Another Vatican insider described Pope Benedict's four-year-old papacy as "a disaster", recalling the pontiff's previous inflammatory remarks on Islam and homosexuality.
"He's out of touch with the real world," the Italian insider said. "On the condom issue, for example, there are priests and bishops in Africa who accept that condoms are a key part of the fight against Aids, and yet the pope adheres to this very conservative line that they encourage promiscuity. The Vatican is far removed from the reality on the ground."
No kidding. The rest of us who live with reality on a daily basis figured that out ages ago. Before Benedict ascended to the papacy, really, but we also recognize that the Church has backslid an enormous distance since Pope Benedict took over.
The pope's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, also wears two other hats – he is also the head of Vatican radio and of its television service. Observers question whether he can effectively handle such an onerous workload.
"He's got too many jobs. There's talk that he is going to go," said a third Vatican source. "You have people around the pope who seem to be out of their depth. There needs to be a major re-think of the operation, not the structure necessarily but the people."
The Vatican's press office works to a timetable from a gentler era, closing each day at 3pm, and familiarity with the internet appears barely to have penetrated the Vatican's cloistered confines.
No kidding. This is a pope whose fossilized thinking is still aware (and barely) of the wire services, much less the speed with which stories get around on the Internet.
"I think there's a good story to be told about this pope but it just doesn't get out because of the colossal ineptitude of the Vatican in terms of communications," said John Allen, a veteran Vatican analyst with National Catholic Reporter who is travelling with the pope in Africa.
It's hard to imagine what that 'good story' might be, when the pope consistently opens his mouth and demonstrates to the world how amazingly out of touch with reality he is.
This is a pope who might be a good man, but he is not a man of the times by any stretch of the imagination ... and he repeatedly demonstrates it.