POPE-POURRI: 'Light' news items, anecdotes about Pope Benedict now

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00Monday, November 28, 2005 8:05 PM
Benefan suggested the felicitous name for this thread, which will be devoted to stories about Joseph Ratzinger the man, at any stage of his long and varied life, as well as his family and friends.

An equally felicitous first posting we owe to Ratzigirl, as usual, who found this short item from L'Adige, a newspaper in northern Italy (the region where Joseph's maternal grandmother comes from). It is a rare account of Joseph at University, told by one of his female classmates! Herewith a translation:

Hilda Brauer, who was at University with Joseph Ratzinger, remembers her classmate this way:

"He was extraordinarily tender-hearted. We were all fascinated by his behavior, so different from that of all the other boys who tried every way to lure us. He was very timid, and when we
met him in the corridors, he would greet us with a brief nod and very soft words. It was this timidity that made us girls curious and which placed him in a different light from all the rest.

"He was the most brilliant in our class, no one came close to
being his equal.(In class), all his timidity was transformed, revealing an estraordinarily active and agile mind.

"In addition, I must say he was always very nice. I remember very well when one day, my friends and I were in the park, discussing some theological subject. Then he came by, carrying
bunches of flowers which he had prepared for each of us -
a gesture which showed how much sensitivity he had beneath an apparently cold mask. It's a good thing there were only 3 of us
girls that day, otherwise he would have had to pick all the flowers in the park!"

The park referred to is Fuerstenried, where in his memoirs, Ratzi says he used to take long walks, as he considered whether he was truly suitable to be a priest and whether he could fully commit himself to the priestly vocation, including, as it must, a life of celibacy.
00Tuesday, November 29, 2005 3:45 AM

Just a little encounter but it shows something about Papa's character:

00Tuesday, November 29, 2005 3:50 AM
heres a screencap by moriah04 from the documentary
Joseph Card. Ratzinger *MY VATICAN*..he showed his diplomatic passport..i already posted this in photo thread and at RFC.

00Tuesday, November 29, 2005 8:59 PM
Oh, what a sweet and wonderful little story [SM=g27836]

It was this timidity that made us girls curious

That did'nt change until today.......!
00Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:51 PM
Come in, Hilda Brauer, your time is up!
Where is Hilda Brauer? She was a lucky girl! Oh - to have had a gift of flowers from Joseph! Svenio al pensiero!!!!!
[SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836]
Love, choy, choy......your old friend, Mary x
[SM=x40800] Oh, che bellissimo Papa!
00Tuesday, November 29, 2005 10:12 PM
Mary, let's not get combative.

Hilda didn't know about you or she would have backed off. That was sweet of Papa to give the girls flowers, kind of a strange way to consider celibacy, but sweet.
00Tuesday, November 29, 2005 10:31 PM

Who will be named Time Magazine's person of the year? Guess who's one of those mentioned? Strangely, on a par with Harry Potter's creator, J.K. Rowling.

00Tuesday, November 29, 2005 11:53 PM

00Wednesday, November 30, 2005 6:47 AM
Teresa, thank you for this lovely story of our young Papa in the Fürstenried Park.

Then he came by, carrying
bunches of flowers which he had prepared for each of us -

This is so nice and lovely [SM=x40800]
He is a real gentleman I guess.

a gesture which showed how much sensitivity he had beneath an apparently cold mask.

[SM=x40795] He never appeals cold to me. I don't know why I read this so often about Papa. Extremely about the time as he was Cardinal.
00Wednesday, November 30, 2005 7:31 AM
A few anecdotes from recent stories in the Italian press:

First from Emma3 of the main forum above, who contributes this item from Libero, about
Papa and his sun glasses:

It seems, notwithstanding widely publicized reports last summer, that the sun glasses Pope Benedict wore during his ride to the Quirinale Palace in an open car were Italian-made glasses, not the status-brand Serengeti that has been reported.

He was wearing a pair of Persol [literally, for the sun], according to the salesgirl who sold him the pair some two years ago. She says he came in during one of his usual early afternoon walks, having seen the glasses on display in the shop window.

“He came in,” says Sabrina Bottazzi, “asking about the glasses. He tried it on, and he liked it. He seemed a simple man, quite easy-going. I wonder if he remembers me.”

It is said that, in fact, Papa Ratzinger has a “passion” for sunglasses. He is said to have four pairs that he has kept all this time.

A fellow seminarian, Father Bernd Hinskopf (now deceased), once recounted that Ratzinger bought his first sun glasses as a seminarian. It was a pair of Zeiss glasses set in very simple round frames. He recalled how the young man form Marktl took very good care of his glasses, and “if someone tried to touch them, it was like the end of the world!” [succedeva il finimondo]

Ratzi acquired his first pair of Persol, with very dark lenses, in the early 80s. He said at the time, “I am not used to the sun as it is reflected in St. Peter’s Square,” he told Cardinal Casaroli during one of those Masses held outside the Basilica. During his first summer visits to Pope John Paul II, he acquired a pair of Ray-Bans with lenses calibrated to filter the summer sun at Castel Gandolfo.

It is recounted that Pope John Paul II once told Ratzinger in jest: “You’re supposed to be the custodian of the truth – you shouldn’t wear dark glasses!”

”I know,” the cardinal supposedly answered. “On the other hand, I will perhaps see less faults!”

The Libera Universita Maria Santissima Assunta (LUMSA) in Rome conferred an honorary Doctor of Jurisprudence in1 999 on Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. When he became Pope last April, LUMSA devoted the April 14-27 issue of its student publication to a special on the new Pope. Student journalists filed their own stories on the election and first days of the new Pope. Sara Galmazzi came up with a few things previously unreported about Cardinal Ratzinger.

Papa and good food

She interviewed owners of shops in the Borgo Pio, the street near where Ratzinger lived, and came up with this account from Roberto, owner of the restaurant “Al Passetto di Borgo.”

“Ratzinger was one of our habitual customers. He first started coming here with his sister. And he was here just a few days before the Conclave. He asked to see my dog Billy, with whom he always played. This is a a person of indescribable humanity, a true and proper 'good guy.'”

One of the waiters said: “He loved pastas. He always asked for a carbonara or a norcina. He gave me the impression of being a calm and quiet person, extremely kind.”

As we have read in earlier stories, his other favorite restaurant in the area was “La cantina tirolese,” whose logo happens to be a monk with a stein of beer in hand.”

“Beer was always made and distributed by monks, specially on feast days,” says owner Mario Notari.

The cardinal came often to eat dishes of his native Bavaria. He often ordered Knoedel(dumplings) in broth, but he never drank wine. Once in a while, he ordered Weiss [a light beer]. But always, he had a glass of orange juice.”

“He was very reserved, austere and serene. Whenever I saw him walking along Borgo Pio, he was always relaxed. At table, he was a good conversationalist...I think the Church needs a strong doctrine to recover certain basic values, and he is the right man for that task.”

Pasta for the Pope

A “royal and papal pasta” is called “courtiers of Queen Caterina Cornaro” ["cortigiane della regina Caterina Cornaro].
It is a pasta made in Asolo [a small city in northern Italy, province of Treviso, in the region called the Veneto]- inspired by an illustrious Asolana and above all, with the blessings of Pope Benedict XVI!

The pasta was “previewed” at the recent meeting of Nobel laureates gathered in Rome, at which catering was provided by the Ristorante Vila Razzolini Loredan of Asolo. At one affair held at the Vatican, the Pope was said to have liked the dish very much.

So yesterday, St. Catherine’s feast day, the pasta was formally presented to the general public at the restaurant in Casella. The Dussin brothers who own the restaurant said they were determined to leave a gastronomic mark in history, not just in their hometown. They are collaborating with other local restaurants to find suitable basic sauces for their new pasta.

The restaurant staff experimented for more than 6 months before they came up with the pasta, which is a tagliatella (broad noodle bands) made from 3 kinds of flour and spiced with cinnamon. [Caterina, who became queen of Cyprus at the time of the Crusades, reportedly first brought cinnamon to Italy.] So far, it goes best with a sauce of meat, mushrooms and chicory. Now, they are trying to find how to serve it with fish.

00Wednesday, November 30, 2005 11:10 PM
More anecdotes
We owe this all to Ratzigirl who posted them in the main forum.
Herewith are my translations from the Italian-


”I gave the Pope a traditional whip made of fiber from coconut bark, with which every chief [in Samoan society] has the task of shooing off bad thoughts and prejudices so that each one can express himself constructively, thus getting rid of obstacles which get in the way of dialogue.”

[There was a news agency picture of the Pope receiving the whip but it is no longer online.]

The Prime Minister of Samoa and president of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuilaepa Mlielegaoi, explained to newsmen the gifts which he brought Pope Benedict when he met him on November 28 at the Vatican.

“I also gave him a ceremonial cup for kava, a drink extracted from the root of the pepper plant which one sips during the assemblies of village chiefs in Polynesia,” he added.

”The Pope is very much more than a village chief,” he said in an itnerview with Telepace [a Catholic broadcasting service). “He is a Tai-Tai, a chief of chiefs, leader of a community that extends over the whole world. AS a Prime Minister and as a Catholic, I am very honored to be in Rome and to meet him.”


Mons. Loris Capovilla, who turned 90 on October 14, was the private secretary of Pope John XXIII for 10 years. He recounts his experiences with six Popes whom he has known up close,in an article written by Princess Alessandra Borghese for the November 30 issue of Gente magazine.

“Pope Benedict XVI like John XXIII has the face of a boy. He has a transparent look. He is a sensible and courteous man, a true gentleman [un vero signore].”

John XXIII was “Papa Buono” not because he kissed children, but because he was childlike himself, without calculation or cunning.” Angelo Roncalli, he says of the Pope he most closely served, was "the son of simple country folk, but he was truly a prince.”

“Wojtyla and Ratzinger are following the same line," he adds. “John Paul II had spoken about re-evangelizing Europe, and Benedict has said the same. But they have different styles. Just think of Ratzinger, who in the space of a few days, met with the head of the Lefebvrians, Msgr. Fellay, with the theologian Hans Kueng and with the writer Oriana Fallacci.”

(The blurb is frustratingly sketchy, but I suppose they want
you to buy the magazine. It may be available here in New York, as it is a People-like magazine.)

Speaking of Fallacci, she broke her silence on her much-reported private meeting with the Pope last summer, during a long address she delivered in New York City last night after receiving the Annie Taylor Award.

Fallacci’s speech, delivered in English, was reprinted in full today on 1-1/2 pages of the Italian newspaper Il Foglio, and is entitled “Jumping Over Niagara Falls: All about my right to hate and the despotism of weak democracies”. [It can be downloaded as a PDF file]. What follows is not exactly an anecdote, but interesting nevertheless...

[The Annie Taylor Award is given to a person “who has shown and continues to show exceptional courage in gravely adverse circumstances and in the face of grave danger.” It is named after a woman who jumped over Niagara Falls. Presentors were David Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum and noted Mideast expert, as well as Daniel Horowitz, founder of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, editor of Front Page amagzine, and author of the book “The Unholy Alliance; Radical Islam and the American Left.” Fallacci said at the start of her speech that she found this "little award" much more meaningful than the Nobel Prize or the Oscars which she described as "discredited gratuities given exclusively to Islamophile and Westphobic and anti-American devotees."]

Here are the excerpts in which she talked about the Pope:

“..Last August I was received in a very private audience by Ratzinger – I mean, Pope Benedict XVI. A Pope who loves my work since he read 'Letter to a Child Never Born' and whom I deeply respect since I read his intelligent books. Moreover, with whom I happen to agree on many occasions.

"For example, when he writes that the West has developed a sort of hate towards itself. That it no longer loves itself, that it has lost its spirituality, and risks to lose its identity too. (Exactly what I write when I write that the West is sick with a moral and intellectual cancer. In fact, I often remark: 'If a Pope and an atheist say the same thing, in that thing there must be something tremendously true.')

"New parenthesis: I am an atheist, yes. A Christian-atheist, as I always point out, but an atheist. And Pope Ratzinger knows it very well: In 'The Force of Reason' I devote a whole chapter to explaining the apparent paradox of such self-definition.

"Yet do you know what he says to atheists like me? He says- 'Okay (the Okay is mine, of course), then Veluti si Deus daretur. Behave as if God existed.'

"Words from which one assumes that in the religious community, there are more open-minded and smarter people than in the secular one I belong to. So open-minded and so smart that they don’t even try, not even dream, to save my soul. (I mean, to convert me).

"This why I also state that in selling itself to theocratic Islam, laicism (you say secularism) has missed the most important appointment offered to it by History. And in doing so, it has opened a void, an abyss, that only spirituality can fill.

"This is also why in the Church of today, I see an unexpected partner, an unexpected ally. In Ratzinger and in anyone who accepts my disquieting independence of thought and behavior, I see a compagnon-de-route. (Unless, of course, the Church too misses its appointment with History. Something I don’t foresee…)

"So we met, this smartly righteous gentleman and I. Free of ceremonials, formalities, all by ourselves. In his study room of Castel Gandolfo, we conversed for a while. And the non-professional encounter was supposed to stay secret. In my obsession for privacy, I asked it to be so.

"But the rumor spread all the same. Like a nuclear bomb, it reached the Italian press. And guess what a petulant idiot with academic requisites wrote in a most notorious and leftist newspaper in Rome. He wrote that the Pope can see as much as he wants of people 'as trashy and as impious and as sinful and as mentally ill' as Oriana Fallacci because 'the Pope is not
una persona perbene'– not a decent person….”

She next makes reference to the Pope when she says:
“…I don’t believe in dialogue with Islam… I sustain that such a dialogue is monologue, a soliloquy nourished by our naivete or unconfessed despair. (About this topic, I strongly dissent from Pope Ratzinger who insists on that monologue with dismaying hope. Once again, Holy Father: Of course, I too, want a world where everybody loves everybody and nobody is an enemy of anybody. But the enemy is there. And it has no intention to dialogue with you and with us)….
Make of it what you will.
00Thursday, December 1, 2005 5:01 AM
From the Shrine of the Holy Whapping
[Catholic nerds at the University of Notre Dame share their thoughts on Catholic identity at ND, cultural reviews, and other musings with the rest of the world]

Here's looking at you, Kids

Saturday, November 26

I was very excited to hear of Pope Benedict's appearance today at First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent, as it is another sign of the Pontiff's thorough grounding in the liturgical piety of the Church. This is an intriguing moment in the ceremonial history of the modern papacy, as as far as I know, Benedict's public appearances thus far have been connected with papal masses rather than vespers and other additional services, and also St. Peter's tends not to celebrate First Vespers with much pomp, preferring Sunday evening Second Vespers. Seeing the Pope himself at First Vespers is a great way of restoring a hole in the Basilica's liturgical schedule, and also more importantly, continuing to promote the Liturgy of the Hours, still forgotten in some quarters of the Church despite being greatly loved by both JP II and Benedict XVI.

For more info, check out the photos at Yahoo.com. The spectacular violet Advent cope Benedict has on more than makes up for the slightly funky green chasuble we saw at the Synod Mass. I'd go as far as to say it's one of the nicest modern-style vestments I've ever seen. It's a perfect symbol of B-XVI's pontificate--ancient and uniquely new all at the same time.

Posted by: Matthew / 6:55 PM
00Thursday, December 1, 2005 10:35 AM
[SM=g27836] wow,what a treat to read all these stories and info about Papa!
yes,he has the face of a boy! [SM=g27836]

me too,he never seemed "cold" to me [SM=x40795]
00Saturday, December 3, 2005 2:00 AM
Ratzigirl found a picture of the Pope meeting one of the Franciscan friars to whom he gave his cellphone number, and who then called him directly to arrange to see him at the Vatican.

00Saturday, December 3, 2005 6:40 AM
Papa is so humble! sweet pic [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800]
00Sunday, December 4, 2005 11:16 PM
Bread and Salt for the Pope

At the last audience, the Pope was given a homemade maxi-panettone (sort of raisin bread typically given at Christmastime) weighing several kilograms, by representatives of the Italian federation of breadmakers, pastamakers and affiliated workers.

He was also given a supply of “Pope’s salt” by the saltmakers of Cervia, a town in eastern Italy, south of Ravenna, on the Adriatic coast. “The Pope’s salt” is the term given to the first harvest of salt done in June – the grains are fine, the salt is lighter and milder than regular salt. For more than 4 centuries, the saltmakers of Cervia have provided this salt to the Vatican where it is used in Papal services and for baptismal rites in the city of Rome. In the past, the salt had to be carried on muleback to the Vatican.

No to a new piano
One gift the Pope has reportedly refused is a new piano offered to him by an Austrian family, who had read that his old piano needed tuning and would be difficult to retune. Vatican sources said the Pope wrote them back to thank them for their kind thought but that he preferred to keep his “old and dear piano.” [A report last September said new changes in the Papal apartments included a new piano!]

He knows them from TV
Papa Ratzinger has lived in Italy for more than 20 years, and apparently watched the nightly news on TV at dinnertime. Enough to recognize Italy’s political leaders by sight – not just the principals, but even their second and third in command.

So when Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi recently visited the Pope at the Vatican and started introducing the members of his delegation and explaining who they were, the pope remarked, “I know them all, thanks to TV.”

Later, when the members of the delegation were each given a rosary, the Prime Minister told the Pope his mother was a devotee of the Holy Rosary and requested one for her, too.

Ratzi’s habits at the CDF
He was always very punctual at work. He made the self-same walk every morning across St. Peter’s Square, past the left wing of the Bernini colonnade to the bronze gates of the Palazzo Sant’Uffizio, headquarters of the CDF.

He shared his office with his private secretary- first Mons. Joseph Clemens until he became an Archbishop, and then with Mons. Georg Gaenswein.

And, he always wore a cassock to work.

The aristocrats are pleased
Prince Lillio Ruspoli, a Roman nobleman, is happy that the new Pope sets the example for other priests.“It is good that he puts an end to the habit of many priests who dress as they please,” he remarked.

The Roman nobility also hopes that the Latin Mass will once again be more commonly used. One of them, who was born a prince, and who still owns an ancestral castle although somewhat crumbling, recalls that a Pallavicini (one of Rome’s noble families) once defied Pope Paul VI by inviting Bishop Lefebvre to celebrate the Latin Mass at the family chapel in 1977.

“Please don’t mention my name,” the Prince says. “Otherwise, even my fruit vendor will denounce me as a reactionary!”

And the nobles invited to that Lefebvre Mass – with names like Orsini, Odescalchi, Torlonia – are among those who now hope that Papa Ratzinger will restore a little of that antique elegance they associate nostalgically with the Latin Mass.

Always close to the German community
Despite his association with names like the Princess Borghese and the Princess Thurn und Taxis, Joseph Ratzinger’s Roman circle was not the jet set or high society.

He maintained close relations with representatives of the German community in Rome, such as the German sisters at Santa Maria dell’Anima, the priests at the Collegio Teutonico (the main seminary for training German priests in Rome) which has a building inside the Vatican next to the Sala Nervi.

Besides the weekly Mass that he used to celebrate at the chapel of the Camposanto Teutonico (the small German graveyard inside the Vatican), at which he would stay for breakfast afterwards and chat with seminarians and guests, he would often come by for a chat with the rector Father Erwin Gatz. Among the lay Germans, he socialized with Joachim Pluecher, director of the German Academy in Rome.

00Monday, December 5, 2005 9:50 AM
a wealth of Papa bits!! [SM=x40802]w [SM=x40804] [SM=x40799]
00Monday, December 5, 2005 1:49 PM
A delegation from Ferrari, headed by its president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, met with the Pope Monday and presented him, among other things, with a steering wheel from Michael Schumacher's Formula-1 Ferrarri racing car. Montezemolos remarked that it was a very complicated steering wheel, to which the Pope replied that it was also complicated to steer the Church! (From the Italian news agency ANSA, 12/5/05)

But why on earth would they give the Pope a steering wheel?

P.S. Additional details now from APCOM, another news agency:
Actually, the main "gift" presented by Montemozolo (who like Prime Minister Berlusconi last week arrived a few minutes late for his appointment with the German Pope!) was a check for 950,000 Euro equivalent to the cost of a Ferrari Enzo Special Edition #400 which was specially built to be placed on auction for charity purposes.

He said the Pope was also pleased with the steering wheel from Schumacher's F2004, inscribed with the dedication: "The steering wheel of the F1 World Champion for His Holiness Benedict XVI, the pilot of Christianity."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 05/12/2005 16.11]

00Monday, December 5, 2005 2:40 PM

A delegation from Ferrari, headed by its president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, met with the Pope Monday and presented him......

......with the latest Ferrari!!! [SM=x40794]
No, it's only a steering wheel.

Montezemolos remarked that it was a very complicated steering wheel, to which the Pope replied that it was also complicated to steer the Church!


Wonderful answer!
00Monday, December 5, 2005 6:17 PM
Hmmm, I would have asked where the rest of the car was??
00Monday, December 5, 2005 6:53 PM
The Italian girls have been having a most spirited discussion (on the SPQR thread under "Benedetto XVI News") about the public complaints aired by some of the pop singers who participated in the December 3 Concert at the Vatican to raise funds for the missions in Asia. Their complaint: that the Pope did not attend the concert, did not receive them in audience, and did not even have a video message for the program "oh so unlike the years when John Paul II had these Christmas concerts"!

I commented on this story in the French forum of the RFC because the French girls were equally outraged at the arrogant presumption of those who complained as by the gratuitous comparison to JP!

In effect: 1) Did anyone from the Vatican ever promise these performers that the Pope would be there or receive them in audience? I think not! 2) The concert was always billed in all the publicity as "Christmas at the Vatican: A concert for the Missions" or something to that effect, never as "A concert for the Pope"; 3) The organizers sold tickets to the general public for the affair - it was a fund raiser! They would never have sold tickets if the Pope was to be present; 4) Surely the performers would have had a copy of the printed program ahead of time and I bet the printed program never said anything about the Pope being present for the concert - don't let's play naive here! and 5) PLEASE- ENOUGH ALREADY OF COMPARING B16 TO JPII! It's not doing either of them a service. JPII may have had Christmas concerts that were not fund-raisers and therefore he was there.

I'm not even mentioning the obvious - do they really expect classical music lover Benedict to sit through an hour or two of pop music? Good for him that he does not even pretend by being present!

All that said, I think however that the concert organizers, or the papal staff, or both, missed a PR cue in that inasmuch as the concert was for a good cause, I am sure Benedict would not have refused to record a short video message for the performers and for the public. Maybe they will have that video message on when the concert is broadcast on Italian TV for Christmas.

What is concerning is that of course, all that whining by A-list Italian entertainers made news in Italy, casting B16 as a villain. One of the Italian girls had to be at a clinic earlier today, and she said that was all the buzz in the waiting room, especially since the Italian press also reported that Papa's Angelus message yesterday was another instance of him playing politics! Playing politics because he advocated that religious liberty should be guaranteed to all????

On the other hand, read the article in "News about Benedict" on the Pope and the Church's current influence in Italy because that's the best answer to the naysayers.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/05/2007 3.54]

00Monday, December 5, 2005 7:24 PM

I knew when Papa didn't go to the concert, the media would make that "the news of the day". He did go to a similar concert soon after he became pope, which was, I believe, on his behalf but also to raise money for his particular charitable causes. From the video I saw of part of it, the event was rather raucous and long. I commented about some of it on the RFC forum at the time because I was dismayed to see how the female mistress of ceremonies dragged Andrea Bocelli, who is blind, across the room ostensibly so he could meet Papa but really so she could meet him herself. Normally, the pope stays seated and people come to him but Papa, seeing poor Andrea being dragged and half stumbling, got out of his chair and walked halfway across the room to meet them. Most of the other acts were pop acts. I wonder if that experience made him shy away from this latest concert. Besides, you know he wouldn't like the music. I do agree that the Vatican missed a PR opportunity and could have staved off some of this criticism by filming a short hello from Papa. I am afraid the squawking will soon spill out from Italy across the Atlantic, similar to the tailor stories.

00Monday, December 5, 2005 7:28 PM
Is known that JP2 likes popmusic and so he was present in some concerts (but not on every and not the whole performance)...they think pope has no job to do..so he can attend concerts especially with the music which is not his favourite. Poor papa, I like he is not on every party in Vatican. What about his health - sometimes he need to relax. I wonder how many hours he sleeps because he has lot of work to do and he meets so many people that his doors are almost never closed.
I have read the concert was not official christmas concert for Papa, it was performance musical play about life of St. Fraciscus Xaverius.

the Italian press also reported that Papa's Angelus message yesterday was another instance of him playing politics! Playing politics because he advocated that religious liberty should be guaranteed to all????

I have the same opinion as you, Theresa ...for me is religious liberty basic right and it is only good that Papa said it. They should write it everyday especially for some "democratic" states...which not only prefer one religion but e.g. prefer athestism or relativism. [SM=x40795]
Angelus was marvelous...

[Modificato da Maklara 05/12/2005 20.06]

00Monday, December 5, 2005 11:37 PM
pop concert

I was dismayed to see how the female mistress of ceremonies dragged Andrea Bocelli, who is blind, across the room ostensibly so he could meet Papa but really so she could meet him herself.

Unfortunately that's what it all is about: these people only want to be in the media themselves. So in the end they just use the Pope for their benefit. I'm so glad he didn't go to that concert.

00Tuesday, December 6, 2005 10:31 AM
Stupor-mundi (from the main forum) was at the Vatican Saturday, Dec. 3, for something that was work-related, and happened to be there at the time of the concert. She wrote the forum to say she was glad Papa did not attend the concert at all because what she saw was not very promising- “an uproar, a gathering of VIPs, presumed or real, who vied with each other as to who could project himself/herself best. How squalid the young women with exaggerated lips clad in the latest lowcut creations by Valentino or Gucci – they were there to celebrate a pagan rite, of ‘being present’ at something big….So I reiterate my maximum esteem for the Pope for his courage to act as he thought right, without fearing the predictable polemics from so-called famous people.”

Later, she counsels Emma who wanted to get “Salt of the Earth” the Italian version of which has just been reissued, but she can’t seem to find a copy! She tells Emma that besides talking of all the grand themes of Christianity, Ratzi also talks about his youth and his vocation. “It will make you want to read more of Ratzinger….I particularly like 'Introduction to the Spirit of Liturgy', which makes you understand more of Ratzinger as theologian and even of what he is starting to do as Pope…”

Then, her bombshell-
“That’s the way Ratzinger is – an exquisite person, sensible, sharp, never banal or inconsiderate, a bit timid – in short, he is exactly the way each of us imagines him to be.

"I got to meet him in 1992, during a conference at the Catholic University in Milan. I was graduating, and since my thesis supervisor was chairman of the faculty, he invited me and other students to the lectures which Ratzinger and others (but frankly I don’t remember now who the others were) would be giving about the future of Europe.

"I already knew of Ratzinger as a theologian because at Catholic U, we had to pass three exams in Theology, and also because even in high school, I always had a weakness for German culture and German thinkers ... but after (this lecture) I took even more interest! We must thank the Lord daily for having given us someone like him who is truly “the Rock” – Tu es Petrus!

"Later, I also got to meet (Walter) Kasper who was a friend of my theology professor, and would give us an extemporaneous lecture every time he passed through Milan. He’s a cardinal now, but at the time, he was not even a monsignor. But Ratzi is Ratzi – no one beats him!

[Ratzigirl then excitedly posts questions – imagine someone on the forum actually having attended a lecture by Ratzi!] And stupor-mundi answers:

"Unfortunately, I did not take pictures – I was seated not far from my supervisor and I had to feign
'disinterest', but I am sure there would be photos in the archives of the university . Perhaps one of these days, I can pay a visit and see what I can get, including the documents of the conference itself.

At the time, I followed the protocol strictly [for being presented to a cardinal], oncluding the bowing during the handshake, though I did not kiss the ring. This time [with Ratzi as Pope], it would be different, of course…

00Wednesday, December 7, 2005 5:23 PM
Should I buy this watch
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
It's from Polish internet auction [SM=g27811]
00Wednesday, December 7, 2005 5:53 PM

I'd go for the one with 2 popes on it. Of course, I'd buy anything with Benedict's picture on it.
00Wednesday, December 7, 2005 6:45 PM
The watches are actually quite nice, considering how horrible most papal commemorative stuff can be. I like the one with the two popes and the one on the bottom left. The watches look nice quality. You don't state the price...

Oh well, if you don't get one of those there's always this (not...)
00Wednesday, December 7, 2005 8:30 PM
THe watch
120 PLN which is about 20 pounds. Quite a lot in Poland - not a lot in Britain.
I have checked your link - [SM=g27828] really ugly
00Wednesday, December 7, 2005 9:13 PM

Papa bears, dolls, watches, statuettes, etc. Are there papal bobble-head dolls out yet?
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