VATICAN CITY — Each year the rhythm of activity inside the Vatican walls — from public papal Masses to meals served to Vatican employees — is charted in minute detail in a thick tome graced with color photos of the Pope and Vatican stamps.
The 2001 report, contained in the annually published “Attivita della Santa Sede” (“Activity of the Holy See”), was released in late July.
From the introduction to the report on the Vatican motor pool, the 2001 volume is filled with references to returning to a normal work pace after the extraordinary events of the Holy Year 2000.
However, there are exceptions. For example, the office that distributes certificates attesting to a papal blessing said so many people discovered the scrolls during the Holy Year that the Vatican issued even more in 2001 — some 300,000 of them.
Obviously, though, without the almost daily public audiences and liturgies of the Jubilee, the Vatican Television Center saw a major drop in the hours of live broadcasting it offered: 197 hours in 2001 compared to 622 hours in 2000.
The day-by-day summary of Pope John Paul II's activity took up the first 672 pages of the 2001 volume; in the Jubilee Year, 716 pages were needed.
Still, the official papal photographers kept busy, shooting some 6,500 rolls of film, each with 36 exposures.
And while there might have been fewer tourists visiting St. Peter's Ba-silica, janitors still had to maintain a regular rhythm of cleaning the 645,000 square feet of floor space open to the public.
The end of the Jubilee meant a return to studies for several categories of Vatican employees and officials.
To ensure there always would be an ample number of confessors in the major basilicas of Rome during the Holy Year, the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court, suspended the study sessions it offers the priests.
But the courses were offered again in 2001 and included separate presentations devoted to Church teaching, ethics and morals related to medical treatment of conjoined twins; human embryo stem cells; divorced and civilly remarried Catholics; transexuality; and “confession by telephone or Internet.”
With fewer huge crowds to handle, the Swiss Guards also took the opportunity to sharpen their skills.
The book explained, “The service of close, plainclothes protection around the Holy Father increasingly must be marked by readiness, discretion and effectiveness,” and so four officers went to Switzerland for a special course in the latest bodyguard techniques.
While the book also points out that new guards are required to take intensive Italian courses, other statistics show how English has surpassed Italian as the “lingua fran-ca,” especially when dealing with visitors.
A severely limited number of people are allowed to go with a guide into the excavated necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica; 42% of the almost 36,000 people allowed in asked for an English-speaking guide.
Italian was the next most-requested language, accounting for about 25% of the tours. Guides also were available for tours in French, German and Spanish.
A similar situation could be seen among the 3.3 million visitors to the Vatican Museums in 2001. Of the 224,000 people who rented the audio “Gallery Guide,” 48% used the English version.
John Paul's Jan. 21, 2001, announcement of new cardinals led to the biggest day for the Vatican press office's Internet site and, even there, English was the most popular language.
The press office said its biographies of the new cardinals were accessed 16,278 times in English, 8,969 times in Italian and 6,229 times in German.
The press office also is counting its “cookies,” computer codes that allow it to know that, although its Web pages were consulted 6.4 million times in 2001, all of those hits came from only 532,000 different computers.
Other statistics included in the 2001 volume:
E 153 prelates participated in an eight-day course for new bishops sponsored by the Congregation for Bishops.
E There are 258 retired bishops from the Church's missionary territories.
E The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments dispensed 540 men from the obligations of the priesthood.
E The Vatican's daily newspaper, L&APOS;Osservatore Romano, is sold at about 1,400 newsstands in 40 Italian cities.
E Vatican Radio's 398 employees come from 61 nations.
E 532 people held Vatican citizenship Dec. 31, 2001; they include 59 cardinals, 272 members of the Vatican diplomatic corps, 58 “other clerics,” 94 Swiss Guards and “49 other laypeople.”
E The employee cafeteria served more than 65,000 meals during the year.