Outsiders to the Vatican often find themselves wondering why the pace of things seems so slow. As the old joke goes, Rome’s working motto tends to be, “Talk to me on Wednesday, and I’ll get back to you in 300 years.” The truth is that the Vatican, at its core, is an Italian institution, reflecting the patterns and assumptions of the surrounding Italian culture. The surprise about the Vatican probably isn’t that it occasionally can be ponderous – it’s more likely that anything ever gets done at all.
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