The day Pope Benedict was elected, the drama of it all really hit me. First there was the white smoke, then we all ran to the TV to hear the name. But we had to wait a while as the bells kept tolling, people kept pouring into St. Peter's Square, and the tension mounted. As the cameras focused on the balcony, from time to time we could see the curtains moving a bit as if someone inside was peering out. Meantime people around the world were hanging on with great interest.
The Church knows how to do drama. So the other day I came across something in an unexpected source that confirmed this. I happened to be paging through George Burns' biography of his wife, Gracie Allen. Burns was Jewish and Gracie was a devout Catholic. They made a trip to Rome to see Pope Pius (it must have been Pius XII but he didn't specify). Gracie was very excited and nervous to see the Pope, while George took it all in stride. He said, "The Pope's entrance was stunning. Maybe the Catholics know about miracles, and maybe they know about saints, but they've never received enough credit for what they know about show business. In my 85 years in the business, that was easily the greatest entrance I've ever seen. The Catholics know more about backlighting and indirect lighting than any stage manager.... His exit was even more impressive than his entrance."