Finally: The New York Times’ Andy Newman gets to the bottom of Pope Benedict XVI‘s relationship to kitties. This overdue link-up between the pope and crazy cat people is a nice change of pace from weeks of papal coverage that has too often glanced over the ridiculous side of pope and pope-related activity.


Benedict’s kindness toward the strays of Rome is already the stuff of Vatican legend. His house in Germany, its garden guarded by a cat statue, was filled with cats when Benedict lived there full time before he was posted to the Vatican in 1982.

The article then delves into a close reading of Joseph and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict XVI as Told By a Cat, the first (but please, not the last) biography of a pope written from a cat’s perspective. It’s also a true story, Vatican approved.

But with the pope’s schedule filled with human concerns, whither the felines? A phone interview with Chico’s owner reveals the stunning truth. According to Rupert Hofbauer, “Chico, now 10, misses his old friend, who has not been back to visit since becoming pope.”

Photo of “Pope” courtesy of swanksalot