The Italian Almanac

Benedict XVI

Italian News - August 18

Pope Benedict XVI has apologized after he forgot to bless the hundreds of pilgrims who attended his weekly audience at his Italian summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

The crowd gathered in the palace courtyard was surprised to see the Pope return to his window several moments after leaving after greeting pilgrims in several languages. "I ask for your forgiveness, but I have forgotten the most important greeting, the greeting to the pilgrims in the Italian language," he said.

He went back inside the palace, only to return again shortly. "Today, I have forgotten the most important things. One can see that I am already in Cologne. I omitted the most important thing: the benediction," he said while smiling before giving his blessing.

The 78-year-old pontiff's voyage to his native Germany will be his first journey abroad since his election in April.