It's not entirely unprecedented for an announcement of a Christmas release of stuff by the serving Pope to be flagged up as a potential festive number one: after all, there's a lot of Catholics, and if they all go out and buy a record by the Pope, their heft alone should get it to the top of the charts, right?
It never actually happens.
Well known is the current Pope's opposition to rock music - it's Satanic, he reckons, and he's one of those people who has to pretend he believes in Satan like there really is one, so that's quite serious. Perhaps he'll be prepared to put in the hours to defeat rock in the Christmas charts, then. You know, popping up on Jonathan Ross' sofa; doing a couple of liturgies in session with Marc Riley, that type of thing.
Hating rock must make it hard for Benedict to find a label, though? Who's putting this one out?
Oh. Geffen. So, rock music is a force of Satan infiltrating the world's youth... but, hey, happy to work with the people who distribute it nevertheless. Nice to see moral certainty still as solid as ever at the Vatican, isn't it?
Meanwhile, the Times calls on an expert to provide a quote which straight-facedly pretends Benedict is in with a chance of the number one slot:
A spokesman for HMV said: “Besides a sizeable Christian community that will be interested in this recording for reasons of faith, it could potentially also tap into a wider audience drawn to its spiritual and calming content, especially in these rather turbulent social and economic times.
“Albums of monastic chanting were quite popular when they came out a few years ago, and just last year a CD of hymns and sacred arias by The Priests made it into the top ten - so there is definitely a market out there for religious-based content.
“A precedent was set by Pope John Paul II, whose voice was featured on the Abba Pater recording of prayers and meditations, which made it into the top 100 in March 1999.
“Coming out so close to Christmas this album could well prove a popular purchase among shoppers looking to for an ideal gift for their gran or aunt, although His Holiness Pope Benedict may well have to compete with the likes of Jay-Z, a rumoured Robbie Williams release and Susan Boyle for the Christmas No 1.”
An HMV spokesman? Has Gennaro now become like Yahweh himself, a name that cannot be uttered?