By making his historic announcement in Latin, Pope Benedict XVI breathed new life into the so-called dead language. In fact, a knowledge of the ancient tongue and the ability to understand Benedict's XVI whispered farewell speech, allowed Italian journalist Giovanna Chirri to get the world scoop.
Chirri, a veteran Vatican journalist for Italy's ANSA news agency, was the first to pick up the news of the Pope's resignation.
"I understood it right away. It wasn't hard to understand after so many years covering the Vatican," Chirri said in an interview.
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"My legs were shaking, but I knew that I had understood it correctly," she said.
Well aware that Benedict XVI's announcement was something unprecedented in modern times, Chirri rushed to call Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi to confirm, but got no reply.
Confident in her Latin knowledge, Chirri decided to go ahead. ANSA broadcast the news at 11:46 a.m.: "Papa lascia pontificato dal 28/2″ (the Pope will leave the papacy on Feb 28).