(Vatican Radio) The role of the media has been a subject of heated discussion during these days of Sede Vacante here in the Vatican, with around 5.000 journalists from around the world currently accredited to cover the Conclave and inauguration of the next Roman pontiff.
For one American journalist, the circumstances of Benedict XVI’s resignation and start of the Sede Vacante have been of particular significance – at the end of a long career following the past four pontificates.
Victor Simpson is bureau chief of the Associated Press news agency here in Rome and had planned his resignation for February 28th 2013 - the very day that something rather unusual happened here in the Vatican……
Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s interview with veteran 'Vaticanista' Victor Simpson:
“Between John Paul and Benedict I did 92 papal trips around the world…I went to Beirut with the Pope….shortly after taking off from Beirut on the way back to Rome, they brought me up to see the Pope and he wished me well in my retirement….
I was in Rome for Paul VI’s death…he died very unexpectedly….I was alone in the office on the Sunday…I managed perfectly to put out all the stories needed by myself….today that just couldn’t happen…
(Pope Benedict’s resignation)…could be revolutionary….it has certainly set a precedent and I think some people are wary about that….on the other hand the Pope himself makes very clear the conditions under which it is possible to resign….
(The cardinals) are looking for someone to exert a strong hand in the Curia, at the same time someone with some pastoral charms, someone who knows how to speak, to communicate – that’s very important in today’s communications-mad world, you just have to learn to live with it…”