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

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00Saturday, April 8, 2006 9:05 PM
I was going to comment on an item in the day's RINUNCE E NOMINE, the Vatican website's regular outlet for routine resignations, nominations and reassignments within the Church, but I see Rocco Palma already did it in his blog (one of his last before taking the Holy Week off, according to him), as follows:

"...As a foreshadow (sic) to his impending distribution of dicastery assignments to the new members of the College of Cardinals created late last month, Benedict XVI named three members of that group who are widely seen as being among his closest allies to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which handles issues relating to the 1988 indult -- and, informally, relations with the Society for St Pius X.

"The new members of Ecclesia Dei are Cardinals William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, head of the French episcopal conference, and the Spanish primate Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo.

"Cañizares is known as the "little Ratzinger" -- he became close to the pontiff as secretary of the doctrine committee of the Spanish bishops. At the Big Ratzinger's behest, Canizares was named a member of the CDF."

Both Levada and Ricard are, of course, also known to share the Pope's views on the major issues confronting the Church today.
(I dare not articulate my hopes for the Latin Mass, but is this yet another sign? No clue, of course, as to any decision re the SSPX 'schism'
00Sunday, April 9, 2006 2:52 AM
There's already an asteroid out there in orbit named after him. Now they have named a precious little shell after him. Elena in the main forum first contributed the small item, and then Emma found the picture in an online paper.

Dentimargo ratzingeri

The World Malacological Museum [from malacology, the study of mollusks - I had to look it up!] in Cupra Marittima
(a town on the Adriatic coast of central Italy) has acquired a new rare shell recently discovered in Papua New Guinea. The museum has named it Dentimargo ratzingeri in honor of the Pope.

Tiziano Cossignani, museum director, said he has been meaning to name a new species after the Pope. The opportunity came with this shell, which is said to be one of only three known specimens of its kind in the world.
He called it a genuine rarity.

The shell is very pretty but it is also tiny, only about 5 millimeters long!

I wish horticulturists would also develop flowers to honor Papa. It would be nice to have a Rosa ratzingera in a
Laetare-rose hue. Didn't the florist near the Vatican tell Paparaxvi that Papa's favorite flowers were pink roses?...And a gardenia or jasmine in purest papal white...And a sumptuous purple orchid!...LutheranGuest, whatever happened to the Bayerische Rundfunk's project last year to find a mountain peak in Germany to name after the Pope? A mountain lake would be nice, too....And we shouldn't be content with just an asteroid. What about a star, or a moon

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/04/2006 16.36]

00Sunday, April 9, 2006 3:56 AM
sweet shell for Papa and as rare as him!
we know how significant shells are in Papa's life so this rare find fits him so well! [SM=g27811]
00Sunday, April 9, 2006 4:48 PM

Ratzigirl has an anecdote from her TV watching today. In a newscast that reported on this morning's Palm Sunday events in St. Peter's Square, they showed a brief interview with a lady who had been there.

TV journalist: So what did you think of this event?
Lady: It was splendid, he was splendid!
TV journalist (puzzled): The Pope is splendid?
Lady (decisively): Yes! He was splendid, truly exceptional!

And that - Ratzigirl and our other Italian sisters say - is typical of how most Italian journalists continue to disbelieve the obvious and abundant evidence of Papa's effect on the faithful.

We can only take heart from the fact that, judging at least from the year-one assessments we have seen so far, most English writers and Vatican-watchers have been generally positive about Papa, even though most start from the premise that "Oh look, 'God's Rottweiler' is actually a gentle Pope, the Pope of love!"

00Sunday, April 9, 2006 5:18 PM
Journalists starting out...
from the Pantzerkardinal base won't be able to continue in that mode for much longer. They 're already beginning to look like fools.
00Monday, April 10, 2006 2:49 AM
I noted the other day that during Papa's encounter with the Roman youth,
one of the young women asked him:
"...In other words, what do you expect of us, Holiness?"
And without missing a beat, the first line of his answer was-
"We all ask ourselves what the Lord expects of us..."

What a lesson in consistency, humility and never losing sight of the fact
that it's all about God, not him!

He did something similar again today. From the AsiaNews report
of the Palm Sunday events on St. Peter's Square:
At one point, a youth cried out:
“Viva il papa!” (Long live the pope!)
The pope quickly replied: “Let us now hail Our Lady,
with the prayer of the Angelus”.

00Monday, April 10, 2006 5:12 AM
Papist-Picture-of-the-Day (Sunday, Apr. 9)

In a moment of Palm Sunday levity, Pope Benedict decided to completely dowse Piero Marini in holy water when he wasn't looking. Later, when asked what compelled him to take this action, the Pope responded, "Because I thought the guy needed to lighten up a bit!"

[source: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi]

00Monday, April 10, 2006 5:27 AM
"Because I thought the guy needed to lighten up a bit!"
[SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823]
[SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]

hehehehehe... oooooch, my sides hurt from laughing so hard!!!
00Monday, April 10, 2006 5:31 AM

Piero does look too serious all the time. He needs to smile more. However, I'm not sure getting unexpectedly drenched would achieve that effect.

00Monday, April 10, 2006 8:40 AM
How apropos that Monsignor Marini is quoted in the following piece, a translation of an article that appears in the Italian magazine Panorama this week. None of the secular names may be familiar to us, as they are all Italian celebrities.
Cantina Tirolese
has become a cult place

By Monica Raucci

Among the pilgrim stops in Rome these days, there is one based on sausage and sauerkraut. After St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran and Castel Sant’Angelo, the pilgrim route also goes these days through via Vitelleschi 23.

Since it became known that this Roman restaurant, just a stone’s throw from the Vatican, was Cardinal Ratzinger’s favorite restaurant before he became Pope, it has become a cult place, not only for tourists and pilgrims from all over the world, but even for cardinals, ambassadors, politicians, show business personalities, journalists, football players, actors, and their associates.

Monsignor Piero Marini, the Pope’s ceremonial aide, writes in the guest book that he is pleased with the “great cuisine and excellent beer." Martin Diarmuid, Archbishop of Dublin, writes of “the varied personalities that I have encountered here”.

The most requested table is #4 [Which one is it really? In other accounts I read #6 or #8], the table used by Ratzinger and most requested by cardinals.

But even the secular and mundane world has decided the place is glamorous. Besides old habitues like Alberto Ronchey and Giuliano Ferrara, the past year has brought many new customers with well-known faces. From Toberto Castelli to Gianni Alemanno, from Clemente Mastela to Mario Adinolfi, from Silvio Orlando to Jonny Dorelli and Gloria Guida, from Marina Ripa di Meana to Giancarlo Magalli, few have resisted the pull. Is it the “spiritual” appeal or that of Tiroler Platt (Tyrolean platter), one of Ratzinger’s favorite orders, which goes a long way: two wurstels, a pork entrecote, a beef and pork sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes.

Magalli writes in the guest book: “How can you not praise a restaurant dove mangia papa il Papa? [where the Pope (il Papa) eats potatoes (papa).” And in this atmosphere of the sacred and the profane, the vernacular saying of the native Roman is often quoted: “Tanti auguri di core e di panza.” (Best wishes for the heart and for the belly)

Roberto Castelli, a state minister from northern Italy, who visited the Cantina on September 21, 2005, took due note of the date: “On the fall equinox, it is right to feast on food from a country that knows the cold. On top of the emotion of knowing that the Holy Father was often here.”

The dj Marco Baldini has the most “desecratory” message: “I could even kill for the goulash recipe.”

And then there are the tourists and pilgrims. By the thousands every month, they come by, if only to take a peek. They want to come in even if it is just to take one photo, and end up asking the owners, Manuela and Marco Macher, what Ratzinger’s habits were, eating and otherwise. Stories livened by an anecdote or two.

The most quoted is this: One day, Ratzinger read a notice on the wall of the restaurant saying, “LOST – 1 German shepherd!” He told the other customers present: “Don’t worry. It’s not me!”

It is said that in Muhlbach, the little town in the Alto Adige where the Pope’s mother was born, “religious” tourits are starting to outnumber the skiing crowd. Meanwhile, Cantina Tirolese is popularizing the mystique of sauerkraut!

Aldo Sergio Ottomanelli, the only actor-deacon we know of, a confessed ascetic, sits in front of a plate of Tyrolean dumplings and says: “Even if I cannot go to Bavaria, here at least I can smell the aromas that shaped the mind of a Pope.”

The last word belongs to Mons. Fabio Fabbri, ecclesiastical counselor, and ambassador of Italy to the Holy See. On the guest book he writes, “Non c’e mistica senza mastica.” (The word play cannot be translated, but it means “There is no mystique without eating,’ where mastica refers to chewing.)

Here are Simone and Nan at Ratzi's table in Cantina Tirolese:

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 10/04/2006 8.54]

00Monday, April 10, 2006 3:23 PM
Here is the translation of a story in the Mittelbayerische Zeitung about the new Papal exhibit in Pentling:

Bishop Mueller, Georg Ratzinger, Mayor Rummel and Curator Baumann at the exhibit.


By KarlHeinz Weigel

PENTLING, April 8, 2006 – “One of us is Pope - Encounters in Pentling” is the one-of-a-kind exhibition with personal possessions of Pope Benedict XVI, which opened Friday at the new Council House and will run till May 1. It may be visited daily, including weekends, from 1:00-6:0 p.m. [The exhibit will reopen in September for the Pope's visit to Bavaria].

The exhibit, an idea of Museum curator Dr. Maria Baumann, consists of about 50 objects, including handwritten notes by the Holy Father, sculptured images, crosses, a bishop’s miter, and icons as well as photographs. Many of the items were sent by the Pope himself from the Vatican.

The exhibit was opened by Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, along with Mayor Albert Rummel and the Pope’s brother, Mons. Georg Ratzinger.

“I’m feeling well indeed,” said the former Regensburg Choirmaster when asked about his health. “I am very excited about the exhibit. I will be seeing my brother after Pentecost.”

He added that the Pope has told him to stay in good heelth and that he hopes “no catastrophe will happen!"

The exhibit has seven parts - covering Joseph Ratzinger's life in Regensburg as professor at the University, as a parish priest in Pentling, as an Honored Citizen of his community, as a “Floriansjunger” and as Pope. Photos of Joseph Ratzinger’s various visits to Pentling as Cardinal were provided by the Regensburg journalist Horst Hanske.

The artefacts come from both private and official settings. The Pope sent several personal items from his own desk as well as pictures to Baumann by UPS last month.

“Pentling is for me, in the deepest sense, my home,” the Pope told a group of visitors from Pentling last summer at Castel Gandolfo.

The Pope has owned his house in Pentling for 36 years. He signed his letter “Your fellow citizen” when he sent his contributions to the exhibit

Rummel said in brief remarks that Pentling residents “consider it our sacred duty to keep Pentling worthy of the great honor of being the residence and home of the Holy Father.”

Bishop Mueller recalled the “indescribable joy” that he and Regensburg experienced shortly after the words “Habemus Papam” were pronounced at St. Peter’s on April 19,2005. He spoke of his acquaintance with Joseph Ratzinger since he came to Retensburg as a professor, and described him as a humble, modest, energetic and decisive man.

He said that the Pope’s visit in September was not about how many people he would attract but about a renewal of Catholic faith. He called the exhibit an element in the preparations for the visit.

He then pronounced a prayer that has been prepared for the visit, part of which says: “ Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen the successor of the Apostle Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, in his task as Universal Pastor, give your Church new strength so that she may give worthy witness of the Faith to the world.”

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 10/04/2006 21.02]

00Monday, April 10, 2006 4:02 PM

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday gave an engaging twist to the familiar quotation attributed to John Paul II ("I called you and you came to me" - addressed to Catholic youth).

Here is an account from the Italian press of what took place at St. Peter's Square after yesterday's Mass and Angelus:

Most of the young people gathered expressed their “joy and desire to be together” at St. Peter’s Square yesterday for the Palm Sunday Mass and the handover of the WYD Cross and Marian icon from Cologne to Sydney.

Afterwards, one of them described it as “an experience to have and to share,” including the presence of Pope Benedict XVI, “the father of us all, the father of all the youth.”

In their hearts, some said they have “hope for a better future and having the strength to overcome difficulties.”

For many, it was important to have “precise points of reference along the way,” besides the fact that they know they must always be ready “to be of service to one’s neighbor.”

Though most of the youth were from Rome and other parts of Ialy, there were also large delegations from Germany and Australia, host countries of the 2004 and 2008 World Youth Day celebrations, along with groups from France, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Croatia.

Many of them elected to stay on even after the long celebration and the Angelus. The square continued to resound with applause, drum rolls, and occasional shouts of acclaim for the Pope, who reciprocated with an unprogrammed gesture.

After returning to the Papal apartments (having prayed the Angelus on the Piazza this time instead of from his study window), he showed himself at the study window to acknowledge their cheers. They responded with a huge ovation.

“I wish you all a good Sunday and a good lunch,” he said.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he added, referring to a scheduled audience with some 5000 university students Mondah morning at Aula Paul VI. The students are holding their 39th annual meeting inspired initially by St. Josemaria Escriva Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 10/04/2006 22.47]

00Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:28 AM
In this week’s magazine of the Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung, papal biographer and journalist Peter Seewald answers some questions about the Pope.

1. Is he lonely at the Vatican?

Can’t imagine that: In the papal household there are four lay sisters, a valet and two private secretaries. When he looks out the window on Sundays, in the first 5 months as Pope alone, he could greet 600,000 of the faithful – a record number. And he also takes time some nights to spend a few hours in his old home.

2. What does he miss most?

John Paul II, walking through the streets of Borgo Pio, vacations with brother Georg in Bad Hofgastein.

3. Does the Pope have burdens?

He goes to confession, because he is “just as weak as other men.” Ratzinger has never smoked, he drinks wine and beer in 'homeopathic' doses at most. He has made a bet on
a drink at least once: An Irish journalist was convinced that this German cardinal would end up in Peter’s Chair one day. Much later, he received a letter with a bottle of Old Bushmills Irish Whiskey saying “His Holiness remembers the bet.”

4. What's with the dark rings around his eyes?

Wojtyla was 58 when he became Pope – he was young and strong. Ratzinger was 78, and by nature, was never a Hercules. As Pope, he heads the biggest organization in the world!

5. Is Benedict doing anything different?

Yes, in subtle thoughtful ways. He has done away with the obligatory hand kissing, he replaced the tiara (symbol of earhly power) on the Papal coat of arms with a simple Bishop’s miter, and has given up the title “Patriarch of the West” as an ecumenical gesture. Synods have been reduced in length, speeches have been cut down. Wojtyla was used to speaking in the first person, Ratzinger has started to use the pronoun “we” again in order to highlight the idea of collegiality.

6. What are his themes?

He holds tradition to be very important and he wants to shake Christendom out of its lethargy. One of his favorite words is ‘purification” – above all, for the Church itself. He considers Jesus as someone who promotes self-questioning – a feel-good Church contradicts this. And he considers the goal of ecumenism to be “the re-establishment of full and tangible unity” among the Christian churches.

7. In what ways does he differ from John Paul II?

Much less than most people think. “I hear him and I see him speaking,” he has said. “We are close together now in a new way.” Rarely has a Pope stood at the beginning in such a spotlight, yet in the shadow of his predecessor’s giant legacy. But Ratzinger has managed to bring about a seamless fusion of two Pontificates, which no one had thought possible.

8. What is a typical day like for the Pope?

He gets up around 6 a.m., he celebrates Mass in the private chapel, eats breakfast and proceeds to work. On Wednesdays there is the general audience; on Sundays, the Angelus. He gives Communion lessons, visits the sick, baptizes babies, receives ambassadors, heads of government, rabbis. Unlike Wojtyla, he rarely has guests at mealtime, and he goes to bed earlier.

9. One sentence to describe him?

“He knows how to shoot down fools” (according to football coach Giovanni Trapattoni)
[The German equivalent of the saying “He doesn’t suffer fools gladly.”]

10. A sentence from Benedict?

“Strive for goodness, not for gain.”

11. What is the meaning of the encyclical “Deus caritas est”?
It serves as the keynote to his pontificate. Der Spiegel described it as “a song in praise of love”. In this encyclical, the Pope urges the liberation of eros from its imprisonment in self-indulgence and (says) that man’s acceptance of his physical nature finds its rooted-in-creation form in the indissoluble bond of marriage between a man and a woman.

12. Who does the Pope pray for?

It depends on what is happening in the world. For peace in Iraq, for the victims of Bad Reichenhall [where the collapse of the roof on an ice-skating rink killed dozens of Germans), for Abdul Rahman [the Catholic convert from Afghanistan]. In this month of April, one of the
Papal prayer intentions is that women’s rights may be respected in all parts of the world.

13. What does he dislike most?

Improvised, do-it-yourself Masses.

14. What is he doing with the iPod that was given to him?

Ratzinger is completely without technical abilities. I cannot imagine how an iPod can help him. He would much rather play something on his old piano, preferably Mozart, Bach and Palestrina.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 13/04/2006 6.02]

00Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:48 AM
From Canadian Catholic News, an interesting appraisal of Pope Benedict by the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada:

Apostolic Nuncio
celebrates the Pope's teaching

While Canada's apostolic nuncio describes the late Pope John Paul II as the world's greatest spiritual leader in the last quarter century, the Vatican's ambassador also sees a wonderful continuity in the papacy of Benedict XVI.

"For me, he (Benedict) is a kind of St. Augustine of our time," said Archbishop Luigi Ventura as he reflected on the year since John Paul's death April 2, 2005.

"His gift to me is the gift of teaching, this kind of deep insight into the culture."

Benedict displays not only erudition, but he is "a man of deep wisdom" who has the ability to simplify complex truths, to take "simple words" to describe "great things" and thereby "making them accessible," he said.

"He is watering the roots of the faith."

In an interview at the Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican's embassy) in Ottawa March 29, Ventura said the personalities of the two men could not be more different.

Pope John Paul II was media-friendly. His training as an actor helped him to face the crowds. He had a strong, baritone voice that rang out over St. Peter's square.

John Paul was an authority figure, not through political power or strength, but through his faith and the fact that "he kept his style as a man."

While Ventura does not know Benedict as well personally as he did John Paul, he has not been surprised he has not lived up to the negative image as a Vatican enforcer.

He admits the image was "not so positive," but it came with the job as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that Benedict held as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger since 1981.

Ventura said Benedict turned down the job two or three times. He believed his vocation was teaching and he was happy as a university professor in Munich. But out of obedience, he eventually accepted the call.

Benedict's personality is warm, Ventura said, and the common people in the Church sense this. He said he was surprised during a recent Rome trip to see the size of the crowds to hear the pope pray the Angelus on Sundays.

Benedict, however, is a shy man who is not as media-friendly as his predecessor.


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00Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:48 AM
Just take a look whose picture is on the top of this Message Board:
and if you roll down you'll find some comments, but that's a different kind of board.
00Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:56 AM
How odd to find the Pope illustrating a message board by fans of royalty! Obviously the members consider the Pope "royalty", because they not only have his picture at the top of the message board- they also include his schedule (via link tot he vatican website) for the week! The picture of him that they use certainly looks very "royal" - too bad the titles cover his face!
00Thursday, April 13, 2006 1:00 AM
Found on the Polish site for Papa's upcoming visit:

Book Autographed By Benedict XVI
Fetches 11,000 Polish Zloty

Fódz 2006-04-11 22:08:34

Nearly 80,000 Polish zloty was raised during an auction "Painted With Hope." The auction, which sold ostrich Easter eggs, paintings, and other art works, was organized on April 10 in Fódz by the Catholic Association of the Disabled of the Archdiocese of Fódz.

A book by Joseph Ratzinger, "The Europe of Benedict: In the Crisis of Cultures," with an autograph of Benedict XVI, fetched the highest price of 11,000 PLN.

The proceeds from the auction will go to the rehabilitation of the 8-year-old Michal Sroczynski. "It was a miracle the child did not die in the fire. The boy was saved by his grandfather, who several days later died of extensive burns incurred. Over 80% of the boy’s body was charred. He was comatose for a month. So far he has had 12 surgeries and grafts in a Katowice hospital. There are more to come," says Fr. Piotr Kosmala, chaplain of people with disabilities.

It was the fifth public sale of this kind. Last year’s one fetched 44,000 PLN. "I was a bit apprehensive at first as there were fewer people than usual. Still, those who did come were just great," observes Fr. Kosmala.

The asking price of all the works – ostrich Easter eggs and paintings – was 200 zloty. Each was sold for a higher price. An Easter egg made by Danuta Muszynska-Zamorska, featuring an image of a child holding a kitten, fetched 7,000 PLN.

Still, the auction’s record is held by the Ratzinger book. Its asking price was 24.50 PLN, the bookstore cover price. It was bid up fiercely to eventually reach the price of 11,000 zloty. The highest bidder was a deputy to the Polish Parliament, Piotr Misztal, the most active participant in the vendue.
00Thursday, April 13, 2006 1:11 AM
Also from the Polish site, this very sensible open letter to his countrymen by Dariusz Kowalczyk, S.J., dogmatic theologian and Provincial of the Wielkopolsko-Mazowiecka Province of the Society of Jesus:

Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to Poland provides an opportunity for the strengthening of our faith mainly in the ecclesial dimension. This means, among others, that our love to the Church and the Pope may become more profound. Such a more profound attitude will be marked by a transition from the kind of thinking: "We love the Holy Father, since he is our great compatriot," to the attitude: "We respect and love the Bishop of Rome, since we look at him with faith as the Christ’s Representative."

I expect much of Benedict XVI’s homilies and sermons. I like his style of writing and speaking very much, as it is convincing thanks to its inner cohesiveness and power of logical argumentation.

I would very much like Poles to prepare themselves for the pilgrimage, for instance by reading at least one book by Joseph Ratzinger. I would recommend interviews with Cardinal Ratzinger: “The Ratzinger Report", “Salt of the Earth", or “God and the World". May we really listen attentively to what the Pope is saying. I hope that we will not deafen his words by our chanting “Bene-detto!"

Benedict XVI is not a man of the media in the sense of John Paul II, but he possesses his own genuine, inner light which makes a lot of people attend the audiences and the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square. This number of the faithful is on the rise. I have no doubt that we will welcome the Pope in large numbers and with joy.

Naturally, one cannot but mention John Paul II in such moments, but I trust that these memories will not consist in unwise comparisons between “our" Pope and “this" Pope. Benedict XVI himself frequently recalls his predecessor and will no doubt do this also during his visit to Poland. Let us remember, however, that this pontificate is not only the continuation of the preceding pontificate. Benedict XVI has got his signature style and his focus in preaching.

The Pope likes Poles and will most probably feel at home among us. We need to remember, though, that he is nearly 80. He is not as young as John Paul II in the early years of his pontificate. Let us allow him to make proper use of his physical strength during his stay in Poland. Let us allow Benedict XVI to be himself and let us draw on his spiritual and intellectual wealth.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 13/04/2006 1.59]

00Thursday, April 13, 2006 2:27 AM
Here is a translation of a review that appears in the April 15, 2006 issue of STERN, the German newsmagazine, about a documentary to be aired thisweek to mark Pope Benedict's first year as Pope.

In the footsteps of Cardinal Ratzinger
By Esteban Engel

The German-French cultural channel ARTE is presenting a documentary on the Pope for Easter. The transformation of Joseph
Ratzinger to Pope Benedict XVI is presented as an intellectual adventure.

From “God’s Rottweiler” to “Wir sind Papst!” (We are Pope!) – One year after the election of Benedict XVI, the man on Peter’s Chair still poses many questions for the public. Whether as “Panzerkardinal” or darling of the masses, the first German Pope since the Reformation awakens hopes as well as doubts among observers and the public.

The documentary by Arte is entitled “Der raetselhafte Papst” (The puzzling Pope) and will be first aired on Holy Saturday, April 15, at 21:35.

For the 52-minute film, Ludwig Ring-Eifel and Thomas Schroeder interviewed admirers and critics of the Pope, his colleagues during his long career, philosophers and Vatican experts, filming in the places associated with the Pope.

Most puzzling above all to the film-makers is Ratzinger’s transformation from theological hardliner to a media-effective Pontiff, who was able to cast a spell on a million youth in Cologne.

“I still cannot grasp his character,” says Ring-Eifel. Although his cameras got as far as the Papal chambers, it was not possible to arrange for an interview during the allotted production time.

From the young theologian who advocated an opening of the Church to the world in the Second Vatican Council, Ratzinger became a critic of liberation theology and then the highest guardian of the faith in the Catholic Church.

When Ratzinger first appeared in public as the new Pope shortly after he was elected, the black garments of the Defender of the faith were to be seen under his white Papal robes. [It was a sweater, he was feeling cold - nothing symbolic about that!]

“Of course he is dogmatic, but what else is the Church about but dogma?” asks Alain Finkelkraut. The French philosopher, who is Jewish, is fascinated by the Pope’s timelessness – “The Holy Spirit has resisted the Zeitgeist,” he comments, and finds that a good thing. Finkelkraut is one of the most stimulating among those interviewed.

Mostly, it is the “abrupt” transformation from introverted Progfessor to media darling that raises a lot of questions.
Peter Sloterdijk says that Ratzzinger “re-programmed’ himself from a a Church autocrat into a Pope. “When God bestows an office, he also grants knowledge – and charisma,” he adds.

But some professional Vatican watchers are not satisfied. Luigi Accatoli, Vatican correspondent for Corriere della Sera says that with the German Pope succeeding the popular John Paul II, the journalists’ work has become more difficult.
[This misrepresents Accatoli somewhat, as his articles about Benedict have mostly been positive and has even given talks in praise of him .]

Fr. Eberhard von Gemmingen, who directs the German service of Vatican radio, warns against expecting from Benedict the sort of media appearances that Wojtyla made familiar. German Bundestag President Norbert Lammert says briefly, “ He is not someone amenable to prediction.”

The Pope does not “talk much.” Cardinal Karl Lehmann says, “In Rome, it is a good thing that one does not talk too much.”

He says that the Pope has behaved in the past year like a good German parish priest: “One year to observe, to listen, and then he decides,” says the chairman of the German Bishops Conference.

The Pope’s former colleague Hans Kueng says his hopes have been dampened, and thinks the Pope has been arrested in time
“within the old Church”.

Sloterdijk counters, “The Pope needs to be spiritually 2000 years old... He must be immune to the passage of time.” Fr. Von Gemmingen adds, “He must remain mysterious.”

The problem with TV documentaries is that one seeks to present or develop a line of thought that is supported by brief soundbites in place of solid arguments.

The German parliamentarian made the "safest" and most noncommittal evaluation by simply saying this Pope is unpredictable. It's an adjective that turns up in most of the
first-year reviews about Benedict so far.

If they cannot identify their idea of a pattern in what he has said and done in the past 12 months, then 'unpredictable' is as safe and neutral a word as they can come up with. But unpredictable is good because they can never take him for granted.

The more incisive analysts have judged rightly that this Pope is his own man, he does not hesitate to show this, he knows his own mind, and he will let us know, by word and deed, what he thinks at the appropriate time.

But it's all part of the phenomenon of Benedict XVI - and the Catholic Church as an institution - that the whole world is discussing the attributes, the achievements and the potential of a man who is 79 years old as they would discuss some other world leader in his prime. It's a discussion that was halted prematurely - in terms of current attributes and potential - for John Paul II by illness.

I must credit this review for one thing - the writer is probably the first journalist to describe Benedict as the "darling of the masses," something almost none of his colleagues has been prepared to say so far, even if they report and acknowledge the record crowds that Benedict attracts.

It is not clear to me, however, whether the documentary itself uses the term. It would be wonderful if it did, wonderful that two German film-makers would have the balls to go against 'conventional thinking' in the media, where most writers convinced themselves from the very beginning that no one, but no one, could conceivably match John Paul's attractions.

They turned John Paul's mediagenic personality into a stereotype itself, forgetting that charisma is always individual, and thefore manifests in different ways; and that, to quote from Monsignor Comastri's introduction to a new book on Benedict's first year as Pope, "God does not like clones.'

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00Thursday, April 13, 2006 6:18 AM

Famiglia Cristiana, Italy's most widely-circulated magazine, has a Pope Benedict special issue this week to mark the first year of his Papacy. Fortunately, they have made all of the articles available online. I will translate the most important ones and maybe excerpt from the rest, but here's the line-up:

The Pope of love and joy - Interview with Cardinal Ruini
The sincere kindness of an expert in humanity - by Cardinal Bertone
His 'concrete gestures' for Christian unity - by Enzo Bianchi, head of the Bose community
A man of words who sows deeply - by Andrea Riccardi, head of the Sant'Egidio Community
For the young people, he is already their father - by Don Paolo Giuletti
A Pope who advocates the new Pentecost - by Chiara Lubich, head of the Focolari movement
"Viva Karol" aNd "Go, Joseph!" - by Alberto Chiara
Benedict and the Paolini, apostles of the avant-garde - by Alberto Bobbio
He shows us the truth - by Luigi Alici

Here is the Editor's Note that introduces the special:

On the road of joy

The encyclical Deus caritas est has not only characterized these last few months. The theme love of God has been the profound mirror of this pontificate and has confounded every programmatic consideration proposed by ill-advised commentators one year ago when they painted the new Pope as “the guardian of the faith,” “the mastiff of orthodoxy,” almost as if this was a heartless man who would be a cold and rigid Pope, someone who had emerged from the dark dungeons of what many still insist on calling the ex-Holy Office.

But a mind and free intellectual like Joseph Ratzinger always defies prefabricated and preconceived concepts. In the ample service that we present in the pages of this special, two cardinals who know him well speak of him, and confirm how muich the world, and at times, even the Church itself, has judged him so mistakenly.

This year, Benedict XVI has offered the world the image of a humble Church which places itself at the service of the faithful, which indicates the road for them to follow and which seeks out men and women as individuals to speak to and to take by the hand along the chosen road. But the Pope has not stopped simply at indicating the parth with extended arm and pointing finger.

He has made the first steps and waits, he has shown in so many speeches that there is still much to do in translating the gifts of faith into the language of today’s culture.

He has used the past year to show that there is logic in faith, that it is not a folly for visionaries, not something reserved for people who are psychologically unstable. In the encyclical, he cited one of the German philosophers who is among the so-called “masters of suspicion,” those for whom faith poisons life, so that even if one has faith, you should not show that you believe in God lest you end up poisoning even your neighbor’s life! Today, in this world, even in Italy, there are many who think the same way.

Instead, Benedict tries to teach the reasons for faith. He did this masterfully during his session with the youth in St. Peter’s Square last week. He has shown time and again that he is very concerned most especially about the crisis in truth, and he has done this most with young people, a sign that this a strategic theme for him.

He has invited us to recognize the power and trhe substance of the faith, namely God’s love, in the ways through which this has been taught by the doctrine over centuries. In Cologne, he spoke of a “revolution” that is needed in order to liberate the true kernel of the faith from the incrustations if centuries. It could be the key to the first year of his pontificate, the criterion against which to measure many of the words that Pope Benedict XVI has said.

He has been able to gather naturally the legacy of John Paul II’s long Papacy. But one year after Wojtyla’s death, he also said that that legacy meant to move ahead! If even gestures and images can tell us something, it must be noted that he celebrated the Mass to mark his predecessor’s death anniversary in a red chasuble embroidered with shells, the symbol of pilgrimage, as well as a natural instrument for carrying water, thus implying both refreshment and satisfaction of thirst, as well as moving forward. Benedict proposes a missionary Church.

Father Sorge writes in the latest issue of Aggiornamenti sociali, the magazine he edits for the Jesuits of Milan: “At the start of the third millenium, Benedict XVI has assembled the Identikit of a rejuvenated Church: which proposes social doctrine without imposing it; which practices social charity without political ends, free of ideologies and parties; which “serves” without ulterior motives, not even of proselytizing; that is always actively working but also always in prayer. This is the Church as the family of God who is love.”

Best wishes, Benedict XVI.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 13/04/2006 8.56]

00Thursday, April 13, 2006 8:24 PM
Seewald book
Reading the interview with Peter Seewald prompts me to ask if anyone knows if his biography of Papa has been released in English.
Teresa, you do a yeoman's job putting up translations of so much material. I know I speak for many who appreciate all you do. I look forward to the articles regarding Benedict's first year.

00Thursday, April 13, 2006 10:18 PM
65 countries to see Pope's televised Easter message

Apr. 13 (CWNews.com) - At least 102 different television networks, from 65 different countries, will broadcast the Urbi et Orbi message on Easter Sunday by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which coordinates plans with broadcasters, reports that 58 networks have made arrangements to carry the Easter morning Mass, at which Pope Benedict will be presiding for the first time since his election. Last year Pope John Paul II was too ill to preside.

After the morning Mass. Pope Benedict will read his Easter message, following the papal tradition by delivering his greetings in many different languages before giving his blessing. The Pope will deliver this Urbi et Orbi message from the central loggia of St. Peter's basilica. The Urbi et Orbi message draws more media attention than any other event during Holy Week and Easter.

The Easter message will be the third Urbi et Orbi greeting by Pope Benedict XVI. He delivered the first such message on April 19, 2005, immediately after his election. The next came on Christmas Day.

Last year, the effort by Pope John Paul to deliver his Easter message provided a highly emotional moment, as the ailing Pontiff struggled unsuccessfully to speak. With pain and frustration etched on his face, the Pope eventually abandoned the effort to talk, and silently traced the Sign of the Cross in benediction. Less than a week later he was dead.

This year, Easter Sunday will be celebrated on the Pope's birthday; Pope Benedict-- who was born on Holy Saturday, and baptized at the Easter vigil that same evening-- will be 79 years old.

00Friday, April 14, 2006 4:46 AM


I don't think the Seewald book has been printed yet in English. Chances are when it is, it will be through Ignatius Press. They have recently put out 3 or 4 of Papa's books or sets of homilies. I just picked up God's Revolution (World Youth Day speeches) and Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures from Ignatius. Their website will have word on upcoming releases. I'm eager to get Seewald's book too and also his coffee table book with photos that came out shortly after Papa was elected.

00Friday, April 14, 2006 1:17 PM

Thanks. I am regular visitor to Ignatius' web site. Just thought there might be another publisher in the picture.
I too recently got God's Revolution. Didn't know about the coffee table book. Will certainly make a place on my coffee table for that!
A joyous Easter to you. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

00Sunday, April 16, 2006 3:36 AM
[Look what I found.]

From God’s rottweiler to 'my German Shepherd’ – the transformation of Pope Benedict

By Elizabeth Day
(Filed: 16/04/2006)

The Pope’s fearsome reputation as a defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy earned him the nickname of “God’s ­rottweiler”.

But now, the first papal fan club aims to show the Bavarian-born Pope Benedict’s softer side – with a range of car bumper stickers emblazoned with “I [heart] my German Shepherd”.

From beer steins...
The Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club, which offers visitors a chance to purchase a range of papal mugs, stickers, sweatshirts and baseball caps, has become one of the most popular religious websites on the internet.

The fan club, which was launched in the days after Pope Benedict’s election, a year ago this week, has generated an increasing demand for its exclusive Pope-ware. Among the most sought-after items are a black-and-white “trucker-style” baseball cap with the word “Papist” written in Gothic script across the front, which sells for $11.99 (about £6.84). Beer tankards featuring a picture of the first German Pope (£8) and car stickers with “Proud 2 B Papist” (£1.99) are also proving popular.

It is not the image one traditionally associates with the ultra-conservative Pope Benedict, who earned a reputation as a ferocious enforcer of Catholic doctrine during his 24 years as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His hard-line stance on issues such as homosexuality and abortion prompted some to call him “the panzerkardinal”.

This has done nothing to dampen the ardour of his admirers. The fan club sells up to 50 items each month. There are no subscription fees, but 300 people have signed up to receive regular e-mail updates.

It is not the first time that items related to Pope Benedict have stirred considerable interest on the internet. Last May, a clapped-out Volkswagen Golf once owned by the Pope was sold on eBay for £130,497 after attracting 8.5 million visitors to the internet auction site.

...to baseball caps
Christopher Blosser, 32, the founder of the fan club, said that he designed the site “to express gratitude and appreciation for Pope Benedict by those who read and enjoyed his works”.

The fan club also provides links to all of Pope Benedict’s major writings, both as Pope and in his former role as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Mr Blosser, a web designer from Queens, New York, said: “We originally set up a Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club as a response to his critics, who portrayed him as some sort of ultra-conservative Grand Inquisitor or Darth Vader of the Vatican.

“The best way one can respond to the absurdity of such criticisms was with humour. What could be more humorous than a fan-site?

“When he was elected Pope, we founded the Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club and launched the range of merchandise.

“We started getting thousands of visitors where previously we’d only have got a few hundred.

“We have a pretty active discussion forum as well. Visitors come from all around the world – predominantly the United States, Canada and the UK as it is an English-language website, but also from the rest of Europe, Africa, Russia, China, Japan, India, islands in the Pacific – and even a few visitors from the Vatican, although we don’t know who.”

The Pope, who is 79 today, is said to be aware of the fan club’s existence.

“A 15-year-old student once presented Cardinal Ratzinger with one of our T-shirts on a visit to Rome,” said Mr Blosser. “Apparently, he laughed at it and enjoyed it, but ended up returning the gift 'because he couldn’t be his own fan’, which we took as another sign of his great humility.”
00Sunday, April 16, 2006 8:15 PM
There can be no more moving expression of good wishes for Papa's birthday today than that from his brother Georg. One cannot read it without being overcome with great emotion. Thanks to Avvenire for this story, here in translation.

The brothers Ratzinger in Pentling in January 2005,
Joseph's last visit to his hometown


They will talk to each other today by telephone. Georg Ratzinger and his brother Joseph. Not only for Easter greetings, but also for the Pope’s birthday.

Benedict XVI was born on the night of Holy Saturday 79 years ago on April 16, 1927, and was baptized a few hours later, on Easter morning, with the water newly blessed at the Easter Vigil.

“I want to greet Joseph for his birthday directly,” said Mons. George Ratzinger, who has remained in Regensburg for the Easter holidays. “I do not want him to miss my greetings.”

Meanwhile, Don Georg, who was Choirmaster at the Regensburg Cathedral for more than 40 years, wrote his brother an open letter for publication, from his house near the Cathedral.

The letter is framed with great affection and moving words. Here is the text of the letter:

“Dear Joseph,

naturally I hope to greet you directly by voice on your birthday, but I do not want you to miss my greetings even through this public manner in the newspapers.

Dear Joseph, may your many decades of hard theological work orient you and help you in the execution of the great task that God has conferred on you in the full universality of the mission.

May the Lord give you spiritual and intellectual inspiration, but also the physical strength, to be able to make the right decisions, to find the right words, and to remain courageous and firm amid the waves, which, according to God’s secret design, now surround and assail the Church and therefore, even you.

May God grant to us, in these final years of our lives, a minimum of brotherly togetherness with the joy and the warmth that we have always known.

Oremus pro in vicem. Let us pray for each other.

With great affection,
Your brother Georg

We can all revisit these photos captured from video by Simone which shows Georg's arrival in Castel Gandolfo last summer, and how Papa came down to the courtyard to meet him. I love the photo where Papa is putting his hand out to hold his brother's elbow!

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00Sunday, April 16, 2006 10:48 PM
The Pope arrived in Castel Gandolfo this afternoon by helicopter for a week's rest. He will take the helicopter to and from the Vatican on Wednesday for the general audience.

He appeared unexpectedly at the front window of the Papal Palace in Castel Gandolfo shortly after his arrival and gave his blessing to the crowd that had gathered.

Earlier, the assembled crowd, many of them young people, chanted "Be-ne-det-to" continually. The Pope's unscheduled window appearance was obviously in response to the clamor.
They sang Happy Birthday to him.

The Pope will spend his summer mountain holiday for the second year in a row in Les Combes, northern Italy, from July 11-28.

This was announced today by Luciano Caveri, president of the Val D’Aosta region, and Alberto Cerise, who represents Val D’Aosta as the regional representative at the Holy See.

Radio Vatican spoke to French Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger earlier this week about Pope Benedict XVI. He said this:

"Benedict XVI has the strength and the wisdom to work his own individual charisma with modesty and patience. He has not sought to imitate John Paul II. In France, many admire him most for his way of teaching the faith, not as a professor or a professional theologian. He is truly a wonderful teacher, a didact, who is able to open the hearts of those who listen. That is a very special gift."

A recent survey by the German magazine Stern showed that 53% of Germans have a favorable opinion of the Pope’s first year in office.

14% of those surveyed said they were “very satisfied,” 39% were “satisfied”, but 36% said they still had no opinion. 8% said they were “not too satisfied “and 3% said they were “not satisfied at all.”

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/04/2006 2.32]

00Sunday, April 16, 2006 10:59 PM
Here is a translation of an article in today's issue of Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops conference:


bY Pierangelo Giovanetti

Joseph Ratzinger loved to spend holidays in his suburban home in Regensburg- New Year’s Day, All Saint’s Day, Pentecost. Sometimes his birthday even, if he happened to be in Bavaria in April.

Professor Reinhard Richardi, well-known jurist and retired university professor, along with his wife Margarete, president of social services for the Bavarian Catholic women’s organization, are among Pope Benedict’s closest friends. Since he became Pope, he has invited them three times to the Papal apartments for lunch and a friendly chat.

On his 79th birthday today, the Richardis sent the Pope a special greeting:
“Holy Father, we are expecting to see you here in Regensburg in September. It will be a people’s feast, a great moment for the faith and for the rediscovery of our Christian roots - a reawakening of the profound soul of Germany and all of Europe.

"Pope Benedict, your Bavaria awaits you with joy and enthusiasm. May the Lord bless you and assist you always in your high mission as guide of the universal Church.”

From Regensburg, where his brother Georg lives and where the Pope still has his home and his legal residence, the birthday and anniversary messages have been going to Rome in great numbers - from friends, acquaintances, simple citizens, the faithful who remember him taking the bus to the city to remain in prayer at the Cathedral, something he continued to do up to his last visit there in January 2005, a few months before he became Pope.

The suburb of Pentling recently opened an exhibit called “Einer von uns ist Papst” (One of us is Pope), with more than 50 personal items donated or lent to the citizens of Pentling by the Pope. It includes manuscripts, rare books, an icon of Mary as well as items like a candleholder and a desk clock. And many photographs of Ratzinger as a child, with his family, and from his years as priest and professor.

“The Pope cannot wait to come to Bavaria,” Richardi says. “In September, he will be with us for a week. There will be a mass on a field outside Regensburg which people are already calling ‘the Pope’s meadow.’ He will be tracing the stages of his life, a trip of remembrance to the places which marked his life and career, starting from Marktl-am-Inn, where he was born.

His wife adds, “He told us happily how he was able to work out a free day in Regensburg without public engagements or protocol, so that he can visit the graves of his parents and sister and spend some time with his brother Georg, to whom he is very attached. When we said farewell the last time at
the Vatican, he embraced us and said, ‘My heart beats as a Bavarian. But in my mission, I belong to the world.’”

The intensity of the ties between Joseph Ratzinger and Bavaria can be seen in the festivities for his brithday and the first anniversary of his Pontificate. Today, the daily newspaper of eastern Bavaria, the Mittelbayerische Zeitung, to which the Pope continues to subscribe, dedicated special pages to him, with special wishes from his friends and acquaintances.

Among them, that of Roland Buechner, present Choirmaster of Regensburg Cathedral, who assures the Pope of the prayers of the Regensburg Domspaetzen, the famous boys choir that his brother Georg lead for over 4 decades.

From Ulrich Hommes, a Regensburg-based philosopher who was Ratzinger’s colleague at the university and with hwom he co-authored a book called “Das Heil des Menschen” (The Salvation of Mankind):
“Holy Father, I wish for you that the Lord may give you strength and grace to continue being a shining example that the Church is young and carries in it the future of the world.”

Hubert Schoener, dean of the Colleggiata of Our Lady in the Old Chapel of Rregensburg, and a longtime friend of Ratzinger, said that it was truly a festive solemnity that the Pope’s birthday falls on Easter Sunday this year.

“This is a day the Lord made! May the joy of Easter and of all the Church fill his birthday as well, and may the Lord continue to give joy to him daily.”

Papa's house in Pentling.

Joy and celebration also prevail in Pentling. Therese and Rupert Hofbauer, his next-door neighbors, have been caretakers of his house and are preparing for his visit in September.

Therese said, “We think of him all the time, and we are confident that everything is in God’s hands.”

Rupert added, “We always send him honey from the bees in his garden, as well as candles made from Bavarian beeswax. We are looking forward to September. We will have the sweets that he loves so much, including strudel which my wife bakes for him.”

The Hofbauers in Papa's garden.

This hasn't been a good day for me. Besides the sabotage of the forum, I have problems with my server and I can't access anything that I have not already been logged to, so I can't check the German sources directly and all the other places I usually check. I feel so cut off.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/04/2006 0.03]

00Monday, April 17, 2006 8:48 AM
First, the good news. The Via Crucis telecast Friday night was watched by 5,536,000 viewers in Italy, a 23.67% share (almost one-fourth) of the audience in that time slot. Attendance at the Colosseum itself was past the 100,000 mark.

Now, the distressing and infuriating news. One year since he became Pope, Italian TV, particularly the state-run RAI, is still inexplicably unsympathetic, if not downright hostile, to Pope Benedict XVI. Our Italian consorelle have been fuming about this for months, but this time, considering that Pope Benedict is marking his first year as Pope, they were all hoping things could be better.

The main problem seems to be that the host of the top current affairs-interview program on RAI-1 is a diehard partisan of John Paul II and has never really accepted the fact that someone else is Pope now. During the year, he has not only not devoted any program to the new Pope, he also avoids any mention of him if he can, and if Benedict's name necessarily comes up in a discussion, he could be counted on to switch the topic immediately to John Paul.

Understandably, during the specials to mark the first anniversary of John Paul's death, RAI went overboard with their specials and homages to the late Pope, accompanied by various DVD releases of video specials about him.

Last week, they advertised a one-hour special on Benedict to air today, Easter Sunday, his 79th birthday. Well, none of the consorelle were hoping for much. But what came out was apparently worse. Not only was it not devoted to Benedict alone, it ended up being called "My Two Popes", and to add insult to injury, in the one-hour show, Benedict only rated a couple of minutes! And the show was used to tout the John Paul DVDs that RAI is selling.

I do not understand the power of this TV host - someone called De Carli - but he is still just an employee of RAI. So why are the executives of RAI allowing this blatant favoritism and prejudice to continue? Current affairs programs are news programs, not entertainment - they should be fair and balanced, to use an overused but nevertheless valid phrase to define what one strives to achieve in any news and current affairs presentation.

We can only hope there are enough Italians outraged enough to write RAI and protest this state of affairs.

Anyway, there were two other TV specials on Italian TV this weekend on Benedict. On TV7, the presentation was apparently factual, but the program host, another anti-Benedict type, elected not to make any comment at all about the Pope. Worse, they could not resist ending the show with the story of a girl who said she became a nun because she heard John Paul II on WYDin Rome in 2000. As Ratzigirl commented - for the one day of the year when it is the Pope's birthday, can't they even let him have a show all to himself?

Oh, and another thing, which Emma noted. This TV-7 special did not show anything of the Oct. 15 encounter with the First Communicants. Emma said there were three reasons for this - 1) St. Peter's Square was overflowing with people - i.e., too successful, can't show that!; 2) Papa was at his most engaging with the kids - i.e., don't play him up, can't show that! and 3) Papa explains things very well - another positive, nope, can't show that!

They could always say, of course, that it was not a major event, which they could not have said of Cologne, which they had to show because it was a major event whose success no one could possibly deny!

The 'best' of the three specials was one on TG4 (Mediaset - the one that belongs to Berlusconi, I think) which started with the praiseworthy and true premise that so far, this has been a Papacy of records in terms of 'audience participation', including and up to the Via Crucis of Friday.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/04/2006 21.39]

00Monday, April 17, 2006 9:23 PM
Re: RAI and Papa
My only link from Africa to Italy and Papa is RAI-International, which is part of the DSTV bunch of channels available here (at a cost, by the way....). My frustration has grown immensely during the past year. Admittedly, I cannot view the other RAI channels, but one would think the International Channel would be kind of non- partisan. I'm sure this De Carli-guy is the host I've seen ( by pure chance) last week. On his panel he had, inter alia, Sandro Magister, a Papa-fan. My Italian is bad, but not so bad that I couldn't get an idea of what was going on. I got the impression that the program was meant to be about Benedict and the past year (I may be wrong) but it somehow always ended up with John Paul II, using scenes of interviews in other places in Italy or Poland where JPII was discussed.

RAI International also show some of the main Masses and the Urbi et Orbi at Christmas and Easter. What can one do to improve their attitude to Papa....?
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