The leader of one the world’s biggest religions was due to meet the pope today, leaving some Vatican watchers wondering if the pontiff has discovered a new form of Friday self-sacrifice.
Apple Tim Cook was due at the Vatican around 11.30 local time for a 15 minute chinwag with Pope Francis. Cook’s visit comes hard on the heels of a similar visit from Eric Schmidt last week.
Bookending such a pair of tech heavy weights has sparked much debate over what the Vatican is up to.
Tech watchers have pondered whether the pope is looking to engage with Silicon Valley’s philanthropic efforts, or looking to channel peace amongst the warring Android and iOS houses.
Perhaps the Pope would like Apple - and other consumer goods vendors - to think a little more about how they stir up materialism amongst the masses. The pope really warned that "jealousy or envy grows in the heart like a bad weed."
For his part, Cook might have something to say on the Church's attitudes on homosexuality.
Or maybe the truth is more personal for Pope Francis. Catholics were once required to avoid meat on a Friday, as a form of self-mortification and penance. The practice has fallen out of favour, though there are moves to revive it, amongst lackadaisical English Catholics for example.
Perhaps Pope Francis feels the need to step things up, and feels being closeted with the likes of Schmidt and Cook is similarly self-mortifying with the added benefit of not leaving a piscine whiff around the Vatican.
This theory could gain credence if Bill Gates pitches up in Rome any time soon. If Larry Ellison turns up, it’s a cert. ®