He often expressed some concern to his closest co-workers whether his trips to the mountains are somehow inappropriate or not in place. The Pope was aware that some important hierarchs of the Roman Curia do not approve his way of spending “vacations”. However, mostly he was concerned that perhaps the faithful have a bad opinion on this subject. After all, I am sure that it is the latter that is the faithful of the Catholic Church did not mind such vacations of the Holy Father and fully praised his way of resting.
I realized this personally on January 3, 1986. On that day, John Paul II was returning to Rome from a small mountain village near Assergi. Thanking everyone who accompanied him –as he was usually doing – the Pope uttered some words that have put us in awe: “I thank you first and foremost for covering up and hiding an international scandal.” After a while, we came to the conclusion that, by expressing this, he meant these trips to the mountains. I immediately told him that through our work we protect him, and we are not covering up some international scandal. I explained that the discretion that is used for his trips to the mountains is necessary only to protect him in a better manner and absolutely not because we wanted to hide him from the faithful. After all, it happened that people who accidentally met John Paul II during his trips had a chance to talk to him and greet him.
Enrico Marinelli * “Pope and his General”
‘Rafael’ Publishing House 2007
*Enrico Marinelli – the Head of a special cell of the Italian police at the Vatican engaged in preparation and personal supervision over the Holy Father’s travels in Italy