Aussies May Have Slipped Pope a Cat

Vatican denies presence of papal loaner for company
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2008 1:23 PM CDT
A giant photo of Pope Benedict XVI is projected onto the Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia, July 14, 2008. Pope Benedict XVI is in Australia for World Youth Day. And he may have a cat.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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(Newser) – There’s a new papal mystery swirling around the Outback—is Pope Benedict hanging out with a borrowed kitten? Organizers of the Catholic youth festival say they gave Benedict a gray loaner named Bella to keep the cat-loving pontiff company during his Australian sojurn. But when pressed, a Vatican spokesman told the AP he had no knowledge of such a feline.

While Benedict was allegedly hanging with his alleged kitty, Australia was kicking off its World Youth Day festivities, which have drawn hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims from around the world. Benedict will join in tomorrow, but for now he is sequestered for his vacation. No one has been allowed into his compound save close aides, high-ranking church officials, and members of the local symphony orchestra. And maybe the cat.