s, after all, to meet the Holy Father when he visits Spain next month to consecrate Gaudi's famous Sagrada Familia church (or the bits of it that are finished, anyway), and also to visit Santiago di Compostella, the shrine of St James that has a hugely important symbolic status for the Spanish self-understanding of nationhood.
People had been wondering whether there would be a meeting, since a non-appearance might be construed to be a snub. In the opinion of the government, it is quite sufficient that the Holy Father be welcomed by the president of Catalunya, José Montilla and his assistant.
By not turning up, of course, Zapatero could claim to be sensitive to Catalunyas devolutionary aspirations. But it looks bad, doesn't it? And though Barcelona is in Catalunya, Compostella is not. So now Zapatero is to meet the Holy Father after all, for the first time.
At Barcelona airport.
'sólo de "unos momentos"—and only for a few moments.
Big of him.
I hope the Holy Father gives him a rosary.