
on the balustrade of Santa Maria Maggiore Church.
They expect Pope Benedict shortly.
On a night like this, Pope Benedict, who is also the Bishop of Rome,
could almost be mistaken for the true ruler of the city.
TRANSLATION: When you see these crowds, you have proof that the people of Rome love the Pope.
I feel like I'd like to get onto my knees and pray with them.
But then, you're there to take pictures,
so these are moments, in a way, that don't always go together very well.
Benedict XVI is the 265th Pope.
He compared waiting for the conclave's decision to walking towards a guillotine
and the moment of his election to the blade dropping towards his neck.
But a Pope's popularity is not only determined by how well or how willingly he does his job.
Much of it, perhaps most of it, stems from the weight and authority of the institution he leads
and the belief of millions in what he represents on Earth.
TRANSLATION: Whoever serves the Lord must allow him to appear,
must be as translucent as glass, so that one doesn't see HIS light,
but the light of Jesus Christ, who is standing behind him.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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