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

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00Tuesday, April 18, 2006 2:07 AM
God or the Girl
Papa B appeared briefly in the A&E television program, "God or the Girl" last night. It's an excellent production about four really great young guys trying to discern if they are destined to become priests, or to marry. I can't remember if it was episode 1 or 2 [SM=g27825] , but Joe went to WYD 2005 and there was a lot of footage of Cologne. They got a place on one of the streets where the Popemobile was scheduled to pass, and suddenly there was Papa coming down the street slowly in the Popemobile!!!!! When he got to Joe's spot, he looked over in that direction and waved. You could tell that Joe was very moved, he said he looked into Papa's eyes, but couldn't tell if Papa B actually looked at him or in his direction. But he was only a few feet away...

More episodes tonight. It is available on DVD too, go to their website www.aetv.com, or godorthegirl.com.
00Tuesday, April 18, 2006 3:32 AM
Here are some figures from Ratzi.lella about comparative program viewership on Easter Sunday in Italy.
On RAI-1, Papa's Easter Mass had 35.17% of audience share (2,689,000 viewers), which went up to 40.36% (3,838,000 viewers) for the Urbi et Orbi blessing. Although the percentages are higher than the Via Crucis on Friday, the Via Crucis had more viewers in terms of absolute numbers because it was broadcast at night, in prime time.

The RAI-1 "special on Papa Ratzinger" - which turned out to be "My Two Popes" instead, with a minute devoted to the current Pope in a one-hour program - had 17% of audience share in its time slot (at night).

I think Italian Catholics are getting a bum rap from their own media - we're always given the impression that even in Italy very few are interested in the faith anymore or follow its practices, but since Papa became Pope, the weekly ratings for the Sunday Angelus (I think even when he was at Les Combes last year) have been impressive, and other broadcasts of religious rites from the Vatican always rate very well!

Personally I think that if the Angelus ratings had fallen off after Benedict became Pope, RAI might have found it a good excuse to stop broadcasting teh Angelus, but if they keep getting up to 30% share for the Angelus broadcasts, they can't very well ignore the marketing they could get out of it.

MUSIC OF LORIEN...The bloggers have been buzzing about GOD AND THE GIRL for the past several days but you're the first one to mention that Papa plays a "cameo role" in it! How serendipitous for the camera crew that was following Joe (so Joseph saw Joseph! Perfect!)

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 18/04/2006 4.35]

00Tuesday, April 18, 2006 3:49 AM
I just read the post with Big Georg's open letter to his younger brother. WOW!!! That was very moving... I still have tears... May both brothers have many more healthy years ahead of them!
00Tuesday, April 18, 2006 6:55 PM

More than 4 million attended papal audiences, celebrations during first year of Benedict’s pontificate.

[Go, Papa!!!!]

Vatican City, Apr. 18, 2006 (CNA) - Today, the Vatican’s Prefecture of the Pontifical Household released attendance figures for Pope Benedict XVI’s General Audiences, held each Wednesday, as well as all other public events presided by the Holy Father at the Vatican during his first year of his pontificate.

During his first year as head of the Catholic Church, more 4 million people attended Pope Benedict’s public events. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected one year ago, on April 19 2005.

The report showed that the Wednesday general audience continued to draw important crowds to the new Pope, with more than a million people attending from April 2005 to April 2006 and an average of 24,000 each week.

The most popular event was the Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus with 1,875,000 people having attended.

Overall, for most of the major events, the peak months of attendance were October and November 2005, with an average 150,000 attending the Wednesday audience and 250,000 the Sunday Angelus during the two months.

The figures confirm the vitality of Vatican celebrations and events celebrated by the Pope, despite speculation that Benedict would struggle in succeeding the charismatic Pope John Paul II.

As last week’s Holy Week celebrations demonstrated, the Vatican continues to be a massive center of attention for the world.

00Tuesday, April 18, 2006 8:08 PM
Msgr. Ratzinger says papacy has not changed brothers' relationship

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- Msgr. Georg Ratzinger said having Pope Benedict XVI as a brother has not unraveled their strong fraternal ties or dimmed the deep affection the two feel for each other.

Soon after Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope April 19, 2005, Msgr. Ratzinger immediately told his younger brother that he was afraid his new mission as leader of the universal church would keep them apart and cool their friendship.

Instead, the changes to the brothers' relationship have not been so drastic, the 82-year-old musician and retired director of the famed Regensburg boys choir told the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, April 16.

"We still call each other up regularly and frequently, and we see each other every time it's possible," said the monsignor, who lives in the southern German city of Regensburg.

Though getting together is not as easy as it was before his brother became pope, Msgr. Ratzinger said the things they chat about and the affection they share have not changed.

The two Bavarian brothers were born three years apart and shared many similar experiences. Early in life, each felt a calling to serve the church as a priest, and they spent the first part of their seminary studies together in the city of Freising.

As young boys, they both were forced into military service under the Nazi regime, and both ended up in prisoner-of-war camps.

"When we were made prisoners by the Allies, our capture and imprisonment were like a liberation for us" because it brought the "un-Christian" military service to an end, Msgr. Ratzinger said.

Though Joseph Ratzinger spent six weeks in an Allied POW camp in Germany and Georg Ratzinger four months in a POW camp in Italy, both in 1945, each befriended other imprisoned Catholics, and get-togethers with theology students turned into "passionate discussions about faith," Msgr. Ratzinger told La Repubblica.

The two brothers also share an intense love of culture and music.

"From the time we were young, music and playing music together was a dimension of the divine message for us," Msgr. Ratzinger said.

But, like most siblings, the two brothers have disagreed, even over religious matters, he said.

"It's happened that, in the beginning, I would not understand some of his bold" decisions right away, he said. But, after some thought, he said he always realized his younger brother had been right.

His brother is able to "look at faith and the world from a different perspective" while the monsignor said his own views were perhaps more affected by everyday opinions.

Msgr. Ratzinger said the qualities he most admires in his brother are his unpretentious nature, his humble spirit, and the seriousness with which he tackles every task.

00Tuesday, April 18, 2006 10:19 PM
Papal Retirement Could Be Benedict's Toughest Decision
c.2006 Newhouse News Service

It is a season of obvious milestones for Pope Benedict XVI: his first Easter as the Roman Catholic pontiff, and the first anniversary -- on April 19 -- of his election as pope following the death of John Paul II. But a more personal marker, also on Easter, may wind up looming larger than many of the issues that have defined his freshman year: Benedict's 79th birthday.

While the pope seems to be in relatively good health, his advanced age raises delicate questions that the Vatican has long deflected.

Rome would like to leave the matter up to the Holy Spirit, but the question of papal resignation is forcing itself on the church. Advances in medical treatment and the emergence of the pontiff as both a global statesman and Catholicism's chief evangelist now mean that popes will be able to live into advanced stages of physical disability or senility even as demands on them increase.

If Benedict were ever to resign -- or be removed -- he would be the first pope to leave office alive in more than seven centuries, setting a precedent that could affect the future course of the papacy.

The late John Paul was in large part responsible for a new awareness of this dilemma. His heroic exploits in helping to bring down Soviet communism and his globe-trotting journeys increased what the Jesuit historian John W. O'Malley has called the "papalization" of Catholicism, which is to say that the pontiff has become a defining element of what it means to be Catholic. Yet John Paul's waning years, and especially the last agonizing months and weeks of his life, foreshadowed a crisis that will eventually overtake the church if there is no advance planning.

Despite his progressive deterioration, John Paul did nothing to address the issue. After his death it was revealed that he did not leave a living will, which his predecessor Paul VI is believed to have done, and his final testament showed that he ruled out the idea of stepping aside. Or, as he once said in a friendly warning to doctors about to operate on him, "There cannot be an emeritus pope."

The church should be looking for a better solution through a careful process marked by open discussion.

Canon law, which otherwise seems to have a rule on everything, offers little guidance. It's unusually vague on the matter of how, or even whether, a pope can resign. (Canon 332 states, "If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested, but not that it is accepted by anyone.") Priests, bishops and cardinals all retire. Only the pope serves for life.

Historians believe that perhaps a half-dozen popes ever resigned. That doesn't include the various papal coups and assassinations and depositions of the rough-and-tumble first millennium. The last voluntary retirement was in 1294, when Celestine V resigned after just three months as pope. (In the 15th century the Council of Constance compelled Gregory XII, one of three claimants to the Holy See, to resign in order to end the Western Schism.)

A simple hermit before his election, Celestine was 85 and overwhelmed by the office. His resignation brought little relief. The action threw the church into turmoil and Celestine's successor, Boniface VIII (who engineered the resignation), worried that Celestine would be a rallying point for a schism. So he confined him to a drafty castle tower where he died little more than a year later.

If those scenes are unlikely to be repeated, the tumultuous history of papal resignations does shed light on the risks of doing nothing. If there is no clear and accepted practice, then there is the danger of a papal resignation leading to a schism if part of the church views one man as divinely consecrated and the other a pretender.

Moreover, who would determine when a pope is non compos mentis? Who would pull the plug on a clinically dead pope? What is to be done with the "former" pope? The term doesn't even exist in church tradition. What would it even be called? A retirement? A resignation? Or an abdication?

There are endless permutations, but they all add up to an inevitable reality -- namely, that after centuries of avoiding the issue, the Catholic Church will soon have to figure out how to fill a major gap in the papal transition process.

What might Benedict do?

When elected last year, Joseph Ratzinger was the oldest man to attain the papacy since 1730, when another 78-year-old, Clement XII, was chosen. Clement lasted a decade, but he was blind, often bedridden with gout, and senile for much of his papacy, which witnessed a notable decline in papal fortunes.

Whether Benedict, now that he is pope, would consider resignation is not clear. In 2000, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told an Italian newspaper that John Paul would never resign. "I exclude it in the most absolute way. I really do not believe in such an eventuality." Two years later, however, Ratzinger told a German periodical that if John Paul saw absolutely that he couldn't continue, "then he would certainly step down; as long as it only means suffering, he will hold out." And in 2004 he told an Italian religious affairs magazine that with modern medicine prolonging lives, he couldn't rule out that term limits for popes would be necessary in the future.

In fact, the issue is not so much one of Benedict's age or health -- he suffered two small strokes more than a decade ago, and seems to have recovered -- but of finding a credible mechanism for resignation. Any pope, be he 58 (as John Paul was at his election) or 78, can be struck down by an unexpected illness.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit who is a leading political scientist of the church, has suggested a three-tiered procedure involving the College of Cardinals, the synod of bishops and then the assent of at least two-thirds of the world's hierarchy to declare the Holy See vacant. The procedure should be cumbersome enough, he suggested, so that it would not be too readily used.

Others have advocated a fixed retirement age or term limits, like the 10-year term served by the archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Anglican Communion. At the very least a new pope should make public a living will with clear directions on what he would like done in whatever eventuality may befall him, and with a clear mandate as to who is to execute the will. Anything less invites "a canonical nightmare," as Reese has said.

There may be no perfect solution. But ignoring the challenge is not an option, and would likely hurt the papacy in the long run by sowing doubts about a sick pope's status or a new pope's authority.

John Paul became almost larger than life as he diminished in vigor, largely because of who he was and because of the galvanizing legacy that defined the early years of his pontificate. While Pope Benedict XVI is popular enough -- as popes always are -- he enjoys no comparable reservoir of greatness, and the prospect of an infirm Benedict, or any future pontiff, would likely make the church seem rudderless and vulnerable rather than heroic.

One of the most apt characterizations of Benedict XVI is that he is not so much conservative as he is "old-fashioned." But Benedict cannot avoid the realities of modernity, nor would outlining a papal transition process necessarily signal a concession to secular expediency. Indeed, a graceful departure by Benedict when, and if, the time comes, on terms that would preserve the sanctity of the office, the person of the pope and the authority of the incoming pontiff, could come to be seen as a lesson every bit as valuable as John Paul's own farewell.

April 15, 2006

(David Gibson wrote this article for The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

00Wednesday, April 19, 2006 8:28 AM
I swear I thought I had posted this two days ago as soon as I had done the translation, as I remember working a bit on 'enhancing' the type face for the 'questions part, making it 11 points so it could be seen as they are not regular questions...but it's nowhere to be seen! I think I must have escaped after Anteprima without punching Rispondi so it never posted. Anyway, here's a translation of an interview published by the French service of ZENIT this weekend.

Anita Bourdin is a ZENIT correspondent accredited to the Vatican and she responds to a word-association game on Pope Benedict’s first year in office

Benedict XVI, who called his first encyclical Deus caritas est, wants to infuse this love into the Church, in all the offices of the Church, all the parishes, and familes, among the baptized, among Christians, among peoples.

And this word, for him, is inseparable from another one: truth, as a test of the authenticity of love. Judas, the Pope explained last Thursday, played a double game and hardened his heart with lies.

And if the Pope’s motto – that of Cardinal Ratzinger – says, with St. Paul, “Cooperatores veritatis”, co-workers in the truth, it is also co-workers in a spirit of love.

To evangelize, he has said, is to let the love of Christ penetrate everywhere.

One sentence.
What the Pope said on his first Mass as Pope on April 20 in the Sistine Chapel: to achieve Christian unity, words are not enough, concrete actions are needed.

All that he has said this year about Chrisitian unificaiton, which he has designated as one of his priorities, is oriented in that direcTIon.

And so the quick decision he made to go to Turkey to visit Phanar, the seat of the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, was made in that context. It was not possible to do it last year for the feast of St. Andrew, brother of St. Peter and patron of the Church of Constantinole, but it will push through this year.

In receiving delegations from other Christian communities, he has reaffirmed forcefully the “irreversible commitment” made by Vatican–II towards Christian unification.

The same intention was shown in the Pope’s consultations with the cardinals about dialog with the followers of Bishop Lefebvre.

This Pope has been very sensitive to relations with Oriental Christians. And as a German, he has been equally sensitive to the dialg with the Protestants.

One address.
The one he gave to the Roman Curia last December 22. It was a masterful exposiiton of the legacy of Vatican-II, its correct interpretation and execution. Benedict presented the Curia with an overview of the state of the Church in the light of John Paul II’s death, and discussed the World Youth Day in Cologne, the Year of the Eucharist, the Bishops Synod that had been called by John Paul on this subject, as well as the 40th anniversary of the end of Vatican-II.

For Benedict, a correct interpretation of Vatican-II would mean a great force of renewal for the Church.

But I also think of his Maundy Thursday homily during the Mass of the Chrism, when he talked to priests about friendship with Christ, and the priority of personal prayer and lectio divina as being the “authentic ministry.”

The Pope did not write a letter to priests on this day as John Paul II did, but he put all of his priestly soul into this homily. [This is the first journalist I have read who gives the same significance to this great homily as I did!]

A cause.
The family, He is looking forward to the World Encounter of Families in Spain next July.

An appeal.
For peace and justice. Specially in the Ivory Coast, around the great lakes of Africa, in Darfur. The young cleric who carried the Book of Benedictions on Palm Sunday was African – I thought that was a strong signal.

But of course, also for peace in Iraq and the Holy Land.

A visit.
The first parochial visit he made to the church where he was the titular cardinal. Then, the second parochial visit, where he conveyed a message from a homily that John Paul II had prepared but never delivered.

A language.
Polish. His pastoral concern that John-Paul’s compatriots should not feel abandoned has made him work at his Polish. He will be speaking their language when he goes there in May. From the beginning, at every audience, at every Angelus, he has taken care to address the Poleseir language.

A photo.
The Pope going up the Rhine in a boat, while the youth of the world were on the boat with him and along the banks, some of them up to their waist in water to greet him.

The Rhine, sign of a divided Europe once, as a river of peace, carrying along a pilgrim of peace. The Bavarian Pope returning to his country to lead the youth to the school of the Three Wise Men to learn how to adore Christ.

That trip showed the world the face of a Pope who is affectionate, spontaneous, despite his shyness. Now he enthusiastically kisses and blesses all the babies and children that are presented to him at the general audiences.

With young people, the word gets around. Recently, he told the students of UNIV 2006 that “friedship with Christ’ will be a source of happiness.

One could make an anthology of the messages that the Pope addreesed to young people this first year alone. Including what he told the youth on Palm Sunday about the Word of God – that each of them should have a Bible and read it!

And his words to the youth of Rome 12 days ago – spontaneous answers to their questions. No written text. He spoke from the fullness of his heart, even adopting a confiding tone, with his personal testimony of how facing the anti-human regime of the Nazis had confirmed him in his desire to be a priest. He conquered them.

The sound of the shofar[ram's horn] in the Cologne synagogue, with the gravity and emotion that it communicates, recalling the holidays of autumn and the day of forgiveness, Yom Kippur. The Pope himself was moved.

But he also felt a real joy in seeing that religious relations with Judaism, which have so evolved, continue and are progressing in a spirit of respect, dialogue and mutual recognition.

Also, the Biblical chants in Hebrew by a choir composed mostly of Eastern European emigres who have helped revive a Jewish community decimated by the Holocaust.

Who has had the most influence on the Pope?
John Paul II.

Benedict XVI, this “humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord,” in his homily at the funeral Mass on April 8, has made us imagine John Paul II at the window of the Father, looking down and blessing us; he made possible the immediate start of the beatification process which he opened on June 28 at the diocesan level. He refers often to his predecessor’s teachings on the work of Vatican-II.

There really is a strong and productive spiritual link. One would even say that the collaboration begun more than 25 years ago between them, has begun anew.

Which saint?
Joseph. And Augustine, of course. But also Benedict of Norcia.

On Friday, April 1, 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger received in Subiaco the St. Benedict Prize for the promotion of life and the family in Europe, on the eve of John Paul’s death, and on Tuesday, April 19, he succeeded him, choosing the name Benedict XVI. That morning of April 1, Pope John Paul II had called to his bedside his good friend Cardinal Ratzinger for their last meeting. He knew he was going to die soon.

Benedict has placed his Pontificate under the protection of St. Benedict, father of Western monasticism and patron of Europe. A nunnery at the Vatican is in the hands of Benedictine sisters, at the wish of John Paul II, a nice coincidence for this new Pope who is devoted to St. Scholastica, Benedict’s sister.

In his address in Subiaco, the cardinal evoked the cultural crisis and identity crisis which afflicts the old continent. He spoke of terrorism and the capacity to manipulate man biologically as two of the greatest threats to humanity today. He cited cloning and insisted that morality should not be confused with moralism. He deplored that European culture today excludes God from the “public conscience.”

And he underscored that “In Europe the culture that has developed is the most radical contradiction not only to Christianity but to the religious and moral traditions of all humanity,” and that “We should not lose sight of God if we do not wish human dignity to disappear.”

That is why, he said, “We need men like Benedict of Norcia who, in an epoch of dissipation and decadence, went underground into the most extreme solitude and succeeded after all the purification he underwent, to come back out into the light and to found the abbey at Monte Cassino, that city on a hill, and among the ruins, he put together the elements out of which a new world could be born.”

A continent.
Europe, precisely. I would summarize the Pope’s concern with Europe by the question John Paul II asked of France: “What have you done with your baptism?”

Which country?
China, which was also in the heart of John Paul. In his first speech to the diplomats accredited to the Holy See the day after his inauguration as Pope, Benedict expressed his wish to establish diplomatic relations even “with those who are far from us”. Then he named a Chinese cardinal to honor that great nation and its Christians but also to have within his “Senate” a voice for China. One must also remember that Benedict XV was a Pope who favored an opening to China.

And what has the Pope said about France this year?
On December 19th, Benedict received the new ambassador of France to the Holy See, M. Bernard Kessedjian, wwho presented his credentials. The Pope loves France, he speaks French elegantly, and he has, following the example of John Paul II, a sense of the spiritual mission of France.

He had these striking words to say on the anniversary of the 1905 French law on the separation of Church and State:
“As my predecessor Pope John Paul II recalled in his letter on February 11, 2005, to the bishops of France, the principle of laicity consists in a clear distinction of powers, which is in no way an opposition of powers and does not exclude the Church from taking an ever more active part in social life while respecting each other’s respective competencies… Such a conception can only promote the autonomy of the Church in its organization as well as in its mission.

“To this end, I welcome the existence and the actual encounters of dialog between the Church and civil authorities at all levels. I am sure that this will allow all the forces in play to be used for the good of all citizens and bear fruit in the life of society.”

A place.
The Sanctuary of Divine Love, the Marian shrine at the gates of Rome, which the Pope has decided to visit on May 1. This new sanctuary was built in fulfillment of a vow made by Romans during the second World War – it is, in some way, a shrine for Mary, Queen of Peace. He will also be visiting the Marian shrine at Altoetting in September. [And Cestochowa in Poland next month!]

A color.
The blue-and-white checkerboard flag of the state of Bavaria which dominated the plain of Marienfeld at WYD last August.

St. Corbinian’s bear on his coat of arms.

The pallium! The Pope wears a pallium that dates to the earliest days of the Church. He delivered a small lesson on the pallium in his inaugural homily on April 25. It is worn around the neck, and one end drapes on the left, over the heart.

It is made from the wool of lambs and of ewes raised by the Trappists of Tre Fontane, since Christ entrusted to Peter, according to John’s Gospel, (the task) to pasture his ‘lambs” and then his ‘ewes.’

The lambs are traditionally blessed by the Pope on the feast of St. Agnes and they are shorn on Holy Tuesday, just once: on that day, in the liturgy, the book of Isaiah evokes the suffering servant, the figure of Christ, who allows himself to be led like a mute lamb to be shorn. The wool is later spun and woven by the Benedictine nuns of St. Cecilia.

Benedict XVI chose the form of the pallium that is 2.6 meters long and 11 centimeters wide, similar to that worn in the first millenium, as one sees, for example, in the mosaics of St. Cecilia. It is decorated with 5 red crosses of silk, representing the wounds of Christ. Three of them, those that are on the shoulders, are also pierced with golden pins, representing the three nails of the Crucifixion.

In his homily, Benedict underscored above all the symbolism of the Good shepherd who goes in search of the lost ewe, represented by the pallium. It is bordered in black, to represent the hooves of the ewe.

One can also refer to Peter’s Chair – the Pope explained its meaning when he took possession of the Basilica of St. John Lateran the day after his election.

Which decision has marked this year?
The Pope’s consultation with the cardinals before the first consistory, signifying his desire to consult them and to govern with great concern for collegiality, for communio. He wants to rely more on meetings with his “senators”, never forgetting the charism of Peter, but always exercising it with humility.

He has dropped from his titles the one of “Patriarch of the West”, which has become obsolete and equivocal – the sense of the word “West” is very different today.

Benedict XVI has shown himself to be a man of dialog. He has the art of dialog on a par with his pedagogical gifts. He can deliver a 35-minute homily and make himself be understood by all.

He encourages dialog where it appears to be most difficult for theological, political and cultural reasons – with the Muslim world. And to do this without ever losing the Christian identity: Jesus is the Savior, the Redeemer of everyone!

Which book?

The Bible. He invites the young people to always have a Bible on hand, to become familiar with the Bible, to meditate on the word of God, both the Old andd New Testaments. The theme of WYD 2006 is for the first time taken from the Old Testament.

He elevated to Cardinal Fr. Vanhoye, a Jesuit and great exegete. He has invited both priests and the faithful to practice lectio divina. He is, in effect, a son of St. Benedict: Ora et labora. Pray and work.

An event.
The Resurrection of Christ, which the Pope said today concerns us today, because it changed “our life” and the “history of humanity.”

A gesture.
The benediction Urbi et Orbi from the Loggia of Benedictions, through which he communicates divine mercy to the whole world and grants the strength “to persevere in the good.”

00Wednesday, April 19, 2006 1:47 PM

Personally I think that if the Angelus ratings had fallen off after Benedict became Pope, RAI might have found it a good excuse to stop broadcasting teh Angelus, but if they keep getting up to 30% share for the Angelus broadcasts, they can't very well ignore the marketing they could get out of it.

That's quite possible and it severs them well!!! But still the RAI obviously does so much more than they do in Germany.
If we didn't have the Bavarian TV-Station (Bavaria is still a very catholic area, we would probably see nothing about Benedikt at all - apart from Urbi et Orbi.
So, we should be lucky that Benedikt comes from Bavaria and not from Northrhine Westph. or Lower Saxony, then the situation would definitely be even worse. [SM=g27825]
00Wednesday, April 19, 2006 4:20 PM
Every newspaper in Italy has a special section today to mark Pope Benedict's first year in office. From Corriere della Sera, here is a translation of an update of sorts on what goes on behind the walls of the Papal apartments. The photograph is a file photo from our own pages-

By Bruno Bartoloni

There’s a cat on the Pope’s desk. It is a tiny cat in polychrome ceramic which has always been with him and sits at the foot of a wooden statue of St. Joseph from Val Gardena.

Papa Ratzigner’s desk is very neat, decorated with a vase of flowers which the ladies of the household change daily. The ladies are Carmela, Emanuela, Loredana and Cristina, consecrated virgins (lay sisters) of ”Memores Domini”, the contemplative order of Communio e Liberazione.

On the walnut desk is a modern table lamp, a French Capuchin alarm clock, some essential books like the code of canon law and a volume of citations from the Scriptures, as well as a crystal dish with river stones, probably gathered from the banks of the Inn, the river that runs through his birthplace town.

But the object which the sisters must treat with the greatest care and respect is a Mont Blanc pen. Joseph Ratzinger has always written everything by hand. He has filled thousands of pages with his tiny script, with very little corrections or need to rethink.

His day begins very early, as is habitual from seminary life for every priest. His alarm clock goes off at 6 a.m., at the same time as that of his two secretaries.

His “shadow” is the German priest Georg Gaenswein,in his late 40s, ex-professor of canon law at the Santa Croce University of Opus Dei and ex amateur ski teacher to young seminarians, and whose physical attractions have aroused the admiration even of Italy’s First Lady, Franca Ciampi. Papa Ratzinger inherited his #2 secretary, the Polish Mons. Mieczyslaw «Mietek» Mokrzycki from John Paul II.

The Pope celebrates Mass at 7:30 in the private chapel, where his little third-floor “community” gather for meditation half an hour earlier. A recent addition to the household is the valet Paolo Gabriele, Paoletto to the his friends. In contrast to Papa Wojtyla, there are seldom guests at the private Masses and to breakfast.

Nothing has changed in the private chapel, except that the little image of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, so dear to Joh Panul II, has been transferred to the chapel of the Archbishop of Cracow.

Breakfast is Italian style – coffee and milk, bread, butter, jam, honey and toast.

The Pope then spends a couple of hours at his desk. He prepares for the audiences scheduled by the Prefect of the Pontifical Household vetween 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Pope has reduced the number of these audiences greatly.

Lunch is at 1:30. Again, guests are rare. The Pope lunches with his two secretaries, and whenever he is in town, his brother, don Georg, whose next visit ix ecpeted in early June. One of the little studio appartments built into the great attic of the Apostolic Palace was specially prepared for him. The sisters and the secretaries have their own attic apartments.

The lunch menu is likewise Italian style. Pasta is often on the menu, as well as meat and fish, accompanied by salads and vegetables from the papal farm in Castel Gandolfo. The Pope is virtually abstemious.

After a brief nap on a recliner, Benedict XVI has revived a tradition that was dear to Pius XII – a one-hour walk through the Vatican Gardens between 3-4 p.m., weather permitting, protected by his long red cloak.

As with his predecessor, the work rhythm slows down on Tuesdays after the Pope has written his text for the general audience the following day.

In the afternoons, he interrupts his personal work to meet in his private study with Cardinal Sodano, the secetary of State, or his deputy, Mns. Sandri. He usually meets with his successor at the CDF, Cardinal William Levada, late Friday afternoons.

Dinner is definitely not on Roman time, rather like college meals or mealtime for retired priests. Everyone is at table at 7:30 for supper, which is always light. At this time, the Pope watches the newscasts on TV, with Georg zapping the remote control to switch programs at pleasure.

At 9:15, the little community breaks up after a final moment of prayer in the private chapel.

Usually, the Pope then returns to his study to work or read some more, but passersby will rarely see lights still on in the Papal rooms after 11 p.m. Likewise, they would not hear it if the Pope played his piano because the apartment is protected by double windows.

However, his co-workers may avail themsleves of the post-supper hours to go into town, returning through the Sixtus V courtyard where a private elevator can take them directly to the papal apartments without going through the Swiss Guards who watch the main door to Casa Ratzinger from the corner of the third loggia.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 19/04/2006 16.24]

00Wednesday, April 19, 2006 7:01 PM
Media reports spiritual revival in Germany triggered by Benedict XVI

Berlin, Apr. 19, 2006 (CNA) - The German newspaper Handelsblatt is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI has triggered a spiritual revival in his native country, which he will visit for the second time in September.

In a special edition for the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, the German daily noted that in visiting his native country twice in such a short period of time, the Pontiff has set off a spiritual awakening among many Germans.

The article in Handelsblatt points out that the September trip is “not an official visit, but rather a visit to the roots of his life.” While there exists among Germans a general euphoria about having the Pope so close, the article adds that “there is another perspective that many previously thought impossible and that must be pointed out: this 79 year-old wise man could spark in this moment a revival in the Church in Germany.”

The newspaper also points out the impact that Pope Benedict XVI’s visit for World Youth Day had on young people in Germany “in speaking to them about frustration, dissatisfaction and love in a way perhaps unlike any other pastor of the Catholic Church in Germany before.”

“He awoke in young people especially, who see in the person of the Pope a true father and pastor, a true wave of optimism,” the article states.

00Friday, April 21, 2006 6:39 PM
In the continuing chronicle about the deliberate 'snubs' that Italian state television, RAI, has been dealing to Pope Benedict XVI, here is the latest...

Today, RAI devoted specials and time on other current affairs programs to honor Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on her 80th birthday - something they failed to do for the Pope on his 79th birthday recently, close on the heels of their failure to mark the first anniversary of his Papacy in a manner more appropriate than giving him a couple of minutes and decidedly second billing on a TV special called "My Two Popes"...

So, yes, you can bet our Italian consorelle are all up in arms about this and are sending e-mail to RAI management about their blatant and probably deliberate failure of editorial judgment where it concerns Pope Benedict...
00Friday, April 21, 2006 7:29 PM
She finally got to post all her Triduum pictures from Rome after having some posting problems earlier, so check out her blog roamingroman.blogspot.com/ for her photo-cum-diary account of how she followed the Triduum....

But here's a very interesting excerpt from her entries, which proves that Giorgio has been consistent about accommodating Papal fans who want to give him something, and better still, that on occasion, even Papa himself will accept it personally. She is describing her attendance at the Easter Sunday Mass on St. Peter's Square:

...I would have better photos here, considering my prime photo location - but I was too busy trying to give the Holy Father his birthday card, on this, his 79th birthday!! We spent most of our waiting time before Mass designing the "perfect" card (well, perfect considering we had only sketch paper and 8 colored pens to work with). The collective "we" of the Bernardi house had already given him a birthday card the night before, at the Vigil, where he actually took the card himself out of Susan's hand during the exit procession!! So, others of us therefore got the idea to make another to give him today, even though we knew he likely wouldn't take a card on the way into Mass (nope), but I knew what Msgr. Ganswein looks like - it was really funny actually, I held the card out as the Holy Father went by, he smiled at us real big and blessed us, but obviously wasn't going to come over - then I look behind him and I see Msgr. Ganswein grinning at us too, and motioning with his head for us to give the card to one of the "black suits" along side the procession, one of them came right up to me and took the card, and then passed the card in to Msgr. Ganswein who put it into the Pope's folder. OK, so yeah, probably wasn't the most reverent thing to do right before Mass... but we knew he wasn't going to process out after Mass, and we wanted to make some kind of personal contact! Hopefully the pope and God will forgive us this small indulgence!

00Friday, April 21, 2006 8:26 PM
I've just watched a concert by the Academy of St Cecilia (Choir and orchestra)on RAI-International. I don't know if it was live or not. Papa sat in the hall between Sodano and the Italian president. By pure chance I switched on the TV, moved to RAI and there he sat, listening intently.
My Italian is bad, but I think the concert was given for his first year as Pope (anniversary) as well as something about the city of Rome (the founding? Also an anniversary?) Anyhow, they showed Il Papa after every single musical item and even in between. He gave a speech at the end, sounded sprightly and looked well. They then showed him meeting the conductor, chorus master, soprano soloist and probably the concert master as well.

In attendance were many members of the Curia, I presume, and I was rather ...err... fascinated by two bishops who sat chewing gum like mad right through the concert. They were not young ones either.... Perhaps they are smokers who tried to still their urges for nicotine. [SM=x40799]
00Friday, April 21, 2006 8:47 PM
I forgot to say that RAI ended this viewing of the anniversary concert by showing Papa playing the piano. I recognized the pictures from all we've seen already from his earlier years and was happy to hear him at last, playing a Bach Prelude on what sounded like an old piano (perhaps it was only the sound quality). I don't know how long this insert was in the original German(?) video, but the RAI-version gave more than I would expect, remembering other members' reports. It was quite sweet when Ratzi played a wrong note near the end of the prelude, gave a soft, calm little exclamation, stopped for a second and then completed the piece correctly. By the way,forum-pianists: do you agree that he has a fine "hand position" on the keyboard?
I can't open the video-clip of Ratzi's playing on the Forum. Would love to compare it with the RAI-scene.
Ach, this Pope is sooooooo special.... [SM=x40792]
00Friday, April 21, 2006 10:12 PM

Scritto da: mag6nideum 21/04/2006 20.26
I've just watched a concert by the Academy of St Cecilia (Choir and orchestra)on RAI-International. I don't know if it was live or not. Papa sat in the hall between Sodano and the Italian president. By pure chance I switched on the TV, moved to RAI and there he sat, listening intently.
My Italian is bad, but I think the concert was given for his first year as Pope (anniversary) as well as something about the city of Rome (the founding? Also an anniversary?) Anyhow, they showed Il Papa after every single musical item and even in between. He gave a speech at the end, sounded sprightly and looked well. They then showed him meeting the conductor, chorus master, soprano soloist and probably the concert master as well.

In attendance were many members of the Curia, I presume, and I was rather ...err... fascinated by two bishops who sat chewing gum like mad right through the concert. They were not young ones either.... Perhaps they are smokers who tried to still their urges for nicotine. [SM=x40799]

it was a concert in the pontiff's honor in Rome's Auditorium, Friday, April 21, 2006. The concert is part of a series of celebrations marking the birth of Rome, which legend says was founded on April 21 in 753

others pics here :
00Saturday, April 22, 2006 1:38 AM
Believe me, I sat watching that CTV telecast without sound [no audio allowed on the hospital computers where I work) but I did not mind because Papa was so gorgeous! And now we know we are not simply imagining things because we love him! Paul Badde, who has known him for years, writes that he does not recognize in this Pope "in the bloom of life" the slightly stooped figure in black that he used to see walking through the Borgo Pio and to the Vatican up to just a year ago...

Anyway, here's an update on Italian TV coverage of Papa's anniversary. There have been a few bright notes, after all.

Sihaya recounts from a program shown on SKY-TV:

“I was very happy with the Vatican correspondent Stefano Maria Paci who obviously has a weakness for Ratzi….When (Orazio) Petrosillo [Vatican correspondent for the newspaper Il Messaggero] said that there were more people who came to the Vatican in the first year of John Paul’s Pontificate [we need a fact checker here – more than the 4 million registered in Ratzi’s first 12 months?], Paci countered that Wojtyla had the full support of the world’s media behind him, compared to the general coldness that has been exhibited towards Ratzinger.

Most touching and moving was the testimony of Arturo Mari, the official Vatican photographer, who pointed to Papa Ratzinger’s enormous capacity for human warmth, and how he has learned to come ever closer to the public. He notes that at first, he was almost afraid to get near children, and now he has learned to kiss and caress babies.

He adds that the Pope spends long hours at work but always keeps his smile, that he heard him play the piano at Castel Gandolfo and found him very good indeed (molto bravo), especially with Mozart.

Then Mari disclosed something previously unknown. During the yearly reunions of Ratzinger’s Schuelerkreise (ex-students and doctoral candidates advised by him), he would bring them to a private Mass by John Paul II. One time, while Ratzi was conversing with Mons. Dziwisz, Mari felt a hand on his shoulder – it was Papa Wojtyla, who said to him: “This one [indicating Ratzinger] is the true ‘brain’ of the Church.”
[The Italian word used was testa, which means literally “head” but I think it was meant in the sense of “brain.”]

Sihaya asks her consorelle to add to these bits and pieces if they remember anything else from the program.

And from APCOM, an Italian news agency:

Raidue, the second channel of Italian state TV, is showing a special on Papa tomorrow called “Sulla via di Damasco” [On the way to Damascus – an intriguing title: who is the Saul-Paul figure in this case? Are they perhaps referring to those who were initially skeptical about Papa when he was elected and have now changed their minds?]

Don Giovanni D’Ercole, one of the hosts for the special explains:
‘I am a humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord’ were among Joseph Ratzinger’s first words as Benedict XVI when he first faced the crowd at St. Peter’s Square and the world audience one year ago. How much meekness and wisdom in those words! They carried a vivid consciousness that what he was starting with his pontificate was not so much power in the sense that the world understands it, but rendering service as Servant of the Servants of God.

“In his first interview as a Pope, transmitted by Polish TV last October, Benedict XVI also made it clear that he will be producing far less documents than his predecessor did, and traveling much less. Therefore, a style completely different from John Paul II.

“We asked some cardinals – among them Dziwisz, Barragan, Poupard and Cottier – to tell us about the life of Benedict XVI and draw up for us a report card on the first 12 months of his ponitificate.

“We also asked ordinary people, and one year after he became Pope, the first popular survey reveals that people find Benedict XVI both pleasing and convincing. Attendance has doubled at the audiences and Angelus. And yet the most striking image of him so far is his silent adoration in front of the Eucharist – this has perhaps become the symbolic image of his Pontificate.

“Huge crowds for him, even if he uses no grand gestures or effects, he doesn’t use stereotype phrases, he does not encourage applause and hosannahs. He seems to withdraw himself during celebrations en masse.

“Among the stories is that of Cardinal Barragan who was seating in front of Cardinal Ratzinger during the Conclave. He recounts the German Cardinal’s initial reaction to his election. Barragan says ‘he absolutely did not expect that the Cardinals would end up asking him to guide the Church.'” [I would love to hear this tesitmony in full!]

Unfortunately, this promising program is scheduled at 10:30 in the morning – how many people watch TV at 10:30 on a Saturday morning?

Stupor-mundi does a round-up of TV programming so far on Papa’s Year-1 anniversary:

In chronological order, “La storia siamo noi” (We are history). The program was quite beautiful, but it was dedicated essentially to the relationship between the Popes of the 20th century and the media, and the time allotted to the present Pope was, in my opinion, too little.

Then the German channel Das Ertse (the first) dedicated an evening to a discussion about the Catholic Church by four of the leading German cardinals (Kasper, Lehman, Wetter and Sterzinsky). The topics ranged from Papa Ratzinger’s first year to the problem with Islam and the situation of the Church in Germany.

The special by the History Channel was the best documented in terms of images (it was produced by Bavarian state TV) although it was perhaps too contrived.

Gad Lerner’s program could have been objectively interesting but I find the host unbearable and I cannot listen to Flores D’Arcais (who called the Pope ‘obscurantist”!)

I think D’Arcais represents the most deteriorated drift of Italian contemporary “thinking”, typical neo-Marxist, lacking any humanity or dialectical ability. How pathetic to see him holding the book “Does God exist?” to “advertise” it insidiously! This book which contains the transcript of his debate with Cardinal Ratzinger in 2000 would never have sold a copy without Ratzinger’s name on it!

But among all this, the most beautiful sentiments were expressed by Renato Farina who described a Benedict XVI who strives in every act to diminish himself, to hide himself almost, and because of this, shows greatness! [Farina had written about this in Libero, a translation of which we posted earlier, but he said the same sentiments apparently when he appeared on Gad Lerner’s program.]

And now we come to RAI, a sorrowful note. It is literally scandalous that the State television agency cannot even dedicate a decent program for such an important event, to do something original, put together something more than the usual gaggle of gossips and the images from April 19, 2005… Is the RAI-Vatican operation good for anything more than marketing endless DVDs about John Paul II?
Finally, Vallifra's thoughts about the concert today:

“Killer mix”

I saw the concert and I am overwhelmed – Beppe at the absolute top of his form, beautiful, bronzed, relaxed, smiling. He radiated light, and in the middle of that audience, he stood out like a marvelous flower, a creature of the divine. Mozart’s music + Beppe: what an explosive “remedy” for any heart, to touch even that of a 10,000-year-old mummy!

De Carli [one of the infamous Italian TV anchors for whom it seems John Paul II remains the only Pope] even managed to go through the entire broadcast without once mentioning JP!

And at the end, they added the bonus of playing in full a video taken 24 years ago of Ratzi playing Bach (of which we have a clip): hands absolutely to die for, and Ratzi’s final image worthy of a competition for the “most beautiful man of the century”!

But now, let me stop, and let me try to clear my mind so I can calm down………

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 22/04/2006 3.39]

00Saturday, April 22, 2006 1:40 AM
Roamin Roman is one lucky girl! [SM=g27811] i wish we could have same chance or even close-handing Papa or GG a card or note [SM=x40802]w

thanks sylvie for the pic links!! Papa looks handsome! [SM=x40799]
00Saturday, April 22, 2006 1:53 AM
By the way,forum-pianists: do you agree that he has a fine "hand position" on the keyboard?
Mag6: yes, yes, yes, absolutely. You can tell, even from the still photos. I've only seen that short video extract a couple of times, but he has beautiful hands and wrists. We want to hear more, please. The piano is always difficult to record well, but this one did sound like it needed a little tune-up! Now there's a novel way to get into the Apostolic Palace, disguise yourself as the Papal Piano Tuner [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] Calling Maryjos......next time you go into orbit, take a black case.... [SM=g27832] [SM=g27835] [SM=x40791] [SM=x40791]
00Saturday, April 22, 2006 3:59 AM


For anyone who still hasn't seen the little video clip of Papa playing the piano, here it is. I borrowed it from upstairs.


00Saturday, April 22, 2006 3:07 PM
Avvenire's mini-special on the first anniversary of the Pope's election included this exclusive interview with his brother Georg in Regensburg. Here is a translation.
“I thought I would lose him;
Now I tell you:
he is the same Joseph”

By Pierangelo Giovanetti

Not even the election to Peter’s Chair has separated them. Intimately united all their lives, bound by an intensely special brotherly love, for Georg Ratzinger, the affectionate relationship with his brother Joseph has remained what it always was.

“In the days that I have been with him in Rome, we have been together a lot – talking, remembering our mutual friends, the Bavaria that we both love so much. We have prayed together. And since I can now hardly see, he reads me excerpts from Scripture, and I respond to the invocations. We sit next to each other, like brothers do. One year ago, I thought I had lost my borther. Now I can say that nothing has changed in the intensity of the affection that unites us.”

Alone in his house in Regensburg, in the study decorated with spring blossoms, Easter bunnies and a tree of colored Easter eggs by Frau Agnes Heindl, his faithful housekeeper for life, 82-year-old Georg Ratzinger spends his days as he always did.

Morning Mass, then a visit to his friend Hubert Schoener, dean of the Old Chapel of the city. A walk around the Cathedral, then lunch at home, where Frau Agnes would have prepared a delicious potato soup and her legendary strudel. The same which she will bake in September when the Pope will be a guest at his brother’s house, the two of them together like old times.

“Joseph was able to set aside a day free of protocol to be with me. In the morning we will go to Mass together at the Old Chapel, then we will come back here and chat. Frau Agnes has already planned a nice little lunch. She knows what Joseph likes.” [But the faithful Agnes would not tell us what she will be cooking!]

“In the afternoon we will visit the cemetery to pray at the tombs of our parents and sister. And then a little visit to his house in Pentling outside the city. Joseph has to take some of his things, including books he left there. He must decide what to do with the house. Many of the books and personal items he cannot take to Rome – there is no space. We will see if these can be donated somehow.”

He adds, “We will eat there that evening. We will bring the food with us.”

Georg has not even thought about moving to Rome. “My place is here,” he says. “In Rome, rent is expensive, and it is not that easy to find the right place. It would not be easy at all to move,” he says with his usual candor.

“Of course, this past year, I have not been able to spend as much time with my brother as we used to. Besides, I am growing older. I pray the Lord that He may give me the health to go on visiting him from time to time.”

Since last April, Georg has been to see see his brother five times. “For the inaugural ceremony. Then briefly at Pentecost (I will be going back briefly this year for this, too). I spent the most time with him last summer. Then I was there in October with the Domspatzen [the celebrated boys choir of Regensburg Cathedral, which Georg Ratzinger led for more than 40 years]. The last time was for New Year’s Day. “

He talks to the Pope regularly by telephone, at least once a week. “Usually, he calls. He never misses to call at least once a week. More often if there is something we need to discuss.”

Otherwise, the life of the retired choir master has remained unchanged. “Yes, I do receive more letters and postcards now. Even from persons who simply want to say they are praying for me and my brother. Others wants to get a blessing or to have a loved one remembered at Mass. I used to reply personally to all of my correspondence. I can’t do that now that I can hardly see. So once in a while, one of the Sparrows comes here, reads me the letters and I tell him how I want it answered. Unfortunately, I can’t do more.”

Of his brother’s first year as Pope, Georg says he remains impressed by the Pope’s ability to speak to people. “I think he has found the right tone to tell the world, the youth especially, that faith is not a burden, not something that depresses life by filling it with prohibitions. That on the contrary, faith is an immense joy for mankind, an important aid for the man of today who is looking for a way, or for a sense to life.”

The monsignor says he was very touched when he watched on TV how the youth at Cologne welcomed the Pope as his boat moved down the Rhine.

“Unfortunately, some media and some circles had pinned on Joseph a false image, which did not correspond at all to what he is. Now he is showing who he really is, and people understand and appreciate it.

Of the encyclical Deus caritas est, Georg has a clear conclusion: “All of my brother Joseph is in that encyclical. It is his style, his writing, his entire thought. That encyclical was not prepared in months. It is the fruit of a life’s maturation, and in it, I see the path he has taken and his theological reflections through the years.”

Of the choices Benedict has made in the past year, his brother says: “There is nothing that I do not agree with or that I would have wanted done otherwise. Maybe on the religious plane I did’t understand right away some of his bold choices – which seemed to me to be too open. But then I came to understand that he is right. He does not limit himself to a daily perspective as I would, for instance. He looks at the faith and at the world with a far-reaching vision, from a far more open perspective. That’s how I have come to understand some of his decisions.”

His concerns for his brother’s health, about which he expressed alarm initially, considering the intense stresses that being Pope would mean, have been allayed.

“It is true, I was very concerned. Instead, I have found him very well during our visits together. He doesn’t seem to be affected physically by the heavy burden of his responsibilities. I think this is also due to the diet which has been prescribed for him and which he follows. He cannot eat too much Bavarian food now, like the wurstels and sausages that he likes so much. But the discipline is good for him. Also, he is careful to have enough sleep, at least six or seven hours a night, to recover from his daily work. I sent him a package of decaffeinated coffee for his birthday.”

Bavarianness. That’s another peculiar aspect which the brothers Ratzinger share very strongly. Love for their homeland, their own culture, the faith, and a devotion to Mary, Protector of Bavaria.

“For us, Bavaria is a life style, a way of thinking, of facing life,” don Georg explains. “It means being united by the Bavarian dialect. To have a certain temperament, which distinguishes us from north Germans. Bavarians have a big heart. My brother has a very great love for his homeland and he cannot wait to come back to Bavaria in September. He wanted that visit to focus on the places which have marked his life and his faith.”

Music is equally important for the brothers. “We breathed music since we were babies,” he exclaims. “My father loved to play the zither and to sing, and he passed on to us a special talent for music which has been fundamental for my life. Even for my brother, music has had a determinative importance beyond just being one of his favorite hobbies. Since we were children, music, and making music together, was for us one of the dimensions of the divine message.”

After three-quarters of an hour, Georg Ratzinger accompanies us to the door, and says farewell as an old parish priest would: “Don’t forget me in your prayers. I have told even Joseph, let us pray for each other.”

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 22/04/2006 15.08]

00Sunday, April 23, 2006 5:09 PM
I was going to post these pictures with the above translation yesterday but I could not find the thread on which Beatrice had posted them and had to ask Sylvie's help to trace them (they are on the BON ANNIVERSAIRE thread). Beatrice captured the images from a German-French TV special aired 4/15/06 to mark Papa's birthday. The lady serving Mons. Georg is, of course, his faithful housekeeper Agnes Heindl.

00Sunday, April 23, 2006 7:52 PM

[It's a small start but it's a start. And in a Protestant town too.]

First German town names square after Pope

April 23 2006 at 04:03PM
Berlin - The small town of Wathlingen became the first in Pope Benedict XVI's native Germany on Sunday to name a public square after him.

The square, previously named for the local rail station, became "Papst Benedikt XVI Platz" in the town of 6,300 residents near Hanover in the predominantly Protestant northern state of Lower Saxony.

Locals marked the occasion with a service at the Roman Catholic Church of St Barbara before holding a renaming ceremony on the neighbouring square itself.

The town said in a statement posted on its website that it found it "remarkable" that no community in the southern state of Bavaria, where the pope was born in 1927, had christened a public place with his name.

It added that it had decided to ignore an "unwritten rule" in Germany since the end of the Nazi era against naming streets or squares after living people. - Sapa-AFP
00Monday, April 24, 2006 2:36 AM
Oh shucks Teresa, thank you for these poignant pics of Papa's brother. I have such a soft spot for him, don't ask me why.
So, if he cannot really read anymore, can he see well on the TV-screen, one wonders? Isn't it very lonely if one can't READ anymore??? Perhaps he listens to music a lot and probably he can still play the piano from memory, seeing he won't be able to read the music scores. We shouldn't forget to pray for him when we pray for Papa.....
00Monday, April 24, 2006 10:15 AM
Brother Georg
Dear Mag, there was a report about Georg in German TV in Oct 2005. There we could see, that he is using some technical equipment such as enlarging the TV Screen and another device to enlarge books or newspapers. They also said, Mrs. Richardi would come to him one day a week to read to him from his books he likes.

00Monday, April 24, 2006 1:55 PM
Simone, thanks you for this information. I feel less worried about brother Georg now!
00Thursday, April 27, 2006 12:02 AM
From the Italian news agency APCOM -

Vatican City, 26 April 2005 (Apcom)- At the end of the general audience in St. Peter's Square today, the Pope greeted a small delegation from the World Council of Churches.

The group included an Orthodox archimandrite and two Episcopalian bishops, one of them a woman.

The Pope also greeted three Protestant female priests in the delegation - one was dressed in a purple cassock, and two were in black cassocks.


So???? Just because he is courteous and shows deference to female priests from other confessions does not mean he favors female priests in the Catholic Church! He would never have snubbed or ignored anyone who is presented to him as a guest.

I am more interested in what Benedict would do if, somehow, some of those 'Catholic' women who had themselves ordained in the middle of a river (so as not to involve any diocese in their self-invented ritual) showed up at the general audience and walked up to the Pope in their cassocks-worn-under-false-representation, what would he say

Ordine Benedettino delle Suore delle Sante Coccole
al Romano Pontefice

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/04/2006 0.40]

00Thursday, April 27, 2006 1:15 AM
RE: Papa and female priests
hehehe - of course Papa wouldn't be discourteous to the ladies. But, just to illustrate my ignorance (and I'm Protestant on paper)why are they called Protestant female "priests" by the Italian newspaper? I always thought Protestants have only "pastors" / "parsons" / or "ministers"? But I really only know Lutherans, Babtists, Reformed and Presbyterians. Does one find priests in the Anglican tradition? I know they have bishops. I thought the difference lies in the fact that priesthood in Catholicism is seen as a sacrament proper, while this is not the case in Protestantism. So how can a Protestant parson/minister be called a priest? Some help please!
BXVI fan
00Thursday, April 27, 2006 12:02 PM
Re: RE: Papa and female priests

Scritto da: mag6nideum 27/04/2006 1.15
hehehe - of course Papa wouldn't be discourteous to the ladies. But, just to illustrate my ignorance (and I'm Protestant on paper)why are they called Protestant female "priests" by the Italian newspaper? I always thought Protestants have only "pastors" / "parsons" / or "ministers"? But I really only know Lutherans, Babtists, Reformed and Presbyterians. Does one find priests in the Anglican tradition? I know they have bishops. I thought the difference lies in the fact that priesthood in Catholicism is seen as a sacrament proper, while this is not the case in Protestantism. So how can a Protestant parson/minister be called a priest? Some help please!

I am Anglican and am currently considering Catholicism for possible 'conversion'..

In the Anglican tradition, there are ordained priests (male/female) usually with the title of Canon. They are priests because like the catholic priests, they are subject to ecclesiastical rule (known as canon law for both Catholic and Anglican priests).

I quote here from a source:
Today, the system of canons is retained almost exclusively in connection with cathedral churches. A canon is a member of the chapter of (for the most part) priests, headed by a Dean, which is responsible for administering a cathedral or certain other churches that are styled collegiate church. The Dean and Chapter are the formal body which has legal responsibility for the Cathedral and for electing the archbishop (currently, Rowan Williams).

00Thursday, April 27, 2006 11:48 PM
Many thanks BXVIFan. Now, just one more question, please. Can Anglican Canons/priests marry?
BXVI fan
00Friday, April 28, 2006 12:28 PM

Scritto da: mag6nideum 27/04/2006 23.48
Many thanks BXVIFan. Now, just one more question, please. Can Anglican Canons/priests marry?

Anglicanism, being a branch of Protestantism, allows priests to marry, divorce, remarry,etc like any other pastors.

I'd just like to point out also that not all Anglican clergymen are priests, some are pastors due to their being schooled from other protestant seminaries.

In general, canon priests are either addressed as Canon so-and-so, or Reverend so-and-so (just like pastors). They are not addressed as 'Father', unlike catholic priests.

These being said, I don't know if the priests referred to by the article above are Anglican or not, because their vestment color code puzzles me alot (purple/black during Easter period???)

Traditional anglican priests follow same color code as catholic priests, but these days, modern anglican priests just dress themselves like any pastors, simple black suit with 'priestly' collar.
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