12 August 1997
I had finished the weekday Mass and was resting in my chamber when I heard a knock on the door. I set my book down next to my half-finished coffee and made my way across the room. When I opened the door, I was surprised to see another priest, an older man I'd never met, carrying a small suitcase.
"Oh! Please, come in, can I take your bag?" I asked, reaching out to help him. With his free hand, he reached into his jacket.
"No, no, no need for that." German. Northern German accent, if I remembered correctly. "But you can take this." He produced from his pocket an envelope, addressed to me. As I took the paper and stood upright, the priest stepped around me and made his way to the chair I had just vacated.
"Would you like some coffee?" I asked, closing the door.
"There will be time for that, my son. If that letter is anything like the one I received, you'll want to open it quickly." I nodded and carefully tore it open as I made my way across the room to the other armchair.
Benedict, it read, You are hereby relieved of your current charge effective immediately. Come to the Vatican. Pack light, your things will be moved on your behalf.
Do not delay.
I recognized the seal. I was being called back into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I read over it again and then turned to look at my guest. He was smiling.
"Don't worry, my son. I'll take good care of the place. Let's not keep our betters waiting."
"Yes, yes. Of course," I said, standing. I hurried to my room and picked out my suitcase, laying a few changes of clothes inside as well as some necessities, before running back out to grab my book. I skimmed through the bookcase, grabbing a few others I hoped I would need. When I turned around again, the other priest had opened his suitcase and was slowly packing a pipe. "What did your letter say? Did they tell you what this is all about?" He shook his head, then struck a match and took a few puffs to get his pipe going.
"All will be known in Heaven, young man. I did not reach my age by snooping into business that does not concern me." I nodded, somewhat envious of his calculated ignorance, then ran back into my room to finish packing the books. When I emerged, he looked as though he had barely even moved. My coffee was gone. And, shortly thereafter, so was I.
Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.