Vatican: The Hidden World


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Vatican: The Hidden World

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,

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and upon this rock I will build my church.

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And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

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The Vatican.

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A tiny sovereign state in the middle of Rome.

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The focus of the faith of a billion people.

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Tourists flock to St Peter's Square,

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but the Vatican's inner life has been shrouded in secrecy.

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Until now.

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For the first time,

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the Vatican has allowed cameras

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deep into a world few have ever seen,

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filming a unique community of faith.

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The men,

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women and children who devote their lives to serving the Pope

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and his guests.

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The curators who tend its treasures.

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The archivists who guard its secrets.

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-TRANSLATION:

-This is the interrogation of 12th April 1633,

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the first time Galileo was summoned before the Inquisition.

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From the bones of St Peter

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to the marvels of the Sistine Chapel.

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This is a journey into the hidden world of the Vatican.

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And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

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The capital city of the Catholic Church is a place of great beauty

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and profound controversy.

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NEWSREADERS: Pope Benedict XVI set off another political firestorm,

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saying condoms could make the HIV/AIDS crisis worse.

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The excommunications of four bishops,

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including one who denied the Holocaust,

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angered Jewish groups and perplexed the Vatican...

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The crisis for the Roman Catholic Church over child sex abuse

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has deepened tonight.

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..launching an all-out defence of the Pope

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as a priest abuse scandal rocks his native homeland...

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Since he was elected here by the College Of Cardinals in 2005,

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Pope Benedict XVI has faced doctrinal disputes,

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intense criticism of his attitude to AIDS and contraception,

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and the revelation of shocking abuse

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in Catholic institutions throughout the world.

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And it's a job he never even wanted.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Five years before he became Pope,

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Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger formally requested to retire to private life.

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The answer was no.

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TRANSLATION: 'The Pope carries a very great weight on his shoulders'

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because the task of leadership is demanding.

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A leader bears great responsibility and with that comes great strains.

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Cardinal of the Curia,

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Angelo Comastri is one of the most powerful men in the Vatican,

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and one of Pope Benedict's few close friends.

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TRANSLATION: I remember the words of Don Primo Mazzolari,

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a wonderful priest of the Italian Church, who said a few decades ago,

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"there will come a time

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when leadership will almost resemble a crucifixion."

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The Vatican exists because of a crucifixion,

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but not that of Jesus Christ.

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According to Christian tradition,

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the Roman Emperor Nero had the apostle St Peter executed here.

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Peter, the first Pope, asked to be crucified upside down,

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because he did not feel worthy of the same death as his messiah.

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When Christianity became Rome's state religion,

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the world's largest church was erected over his tomb.

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Two storeys beneath today's basilica,

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the 2,000-year-old cemetery still survives.

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The tombs were largely untouched

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until archaeologists were allowed to dig in the 1950s and '60s.

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They found human bones, confirmed by carbon dating

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to be those of a man from the first century AD.

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The cemetery is now sealed airtight

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to maintain a constant temperature and humidity.

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Few have unrestricted access here.

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Cardinal Comastri is one of them.

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TRANSLATION: When I step before the tomb of Peter The Apostle,

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I feel as though I'm encountering a centuries-old procession.

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A long procession of souls from the times of Emperor Nero up to today

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is coming towards me and calling to me,

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"Behold, 2,000 years have passed."

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We are slowly approaching the most sacred part of St Peter's Basilica,

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the place where everything was born.

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This orange light indicates the site of St Peter's grave.

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There was nothing here.

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We would have stood under the open sky.

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The Christians took Peter's dead body.

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Just imagine - they came to this spot, dug a grave,

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and with great emotion, great trepidation,

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and I would add with tearful eyes,

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they buried the body of the first Pope,

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who, like Jesus, had been crucified.

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That's the wall where the inscription was found,

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"Here lies Peter."

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During the excavations, a blow from a pick axe opened that small crack.

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Behind that, a room with marble panelled walls was discovered.

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This indicated that something of great value was here.

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We believe that the bones which were discovered here

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belong to the body of St Peter,

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that they are actually St Peter's bones.

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When I pause in prayer before the tomb, I feel immensely safe.

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It seems to me as if I can feel Jesus, the breath of Jesus,

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the voice of Jesus, who speaks to me,

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"Fear you not, I will build my church,

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"and I guarantee to you that the gates of Hell

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"will not prevail against it."

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2,000 years after the time of St Peter,

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the Vatican consists of a complex of buildings and gardens

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built around the basilica that still bears his name.

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Officers from the papal Swiss Guards and the Vatican City gendarme

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tightly control access to the world's smallest state,

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the size of just 40 football pitches.

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350 CCTV cameras cover every corner of the city,

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and staff at the control room work around the clock.

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Their main challenge comes when the Pope

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holds his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square.

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Every Wednesday,

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up to 30,000 visitors are screened

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like passengers at an international airport.

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It's always a tense moment for the Pope's head of security.

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TRANSLATION: One must appreciate that the Pope is very special.

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The Pope's persona is not that of a president or a pop star.

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You're not trying to keep people away from him.

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The Pope must be able to approach people,

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and we have to give him that option while at the same time,

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guaranteeing his safety with a minimum of fuss.

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Also on duty today is Vatican head photographer Francesco Sforza.

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He's been taking pictures of the Pope for 23 years.

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TRANSLATION: I'm probably here because of my discretion,

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the discretion that one has to show

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when one is as close to the Holy Father as we are.

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One must be as inconspicuous as possible.

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We have to ensure that we don't cause the slightest upset.

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You have to be...

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Not a perfect person, but somebody who doesn't talk,

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somebody who doesn't gossip.

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EXCITED MURMURING

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As thousands file through the security gates,

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Pope Benedict prepares for his weekly encounter with the faithful

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in the chapel

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of his private apartment high above St Peter's Square.

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A lifelong academic with a passion for the music of Bach and Mozart,

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Pope Benedict does not appear to relish

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the public aspects of his job,

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unlike his gregarious predecessor, John Paul II.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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The Popemobile enters the square -

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always a dramatic moment for security chief Davide Giulietti,

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especially since Pope Benedict refuses to wear body armour.

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TRANSLATION: When you're actually there, honestly,

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you really don't see or hear anything else.

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You're concentrating on anything that might be happening.

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It's become a habit of mine to watch a person's eyes or else the hands.

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It can be a quick way of assessing

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what kind of person you have in front of you.

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Of course, you can still be deceived.

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GUNSHOTS AND SCREAMING

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NEWSREADER: Suddenly, shots from the crowd.

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According to eyewitnesses, the Pope froze in shock for a second

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and then slumped to the seat of his jeep.

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During a general audience in 1981, a gunman tried to kill John Paul II.

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Shooting from the crowd,

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he hit the Pope three times, inflicting near-fatal injuries.

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That day radically changed the way the Vatican security forces worked.

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TRANSLATION: In earlier times,

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probably nobody imagined that somebody would shoot at the Pope.

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Naturally, today, we have units and security detachments

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that didn't exist before.

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I definitely think that everyone is more on guard now.

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In contrast with 20 years ago, today we assume that anything can happen.

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Except for the bodyguards,

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only one man is permitted to get close to the Pope

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when he's exposed to the public like this - Francesco Sforza.

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TRANSLATION: There is one Pope, one photographer.

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This is the thing, the uniqueness that gives me most strength because,

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well, you sometimes find yourself in difficulty,

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emotionally, I mean, because

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it's not easy when you're in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

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When you stand before the Pope, he's a figure that...

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Well, it's almost as if it were the first time.

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When I happen to greet him, it's always very emotional,

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even though I'm close to him a lot.

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Sometimes, I think about it honestly and ask myself, "Is this for real?

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"Is it really me?"

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Or, "Am I really doing this on a regular basis, like, forever?"

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I don't know, I still think that I'll wake up sooner or later.

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The crowds have long departed,

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and the rituals of another morning begin.

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This is the future of the Vatican,

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altar boys and trainee priests reporting for work at dawn.

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The boys' first duty is to dress the priests.

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TRANSLATION: On some mornings, there really are lots of them,

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and we have to be prepared for them. As soon as one of them turns up,

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we dress him immediately and then get out of the way,

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otherwise, another altar boy may pass by and grab the altar,

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the one that you and your priest go to every morning.

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By 6am, altar boy Valentino Dumitrana

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is already hard at work in the vaults beneath St Peter's Basilica.

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Seven hours of formal schooling lie ahead, but before that,

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he must prepare the 12 subterranean chapels for early Mass.

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He's hoping one day soon to serve the Pope himself.

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TRANSLATION: I said to myself, the good ones always go to the Pope's Mass.

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They're all showing off saying, "I've seen him three times already."

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I haven't even seen him once, so I'll work really hard during normal Masses in order to meet the Pope,

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which isn't an easy thing to do.

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The well-being of the Vatican altar boys

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is another of Cardinal Angelo Comastri's many responsibilities.

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TRANSLATION: Young people are the future of the Church.

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This is obvious.

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This is one group of boys who have been chosen to perform the liturgy in the Basilica.

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What we try to offer them

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is a beautiful and deep Christian path in life.

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They are nurtured in loyalty, in generosity, in altruism,

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and in sacrifice.

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No calling or mission in life can be built without sacrifice.

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A vocation may develop out of this education, out of this nurturing,

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if it's God's will.

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It's a hard life, with the hours of formal classes supplemented by homework every evening.

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A real challenge for the not-very-academic Valentino.

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TRANSLATION: Life here is really strict for me so I don't know what to do.

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I can't keep up with all the schoolwork.

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The others are already used to it and can easily keep up, but not me.

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With the praying and the Masses, we're really tired all the time.

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It would definitely improve things if there was more leisure time

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because we're really exhausted.

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On the northern side of the city stands the Vatican's secret archive.

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Religious laws and diplomatic messages from over nine centuries

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lie in every corridor,

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along with thousands of restricted files.

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Only bishop Sergio Pagano and his team are allowed to enter.

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TRANSLATION: "Secret" immediately evokes an air of mystery.

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Those who know their history, however, know that in the Renaissance

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all sovereigns' archives and libraries were referred to as secret.

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Everything belonging to a prince was secret, the library, the archive,

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even the kitchen, so the Pope, who is the Prince of Princes after all,

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also had his secret archive.

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In the archive's laboratory, Bishop Pagano oversees the restoration

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of important documents such as this, the actual transcript

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of astronomer Galileo's interrogation by the Inquisition in 1633.

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At the time, the Church taught that the Earth

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was the centre of the universe.

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Galileo incensed the papacy

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by arguing that earth was just one of many planets orbiting the Sun.

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When he published the mathematical evidence for his theories,

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Galileo put his life on the line.

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TRANSLATION: The further interrogation commenced, which was more arduous for Galileo,

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because his dialogue, his positions, were questioned.

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Also, at the end of this, he signed in his own hand, "I, Galileo Galilei, confirm the above."

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He attested to everything,

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thereby saying that his words were reflected completely and truly

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in the record and did not differ, that it was the absolute truth.

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There was no falsification committed either by the notary or the Inquisition.

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To save his life,

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Galileo was forced to abjure, curse and detest his heretical beliefs.

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His books were banned and he spent the rest of his life

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under house arrest.

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Bishop Pagano and his team are trying to repair

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over three centuries of damage to the Galileo manuscripts,

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some of the most important documents in the history of both science and religion.

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TRANSLATION: The Church could have been far more advanced than it was in the 17th and 18th centuries

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had it listened to Galileo's scientific reasoning.

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So, the deep regret that we clergymen feel over this makes us study this man,

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makes us study his time and the mechanisms that led up to this trial,

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because the repercussions of this trial are still affecting us today.

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In 1992, the Vatican formally rehabilitated Galileo,

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359 years after these manuscripts were written.

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This is Castel Gandolfo, 18 miles south of Rome.

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It's the Pope's home during the heat of the summer

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and the site of the Vatican's very own observatory.

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Here, the Vatican's astronomers, all Jesuit priests,

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are using technology and exploring ideas that would have horrified the papacy in Galileo's time,

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searching for evidence of life way beyond Planet Earth.

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We've found hundreds of stars now that have planets.

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Many of them might be systems that could have Earth-like planets.

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It's a wonderful idea.

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We'd love to find life, because we don't really understand life now

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and to have more than one example of life, more than one example of a planet with life,

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would allow us to understand better what is unique about life on Earth

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and what is common to life everywhere in the universe.

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Will there be intelligent life in the universe?

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I'd be shocked if there wasn't.

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Will it change the way that we view our understanding of God?

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I hope so, because I know my understanding of God is woefully incomplete,

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but I'm not going to speculate about how it's going to change it until I find the life.

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Before he joined the Church, Consolmagno worked for NASA

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and taught at prestigious universities such as Harvard and MIT.

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Reconciling science and faith is his life's work.

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It's funny, the people who think there's a contradiction between science and religion

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generally don't really know what science is, or they don't know what religion is, or both.

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Now, within the universe, there are laws, there are effects

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on energy and matter and we can study how energy and matter interact,

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but there are truths about life, about the universe, that science will never approach.

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The truths of love, the truths of beauty.

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We can describe, but we can never explain why

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beauty exists, why love exists.

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And yet life without love and beauty is clearly incomplete.

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So, I think you need this wide range of understanding, this wide range of saying,

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"My religion tells me that God made the universe, but my science can tell me the way it's done."

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As Guy Consolmagno looks to the heavens for a new insight into creation,

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Cardinal Comastri, the Vatican's chief renovator,

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works to keep the Church's ancient wisdom intact.

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TRANSLATION: My job is to make the stones talk.

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They are full of history and messages

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and one must listen to these messages.

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A hundred feet above ground,

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on scaffolding clinging to the side of St Peter's Basilica,

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Comastri is checking up on the latest restoration project.

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He's responsible for the maintenance of the entire city-state,

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and many buildings are showing their age.

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It took 120 years to build St Peter's.

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Its dome is still the biggest self-supporting brick structure in the world.

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But smog and pollution are taking their toll.

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TRANSLATION: The Basilica is like a living body, and therefore

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it shows signs of the passage of time, one could say the signs of age.

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We are rejuvenating it,

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but without concealing the wrinkles that time has inevitably created.

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BELL TOLLS

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Some of the Vatican's treasures need a different kind of care.

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Deep below the museum is the ethnological and missionary department.

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It's home to a unique collection of religious and cultural artefacts from all around the world.

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Stefania Pandozy is head restorer, and she's facing a serious backlog of work.

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TRANSLATION: Ten years ago, when we were entrusted with this project,

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this collection was in a hideous state of decay.

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The artefacts had been neglected for a long time

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and their state of conservation was really bad.

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Some of the priceless objects in these vaults have deteriorated almost beyond repair.

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TRANSLATION: There's a nucleus of 70,000 works, but it's always expanding.

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We've now counted 80,000 in all.

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We still have no complete record of the entire scale of the material.

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This 18th-century Indian goddess is riddled with woodworm.

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Before Pandozy's team can restore her,

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she needs some radical treatment.

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The scientists wrap the statue in plastic,

0:29:090:29:12

seal it carefully and pump in nitrogen gas.

0:29:120:29:16

It takes a month for the gas to kill the worms

0:29:190:29:22

and, while they wait, they move on to the next challenge.

0:29:220:29:26

TRANSLATION: Our work is both prevention and conservation.

0:29:310:29:35

It's a bit like first aid, really.

0:29:350:29:37

We're like an emergency room where we treat some symptoms

0:29:370:29:40

and then send the patients on when they're a little better.

0:29:400:29:43

Amid the history and the high culture, there's an everyday side to life inside the Vatican.

0:29:570:30:03

The altar boys are allowed to play football in the Pope's private gardens,

0:30:030:30:08

but this does not bring Valentino Dumitrana any closer to the man he most wants to meet.

0:30:080:30:14

TRANSLATION: Everyone thinks that those who live near him see him every day, but it's not like that.

0:30:190:30:24

When the Pope takes a walk in the garden, all the streets and paths are blocked off

0:30:240:30:29

and nobody can pass, even in an emergency.

0:30:290:30:32

If we're playing football,

0:30:340:30:35

they make us move somewhere else, or they won't let us play at all.

0:30:350:30:39

It depends who's on watch.

0:30:390:30:41

Today, the man on watch is Davide Giulietti.

0:30:500:30:54

His task - to make sure that Pope Benedict can have absolute privacy

0:30:540:30:58

during his daily 30-minute walk in the garden.

0:30:580:31:01

There are dozens of CCTV cameras hidden in the trees and bushes,

0:31:050:31:10

but Giulietti likes to take a look for himself.

0:31:100:31:13

TRANSLATION: The Holy Father's daily walk is certainly a private moment,

0:31:200:31:24

so if the Holy Father manages to find half-an-hour during the whole day

0:31:240:31:27

it's our highest duty to ensure that he may be by himself,

0:31:270:31:32

that he doesn't meet anyone and that he doesn't even see the police,

0:31:320:31:36

because we hide ourselves in order to guarantee him

0:31:360:31:39

a certain amount of privacy and discretion.

0:31:390:31:42

The security chief, like most Vatican employees,

0:31:560:32:00

is a devout Catholic,

0:32:000:32:02

and for him a job protecting the Holy Father

0:32:020:32:06

is the fulfilment of a childhood dream.

0:32:060:32:09

TRANSLATION: My priest took us to an audience when I was 12, 13 years old

0:32:140:32:18

and I was fascinated by this world, and particularly by the people taking care of the Pope's security.

0:32:180:32:24

Those people made a great impression on me.

0:32:240:32:27

So, I guess, that's how this got started.

0:32:310:32:33

It was a kind of obsession to come and work here one day.

0:32:330:32:36

Working here,

0:32:410:32:43

if you don't have a minimum of faith, then who are you working for?

0:32:430:32:46

To be here, at the service of the Pope, means that in any case

0:32:460:32:51

you believe in him and in who he represents.

0:32:510:32:54

In my opinion, if you have no faith here, then you're in the wrong job.

0:32:540:32:59

Everything is ready for the Pope's walk in the garden.

0:33:120:33:16

Davide Giulietti takes over control of the operations room.

0:33:170:33:20

PHONE RINGS

0:33:260:33:28

The emphasis on secrecy is so intense that, once the Pope arrives,

0:33:400:33:45

even the CCTV cameras protecting him are switched off.

0:33:450:33:48

When he was elected in 2005,

0:34:100:34:13

Benedict XVI had to give up his private life almost completely.

0:34:130:34:18

Before his walk, he likes to pause at the Vatican's replica of the grotto at Lourdes.

0:34:200:34:26

It's one of the few quiet moments in his day.

0:34:260:34:29

His time in the garden is also a chance to discuss important Church business in total privacy.

0:34:400:34:48

And there's a lot to talk about.

0:34:480:34:49

Pope Benedict must combine being a spiritual leader

0:34:490:34:53

with running one of the largest institutions in the world.

0:34:530:34:56

The Vatican has many of the trappings of a nation state.

0:35:020:35:06

There's a post office, a daily newspaper, a world-famous library,

0:35:060:35:10

a chemist - where you can't buy contraceptives - and a radio station.

0:35:100:35:15

..the English programme of Vatican Radio.

0:35:150:35:18

Radio Vatican broadcasts around the world in 48 languages.

0:35:190:35:24

Gudrun Sailer has worked in the German department for seven years.

0:35:240:35:29

TRANSLATION: As a journalist at Vatican Radio, you have to obey certain rules.

0:35:310:35:36

You obviously cannot call and say, "Hey, Eminence, what about lunch

0:35:360:35:40

"and telling me what's really going on in there?"

0:35:400:35:43

No, you must always be respectful.

0:35:430:35:46

A hierarchical thinking is very much in place here, stronger than many would like to have it,

0:35:460:35:52

and it's not always easy to get along here, especially when, as a journalist,

0:35:520:35:57

you ask questions and don't get answers because the doors are closed.

0:35:570:36:02

It's not an easy terrain.

0:36:020:36:04

In the Vatican, it's still unusual to see a woman.

0:36:110:36:14

TRANSLATION: The first...and I'm very sorry to say so, but the first were the toilet attendants

0:36:180:36:25

at the end of the '60s.

0:36:250:36:27

Those were the first jobs to be given to women,

0:36:270:36:31

and then there were secretaries,

0:36:310:36:33

and there were more of them.

0:36:330:36:35

I think it is quite important that there will be more women

0:36:350:36:39

at the Vatican, because they bring, well, a certain normality

0:36:390:36:42

into the state of priests.

0:36:420:36:45

Gudrun Sailer is visiting the personnel department

0:36:470:36:50

to research the history of women in the Vatican and the story of

0:36:500:36:53

the first woman ever employed here.

0:36:530:36:56

She was a German archaeologist called Erminia Speier, and she was Jewish.

0:36:560:37:02

-Erminia Speier.

-Ah, si.

-Bellissima.

0:37:020:37:06

TRANSLATION: Erminia Speier was also a pioneer and fascinated me

0:37:090:37:12

because as far as we know she was the first woman in the Vatican

0:37:120:37:16

and I thought, "Wow, a Jewish German woman in the '30s, that alone contradicts so many cliches."

0:37:160:37:23

TRANSLATION: This is interesting.

0:37:350:37:38

"..whether she was of Jewish faith."

0:37:400:37:42

The reply comes a week later, on 15th February, 1938,

0:37:420:37:46

from the Pontifical Gendarmerie, the Vatican's police forces.

0:37:460:37:50

"She is Jewish."

0:37:540:37:55

Someone obviously must have given the matter some thought and decided to go against their principles twice -

0:37:560:38:03

not only do we employ a woman,

0:38:030:38:06

but also a woman who's not even Catholic.

0:38:060:38:09

I, for example, had to produce my baptism certificate

0:38:090:38:13

and confirmation record when I signed a contract with Vatican Radio.

0:38:130:38:16

Erminia Speier was a very fortunate woman.

0:38:170:38:21

Millions of other European Jews faced Nazi persecution

0:38:210:38:25

and finally fell victim to the Holocaust.

0:38:250:38:29

Pope Pius XII was elected shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

0:38:290:38:34

His behaviour towards Nazi Germany and other fascist regimes

0:38:340:38:39

remains deeply controversial.

0:38:390:38:41

Many key Vatican papers from this era remain under lock and key.

0:38:410:38:46

But not all.

0:38:460:38:48

Gudrun has been given permission to see letters written by desperate Jews to the Vatican,

0:38:480:38:55

one of them from Edith Stein, a philosopher who converted to Catholicism in 1922.

0:38:550:39:00

TRANSLATION: "All of us being loyal children of the Catholic Church,

0:39:030:39:07

"following the events in Germany with open eyes,

0:39:070:39:10

"do fear the very worst for the Church's reputation if its silence persists."

0:39:100:39:15

She's imploring the Pope to raise his voice against the persecution of the Jews,

0:39:150:39:21

and he didn't.

0:39:210:39:23

The answer she got was a standard reply full of empty phrases such as,

0:39:230:39:28

that the letter had been duly presented to the Pope.

0:39:280:39:32

That was it.

0:39:320:39:33

The tragedy of the matter is that, 11 years after writing the letter,

0:39:330:39:39

Edith Stein died, being murdered in a gas chamber.

0:39:390:39:43

Here I see an analogy to Erminia Speier that...

0:39:440:39:49

that leaves me speechless.

0:39:490:39:51

They do have a similar biography.

0:39:520:39:54

They were both German Jews, who converted to Catholicism.

0:39:540:39:59

One is murdered while the other is saved, because she was fortunate enough to be in the right place

0:39:590:40:05

at the right time, namely, at the Vatican, under its protection.

0:40:050:40:09

The galleries in the Vatican Museum attract some 12,000 visitors a day.

0:40:190:40:24

But, once they leave,

0:40:260:40:28

Stefania Pandozy and her fellow curators have the place to themselves.

0:40:280:40:33

TRANSLATION: During the day, the rooms are bursting with people.

0:40:370:40:41

We, however, can experience the museum in another way,

0:40:410:40:44

once everything is closed, when we are ending our working day.

0:40:440:40:49

The lights are still on, some employers are still tidying up or checking that the windows are shut.

0:40:490:40:55

Then there's an extraordinary magical atmosphere.

0:40:550:41:00

It's as if the din of the world is fading and one hears is the music of the paintings

0:41:000:41:05

and the harmony of those compositions instead.

0:41:050:41:07

Perhaps the greatest perk of Stefania Pandozy's job

0:41:290:41:33

is the chance to enter the Sistine Chapel at night-time

0:41:330:41:38

for a private view of one of the greatest artistic achievements of all time -

0:41:380:41:43

Michelangelo's frescoes.

0:41:430:41:46

It took the artist four years to paint these vast religious images.

0:41:480:41:53

Many believe them to be the most sublime artistic expression of faith

0:41:540:41:58

ever created.

0:41:580:42:00

Michelangelo spent most of that time

0:42:010:42:04

on top of elaborate wooden scaffolding,

0:42:040:42:07

gradually conjuring scenes from the Old Testament and the Last Judgments

0:42:070:42:12

into life.

0:42:120:42:14

Here, Christ judges the resurrected, sending them to heaven or hell.

0:42:140:42:19

TRANSLATION: Before the Last Judgment, we are lost for words.

0:42:240:42:28

It's beyond architectural design.

0:42:280:42:30

There's nothing here but man.

0:42:300:42:32

Man in all his suffering and his humanity.

0:42:330:42:36

When I linger here, I'm enthralled, but I'm also scared.

0:42:380:42:42

It really is a new experience every time you enter the Sistine Chapel,

0:42:420:42:46

a new search for meanings and symbols.

0:42:460:42:50

And for me, in my smallness, I always find myself saying,

0:42:510:42:56

"Lord, Thy will be done,"

0:42:560:42:58

because there are too many questions we could ask ourselves,

0:42:580:43:01

and Michelangelo asked himself those questions

0:43:010:43:04

through every character he painted

0:43:040:43:06

and in some ways I think he found answers.

0:43:060:43:09

It's Sunday morning and altar boy Valentino Dumitrana

0:43:290:43:34

attends the Pope's weekly Angelus prayer in St Peter's Square.

0:43:340:43:39

TRANSLATION: At the Angelus prayer, you see all these people

0:43:500:43:53

and then you realise that they come from all over the world.

0:43:530:43:56

The ones you notice the most are the Chinese.

0:43:560:44:00

It's nice to listen to the sound of a language that you don't understand at all

0:44:000:44:04

and it's beautiful to realise that there are so many people around the globe sharing the same faith.

0:44:040:44:10

Every year, 1.5 million people take part in the Angelus prayer.

0:44:140:44:20

From the window of his offices in the Apostolic Palace,

0:44:200:44:23

Pope Benedict XVI gives his blessing to the faithful.

0:44:230:44:27

THEY CHANT

0:44:450:44:48

TRANSLATION: To see him from far away is a good experience,

0:45:010:45:04

but my biggest wish would be to meet him personally.

0:45:040:45:09

The idea I have of the Pope is...

0:45:100:45:12

I don't how to say it, that he's a person above all others

0:45:120:45:17

and that, of course, he's the kindest person in the world.

0:45:170:45:20

I think the Pope is the crossover, he's the bridge between heaven and Earth.

0:45:240:45:30

..Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.

0:45:350:45:43

Amen.

0:45:430:45:46

-MAN:

-Viva Papa!

-CHEERING

0:45:460:45:50

The Pope receives many important visitors,

0:46:220:46:26

all photographed by Francesco Sforza.

0:46:260:46:29

Today, it's President Barack Obama, welcomed with full state honours.

0:46:320:46:37

Chamberlains and Swiss Guards lead the President through the Apostolic Palace

0:46:410:46:46

to his first meeting with Pope Benedict.

0:46:460:46:49

TRANSLATION: When there are such highly important events, like a president, like President Obama,

0:46:500:46:56

there's a moment for me of quiet composure, almost like a football player going out on a pitch,

0:46:560:47:01

and then I always say, "May God be with me and there's truly hope I can do a good job."

0:47:010:47:08

Thank you so much. It's a great honour for me.

0:47:310:47:34

There's a general photo call for the press, but Francesco Sforza has special access.

0:47:340:47:40

TRANSLATION: You're making history, that's the main thing.

0:47:430:47:47

You succeed in bringing to others, to the world, things they cannot see,

0:47:470:47:51

some angles of the Palace that nobody else gets access to,

0:47:510:47:54

so we feel like we're the window of the outside world.

0:47:540:47:58

The official photo is taken and everyone looks at the camera.

0:48:080:48:11

What I look for, though, is that little bit extra, something more natural, maybe as they walk away,

0:48:110:48:17

shortly before the goodbyes, they both look each other in the eye,

0:48:170:48:22

and in those last moments sometimes you get the most relaxed smiles,

0:48:220:48:27

as if they were both at home.

0:48:270:48:29

As someone who makes headlines every week, some flattering, some not,

0:48:440:48:49

Pope Benedict is also a keen consumer of news and makes time to watch it every day.

0:48:490:48:55

Valentino Dumitrana, who came to the Vatican when he was just 14,

0:49:150:49:20

will soon have to face the most important question of his life.

0:49:200:49:24

TRANSLATION: Maybe I will be a priest, I don't know.

0:49:270:49:30

A priest's life is very strict and difficult.

0:49:300:49:32

It requires a lot of patience, which I don't have.

0:49:340:49:37

I really don't know what my future will be.

0:49:390:49:43

Cardinal Comastri, in overall charge of Valentino's curriculum,

0:49:430:49:47

experienced no such confusion of feeling when he was young.

0:49:470:49:51

TRANSLATION: I served as an altar boy when I was young

0:49:540:49:57

as my family was very religious.

0:49:570:49:59

This was a really important experience for me,

0:49:590:50:02

since I was so close to the priest

0:50:020:50:04

that I came to understand a little about his mission.

0:50:040:50:07

I then met priests who were very enthusiastic about their vocation

0:50:070:50:11

and, of course, their joy affected me and became my own joy

0:50:110:50:15

and slowly turned into my own vocation.

0:50:150:50:18

There are still moments in the Vatican

0:50:270:50:29

that feel closer to Cardinal Comastri's childhood than to Valentino's.

0:50:290:50:34

One of them is the Feast of Corpus Christi.

0:50:340:50:36

For 700 years, Rome's Catholics have paraded to celebrate this day.

0:50:360:50:42

Such a close connection to the rituals of the past

0:50:420:50:45

nourishes the cardinal's faith,

0:50:450:50:47

but he worries about the future.

0:50:470:50:49

TRANSLATION: Nowadays, the vocation to become a priest is certainly much more difficult,

0:50:550:51:00

as we live in a frivolous world, a noisy world,

0:51:000:51:03

a world full of distractions,

0:51:030:51:05

and that's why today it's become much more difficult to hear the voice of Christ and to respond to it,

0:51:050:51:10

because you need greater courage, greater coherence, greater strength

0:51:100:51:15

to break from a culture that is often completely opposed to the Gospel.

0:51:150:51:19

After months of studying and serving,

0:51:510:51:54

Valentino's wish finally came true.

0:51:540:51:57

TRANSLATION: I thought it would be a normal Mass, but the master of ceremonies asked,

0:52:070:52:12

"Which of you has never served the Pope at Mass?"

0:52:120:52:15

Everyone had, even two or three times, so I said, "I haven't yet.

0:52:150:52:19

"I have only received communion."

0:52:190:52:21

Then he said, "OK, you and you."

0:52:210:52:24

And so we went over there. "What do we have to do?"

0:52:240:52:27

"You take care of the microphone and you do the book."

0:52:270:52:30

And it struck me immediately, the mic has to be very close to him.

0:52:320:52:36

Then he explained a couple of things, two or three times, because we just couldn't get it into our heads.

0:52:370:52:43

Then we joined the procession and I started immediately with the mic

0:52:430:52:47

and went up there, and was about to make a mistake,

0:52:470:52:50

but the master of ceremonies, who stood close to the Pope, immediately corrected me.

0:52:500:52:55

I stayed there, and my hands were trembling so much that the mic kept moving.

0:53:050:53:10

Photographer Francesco Sforza was close at hand to record Valentino's big moment.

0:53:120:53:18

I was paralysed. I couldn't leave while I was standing in front of the Pope.

0:53:310:53:35

He must have wondered why I wasn't talking.

0:53:350:53:38

"What's wrong with him, that he's not talking?"

0:53:380:53:40

But he wasn't strict. He was a normal person, calm, happy, he was smiling.

0:53:400:53:46

Maybe he understood that this was the first time I'd seen him,

0:53:460:53:50

so it was normal to behave like that.

0:53:500:53:52

Usually, when I'm feeling emotional, my eyes start burning and they fill with tears.

0:54:040:54:09

I almost had to shut my eyes,

0:54:090:54:12

but then I rushed, bowed and I left with tears in my eyes.

0:54:120:54:16

I don't do that on purpose, it just happens.

0:54:160:54:19

I was standing there thinking, "Oh, no, not now,"

0:54:190:54:24

and my eyes began to water, but I couldn't stop.

0:54:240:54:27

My eyes were burning so bad.

0:54:270:54:29

With Christmas approaching, the altar boys are looking forward to

0:54:410:54:45

returning home to their families for the holidays.

0:54:450:54:48

Some of them come from remote regions

0:54:480:54:50

and seldom see their relatives.

0:54:500:54:53

Their secluded life in the Vatican has forged firm friendships.

0:54:530:54:58

But Valentino is going home with mixed feelings.

0:54:580:55:02

TRANSLATION: After being here for two years now, I feel that I won't become a priest.

0:55:070:55:11

I don't feel the calling the way the others do.

0:55:110:55:14

I think I'll choose to be a person like everyone else.

0:55:140:55:17

I'll have a family, but I'll be the only one... Well, maybe not the only one.

0:55:170:55:21

There will be others whose faith is as strong as mine,

0:55:210:55:24

but not many of them will have had the experiences that I've had in here.

0:55:240:55:29

The Pope is due to lead a procession through the centre of the Eternal City.

0:55:530:56:00

Whenever he appears in public, huge crowds throng the streets

0:56:010:56:04

to proclaim their faith.

0:56:040:56:06

Francesco Sforza and his assistant move to their position

0:56:110:56:15

on the balustrade of Santa Maria Maggiore Church.

0:56:150:56:19

They expect Pope Benedict shortly.

0:56:190:56:21

On a night like this, Pope Benedict, who is also the Bishop of Rome,

0:56:420:56:47

could almost be mistaken for the true ruler of the city.

0:56:470:56:51

TRANSLATION: When you see these crowds, you have proof that the people of Rome love the Pope.

0:56:570:57:02

I feel like I'd like to get onto my knees and pray with them.

0:57:020:57:06

But then, you're there to take pictures,

0:57:060:57:09

so these are moments, in a way, that don't always go together very well.

0:57:090:57:13

Benedict XVI is the 265th Pope.

0:57:210:57:25

He compared waiting for the conclave's decision to walking towards a guillotine

0:57:270:57:32

and the moment of his election to the blade dropping towards his neck.

0:57:320:57:36

But a Pope's popularity is not only determined by how well or how willingly he does his job.

0:57:360:57:42

Much of it, perhaps most of it, stems from the weight and authority of the institution he leads

0:57:430:57:51

and the belief of millions in what he represents on Earth.

0:57:510:57:55

TRANSLATION: Whoever serves the Lord must allow him to appear,

0:57:580:58:02

must be as translucent as glass, so that one doesn't see HIS light,

0:58:020:58:06

but the light of Jesus Christ, who is standing behind him.

0:58:060:58:10

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:480:58:50

E-mail [email protected]

0:58:500:58:52

With unprecedented access to the Vatican and the people who live and work there, this is a unique profile of the heart of the Catholic Church and the world's smallest sovereign state.

Archivists reveal the Vatican's secrets, including the signed testimony of Galileo recorded by the Inquisition. A cardinal journeys deep below St Peter's Basilica to inspect the site claimed to be the tomb of the saint himself, and curators share a private viewing of Michelangelo's extraordinary decoration of the Sistine Chapel.

An intriguing behind-the-scenes look at the workings of one of the world's most powerful and mysterious institutions.