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NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT

Last Update: 1/5/2014 2:16 PM
9/2/2013 5:36 PM
 
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BENEDICT XVI CELEBRATES MASS FOR THE RATZINGER SCHULERKREIS

Vatican City, 1 September 2012 (VIS) – This morning Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI celebrated Holy Mass in the Chapel of the Governorate of Vatican City State, to mark the conclusion of the traditional summer seminar held by the Ratzinger Circle of Alumni, the so-called “Ratzinger Schulerkreis”. The meeting took place in Castel Gandolfo but Benedict XVI did not participate this year. The 38th edition of the Ratzinger Schulerkreis examined the theme “The question of God against the background of secularisation” in the light of the theological work of the thinker Remi Brague, who was awarded last year's Ratzinger Prize for theology.

Holy Mass was attended by around fifty people, and Benedict XVI concelebrated with the cardinals Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, Austria; the archbishops Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, and Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke, auxiliary of Hamburg, Germany.

The Pope-emeritus commented in his homily on today's gospel in which Jesus invites his disciples to take the last place, “a place which seems very good”, he said, “but which proves to be very bad. … Those who in this world and throughout history are perhaps driven ahead and arrive in first place, must be aware of the danger they are in; they must look ever more to the Lord … they must measure up to their responsibility for others, become those who serve, who in reality place themselves at the feet of others, who bless and are in turn blessed”.

“The cross, throughout history”, he explained, “is the last place … the Cross is no place, it is bare, nothing … and yet this “extreme humiliation” is “the true exaltation. … Yes, Jesus is at the level of God, because the height of the Cross is the height of God's love, the height of His self-abnegation and His dedication to others. Thus, this is the divine place, and we pray to God that He may enable us to understand this ever more clearly so that we might accept with humility, each in his own way, this mystery of exaltation and humiliation”.

9/2/2013 7:12 PM
 
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Here the sweetest voice of Papa Emeritus...

www.kathtube.com/player.php?id
[Edited by GABRIELLA.JOSEPHINE 9/2/2013 7:12 PM]
JOSEPHINE

"OMNIA POSSUNT IN EO QUI ME CONFORTAT"
9/3/2013 4:28 PM
 
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www.youtube.com/embed/DuWAK3Z_EOg?feature=player_embedded
[Edited by GABRIELLA.JOSEPHINE 9/3/2013 4:42 PM]
JOSEPHINE

"OMNIA POSSUNT IN EO QUI ME CONFORTAT"
9/4/2013 6:18 AM
 
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Pope Benedict returns to public eye for Mass with former students

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
Sept. 3, 2013

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI emerged briefly from prayerful retreat to celebrate Mass with a group of his former doctoral students.

His homily in German was aired in part by Vatican Radio and published as partial excerpts by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, marking the first time the retired pope's remarks to a private gathering were made public. The Vatican television had aired the historic meeting March 23 between Pope Benedict and his successor, Pope Francis, and portions of their conversations.

Although the retired pope did not join the former students for the annual talks, as he had for nearly four decades, he met with them Sept. 1 to celebrate Mass at a chapel inside the Vatican City State's governing office.

The 86-year-old retired pope delivered his homily off-the-cuff without notes and looked and sounded well, according to one participant. Pope Benedict spent about an hour greeting and speaking individually to each of the more than 50 participants.

One of the former students, Divine Word Father Vincent Twomey, described the retired pope as "in good form, and evidently he was glad to see us, and we were glad to see him."

"He has got thinner but he looks healthier, I would think. But he is an old man, there is no doubt about that, even the way that he walked around the altar with his stick, you could see it. It is a normal age-related phenomenon. He used to trot around the place with great alacrity. He uses the stick now, not because he needs it, but to make sure that he doesn't fall," Father Twomey told Catholic News Service.

The pope reflected on the day's reading from Chapter 14 of the Gospel of St. Luke in which Jesus says the proper place to sit when invited to a banquet is at "the lowest place" because "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Jesus presented himself as a person who serves and is not meant to be served, Pope Benedict said. Any apostle of Christ, he said, will be "the last in the world's opinion," but nonetheless will be in the right place, which is next to Christ.

Whoever "perhaps is pushed forward and comes to the front must know he is in danger; he must look even harder for the Lord, measure himself against him, measure himself against the responsibility he has for others, he must become someone who serves," Pope Benedict said.

Only the person who is humbly seated on the floor at the foot of others is blessed, he said.

The humbling mystery of finding exaltation in humiliation can be seen with Christ's death on the cross, he said. Sacrificing oneself and giving oneself to others raises people up to "the heights of God's love," he said.

The "Ratzinger Schulerkreis" (Ratzinger Student Circle) is a group of the retired pope's former students that has met since 1978 to discuss topics in theology and the life of the church. The group met this year at Castel Gandolfo Aug. 29-Sept. 2.

The pope had chosen the featured speaker, French historian Remi Brague, and the topic of discussion: "The Question of God Against the Background of Secularization."

"We did miss the pope's own contribution to the discussion," Father Twomey told CNS. "That has been there every other year, when he always gave it an extra dimension by asking the right questions and making the right comments. He brought the discussion to another level, really -- bringing it forward with more interesting conclusions."

The priest said his former teacher "always has something original to say no matter what the subject is and we missed that -- because he has thought about all these questions thoroughly. But nobody referred to it, we were just aware that things have changed."

However, he said there were no plans to wind down the Schulerkreis.

"We are already planning next year's gathering, and certainly the younger generation's Schulerkreis is expanding, and that is one of the questions we have to address -- what if it gets too big. That is a major question that they are dealing with now."

Since stepping down Feb. 28, retired Pope Benedict has led a very quiet life, far from the public eye. He attended a July 5 dedication of a statue in the Vatican Gardens with Pope Francis.

Living in a remodeled monastery in the Vatican Gardens, along with his longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, and four consecrated laywomen, the retired pope occasionally welcomes visitors, especially friends, former students and small groups accompanying former students. The meetings are private and rarely reported in the news.

Pope Francis said recently that the unusual situation of having a pope and a retired pope both living at the Vatican is working out very well, although he said he has tried to encourage Pope Benedict to feel freer to invite people over, to go in and out and to join him for events.

He said having the retired pope nearby to consult with or ask questions of "is like having a grandfather at home -- a very wise grandfather."


**************


Students of Benedict XVI gather for Mass, annual dialogue

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Sep 3, 2013 / 02:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Former students of Benedict XVI met for the first time without him this year for their annual “Schülerkreis” discussions, although they were able to see the former Pope briefly for Mass.

“He has a great sense of humor and we loved to be with him,” said Father Vincent Twomey told CNA on Sept. 1. “He has a great sense of joy and he loves to be with his students.”

The Schülerkreis is a circle of doctoral and post-doctoral students who had then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - who would later become Pope Benedict XVI - as their supervisor and professor at the University of Regensburg.

Since 1978, the group has been meeting annually with the former Pope to hold discussions, until this year. The results of the group’s yearly dialogues are sometimes published.

This event was the first time new Schülerkreis members – those who are studying Ratzinger’s theology – met alongside the old members, Ratzinger’s former students.

They met at the Focolare movement’s Mariapoli Center in the town of Castel Gandolfo from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 alongside guest speaker Remi Brague to discuss “the question of God in a secularized society.”

Although Benedict did not participate in the discussions with his former students, he met with them during the gathering. The former Pope celebrated Mass at the end of the meeting on Sept. 2 at the Mariapoli Center.

“He was in very good form and he seemed very relaxed,” said Fr. Twomey. “It was a wonderful experience to meet with him, and each year was the same feeling.”

Although Benedict seemed “slightly smaller” this year, he actually looked “much frailer last year when he was still Pope than he did this year,” the priest added.

Fr. Twomey described his student years under Ratzinger’s supervision at the University of Regensburg as “a wonderful experience.”

“There was a tremendous excitement,” he said. “He managed to create a kind of sense of excitement to theology.”

“He has the capacity to enable people to speak their mind, he listens very carefully and takes in what you say and then he leads the discussion onto a higher level,” Fr. Twomey explained.

The Irish priest said that Benedict had offered him an approach to theology that he had not received anywhere else.

He reflected on Ratzinger’s influential “courage in tackling the most difficult questions, his complete confidence in the fact that the truth has been entrusted to the Church and to us.”

“But our task is to discover it and to enter into dialogue with all those who are searching for the truth,” he added.

The priest explained that it was this dialogue that marked Benedict’s theology.

“For him, revelation is God’s dialogue with us and we’re part of that dialogue and it is still continuing,” he said.

“Theology is seeking understanding in a world that is no longer aware of God,” said Fr. Twomey. “But you can’t exclude God from reality.”

The former Pope, he said, was never judgmental, but tried to be objective and was capable of “tuning in with the world.”

“He once said, ‘we don’t have the truth, the truth has us, we don’t possess truth, the truth possesses us’,” the priest reflected.

He added that Benedict had criticized contemporary German theology, which is why he “never received the same openness” in Germany that “he would have received in the United States or France.”

“But there are many young theologians in the ‘New Schülerkreis’ who are enthusiastic about Ratzinger and have really enlivened greatly our discussions,” he said.

[Edited by benefan 9/4/2013 6:24 AM]
9/4/2013 6:28 AM
 
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“Benedict XVI cured my cancer"

19-year old American, Peter Srisch, claims he was cured from a tumour after meeting Ratzinger and receiving his blessing a year ago

MARCO TOSATTI
VATICAN INSIDER
Sept. 3, 2013

A young American – who is now 19 and in his second year at university – claims he was cured of a chest tumour thanks to Ratzinger, who met the boy at an audience in Rome last year. Ratzinger listened to his story and placed his hand on the boy’s chest where the tumour was. Peter Srisch and his family appeared on Denver-based KUSA TV and confirmed their belief publicly.

Peter was 17 when doctors diagnosed him with a chest tumour after doing an X-Ray. "He had a chest x-ray and it revealed a softball sized tumour in his chest. It was determined that it was stage four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma," Laura Srsich, Peter's mother, said.

Peter was being treated at Colorado Children’s Hospital and while doctors tried to do what they could to help him fight the disease, he was also being looked after by the U.S. non-profit Make-a-Wish Foundation. The foundation works in about 50 countries across the world, offering assistance, including psychological support to children and young people with life-threatening medical conditions and granting each of them one wish. The Make-a-Wish Foundation was established in 1993 and has a strong presence in English-speaking countries but not only.

Laura Srsich said that when she spoke to Peter about it, the first wish that came to his mind was: 'I'd love to go meet the Pope in Rome.” His wish was relatively easy to grant and so a year ago, in May, Peter and his mother attended one of Benedict XVI’s General Audiences in St. peter’s Square. They met and spoke to him and the encounter had a powerful effect on Peter. "When I got up to actually talk to him I was struck by how human he was. It was a humbling experience for me to see how humble he was,” Peter said. The Pope listened to Peter talk about his trip and his illness. The boy then gave Ratzinger a lime green wristband with the words "Praying for Peter” printed on it. Ratzinger reciprocated by blessing him.

But according to Peter and his family this wasn’t just any blessing; or at least it was very effective. "Then he blessed me. He put his hand right on my chest where the tumour had been. He didn't know where the tumour was, but he put his hand right there," Peter explained.

A year has gone by and Peter has made a full recovery from cancer, he is in his second year at university and one day hopes to be ordained a priest. Benedict XVI’s resignation as Bishop of Rome and Pope only strengthened the impression Peter was left with after their meeting. In Peter’s eyes, Benedict’s gesture showed he put the Catholic Church above himself and his personal needs. A very humble gesture. “I'm going to remember him as one of the most humble people in the world, especially by this last act he is doing," Peter said.

A similar healing case was reported during John Paul II’s pontificate. An elderly Jewish American man was apparently cured of a brain tumour after attending a “private” morning mass with John Paul II and taking part in the Eucharist.

9/7/2013 5:45 AM
 
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Pope Emeritus's Unexpected Homily on Humility

BY Edward Pentin
National Catholic Register
9/4/13

Although the full text has yet to appear, Benedict XVI’s homily during Mass for his former students on Sunday is one of wisdom and truth.

Essentially a treatise on humility, his words come as a welcome surprise, especially as the world wasn’t expecting to see or hear from the Pope Emeritus after his retirement.

He began by saying that "everyone is looking for a good place in history, and each wants to find his right place in life. The only question is: which place is good and which is right? The word of the Lord from last Sunday’s Gospel comes to mind: The first shall be last and the last shall be first. A seemingly good place can be a very bad place, and we know that this happens not only at the Last Judgment, but often in the midst of this world. We have seen it ourselves in the last decades, how the first have suddenly fallen and what appeared to be a good place proved to be a misguided place."

Whoever calls himself a Christian, Benedict said, must be “the last in the opinion of the world.”

He continued: "Those who in this world and throughout history are perhaps driven ahead and arrive in first place, must be aware of the danger they are in; they must look ever more to the Lord… they must measure up their responsibility for others, become those who serve, who in reality place themselves at the feet of others, who bless and are in turn blessed.”

He added: “I think all of this must pass through the heart, if we look to the One who is the firstborn of creation, born in a manger and died on the Cross. The place before him [is] the right place, the place from which history is always assigned to us. Critically, responsibility is to Him, responsibility for love, justice and for the truth."

In history, the Cross of Jesus was proven to be “the last place," Benedict XVI continued. But John the Evangelist painted this “extreme humiliation” of the Cross as “the true exaltation.”

"Yes, Jesus is at the level of God, because the height of the Cross is the height of God's love, the height of His self-abnegation and His dedication to others,” Benedict XVI said. “Thus, this is the divine place, and we pray to God that He may enable us to understand this ever more clearly so that we might accept with humility, each in his own way, this mystery of exaltation and humiliation.”.

Benedict continued by saying that “without the gratuitousness of forgiveness no society can grow," and he added that the greatest things of life, namely, “love, friendship, goodness, forgiveness, we cannot pay for, they are free, in the same way that God gives to us freely.”

Finally, he reflected on the liturgy, a subject which has always been close to his heart, saying a “humble” liturgy is at the same time “incommensurably great,” because “ it unites us to the choirs of angels and saints in the festive joy of God.”

“The liturgy renews the sacrifice, Christ’s extreme self-abasement, who sheds His Blood in the Eucharist,” he said, “and this Blood enables us to enter into the splendor of the joyful gathering of God,” because it represents “His love,” “the Mountain of God that opens us to the glory of God.”

About 50 people attended the Mass on Sunday, celebrated in the Chapel of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

His former students, part of the “Ratzinger Schuelerkreis”, meet every year in Castel Gandolfo. This year for the first time Benedict XVI did not participate in the meeting which examined the theme: “The question of God against the background of secularisation”. It was held in the light of the theological work of the French historian of philosophy Remi Brague, who was awarded last year's Ratzinger Prize for theology.

Concelebrating the Mass were Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Swiss president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna, Austria; and Archbishops Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke, auxiliary of Hamburg, Germany.

Former students said the Pope Emeritus looked relatively healthy. “He was in very good form and he seemed very relaxed,” said Fr. Vincent Twomey, adding that Benedict XVI actually looked “much frailer last year, when he was still Pope, than he did this year."


9/13/2013 5:57 AM
 
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New light is shed on Pope Benedict’s 9/11 memorial prayer

by Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
Sept. 11, 2013

VATICAN CITY — When Pope Benedict XVI visited ground zero in 2008, he knelt alone and prayed inside the cement-walled crater where the World Trade Center Towers once stood.

As a sign of bringing light and hope to the dark memory of 9/11, the pope was going to light a large beeswax candle adorned with his papal coat of arms.

That simple symbolic act, however, required lots of preparation and a few excruciating seconds of uncertainty.

I found out the story behind the event when I happened to run into the self-described “papal candle maker” this summer.

Martin Marklin from Contoocook, N.H., has been making liturgical candles for U.S. dioceses and churches since 1985 as well as for events during stateside papal visits.

His candles are works of art — seamless and smooth because they’re hand-dipped after they’re released from their molds. They can be hand-carved, decorated with wax inlay or brushed with glittering gold leaf.

The key thing is they’re also made of 51% beeswax. Even though it’s much more expensive, beeswax has long been preferred over petroleum-based paraffin for church candles.

Because the female worker bees, who produce the beeswax, do not mate, the beeswax symbolizes the pure flesh of Jesus born of the Virgin Mary.

Martin, whom I met during a regional beekeepers’ meeting in Pennsylvania (long story), told me about how he was commissioned — just a few weeks prior — to provide the 9/11 memorial candle for Pope Benedict’s April visit to ground zero.

The first worry was transport. Wax candles are extremely delicate and they can easily break, crack, melt, bend or get dents. They had to find a reliable shipper from their New Hampshire factory who could get the candle and a backup copy to New York safely and on time.

With three days to go before the event, the candles were put in a special container on a FedEx flight from Manchester. However, the plane broke down and the cargo had to be taken off and loaded onto a different plane. The papal payload, unfortunately, got lost and sent on a flight to Memphis, Tenn.

Martin got on the phone with FedEx right away and said he found “a good Catholic executive” who worked a miracle and got the shipment to New York Friday night for Sunday’s service.

When the candle safely arrived, Martin was then concerned about how it would be lit. It was Pope Benedict’s desire to light the candle himself and Martin wanted to make sure it could be done right. Lighting a candle may not seem like a big deal, but given the huge number of people watching and the importance of the event, the lighting needed to be dignified, smooth and actually result in a flame.

The event organizers took Martin’s advice and supplied a brazier and a taper that the pope would use to light the candle.

However, on the big day, the server was holding the taper in such a way that even though it had a glass draft protector, a breeze came and blew out the flame.

Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, and the acolyte looked at each other. There was no light!

But, instead of panic, the monsignor reached into his pocket and pulled out a plain disposable lighter and helped the pope light the flame.

Msgr. Marini’s resourcefulness saved the day, however, Martin was disappointed that the thing he was trying to avoid (a tacky lighter) was the light’s source.

He confided in me that before he shipped the candle, he carved the initials of his four children in the candle base because “If we’re going to have a world to pass on to our children, we need to pray for peace.”

A highpoint of meeting Martin was his gift to me of a special candle he made in honor of Pope Francis’ election.

I haven’t been able to bear lighting the candle, feeling somehow it will become ruined. But Martin says, “A candle not lighted is dead,” as the flame proclaims the life and light of Jesus.

So I think today is the day I’ll light my papal candle, in memory of 9/11.


[Edited by benefan 9/13/2013 5:57 AM]
9/21/2013 5:57 AM
 
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Just noticed this little news item. The George Ganswein fansite mentioned was started and is still run by some of the girls from our forum.


Pencil pals for Pope Benedict

by Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
September 16, 2013

VATICAN CITY — There’s a small movement underway to thank retired Pope Benedict XVI for all he’s done for the church and to urge him to keep enriching the world with his writings.

“Pencils for Benedict XVI” is an informal campaign started by UK Web developer Sonia Swabey and her team at their website and forum www.georgganswein.com/ — a site named in recognition of the retired pope’s personal secretary and prefect of the papal household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein.

Sonia said they would like people to submit their personal reflections about what Pope-emeritus Benedict means to them and how he has influenced their lives.

The group plans on compiling into a book all the written contributions that are sent to its web address: info@georgganswein.com. The plan is to also include a box of pencils — the retired pope’s favorite writing tool — as a symbolic way to encourage him to keep writing.

Despite being gifted a portable laptop just a few days after he broke his wrist in July 2009, Father Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters that the pope was “not used to writing with a PC; he isn’t very technological.” Father Lombardi said that, “especially in creative work, (the pope) prefers to use a pen” or as some rare pictures attest, a pencil.

Even though Pope Benedict said he would spend the rest of his days in prayer and meditation, it’s hard to imagine he’s not scribbling away, too. When I was aboard the papal flight to the Czech Republic with him just two months after he hurt his wrist, he told us how difficult it was for him to have his writing hand immobilized by a cast and injury.

“My thoughts mostly develop through writing, so for me it was truly a test of patience to not be able to write for six weeks,” he had told us.

Sonia said the inspiration behind their “Pencils for Benedict” initiative is something Pope Francis said about having Pope Benedict living nearby at the Vatican. He told journalists this July: “It’s like having your grandfather in the house, a wise grandfather. When families have a grandfather at home, he is venerated, he is loved, he is listened to.”

Now it’s your turn to tell the retired pope how you feel. The deadline for submissions to the campaign is Sept. 30.




9/25/2013 1:34 AM
 
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It is a comfort to know that Papa is still fighting the good fight.



Benedict XVI Publicly Responds to Atheist’s Critique


NEWS ANALYSIS: The Pope Emeritus’ 11-page letter was published in the same newspaper that printed Pope Francis’ recent responses about atheism and the Church.


BY EDWARD PENTIN
National Catholic Register
9/24/13

VATICAN CITY — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has followed Pope Francis in writing a letter to a prominent Italian atheist in an attempt to engage non-believers in a dialogue about the faith.

The 11-page letter, extracts of which were published in Monday’s edition of the Italian daily newspaper, La Repubblica, is addressed to Professor Piergiorgio Odifreddi, an Italian mathematician, popular science writer and a member of the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.

The Pope Emeritus was responding to a book Odifreddi wrote in 2011 titled Dear Pope, I’m Writing to You. The book was a critique of certain arguments and lines of thought found in the Benedict’s theological writings, beginning with his 1967 volume, Introduction to Christianity, and including his book Jesus of Nazareth that he wrote as Pope.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis surprised the world by responding to three questions put to him by Italian atheist and founder of La Repubblica, Eugenio Scalfari, concerning Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith).


Clerical Sex Abuse

Much of the mainstream media has picked out passages of Benedict XVI’s response relating to clerical sex abuse. Benedict writes that he “never tried to cover up these things” and “the power of evil penetrates to such a point in the interior world of the faith is, for us, a source of suffering.”

“On the one hand we must accept that suffering, and on the other, at the same time, we must do everything possible so that such cases aren’t repeated,” he says. “It’s also not a motive for comfort to know that, according to sociological research, the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is no higher than in other comparable professional categories.”

“In any event,” he continues, “one must not stubbornly present this deviance as if it were a nastiness specific to Catholicism.”

But many other areas of interest are also covered in the letter. The extracts show Benedict to be his usual gentlemanly, unfailingly polite and frank self, unafraid to speak his mind with respect to atheism and the arguments put forward by Odifreddi.

He begins by thanking the Italian author for the critiques of his writings, and explains that such a dialogue is “in large part” what he was alluding to in his address to the Roman Curia in 2009 that ultimately led to the creation of the Courtyard of the Gentiles.

That initiative, a structure for permanent dialogue between believers and nonbelievers run by the Pontifical Council for Culture, has led to several encounters with atheists in European capitals since 2010. Ironically, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi told the Register shortly before its launch that the Vatican was only interested in engaging with a “noble atheism or agnosticism, not the polemical kind — so not those atheists such as [Piergiorgio] Odifreddi in Italy, [Michel] Onfray in France, [Christopher] Hitchens and [Richard] Dawkins.”


Benedict’s Four Points

But that hasn’t stopped Benedict XVI, who doesn’t hold back in revealing what he thinks of Odifreddi’s work. “My opinion about your book is, as a whole, rather mixed,” he says. “I profited from some parts which I read with enjoyment, but in other parts I was astonished at a certain aggressiveness and thoughtless argumentation.”

He notes that several times, Odifreddi refers to theology as science fiction, and says that in this respect, he is “surprised that you feel my book is worthy of discussion.” He responds by making the case for theology with four points.

First, Benedict asks: “Is it fair to say that ‘science’ in the strictest sense of the word is just math? I learned from you that even here, the distinction should be made between arithmetic and geometry. In all specific scientific subjects, each has its own form, according to the particularity of its object. What is essential is that a verifiable method is applied, excluding arbitrariness and ensuring rationality in their different ways.”

Second, he says that Odifreddi should “at least recognize that, in history and in philosophical thought, theology has produced lasting results.”

Third, he explains that an important function of theology is “to keep religion tied to reason and reason to religion.” Both functions, he adds, “are of paramount importance for humanity.” He then refers to his famous dialogue with the atheist and sociologist Jurgen Habermas, in which he showed that there are “pathologies of religion and, no less dangerous, pathologies of reason.”

“They both need each other and keeping them constantly connected is an important task of theology,” he adds.

Fourth, Benedict says that science fiction exists in the context of many sciences. He explains that he sees science fiction in a good sense when it shows vision and anticipates “true knowledge.” This is “only imagination,” he says, “with which we search to get closer to reality,” and he adds that a “science fiction [exists] in a big way just even within the theory of evolution.”


Dawkins Dismissed

Benedict then refers to the work of the prominent atheist Richard Dawkins. "The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is a classic example of science fiction,” he says, and recalls how the French Nobel Prize winner and molecular biologist Jacques Monod inserted sentences into his work that, in Benedict’s view, could only have been science fiction.

After addressing clerical sex abuse, he asks Odifreddi to remember the great figures the Church has produced such as Sts. Benedict of Nursia, Francis of Assisi and Teresa of Avila. “It is also true today that the faith leads many people to selfless love, to the service of others, to sincerity and justice,” he says.

He then rebukes Odifreddi for his words about Jesus, saying “they are not worthy of your scientific rank.” He invites him to become more competent in history, and recommends some authors known for their historical accuracy. “That there has been too much exegesis written that has lacked seriousness is, unfortunately, an indisputable fact,” he says, but adds they have “no influence on the importance of serious historical research” which has led a true knowledge of Jesus.

He then refers to areas of convergence in Odifreddi’s book with his own thinking. “Even if your interpretation of John 1:1 [In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God] is very far from what the Evangelist meant, there is a convergence that is important,” Benedict says. “However, if you want to replace God with ‘Nature’, it begs the question: who or what is this nature? Nowhere do you define it, and so it appears as an irrational divinity that explains nothing.”

He adds, “But I want to especially note that in your religion of mathematics, three themes fundamental to human existence are not considered: freedom, love and evil.”

“I’m astonished that you just give a nod to freedom that has been and is the core value of modern times,” Benedict says. “Love in this book doesn’t appear and there’s no information about evil.

“Whatever neurobiology says or doesn’t say about freedom, in the real drama of our history it is a present reality and must be taken into account. But your religion of mathematics doesn’t recognise any knowledge of evil. A religion that ignores these fundamental questions is empty.”

The Pope Emeritus concludes: “Dear Professor, my criticism of your book is in part harsh. Frankness, however, is part of dialogue: only in this way can understanding grow. You were quite frank and so you will accept that I should also be so. In any case, however, I very much appreciate that you, through your confrontation with my Introduction to Christianity, have sought to open a dialogue with the faith of the Catholic Church and that, notwithstanding all the contrasts in the central area, points of convergence are nevertheless not lacking.”


Odifreddi’s Response

Writing in Monday’s La Repubblica, Odifreddi said few people “can understand the surprise and excitement” you feel on receiving “an unexpected letter from a pope.” He said the letter was delivered on Sept. 3 and he waited to publish it to make sure he had Benedict XVI’s permission. The depth of his answer was “beyond reasonable hopes,” Odifreddi said, and he was particularly surprised the Pope read his book from cover to cover and wanted to discuss it as it had been billed as a “luciferian introduction to atheism.”

Odifreddi said the entire 11-page letter will be included in a new edition of his book. He said that he and Benedict may disagree on almost everything, but they have “united in at least one common goal: the search for the Truth, with a capital ‘T.’”


*****************


'I never tried to cover up' abuse, Benedict says

John L. Allen Jr.
National Catholic Reporter
Sep. 24, 2013
Rome

In itself, the fact that the pope made the front page of a major newspaper Tuesday is hardly surprising. Over the last six months, the papacy has been a global phenomenon, making waves and generating interest well beyond the borders of the Catholic church.

Which pope did so this time, however, is a different matter.

Instead of Francis, the newsmaker in this instance was Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped down Feb. 28 and who has stayed largely out of the spotlight ever since.

On Tuesday, however, the Italian daily La Repubblica published lengthy extracts of an 11-page letter by the 86-year-old emeritus pontiff to an Italian mathematician and philosopher named Piergiorgio Odifreddi, who had published a 2011 book challenging Benedict's take on Jesus of Nazareth titled, Dear Pope, I'm Writing You.

It was the second time in recent weeks La Repubblica published a letter from a pope to an atheist intellectual after a Sept. 11 missive from Francis to Italian journalist and leftist activist Eugenio Scalfari.

In general, Benedict thanks Odifreddi for seeking "an open dialogue" on matters of reason and faith, and for having approached his thought "in a respectful fashion, trying to do it justice," while also offering spirited defense of his views on several fronts.

Odifreddi says he received the letter Sept. 3 and waited three weeks to publish it in order to get Benedict's approval for doing so.

In terms of news value, probably the most interesting section of Benedict's letter regards the church's child sexual abuse scandals, which the pope says cause him "deep dismay."

"I never tried to cover up these things," he writes.

"That the power of evil penetrates to such a point in the interior world of the faith is, for us, a source of suffering. On the one hand we must accept that suffering, and on the other, at the same time, we must do everything possible so that such cases aren't repeated," Benedict says.

"It's also not a motive for comfort to know that, according to sociological research, the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is no higher than in other comparable professional categories."

"In any event, one must not stubbornly present this deviance as if it were a nastiness specific to Catholicism," Benedict writes.

Overall, the letter is devoted to an unfailingly polite, though occasionally pointed, response from Benedict on several stock subjects in the exchange between believers and their atheist critics:

Whether theology can be considered a "science"

Whether empirical sciences such as biology, and even mathematics, also have their flights of fancy -- what Benedict describes as lapses into "science fiction"

The humanitarian contributions of religion, expressed in luminaries such as Francis, Vincent de Paul and Mother Teresa

How much can be known about Jesus as an historical figure

The historical-critical method of Biblical interpretation, with Benedict insisting that far from rejecting such methods, he sees them as essential so that Christianity is not merely proposing "myths using historical images"

Benedict also faults Odifreddi for proposing a "religion of mathematics" which fails to consider what he believes to be "three fundamental themes of human existence": freedom, love and evil.

"Whatever neurobiology does or doesn't say about freedom, in the real drama of our history it's there as a determining reality, and it has to be taken into consideration," Benedict writes.

On the subject of evil, Benedict says that "a religion that overlooks these fundamental questions remains empty."

Conceding that he's been tough on Odifreddi in parts, Benedict concludes by saying that "frankness is part of dialogue," because understanding one another requires candor.

Despite that, the pope emeritus says he appreciates that Odifreddi has "sought an open dialogue on the faith of the Catholic church" and that despite their disagreements, "we also have some points of convergence."

In a brief essay published alongside the letter, Odifreddi says he decided to write a book directly challenging the writings of Benedict XVI because he felt the pope's ideas were "sufficiently firm and strong to be able easily to withstand a frontal assault."

"I concentrated on intellectual arguments that I hoped would capture his attention, without pulling back from challenging the internal problems of the faith and its relations with science head-on," he writes.

Odifreddi says that Benedict's reply is in the spirit of the "Cortile of the Gentiles" project launched by the pope in 2009, the aim of which is precisely to open a space of dialogue between believers and atheists.

Odifreddi says the entire 11-page letter was too long for newspaper publication, but will be included in a new edition of his book.

He and the pope, Odifreddi writes, may disagree on almost everything, but they have at least one aim in common: "The search for the truth, with a capital 'T'."

The respectful tone parallels the earlier exchange between Francis and Scalfari, which also created a mini-sensation.

Scalfari had floated some questions for Francis in a piece published in July about Lumen fidei, an encyclical letter begun by Benedict and brought to completion by Francis.

In his letter, Francis told Scalfari that God's mercy "has no limits," and that sin for a non-believer wouldn't be a lack of faith in God, but rather a failure to obey one's conscience.
[Edited by benefan 9/25/2013 1:38 AM]
10/2/2013 11:55 PM
 
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YOU CAN SPEAK OUT NOW, DEAR PAPA!
I'm so pleased that our dear Papa B. is now writing exactly what he thinks and believes. He still has fight in him!

10/14/2013 6:38 PM
 
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OUR LADY OF FATIMA


This Saturday 12th, the Holy Father Benedict XVI was the first to pray before the image of Our Lady of Fatima, in Vatican.




[Edited by GABRIELLA.JOSEPHINE 10/14/2013 6:47 PM]
JOSEPHINE

"OMNIA POSSUNT IN EO QUI ME CONFORTAT"
10/19/2013 1:53 PM
 
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Papa had visitors from Regensburg
Here's the article, unfortunately in German:
www.wochenblatt.de/nachrichten/regensburg/regionales/Regensburger-besuchen-Papst-Benedikt-Wenn-er-spricht-wirkt-er-10-Jahre-juenger-;art117...
and some pics!

Papa does look good, doesn't he?

 photo 566448_m3w900h600q75v31500_IMG_2375_zpsdc7b87ba.jpg

 photo 566449_m3w900h600q75v58747_2013-Okt-Audienz-Papst-Benedikt1_zpse958572c.jpg

 photo 566450_m3w900h600q75v57319_01d1a3bcc0322f71748c700dc6c04a162d46189e0b_zps5569988c.jpg
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Wer glaubt, ist nie allein, im Leben nicht und auch im Sterben nicht.
(PREDIGT DES HEILIGEN VATERS BENEDIKT XVI. ZUR AMTSEINFÜHRUNG 24. April 2005)
10/20/2013 5:52 PM
 
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Thank a lot for theese beautiful pictures !!!
Yes, Papino seems very well!!!
[Edited by GABRIELLA.JOSEPHINE 10/20/2013 5:53 PM]
JOSEPHINE

"OMNIA POSSUNT IN EO QUI ME CONFORTAT"
10/25/2013 12:20 AM
 
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More visitors at Papa's new residence
A group from Traunstein, the brassband of St. Leonard has visited Papa:
www.wochenblatt.de/nachrichten/traunstein/regionales/-Papst-Benedikt-eremitiert;art3...

I am delighted that Papa looks so well and that he can enjoy visits and that we can get some photos now and then.

 photo 568635_m3w900h600q75v40606_Rom_2013_7_zps05d2571b.jpg

 photo 568638_m3w900h600q75v40350_IMG_0095_zps0dd7e823.jpg

 photo 566448_m3w900h600q75v31500_IMG_2375_zpsdc7b87ba.jpg

 photo 566449_m3w900h600q75v58747_2013-Okt-Audienz-Papst-Benedikt1_zpse958572c.jpg

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wer glaubt, ist nie allein, im Leben nicht und auch im Sterben nicht.
(PREDIGT DES HEILIGEN VATERS BENEDIKT XVI. ZUR AMTSEINFÜHRUNG 24. April 2005)
11/2/2013 12:18 AM
 
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....and more visitors......
 photo Staendchen-aus-der-Heimat-fuer-emeritierten-Papst-Benedikt_zpseaa6e09f.jpg

A Choir from Prien/Chiemsee Bavaria

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Wer glaubt, ist nie allein, im Leben nicht und auch im Sterben nicht.
(PREDIGT DES HEILIGEN VATERS BENEDIKT XVI. ZUR AMTSEINFÜHRUNG 24. April 2005)
12/30/2013 6:25 PM
 
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I didn't see this item till this morning. It's nice to see how friendly these two are.


POPES FRANCIS AND BENEDICT XVI MEET AT CHRISTMAS

Vatican City, 27 December 2013 (VIS) - This morning Pope emeritus Benedict XVI visited the Sanctae Martae guesthouse, where he lunched with Pope Francis. They were accompanied by their respective secretaries, and by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and Msgr. Peter Brian Wells, assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

At around 5 p.m. yesterday afternoon the Holy Father Francis visited Pope emeritus Benedict XVI to wish him a happy Christmas.

Benedict XVI received Francis at the door of his residence, the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, and after praying together in the chapel, the two popes retired to a room in the residence where they spoke together in private for half an hour. At the end of the meeting, Pope Francis, accompanied by his personal secretaries, also greeted the other members of the Pope emeritus' "family", Archbishop Georg Ganswein and the "Memores Domini", before leaving at around 5.45 p.m.




1/5/2014 2:16 PM
 
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from Teresa's blog
Emeritus Pope visits brother
in a Rome hospital from which
Mons. Ratzinger was discharged today
by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi
Adapted from the English service of

January 4, 2013


Benedict XVI's visit in August 2005, when his brother was first admitted to the Gemelli.

Yesterday the Pope Emeritus left his residence in the Vatican, where he has been living in seclusion since May 2013, to visit his brother Georg at the Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome.

The Emeritus Pope's visit was a very private affair. At the hospital, Benedict XVI was greeted by Franco Anelli, Rector of the Catholic University of Milan [which runs the hospital] and by the doctors who are treating and caring for brother who was discharged from the hospital today.

The first time Benedict XVI left the Vatican monastery where he moved to last May, was to attend a concert in Castel Gandolfo last August. But for Ratzinger that was like returning home, as he had spent the first two months after his resignation at the papal residence there.

The Pope Emeritus arrived at the hospital in a car with blacked out windows. Georg Ratzinger, who will turn 90 on January 15, was Cathedral Choirmaster of Regensburg and musical director of the Regensburg Domspatzen boys choir from 1964 to 1994. He was admitted to the Gemelli, apparently for an emergency check-up, while on a Christmas visit to his brother.

[Since 2005, when his younger brother became Pope, Mons. Ratzinger, who turns 89 on January 15, has come to the Vatican after Christmas Day to be with him for the New Year and usually stays until after his birthday].

Benedict XVI visited the Gemelli hospital - where John Paul II was often confined in his final years - on a number of occasions during his pontificate. The first time was on August 5, 2005, when his brother was admitted for cardiac symptoms, at which time he was fitted with a pacemaker. This had also been a private visit but on that occasion the former Pope also stopped to greet some patients who had waited to meet him at one of the hospital entrances.

Benedict XVI returned there again to visit the children's wards on a post-Christmas visit in 2009. and early in 2010, to visit Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who broke his hip when, like the Pope, he was knocked down to the floor in the commotion that ensued after an unstable young woman attacked the Pope on Christmas Eve 2009.

Deo gratias that Mons. Georg has been discharged from the hospital. Let us continue to keep him in our prayers whenever we pray for Benedict XVI...

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