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PEOPLE AROUND THE POPE

Last Update: 11/14/2013 5:36 PM
12/2/2005 4:50 PM
 
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There are so many interesting characters who work closely with the pope or support him in some way at the Vatican that I thought we could have a page for them.


Here is an interesting article about the papal photographer who has worked for nearly 50 years photographing the popes and who is the subject of a movie currently being made.

www.sentinel.org/articles/2005-48/14338.html
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12/2/2005 5:08 PM
 
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HOW ARCHBISHOP LEVADA, NEW PREFECT OF CDF, IS DOING

This is a very long but very interesting article about Papa's pick to replace himself at the CDF. The story also gives a few glimpses into Papa's life.


www.sentinel.org/articles/2005-48/14337.html
12/3/2005 4:36 PM
 
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GREAT ARTICLES FROM "SENTINEL" & MSM BIAS
Benefan,I don't know how I missed this thread till just now! What great articles on both Arturo Mari and Archbishop Levada, especially the latter! MUST-READ for everyone.

Is it yet another reflection of MSM biases in the United States that, to my knowledge, no major newspaper or magazine has yet come out with any article anywhere near as lengthy and as attentive to the subject as the Sentinel article is?

One would think that an American named to succeed Joseph Ratzinger at CDF by Joseph Ratzinger himself would be an instant cultural icon for this country, one who ought to merit the publicity that's reserved for the heroes of the libs and progressives, who canonize the likes of Michael Moore or Cindy Sheehan! Too bad Archbishop Levada is on the "wrong" side of the cultural divide.
12/4/2005 11:27 PM
 
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AN INTRIGUING ARTICLE ABOUT CARDINAL RUINI, PAPA'S VICAR OF ROME


This article delves into the church/state issue, highlighting Cardinal Ruini's involvement (and Papa's) in political battles in Italy.


www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/article/0,13005,901051212-1137615-1...
12/5/2005 12:56 AM
 
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Great story, Benefan, and surprisingly quite fair! It ties in very well with that other article I am still translating about
Benedict's weight in Italian politics today. I hope I can post it tonight!
12/20/2005 4:31 PM
 
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ALL ABOUT FATHER FESSIO
We all remember him as one of the best resource persons who went on American TV last April after Benedict XVI's election. He is not only a very important man in his own right but also a longtime friend of Joseph Ratzinger, his former mentor at the University of Regensburg. I am posting herewith two very informative articles about him for those who may not have seen them before. The first is from the site of St. Ignatius Press, which publishes Ratzi's books in English, and the second is from the British Catholic libertal newspaper Tablet:

From St. Ignatius Press:




Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., (shown here with Ratzinger in 1999) Provost of Ave Maria University and Editor-in-Chief of Ignatius Press, is a longtime personal friend of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Ignatius Press is the primary U.S. publisher of his works, having issued some 25 books.

Father Fessio is close to a number of the cardinals who elected the new pope, including Francis Arinze, the former Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship; Christoph Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna; George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec; Angelo Scola, Patriarch of Venice; Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, France; Jean-Marie Lustiger, former Archbishop of Paris; Jorge Medina-Estevez, former Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation of Divine Worship.

Ignatius Press has also published Cardinal Shoenborn's works, and those of cardinals Arinze, Pell, Lustiger, and Medina-Estevez.

Pope Benedict XVI was Fr. Fessio's doctoral director and mentor at the University of Regensburg in then West Germany from 1972-1975. As a member of Ratzinger's "Schulerkreis" or group of former students, Fr. Fessio participated in many of the yearly three-day-long gatherings of that group.

In 1989, Fr. Fessio, along with then Frs. Schoenborn and Marc Ouellet, and another fellow Jesuit, established under Cardinal Ratzinger's patronage, a house of formation in Rome, Casa Balthasar. The house takes inspiration from the life and works of two theologians who were highly regarded by, and close friends of John Paul II and Benedict XVI: Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J. (made a cardinal by John Paul II in 1983) and Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar (named cardinal by John Paul II in 1988).

The late Frs. de Lubac and Balthasar's books are published by Ignatius Press.

Every year from 1989 to the present, Fr. Fessio has traveled to Rome for the annual meeting of the directors of Casa Balthasar, which is attended by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), Fr. Ouellet (now cardinal of Quebec), and Fr. Schoenborn (now cardinal of Vienna).

Cardinal Shoenborn, also a former student and close personal friend of Pope Benedict XVI, was a classmate of Fr. Fessio's in Regensburg during the 1972-73 academic year. Their friendship has continued over the years and Fr. Fessio has been a frequent guest at the cardinal's residence in Vienna. Fr. Fessio also collaborated with cardinals Ratzinger (then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and Schoenborn (executive editor) on the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Because of Fr. Fessio's engagement in the post-conciliar liturgical controversies, he has had frequent contact with cardinals Medina-Estevez and Arinze, both of whom are Ignatius Press authors.

At Fr. Fessio's invitation, Cardinal Schoenborn visited Ave Maria University in February, 2004; Cardinal Arinze visited in Feb., 2005; and Cardinal Pell has agreed to visit in Feb., 2006.

Ave Maria University is the first new Catholic university established in 40 years, founded by Thomas Monaghan, founder and former owner of Domino's Pizza. Ignatius Press is one of the largest Catholic publishing companies in the United States, founded in 1978 by Fr. Fessio. Ignatius Press has published the works of (now) Pope Benedict XVI for over twenty years.

www.ignatius.com/books/benedictxvibooks/pressinfo.asp
The site has a Gallery of 8 photos in large-format (one of them used above) taken when F. Fessio accompanied a group of pilgrims to visit Cardinal Ratzinger in 1999. Great-looking Ratzi, of course!

---------------------------------------------------------------
From the Tablet:

25/06/2005
The priest who bestrides America
Gerald Renner

Joseph Fessio is a million-dollar publisher, the man who runs a university founded on a pizza fortune, a conservative Jesuit who fell out with his superiors and a friend of the Pope. It’s made him one of the US Church’s biggest players

HE IS a plain priest, neither a cardinal nor a bishop. But the combination of Benedict XVI’s prolific output as an author and the fortune of a pizza billionaire have helped make Father Joseph Fessio, the standard-bearer of Catholic orthodoxy, one of the most powerful men – indeed, perhaps the most powerful man – in the Church in America.

For years Father Fessio has regularly clashed with the superiors of his Jesuit order who do not share his more orthodox, Balthasarian views of faith. But with the elevation as Pope of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, his former tutor and one of the stars of the publishing house which Fr Fessio runs, the priest is even being talked about as the next Archbishop of San Francisco.

His influence in America until now has been dependent on his twin roles – that of editor-in-chief of Ignatius Press, the premier publisher of “authentic” Catholic writing which he founded in San Francisco in 1978, and provost of Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida. Ave Maria is the first new Catholic university to be established in America in more than 40 years. It was launched in 2003 with $250 million donated by the billionaire Thomas S. Monaghan, who made a fortune when he sold his Domino’s Pizza empire.

Fessio commutes from west to south across America to keep up with both jobs. Wearing two such important hats would daunt others, but Fr Fessio is unfazed. “I have a big head and can wear many hats,” he says.

It is the close working relationship with Benedict XVI which has expanded Fr Fessio’s influence, with sales of his books booming. “We sold one million dollars’ worth of books in the month of May”, he said. Aggressive advertising has not hurt. Ignatius Press capitalised on its exclusive rights to Pope Benedict’s works in English with its first-time-ever purchase of a full-page advertisement in the Sunday New York Times. But even before the papal election, Ignatius Press was doing well with its sales of books by “soundly orthodox” theologians, Ratzinger paramount among them. Its back catalogue includes 22 volumes by Ratzinger. The Ratzinger Report, based on an Italian journalist’s interviews with the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was issued in the mid-1980s and sold 50,000 copies, a remarkable sale for a theological work.

Two more are in the pipeline: The Way to Jesus Christ which will be published later this summer, and in the autumn, the company will bring out Benedict XVI’s reflections on Pope John Paul II.

Fr Fessio’s present position was not something that could have been predicted when he was ordained a Jesuit priest in California in the late 1960s. He affected a hippy appearance in keeping with the times, wearing long hair, a semblance of a beard (“I wasn’t very successful growing one”), sandals and a crucifix on a leather thong around his neck. He worked in a ministry to help underprivileged children until his superiors sent him in 1972 to study theology in Europe.

The experience changed his life profoundly. In Lyons, he met Father Henri de Lubac, whose theology underpinned the Second Vatican Council and who was made a cardinal in 1983 by Pope John Paul II.

“It was a great blessing knowing de Lubac,” Fessio said. “I asked his advice about what theme I should do my doctorate on and he advised me to do it on [Hans Urs] Von Balthasar [the Swiss theologian who had been de Lubac’s student and who would also become a cardinal in 1988]”. De Lubac further suggested that Fessio seek out Joseph Ratzinger as his mentor, then at the University of Regensberg in what was West Germany.

It was the beginning of a long and close relationship between Fessio and the future pope. He also established a close bond with a fellow doctoral student, Father Christoph Schönborn, now the cardinal archbishop of Vienna, with whom he stays in touch.

Over the years he became part of a powerful European network of conservative church officials and theologians. He went on to frequently attend annual three-day meetings of Ratzinger’s Schulerkreis, or group of former students, Ratzinger himself often in attendance.

In 1989, Fr Fessio helped to establish in Rome, under the patronage of Cardinal Ratzinger, Casa Balthasar, a residence for young men considering the priesthood. Its board, which met every February, included Cardinals Ratzinger, Schönborn and Marc Ouellet of Quebec, as well as Fr Fessio.

The Jesuit priest also maintains close contact with other leading figures in the Church through his imprint. Besides Ratzinger’s books, Ignatius Press has published the works of Schönborn, and his fellow Cardinals Francis Arinze, the Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship; George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Jean-Marie Lustiger, former Archbishop of Paris; and Jorge Medina-Estévez, retired former Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship.

Fessio has not been bashful about using his contacts in his cause of conservative orthodoxy. He has been credited – or blamed, depending on one’s perspective – with having the Vatican quash attempts by the American bishops to authorise a moderate form of inclusive language in the lectionaries used at Mass and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Through a liturgical watchdog group he helped to found called Adoremus, Fr Fessio keeps tabs on what the group considers abuses of the liturgy. In 1997 Adoremus even accused Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles of verging on heresy in a pastoral letter on the Eucharist.

Fessio’s efforts to swing the Church to the right dates back to when he completed his doctorate and returned to his California province. He was appalled at what he considered the abandonment of traditional Jesuit education.

“I was just a simple priest trying to teach theology and found many of the theologians did not accept the traditional teachings,” he lamented.

In 1976 he established the St Ignatius Institute on the campus of the University of San Francisco (USF). It was basically a great books programme, using the classic texts of traditional church teaching.

“I was helping to restore Jesuit education, a way of translating the faith consistently,” he said. Fellow Jesuits saw the institute differently, as a bastion of ultra-conservatism which considered itself under siege. Fessio himself would decide which students to accept or reject. Jesuit theologians on the university faculty were barred from teaching or even saying daily Mass. Carmelite priests from a nearby monastery officiated.

By 1987 tensions mounted to breaking point, particularly after Fr Fessio got a million-dollar donation for his institute from one of the university’s leading benefactors. The then university president, John LoSchiavo, SJ, fired Fessio, who simply moved his quarters down the road to Ignatius Press.

But he remained an éminence grise behind the institute, USF history professor Paul Murphy says. In 2001, the newly installed university president, Stephen Privett, SJ, reorganised the institute, replacing the director and assistant director, who had been protégés of Fessio, with Murphy.

Fessio countered that he was starting his own conservative college nearby, which led his provincial superior, Thomas Smolich, SJ, to order Fr Fessio to have no role, public or private, in the proposed college. He reassigned Fessio to chaplain duties in a hospital 400 miles away. The reassignment caused a storm of reaction from conservative supporters of Fr Fessio all over the world.

“They treated him very shabbily, sending him to what was fast becoming a gulag for out-of-favour Jesuits,” said USF philosophy professor Raymond Dennehy, who helped Fr Fessio found the institutes two fellow conservatives, Thomas Monaghan, chancellor of his new Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, and the university president, Nicholas J. Healy rode to his rescue. They invited Fr Fessio to become provost, with a key role to foster their mutual dream to make Ave Maria a bedrock of solid Catholic orthodoxy. Fr Fessio’s superiors approved the move. The university is the fulfilment of a dream Monaghan has had since he sold his business in 1999, determined to devote his life to Catholic education.

Raised in a Catholic orphanage and foster homes, Monaghan himself was too busy making a living to go to college. He believed that the well-known American Catholic universities such as Notre Dame, Georgetown and Fordham may be academically excellent but they fall short in instilling fervour in the faith. In 20 years Monaghan dreams that Ave Maria “will produce more priests and nuns than any university in the world”.

The rise and rise of Joseph Fessio is a remarkable feat for a man who has had such strained relationships with his own order. Now, of course, it is the more liberal Jesuits who are under strain, the former editor of the order’s respected journal, America, apparently squeezed out after pressure from Rome over progressive writing in the magazine.

As to Fr Fessio’s rumoured elevation to the archbishopric of San Francisco, Professor Dennehy put it like this: “I think the Jesuits here would go on suicide watch if that happens.”

Fessio laughed when told about the rumours of his possible elevation. “It’s not going to happen. There is only one important See in the world and that See is occupied by my friend, [Joseph] Ratzinger,” said Fessio.

And that simple admission of friendship says it all.

Gerald Renner is the retired religion writer for The Hartford Courant in Connecticut,and co-author, with Jason Berry, of [C/]Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, published last year.
www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi-bin/register.cgi/tablet-01047


12/21/2005 4:02 PM
 
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GEORG AND JOSEPH
Beatrice in the French section found this picture of Monsignor Georg on the site of the Diocese of Regensburg-
very sweet!

12/29/2005 9:54 AM
 
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INTERVIEW WITH CARDINAL SCHOENBORN
The following is the translation of an interview with Cardinal Chrstoph Schoenborn,
Archbishop of Vienna, the NEWS section of networld.at, an Austrian online news agency:
===============================================================
Herr Kardinal, what were the most important events for you and for the Church in the past year?
Without question – the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI.
The whole world took part in these events. It was in indication of how much the yearning for God
lies in the hearts of men.

Has Benedict fulfilled expectations so far?
The Pope is one of the most impressive men I have ever met in my life. He has an imposing
spiritual strength as well as uncomplicatedness. An American journalist has called him
a huumble genius. He embodies personal trustworthiness and clarity.

You are considered to be one of the closest friends of Joseph Ratzinger and one of those
who knows him best. After three-fourths of a year in office, he still has not given the public
a clear picture of how he acts. What should the world expect of him?

Above everything: he will be a decisive witness for Christ, for the truth of the faith,
but also for a closeness to all men with "their joys and hopes, their sorrows and fears."

After Ratzinger’s installation the rumor went for some time that, as a sign of his love,
he was going to lift thbe Communion ban on divorced Catholics who remarry.
Why has that not happened?

The question of divorced Catholics who remarry is one of the most difficult pastoral
questions today. The Biblical word is clear. At the same time, one must look closely
at the whole “personal” situation of those concerned. I myself experienced through my parents
what divorce means. It is a difficult burden, especially for the children, even if my parents
never laid their conflict on the shoulders of their children. The way is not going to be easy,
because the wounds from a divorce are always deep and need to be worked through.

Is it not a fact that homosexuals are extremely discriminAted against in the Catholic Chuch
and have been treated unsympathetically?

The formulation in the catechism is decisive about the treatment of homosexuality by the Church.
“A not-narrow number of man and women have homosexual tendencies. They have not chosen
these tendencies; for most of them, it constitutes a trial. They must be treated
with attention and tact. One must beware not to unjustly discriminate against them.”

Herr Kardinal, how satisfied are you with the situation in the Austrian Church?
One may never be satisfied with the condition of the Church. It is always important to have
more faith, hope and charity. But I am happy that the parishes have started to dedicate themselves
once again to this theme, and that the Church situation is once again “normal”.

Your wish for the future….?
That peace be maintained. The latest statements by the Irani President have raised up again
the dark spirits of the 20th century. It is to be hoped that the Iranian people,
who were on the periphery of the frightful effects of the first two world wars, will make
their president realize what a bearer of authority is allowed to say. Internally,
the statements by Ahmadinejad, who represents the people of an ancient culture,
must simply be retracted. And he should not stop at a verbal retraction.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 30/12/2005 2.08]

12/31/2005 3:55 AM
 
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THE PAPAL THEOLOGIAN

This article discusses the role of the papal theologian and interviews the one who just retired. What I find most interesting is his comment that Papa writes just about everything himself, contrary to what some misguided media types claim. I'm still rankling over the comment of one who said someone else wrote Papa's yet to be published first encyclical.
_____________________________________

The pope needs a theologian? Former papal adviser reveals why

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- During his 16 years as theologian of the papal household, Cardinal Georges Cottier was often asked: Why does the pope need a theologian?

Pope John Paul II was a respected theologian and so is Pope Benedict XVI. It's hard to imagine either one of them having enough theological doubts to justify the appointment of a full-time consultant.

But if people imagine the papal theologian sitting around waiting for the pope to pose a question, the reality is quite different, Cardinal Cottier said.

The papal theologian's main task is to vet the many thousands of words prepared by Vatican aides for the pope to speak or publish. He checks for statements of dubious theology and otherwise hazardous phrases that could come back to haunt the pope.

"People have to understand that nowadays the pope is obliged to make so many speeches and send so many messages that he needs a lot of collaborators to prepare them," Cardinal Cottier said. "The theologian of the papal household is charged with reading all these texts and give(s) a theological opinion on them."

Cardinal Cottier, an 83-year-old Swiss Dominican, spoke in an interview in late December, shortly before retiring from his Vatican position. The Vatican announced Dec. 1 the appointment of a 54-year-old fellow Dominican, Father Wojciech Giertych, to replace Cardinal Cottier.

Cardinal Cottier said that given the number of papal speeches, sermons, messages, prayers, telegrams and other documents it would be impossible for the pope to write them all. The cardinal said he worked daily with the Vatican's Secretariat of State, going over the papal texts prepared by others.

"The first thing we look for is harmony of language, because if the sources are different, not only the style but the thought can be different," he said.

The theologian also checks for wording or a phrase that could be misinterpreted or taken out of context, perhaps by the mass media, he said.

A third concern, he said, is to be careful not to make the pope say too much about some topics.

"By this, I mean that when we have a theological issue that is still open to discussion and study, it's not a good thing that the pope pronounce on it too early. Because when the pope speaks with authority, it means the discussion is closed," he said.

For example, Cardinal Cottier noted that the International Theological Commission met recently to discuss the church's teaching on limbo and babies who die without being baptized. Pope Benedict gave a speech to the commission members, but without addressing the substance of the theological discussion.

According to tradition, the role of theologian of the papal household began with St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, who was believed to have acted as theological adviser to Pope Honorius III in the 13th century.

Dominicans have always held the position, which until 1968 was called "master of the sacred palace." In the past, the job involved giving theology lessons to cardinals and other members of the Roman Curia and screening sermons by guest preachers who came to the Vatican.

For a time, the papal theologian also had to give the imprimatur to books published in Rome -- a task that, thankfully, has been discontinued, Cardinal Cottier said.

The papal theologian is not typically called upon to scrutinize texts that are penned directly by the pope, but he is often among the team of experts that studies drafts of papal encyclicals, sometimes giving advice on structure or phrasing.

For example, Cardinal Cottier said he previewed five or six draft versions of Pope John Paul's 1993 encyclical, "Veritatis Splendor" ("The Splendor of Truth").

The cardinal said the biggest difference between Pope John Paul and his successor is that Pope Benedict personally writes the "important texts" -- the major sermons and speeches, like his lengthy year-end talk to the Roman Curia, which Cardinal Cottier described as "almost an encyclical" on the post-Vatican II church.

Pope Benedict's first real encyclical, titled "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love"), was signed by the pope on Christmas Day and was expected to be released in January, the Vatican said recently.

Cardinal Cottier said that among the many memories he'll take from his years at the Vatican one in particular stands out. Before the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, he headed the theological-historical commission that examined darker chapters of the church's past, including the Inquisition and treatment of Jews.

The commission's work paved the way for the Holy Year "day of forgiveness," which featured a dramatic liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica and an unprecedented apology for the sins of Christians through the ages.

Cardinal Cottier said the liturgy was not only one of the most beautiful moments of the Holy Year, but marked "a decisive moment in the history of the church."


1/1/2006 12:23 AM
 
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Re: The Papal Theologian
A very informative article, Benefan. THANK YOU!! And, yes, I also was irritated by the journalist who suggests that someone else was the ghost writer for Benedicts's first encyclical.
I just can't imagine him giving that specific theme into someone else's custody. Of course he wrote his first encyclical himself!!
1/1/2006 12:28 AM
 
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THE CARDINAL FROM QUEBEC
From Sylvie, this online item from a French news agency:-------------------------------------------------------------
30/12/2005 20h42


Interview with Cardinal Ouellet
"People went to see John Paul II;
they come to listen to Benedict XVI
"

The death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI are among the most signficiant events of 2005.

The conservative reputation of John Paul's successor raised much disapproval among those who expected a more liberal wind to
blow across the Vatican.

But Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec, who is very close to the new Pope, belives that the Pope is well on the way to confounding the sketpics.

"I think that his election was quite an audacious act because it was not easy to make a decision that one knew would not be very popular at the start," the cardinal explains.

But he thinks it was a good choice because it assures continuity with the philosophy of Benedict's predecessor.

"He is a man of thought," he points out. "People went to see
John Paul. Now they come to listen to Benedict. I can tell you the crowds have increased appreciably at St. Peter's."

Marc Ouellet is very close to the Pope, personally and liturgically, but he won't say if he expects to have higher responsibilities in the heart of the Church.

"The Pope has asked me to stay in Quebec, and I am happy to be ther. I don't have any dreams beyond that."

On ordination of women, he wishes that the tradition be maintained to limit the priesthood to men. He does not think this is going to change.

For 2006, Cardinal Ouellet wishes that "all homes experience peace, peace of heart, peace in relationships, and that we can be more and more welcoming to babies and to immigrants."
-------------------------------------------------------------

Cardinal Ouellet, like Cardinal Schoenborn of Vienna, was a student of then Professor Ratzinger, and belongs to one of the Pope's most exclusive Schuelerkreise (alumni group), with whom he set up the Casa Balthasar, a center for research and dissemination of the thought of theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar.
1/1/2006 5:46 PM
 
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EX-ARCHBISHOP FROM SAN FRANCISCO--WILLIAM LEVADA

Rocco Palma names him US churchman of the year and tells why.


THE CHURCHMAN OF THE YEAR: Benedict's First Choice
2005 Churchman of the Year -- US
The Most Reverend WILLIAM J. LEVADA
Archbishop-emeritus of San Francisco
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

It didn't take long after Pope Benedict XVI asked William Levada to succeed him in global Catholicism's toughest job before the howls of discontent began.

For the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who had to deal with being tarred and mischaracterized over his 23 years in the job he had given to his old friend and confidant, bearing the brunt of ideologically-driven rage was nothing new. What had changed, however, was the source of the hyperkinetic fury: the ultraconservative base which, but a month before, perceived the former Grand Inquisitor as the one and only hope who, if elected to succeed John Paul II, could make their wildest dreams come true.

In naming Levada -- by no means a boat-shaker on the controversial issues which have polarized the church in recent decades -- Benedict sent a strong signal that his pontificate would not be dominated by the church's bellicose rightward fringe, who had long borne grudges against the archbishop for his effective, constructive handling of sensitive issues over his decade in San Francisco, where he continued the legacy of openness and outreach of his predecessor, John R. Quinn, while holding the Roman line on the hot-button topics of church teaching.

The historic appointment of the highest-ranking American in the history of the Holy See also signaled a strong vote of papal confidence in Levada's penchant for building solid working relationships with many communities in the city for whom Catholic doctrine was no obstacle to pushing law and culture to new frontiers, but who came to respect the archbishop as a fair broker who won the church a place at the table through his considerable gifts of savvy, intellect and consensus-building. Notably, despite Benedict's blessing, it is not a method which a significant number of his brother bishops find appealing.

Of course, that is just the prelude. Archbishop Levada stands head-and-shoulders above US Catholicism's newsmakers this year not for his past on this side of the Atlantic, but for the future he has begun to chart in Rome -- the exercise of a clout which will have a sizable impact on Catholic life in his home country for decades to come.

In a November interview with Vatican Radio, Levada said that when the Pope asked him to take over the leadership of the CDF, he "gasped," and said, "Holy Father, I'm not the person for that." "Yes, you are," Benedict replied, and proceeded to tell Levada why.

The Catholic Right still wasn't convinced.

Once Levada was unpacking in Rome, the former Cardinal Ratzinger's supporters continued to maintain that the new Pope was being "hoodwinked," that his choice was an outlier and that the American at Benedict's side would have no influence whatsoever in the affairs of the US church. Counterintuitively, for anyone to think these claims would have any merit would be to retroactively posit that Ratzinger's advice bore absolutely no weight in the considerations of John Paul II.

Yet again, reality has proven Levada's detractors wrong.

As expected, the new doctrinal strongman -- quickly appointed to the Congregation for Bishops after his August move to the Vatican -- moved quickly to ensure that Benedict's first major American appointment would bear the fruits of his counsel. In sending Levada's lifelong friend George Niederauer to succeed him in the City by the Bay, the Pope who had been championed by the doctrinally rigid sent the nation's liberal capital a message that its Catholic culture was healthy, vibrant and that the path marked out by the previous archbishop was to continue unhindered.

Within two weeks, the prefect then shepherded the nomination of another San Francisco priest, Fr. Randolph Calvo, who had served as vicar-general to Quinn as well as Levada, to the bishopric of Reno after an atypically short vacancy there. And with another opening in his former province currently pending, it's just one of many openings in the New Year which will be filled by the stamp of the archbishop's trusted hand.

The Levada movement -- which will reach its apex sometime in 2006, when (by seniority) his name appears first on the list of new cardinals to be created at Benedict's first consistory -- goes far beyond episcopal appointments. As he told Vatican Radio, "The fact that the [CDF] now has responsibility... for dealing with issues of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. Given the experience of that, the explosion of that, on the American scene over the past few years, my experience with that... I think probably also may have said to him maybe it wouldn't be bad to have someone also who has this experience."

The backlog of cases referred from American dioceses for the CDF's judgment has been said to stretch 18 months or thereabout. That the Prefect knows the lay of the land here, he knows the bishops, the canonists, the various legal situations can only help but ease the burden under which the Congregation's work has been placed.

Issues of education will come up, as will issues of authority, erroneous teaching and those who persist in propagating it, political questions alongside magisterial ones. And that's just at the Sant'Uffizio, where the CDF has its offices. Even as for those issues which lie beyond the competence of his own dicastery, anytime the United States comes up it's likely that the Prefect will be sounded out for his opinion as an indicator of how it will play on the ground at home.

(On the international front, the release of the Congregation's findings in its high-profile investigation into multiple allegations of sex abuse levied against Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, is the most significant item of interest on its 2006 agenda. The probe of Maciel was initiated by Cardinal Ratzinger in late 2004.)

Levada said in an interview that one of the main strengths he brought back to the Vatican -- he worked at the CDF from 1976-82 -- was his "sense of the complex pastoral realities that a bishop faces."

Given the magnitude of his position, and his personal closeness with the Prefect-turned-Pope, it can be said that his calls won't go unreturned and his advice won't go unheeded. In the often unruly and highly-territorial world of Vatican bureaucracy, figures who can muster that kind of deference at the highest levels are few and far between.

For an American to occupy such rarified territory is nothing short of groundbreaking.
1/1/2006 11:27 PM
 
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THE PAPAL THEOLOGIAN FROM POLAND
Just a few words about my compatriot .
Wojciech Giertch was born in London in 1951 - his parents were political emigrants. After returning to Poland he went to the university in Poznan to do 5 years course in history - after which he was awarded MA. (historian like me [SM=g27823] ) After university he become a member of the Dominican order, and was ordained priest in 1981. He studied theology in Rome - Papal University "Angelicum" - and got PhD. He wrote a couple of interesting books.
There is a story about him that he decided to read a couple of pages from St Tomas Aquinas every day - so before completing his studies he was an expert.
He speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian
He was visible during the Vespers- tall Dominican among bishops and other priests.
You can have a look at him
www.dominikanie.pl/?f=aktualnosci&news=126
1/6/2006 2:37 AM
 
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Cioccio Letter
From Pami100 of RFC was posted today a rare find from the internet of a letter written and signed by none other than our Don Giorgio in 2004, from this link-- www.wolfganglindemann.net/html/brief_aus_rom.html



and a translation of it was provided by Resq, the subject of which in itself is a very interesting read:


Most honored Dr. Lindemann:

Thank you very much for your friendly letter of July 15, 2004, that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger considered carefully.

In response to your question, I can tell you the following: because contraception as such is not acceptable ("intrinsice dishonestum" Humanae Vitae Nr. 14), Catholic physicians may not prescribe the so-called "Anti-Baby Pill." This does not mean, however, that therapeutic measures for treatment of illnesses are prohibited, even if these result in temporary infertility; in that case, one is not dealing with contraception but with medicinal therapy ( Humanae Vitae Nr. 15). By analogy, the theologians' argument is well founded that taking and prescribing a "pill" (but not an abortifacient) in case of serious danger of rape of mentally ill women is permissible as an "ultima ratio."

Cardinal Ratzinger thanks you for your faithfulness to the teachings of the Church and wishes you God's blessings from his heart.

With friendly greetings,

Msgr. Dr. Georg Ganswein



I quickly noted that the letter was written and/or postdated on my BIRTHDATE! [SM=x40794]

Thanks to Pami and resq.

[Modificato da .Imladris. 06/01/2006 2.45]

1/10/2006 4:23 PM
 
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THE POPE'S "PROGNOSTICATOR"?
Sandro Magister is not, strictly speaking, one of the "people around the Pope" meant
when this thread was started. But because of his excellent track record and work, and his
obvious sympathies for Benedict, I am posting this item here - a translation from the blog page
of his magazine L'Espresso published online in www.chiesa.it.
In translation
-

----------------------------------------------------------------


In the last issue of Foreign Policy for January-February 2006, there is an article with
a surprising title: “The Pope’s Prognosticator”. Who is it about? Sandro Magister- and his work
as Vatican correspondent for L’Espresso (weekly newsmagazine) amd for the site www.chiesa,
which also has an English version and is much read abroad, especially in the United States.
[Not enough, I’ve always said. It should be on the reading list of President Bush and Condi Rice-
they don't know what a golden opportunity they are missing!
]

Foreign Policy is an authoritative magazine on geopolitics, published in Washington,
edited by Moses Naim and with a liberal international policy. Corriere della Sera today
gave big play to the story in an article by Dino Messina on the same page that reports
Pope Benedict's speech to the Diplomatic Corps.

This is how the magaziine describes itself:
"FP publishes in-depth reviews of recent issues of leading journals and magazines from
around the world dealing with political, economic, cultural, or social issues. Reviewers should
focus on the one or two most compelling articles in a given edition (although we also welcome
reviews that combine recent articles from more than one journal) and emphasize their
relevance and insights in the context of current events or debates in the publication's
country or region of origin. The reviews also should offer relevant information about
the authors of the articles and the journal itself".


The publication of the article in Foreign Policy was a complete surprise to Magister.
He does not know the writer of the article, Stacy Meichtry, who works for the National
Catholic Reporter
and is the Vatican correspondent for Religion News Service. Neither
did he have any prior notice. But he says that the profile given of him is penetrating
and on target. Even Messina, in Corriere, was very good at excerpting passages from
the article.

In the January-February issue of Foreign Policy, the article on Magister opens
the section “Global News Stand” which also appears in the online site of the magazine.

The article reviews the work of Magister over the past three years, particularly his
September 1, 2005 article on Benedict’s visit to Cologne.

--------------------------------------------------------------
This is the full article from FP as published online today:
www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=44586
1/10/2006 10:44 PM
 
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mag6nideum
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Sandro Magister
Very happy to see Magister receives acknowledgement in this way. When Il Papa changed my life, I knew next to nothing about the recent history of the RCC. Magister's Chiesa-online helped me a lot and, although I had NO knowledge of his CV, I intuitively trusted his views.
1/17/2006 7:34 PM
 
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PAPA'S BROTHER REFLECTS

From ANSA:

Pope's brother yearns for old days

'We were no good at cooking so we ate canned food'

(ANSA) - Rome, January 16 - The pope's brother is nostalgic for the days when he and his sibling used to play Bach to each other, eat food out of cans and wash up together afterwards.

Monsignor Georg Ratzinger has fond memories of when he and his younger brother used to spend spare hours in a house in Pentling, a small Bavarian village which Benedict XVI is said to still consider home.

"We were never great cooks, which is why we often ate canned food," Ratzinger senior admitted in an interview with Corriere della Sera's magazine supplement Style .

Speaking of his initial shock over his brother's election as pope, Msgr Georg said he had now resigned himself to visiting Rome three or four times a year and staying in the grand papal residence.

"I know he's always happy when he sees people he's known for years," he said, referring to the freedom his brother has lost when it comes to seeing people.

Since 1969, when he arrived at Regensburg University to teach, Pope Benedict has owned a house in Pentling. His brother directed the Regensburg choir for 30 years and so the two were often in town at the same time.

Even as a cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger managed to visit Regensburg four or five times a year to see friends and family.

But since April 19, things have changed forever, Msgr Georg said.

He noted the difference between old eating habits and those he has become accustomed to in the Apostolic Palace, where two of his brother's personal secretaries, a room servant and several nuns are always present. "Everyone speaks Italian. I'm the only one who speaks Bavarian. After we've eaten we go for a little walk on the terrace of the Apostolic Palace. Then we talk about old things, our past and our memories."
1/17/2006 9:33 PM
 
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PAPA'S BROTHER REFLECTS
My heart aces for the Ratzi bros.

1/17/2006 11:08 PM
 
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mag6nideum
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Ratzi brothers
I wish big Georg could live nearer to Papa.... Like IN Rome. But I suppose you can't transplant a tree at that age... [SM=g27825] [SM=g27818]
2/3/2006 6:37 AM
 
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ABOUT ALESSANDRA BORGHESE
I don't know why I did not do it earlier, but an online search on Alessandra Borghese yields a lot of interesting info just in the first few entries. Unfortunately, her homepage froze while I was trying to view her articles file...

Among other things, she wrote a very well-reviewed book in 2004 about her return to Catholicism after having abandoned it since she was a teenager. (Remember, one of her ancestors became Pope Paul V 400 years ago.) And the surprising thing is that she owes her return to the fold to Gloria Thurn und Taxis, who, she said, invited her to attend Mass one day in 1998, and to whom the Mass appeared to be a truly significant event. She eventually found a Benedictine mentor in Gricigliano, near Florence, where the community practices the Latin rite, and she has since embraced the Faith completely...In 2000, she and Gloria co-authored a book called Noblesse Oblige, a guide to good manners from A to Z....I didn't realize that she was briefly married to Constantine Niarchos when she was in her late teens (she was born in 1963)...After her return to the Faith, the magazine Panorama hired her to be one of its Vatican correspondents. She also contributes to Gente, Corriere della Sera and Newsweek.

The article file, going by the titles, does not seem to carry anything about Les Combes, but there is something about Papa and the children (that is where the site froze on me) and I was going to check out a title that may have been about WYD and Cologne...

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/02/2006 6.42]

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