It is thought the outbreak began among the higher echelons of priests and worked outwards. Eventually the whole of Vatican Square was in engulfed in laughter.
‘I couldn’t help it’ said one cardinal, ‘I just glanced at the Pope and he had that look in his face that he was about to ‘go’. Then the bishops started and I couldn’t stifle it.’
‘There was incense swinging round, indecipherable Latin chanting, choirs, people running round with bits of popes … It was nuts. Everyone was just thinking of the madness of what we were doing.’