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

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00Sunday, June 4, 2006 4:47 PM
They have been doing their job so efficiently for decades that their work is taken for granted.

Since mass assemblies at St. Peter's Square settled into the pattern of the John-Paul II Papacy - when tens of thousand of pilgrims came to St. Peter's Square every Wednesday and Sunday, and many more during big Church holidays (peaking in Jubilee Year 2000 and of course, the wake and funeral of JP-II) - the Roman police and their counterparts from Italian state police have kept admirable order around the Vatican for these great gatherings of people.

The past year, with Pope Benedict, they have had to expect 30,000-60,000 people coming to St. Peter's Square on Wednesdays and Sundays. Yesterday, they were told to expect 300-350,000 people. The final crowd estimated topped 400,000.

No other place in the world invites such open-air assemblies, so often and so regularly. Probably the only simile I can find is: think of what New York City police have to do if an American President came to town twice a week and all the other big public holidays, too! They would have their hands full round the clock 365 days a year for that alone.

Anyway, the following item gives an idea of how Rome police coped yesterday for the Pope's Pentecost Vigil encounter with representatives of church movements and new communities:

Traffic was held up for hours
but Rome manages once again

Traffic and inconvenience despite a huge deployment of police forces and traffic cops. Buses double-parked all along the banks of the Tiber, long lines on via Gregorio VIII.

But in the end, there was no true emergency, and Police Prefect Achille Sera was happy with what he called "extraordinary results."

He said "there were no problems for an event that was directed, once again, with great precision.Thanks to the great teamwork among our forces, those of the Vatican, as well as volunteers and some military elements."

Thanks to the work of almost a thousand policemen, 400 traffic cops, and 1000 volunteers (half recruited by the Vatican, the rest by the city of Rome and the province of Lazio).

Mayor Walter Veltroni expressed his thanks in behalf of the city of Rome to all who cooperated so that "the encounter of more than 350,000 persons with the Pope could take place in an atmosphere of composure and order."

00Sunday, June 4, 2006 5:58 PM
As I was watching the encore yesterday evening I heard that at the beginning of the meetings they were expecting 100,000 people, mid week they were expecting 250,000, Friday night they were expecting 300,000 and by mid morning on Saturday they were expecting 350,000 people to attend the vigil. All those people... WOW!!!
00Monday, June 5, 2006 10:09 AM

All those people... WOW!!!

Yes, that's great isn't it!!!! Although some media try so hard to tell people how wrong the Church is. But they don't care.

Sorry, Rocco! [SM=g27828]
00Wednesday, June 7, 2006 8:22 PM

Airline Agrees Deal for Low-Cost Package Tours to the Vatican

June 07, 2006

Italy's national airline - Alitalia - has just reached an agreement with the Roman Pilgrimage organisation (Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi) to participate in low cost Package Tours, called “Three days with the pope.” The basic idea is that pilgrims from any corner of Italy can fly to Rome with Alitalia, stay at religious houses, visit the tomb of John Paul II, attend a public audience with Pope Benedict and visit the four main basilicas and use the “Roma Cristiana” (Christian Rome) bus service - all for the meager sum of Euro 195 or £134.26.

00Saturday, June 10, 2006 7:25 PM
Ratzi-Lella in the main forum shares with us this tidbit from Corriere della Sera today, here in translation -

Even in the Papal apartments a small TV set remains on for the World Cup [of soccer, for those who may not follow sports at all]. The Pope's private secretary, Georg Gaenswein, great sportsman himself, watched the opening game between Germany and Costa Rica [Germany won, 4-2]. The Pope himself, busy with some audiences*, was not able to watch the inaugural ceremony nor the game, but watched the TV news for the reports.

*If the Pope was at work, GG would have been with him, too, not up on the third floor watching TV!

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 10/06/2006 19.25]

00Saturday, June 10, 2006 7:55 PM
And Emma in the main forum contributes this item from the Italian weekly magazine Panorama, here in translation -

John Paul II's disciples are leaving the Roman Curia to reinforce a national episcopate in crisis.

On his return from his trip to Poland, Benedict XVI is preparing to change the face of the Polish Church with nominations and promotions that will also significantly affect the Roman Curia.

The first to leave, possibly in autumn, will be the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Mons, Stanislaw Rylko, to take over from Cardinal Jozef Glemp, Archbishop of Warsaw and Primate of Poland, who will be retiring because of age.

The secretary of the Congregation for the Cause of Sainthood, Edward Nowak, may also be sent home to strengthen the ranks of Polish bishops in the wake of the scandal that erupted around priests accused of spying for the Communists. He will reportedly be replaced in the Curia by Archbishop Piero Marini, currently Papal master of liturgical ceremonies. [Hey, Rocco, did you know this?]

This would leave only two Poles in prominent Curia positions: Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Henryk Hoser, assistant secretary of the Congregagtion for the Evangelization of Peoples.

However, the name of the Archbishop of Lublin, Jozef Myroslav Zycinski, has been mentioned as the probable successor to Cardinal Paul Poupard, who now heads the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Inter-Religious Dialog. This was said to be a nomination desired by John Paul II and which Poles hope Benedict XVI will realize.

00Sunday, June 11, 2006 8:10 PM

[If anything deserves to go in Pope-Pourri, this is it.]

Pocket guide to popes

OTTAWA -- The publishing arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a concise guide covering all the popes from St. Peter to present pontiff Benedict.

The Pocket Dictionary of Popes contains outlines of each pope's life and the main events and accomplishments of his reign.

The 184-page dictionary is "a handy reference and an easy way to learn about history, making it valuable to students and specialists alike," reports the bishops' website, cccb.ca.

For more information or to order a copy, go to cccbpublications.ca.
00Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:32 AM
Here is a translation of a little item from a German news agency that is of interest to us:

Pentling (ddp) – Pope Benedict XVI must be worried about his favorite cat Chico.

An unknown cat-hunter has been shooting at cats in Pentling, where the Pope’s private house is located. A lady reported to the police Saturday that the cat-hunter had shot at her cat Max with an air-rifle, and poor Max now lies in coma. The lady claims she has heard the airgun go off several times in the neighborhood.

Rupert Hofbauer, the Pope’s next-door neighbor, caretaker of his house and Chico’s master, confirms that Benedict is a great cat lover, and that even now, he always asks about Chico.

Whenever the then-Cardinal Ratzinger was in Pentlng, Hofbauer recounts, Chico was often in his house.

“Chico would not leave him, so that at times, we had to make an extra effort to bring him home,” he remembers.

Meanwhile, the police see no acute immediate danger for Chico. They say that the gravely-injured Max was shot 1-1/2 kilometers away from the Pope’s house.

00Friday, June 16, 2006 2:34 PM
Discpula from the main forum cites an item from the Rome-based newspaper La Repubblica which is typical of that part of the Italian media - a significant part - that continues to give the Pope NO credit for what he does on his own, attributing the great crowds he draws to the "Wojtyla effect". Here is a translation -

Benedict XVI officiated tonight at the Eucharistic Blessing from the steps of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, where a great gilded altar had been prepared.

The faithful, more than 60000, lit up the Piazza with their torches.

John Paul II used to impart the blessing from the loggia of the Basilica. But the Corpus Domini processions in recent years had much less participation than tonight.

The increased participation in the rites presided by Benedict XVI, in his audiences and in his other public appearances, have been constant in the past several months and are read in the Vatican
By the Vatican??? Or is it really by you, the editors at Repubblica???] as the great gift of Papa Wojtyla, so loved by everyone, to his successor. To meet Papa Ratzinger, they say [ who says?] ,is a response to the still topical call of John Paul II to 'cross the threshold of hope."

Discipula rightly notes - Without meaning any disrespect to John Paul II, why didn't all the faithful who loved him come in such great numbers on comparable occasions when he was alive?

This is just gross and perverse distortion of fact by the media who have chosen to minimize Benedict XVI with respect to John Paul II. Surely, John Paul II himself cannot countenance such unwarranted meanness!

P.S. Beatrice has alerted us to a beautiful story in the French service of ZENIT on yesterday's Corpus Domini celebration. I will translate it as soon as I can, unless it shows up in their English service, which I somehow doubt!

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 16/06/2006 14.59]

00Friday, June 16, 2006 3:19 PM

Scritto da: TERESA BENEDETTA 16/06/2006 14.34
The faithful, more than 60000, lit up the Piazza with their torches.

John Paul II used to impart the blessing from the loggia of the Basilica. But the Corpus Domini processions in recent years had much less participation than tonight.

The increased participation in the rites presided by Benedict XVI, in his audiences and in his other public appearances, have been constant in the past several months and are read in the Vatican By the Vatican??? Or is it really by you, the editors at Repubblica???] as the great gift of Papa Wojtyla, so loved by everyone, to his successor. To meet Papa Ratzinger, they say [ who says?] ,is a response to the still topical call of John Paul II to 'cross the threshold of hope."

Discipula rightly notes - Without meaning any disrespect to John Paul II, why didn't all the faithful who loved him come in such great numbers on comparable occasions when he was alive?

This is just gross and perverse distortion of fact by the media who have chosen to minimize Benedict XVI with respect to John Paul II. Surely, John Paul II himself cannot countenance such unwarranted meanness!

It's downright disrespectful of the press to continue to contribute the increased numbers of participation of Pope Benedict's public events/audiences to Jean-Paul II.

In fact, I've watched the Corpus Domini last year also presided by Benedict, so I can compare that with the one yesterday and I would say that there was a GREAT increase of participants yesterday. So, to me, more and more faithfuls are learning to appreciate Pope Benedict and his words/actions better, and would participate to give him their support. How can the press ignore this?

p/s. I think that credit to the increased participation yesterday must partly be given to Cardinal Ruini for his encouragement and announcement to the all the dioceses of Rome. I hope that God will give him more years to serve faithfully under Benedict's pontificate.

[Modificato da crossroads 16/06/2006 15.25]

00Friday, June 16, 2006 4:15 PM
Dear Crossroads - I certainly second your opinion about the great service that Cardinal Ruini has been doing in the Diocese of Rome, which is why he has become probably my favorite person around the Pope these days....

GOOD NEWS FOR EVERYONE....Emma has just posted in the main forum the continuation of the 30 GIORNI article on Ratzi's university years....I hope I can post a translation by tonight...I'm at work now so I can't even begin doing it yet.

But a little bonus preview from
the article is this picture
of Ratzi in 1966 -
at the University of Tuebingen

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 16/06/2006 19.59]

00Saturday, June 17, 2006 2:16 PM
According to some excited postings just now in the main forum, a television channel in Italy has announced that the Pope has signed the document naming Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to be the new Secretary of State...

Meanwhile, RAtzi-lella informs us that the site affari italiani which came out first a few days ago with the news about Bertone's nomination being a virtual certainty, has other speculations today:

That Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Papal spokesman for the past 22 years, may soon realize his dream to be named permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations (he had apparently expressed the wish to John Paul II who wished to keep him in his post instead);

That he may be replaced as Papal spokesman by Orazio Petrosillo, longtime Vaticanista of the Rome-based newspaper Il Messagero, who is also seen as a potential replacement for Mario Agnes, the current editor of Osservatore Romano;

And that if Petrosillo is named Papal spokesman, then the most likely candidate for the OR editorship would be Dino Boffo, who now edits Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference and Cardinal Ruini's man.

In a separate story, Navarro-Valls said in a television interview that he has formally asked Pope Benedict XVI to let him go, but he claimed he intended to stay on in Italy where he wished to do some book research.

In the interview he said the two episodes he treasures most from his Vatican years with John Paul was the Pope's first meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, whom he found to have a forceful personality ("very human and with an incredible interior density even if he is not a believer") and his many meetings with Mother Teresa.

With Benedict VI, he singles out Auschwitz. "I think that, after the visit by a German Pope, the hermeneutics of Auschwitz-Birkenau has changed, and one must always keep in mind that most beautiful discourse by the Holy Father and the images of him in that extermination camp."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/06/2006 14.48]

00Saturday, June 17, 2006 4:02 PM
Our Italian sisters have been commenting about the fact that at the last General Audience, prominent among those greeted by the Pope after the public part was the Italian TV talk-show host Bruno Vespa [whose name translates into 'brown wasp'], host of Porta a Porta [Door to Door], one of Italian state TV’s most popular current affairs shows – with his wife and two sons aged 27 and 24). It seems it was his 31st wedding anniversary (something he should be congratulated for, by the way). But…

The background is that since the Pope was elected - on which day Porta a Porta had no choice but to cover the new Pope, which it did by featuring some interviews it had done with then Cardinal Ratzinger in the past - the program has all but ignored Benedict XVI, except to compare him unfavorably with John Paul II whenever the opportunity arises.

Ratzigirl summarizes it this way:
The program’s snub of Benedict XVI has been exponentially growing …
On April 16, it completely ignored the Pope’s birthday.
On April 19, it chose to feature, instead of anything about the first year of the Papacy,
a documentary on Elizabeth II’s 80th birthday!
And about the trip to Poland, nor even the visit to Auschwitz, not a word.

If that’s not a pointed, almost contemptuous, snub, what is?

The Italian sisters, by the way, had organized a letter-writing campaign to RAI protesting these ‘snubs,’ and the answer they got was that the program already did a special on Benedict XVI the day he was elected! As though to say, That’s certainly enough - what more do you want!

So for Vespa now to curry favor openly by presenting himself at the general audience with his family (surely for a ‘personality’ like him, things were pre-arranged) is sheer gall!

An AND-Kronos news item today says the conversation between the Pope and Vespa was, given the circumstances, unusually long. The talk-show host claims the Pope encouraged him to continue with his work and appeared to be well-informed about the program.

Well, our Italian sisters always claimed that Vespa never got over the fact that he once got a direct telephone call from Monsignor Dsiwisz when he was the private secretary to John Paul, and that the telephone call sealed his absorption with JP.

Maybe now, this direct contact with the Pope himself will ‘match’ the Dziwisz effect?

Meanwhile, here’s a translation of a letter Ratz-Lella wrote to Dagospia, a very popular online gossip columnist, using an assumed name:

“Hi Dago! I read with amazement and some disturbance that Vespa and his family were at the Pope’s general audience. I cann’t believe it! I hope Vespa finally has realized that the Great Man dressed in white is not Wojtyla but Ratzinger, and that in the next season of Porta a Porta, we will get to hear Benedict’s name mentioned favorably instead of only and ever John Paul’s name. Respectfully …”

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/06/2006 16.06]

00Saturday, June 17, 2006 7:14 PM
Vespa indeed!
This is very interesting - give me five minutes with the man called Vespa, but don't let me borrow a Swiss Guard's pike or I may commit murder!
Really - so they cover the election and think that's the end of it?
Everyone knows it's the BEGINNING! These are deliberate snubs.
As for bothering about Elizabeth II's birthday - well, I know I'm British and can be patriotic, but she is really not worth bothering about. She's a titular head of state [and also titular head of the Church of England - don't start me on that!!!], but she's of no political or religious importance.
The visit to Poland was of enormous significance to the re-evangelisation of Europe.
Keep us posted about this, please!
Mary ~ [SM=g27826] [SM=g27826] [SM=g27826]
00Monday, June 19, 2006 6:07 PM
[I have some serious doubts about the truth of this little article. One thing I find very odd is the 30-year-old black and white TV. Papa has been given an entire brand new kitchen, several cars, and all sorts of other expensive things. Surely someone must have thrown in a modern color television set.]

19 June 2006

By Darren Lewis, Our Man At Large In Germany

FOOTBALL may have lost it's highest-placed fan when Pope John Paul II died last year but his successor is doing his bit.

The new Pope, Benedict XVI, a German, is watching the World Cup on an old black and white TV.

The 79-year-old pontiff views the matches on a 1970s TV in the roof garden of the block where he has his private apartment in Rome.

For the record, he's a Bayern Munich fan.

00Monday, June 19, 2006 11:47 PM
It's the usual journalistic license, Benefan. I don't know if the journalist gets brownie points from his colleagues for suggesting that Benedict XVI is either too stingy to buy a new TV set or is not aware that the world has moved on beyond B/W TV! It's super-inventive 'local color', I must say - what with our Papa having to go to his roof garden to watch a game!

Stupor-Mundi in the main forum immediately remarked about this bit that there certainly is a plasma TV in color in the Papal apartments - JPII watched the 2005 Via Crucis at the Colosseum on such a set, and we all saw it.

On the other hand, Ratzigirl comments that if Papa still keeps a B/W TV, it may be he is truly attached to familiar things, as he is to his old piano, and will not abandon them for new and better ones.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 20/06/2006 13.06]

00Tuesday, June 20, 2006 5:52 PM

New social encyclical rumored for 2007

Jun. 20 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI may publish an encyclical on Church social teaching next year, according to an Italian newspaper.

Il Sole 24 Ore, a business daily, cites "unofficial information" pointing to an encyclical on "ethical and spiritual questions posed by the process of globalization."

00Wednesday, June 21, 2006 2:45 PM
Papa earned 'unusual' applause at the General Audience today when he said early on in his catechesis, "As it is very warm today, I will be brief..." I have already posted a translation of his catechesis in AUDIENCE AND ANGELUS. He spoke about the Apostle James (the Greater). A news agency estimated the crowd at 35,000 today.
00Wednesday, June 21, 2006 4:17 PM
[What a lucky guy!]

Brentwood portrait artist answers Vatican's call

Babailov to paint pope's official image as he did for John Paul II

Staff Writer

BRENTWOOD — In a quest to find an artist to produce the official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican Museum staff didn't go to the renowned art schools of Rome or Paris.

Instead, they found their man at his home studio in Brentwood, Tenn.

Igor Babailov, who has extensive experience painting world leaders, business executives and entertainment figures, was to arrive in Vatican City today for a personal meeting and sitting with Benedict.

"I really don't want to say exactly what I have in mind. I like to see the reaction on people's faces when they see the finished piece for the first time," Babailov said of the final oil painting, which could take months to complete.

This isn't the first time the Russian native has painted a pontiff. In 2004, he presented "Believe," an official historical portrait, to Pope John Paul II in commemoration of World Youth Day. That work, which shows John Paul surrounded by a multinational group of youngsters, hangs in the papal palace in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

"John Paul loved children. All the youth represent the values that were important to John Paul. The different nationalities represent basically that we're one big family. It says 'We're all family here.' And he, here in the middle, is the father of the family — the Holy Father," Babailov said as he pointed to a copy of his past artwork.

Babailov isn't sure exactly why he has become a favorite papal portrait artist, his reputation for capturing the subtleties of his subjects in realistic settings has attracted attention in many

Dawn Whitelaw, who taught at Lipscomb University for 30 years, is one of Babailov's admirers.

"The most outstanding thing is his pencil drawings," she said. "They are beautifully done in a classic tradition."

Babailov has applied his skill to the likeness of world leaders including President Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin and former South African President Nelson Mandela; American politicians including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; and television celebrities Regis Philbin and James Gandolfini ("The Sopranos").

Babailov's portrait of famed Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa benefited the nonprofit Starlight Starbright Foundation, which helps seriously ill children. On his easel right now is a portrait of former football star-turned-commentator Boomer Esiason.

Babailov's process includes an initial sitting, a pencil sketch and several composite studies to judge which composition and background are most suitable to showcase the subject's life, interests or personality.

"It's important to see the person before anything else, before the titles," Babailov said. "To tell the story, that's the vision of the fine artist."

Although he will take many photographs of the subject during the initial sitting, these are used more as a point of reference than a direct guide to the look of the finished painting.

"Photographs capture just one second in time. No one photograph can say everything about one person. A portrait tells the story of the person because an artist can select what goes in there," he said.

The canvas size is then chosen and work on the actual portrait begun.

Although the process is laborious, Babailov said he's never sad to say goodbye to the finished paintings.

"I know it will be in a special place and become part of the history of that company or family. My work makes people happy and that makes me happy."

Babailov is a classically trained artist who works most often in realistic portraiture, but he has also experimented with murals.

As a board member of the International Child Foundation, Babailov is working on a large, multifigurative mural titled "Who has to suffer … and Why?" as a dedication to all young victims of terrorism.

"It's completely based on my imagination, every face. It's not taken from photographs. Before I imagined them in this painting, they didn't exist," he said.

This kind of work gives the artist a mental break from his commissioned portraits — he estimates he's done about 900 in his lifetime — and allows an avenue to sharpen and refresh his skills.

Babailov's family recognized his talent for portraiture and figure drawing early. At 4, he painted his first portrait, that of his artist-composer father, and was sent for formal art training at 8. He received a master's degree in fine art with high distinction from the Surikov Academy of Fine Arts in Moscow.

In 2004, he packed up his New York studio and moved with his wife, Mary, a songwriter, to a home in east Brentwood.

"I moved to Nashville because I liked it," he said, "Geographically, it's in the perfect position to both North and South. It's close to New York and the West Coast — you can get there easily by plane.

"And I love the people. If you want to see true American people, I tell everybody, you've got to come to Nashville." •
00Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:03 PM
Babailov to paint pope's official image

more on http://www.babailov.com/
Music of Lorien
00Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:05 PM
Thanks, Benefan. His paintings are very beautiful.

If you go to www.gandygallery.com
Under 'Artists' click on Igor V. Babailov
and enter

the first painting is "Believe", his portrait of John Paul II with children.

Music of Lorien
00Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:07 PM
Maklara, thanks. You were posting this just as I posted the link to the Gandy Gallery website!

"What a lucky guy" -
wonder if he needs an assistant to clean his brushes, make sure the subject is comfortable...

[Modificato da Music of Lorien 21/06/2006 18.14]

00Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:13 PM
I saw several potraits made by him...he obviously prefer to make face of person very punctually, the clothes and body are not so important. I like it. When you look on it, by first sight you register only the face.

[Modificato da Maklara 21/06/2006 18.18]

00Wednesday, June 21, 2006 9:03 PM
00Thursday, June 22, 2006 9:44 PM
[Despite the headline on this article, it actually discusses the various kinds of ceremonial garbs worn by Benedict in particular and why they are designed as they are. So, regardless of what Rocco Palmo and critical media types claim, the pope's robes are not some personal fashion statement or aberration of this particular pope.]

Pope's pallium noticeably different from ones he'll give archbishops

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI will place woolen bands, called palliums, around the necks of new archbishops June 29 as a symbol of their authority and responsibility.

The pope, too, wears a pallium over his chasuble when celebrating Mass, but his is noticeably different -- at least for the time being -- from the palliums worn by archbishops.

U.S. Archbishops Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, George H. Niederauer of San Francisco and Donald W. Wuerl of Washington are among the archbishops named in the past year who are expected to receive their palliums from Pope Benedict on the late-June feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

While the flippant may call it fashion, the pallium and the chasubles chosen by Pope Benedict actually are the result of a study of history and aesthetics.

The morning after Pope Benedict was elected last year, Archbishop Piero Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, presented him with a draft of the new "Rites for the Beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome."

The book, which included proposed texts for the Masses and prayer services marking the beginning of a pontificate, also included a suggestion for a new -- or rather, very old -- pallium.

For hundreds of years the pope's pallium, like the one still worn by archbishops, was a circular band of wool with a 12-inch-long strip hanging from the center down the front and the back.

The one chosen by Pope Benedict is wider and drapes around his neck; it is more than twice as long as an archbishop's pallium, with the ends hanging down his left side and reaching below his knees.

The pope's advisers did not make up the design, but recovered it from the first millennium of Christianity, said Marianist Father Silvano Maggiani, a liturgist and consultant to Archbishop Marini's office. The prototypes can be seen around the shoulders of archbishops depicted in the sixth-century mosaics in the churches of Ravenna, Italy.

The pallium was shortened over the centuries as the chasuble worn at Mass became heavier and more elaborately decorated, Father Maggiani said.

Especially with the so-called "fiddleback" chasuble common before the Second Vatican Council, a pallium hanging down the side just did not look right, he said.

"It is a matter of aesthetics -- in the original Greek sense of perception, allowing its meaning to be perceived," Father Maggiani said.

The pope and archbishops wear the pallium as a sign of their authority over the Christian community, but it is the Gospel authority of a shepherd called to carry his sheep, to lead them and feed them.

Father Maggiani said the fiddleback chasubles and even the fuller chasubles adopted after the Second Vatican Council often had strong designs or large images on the chest and back, which drew all attention away from the band of sheep's wool the pope and archbishops carried on their shoulders.

Msgr. Crispino Valenziano, another liturgist and Vatican consultant, presented the new papal pallium design to the press shortly after Pope Benedict's election and said it was part of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.

With more of a focus on the pallium, Pope Benedict also needed new chasubles, so a whole new collection was designed. Instead of having one strong central image, they are dotted with ancient symbols such as bees, shells and flames for Pentecost.

When Pope Benedict approved his new pallium, he also said a discussion would be held about changing the pallium given to archbishops, Father Maggiani said, but that discussion has not begun.

"Personally, I hope that in the future the archbishops will have a pallium like the pope's," the priest said. "When archbishops wear that small pallium, it looks like a collar or something. No one knows what it is."

However, even if the archbishop's pallium one day will resemble the one worn by the pope, it is unlikely to be identical.

An archbishop's pallium is made from the wool of lambs blessed by the pope on the feast of St. Agnes.

The pope's pallium is made of the wool of both lambs and sheep to reflect Jesus telling Peter, "Feed my lambs" and "Feed my sheep."
00Friday, June 23, 2006 12:44 PM
Anna in the main forum contributes this interesting tidbit about the incoming Vatican Secretary of State -

Cardinal Bertone comes from Romano Canavese (province of Turin) which is hilltown near Chivasso where I live. I have friends who knew him personally, and they say that when he was at the CDF with Cardinal Ratzinger, he would have a typical Piedmontese dish prepared for him, a 'fritto misto' consisting of assorted sweet and salty fried delicacies, such as almond macarrons, breaded zabaglione and pavesini, etc., which he reportedly enjoyed with orange juice...

And now Romano Canavese is preparing to honor its most famous citizen...

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 24/06/2006 4.18]

00Saturday, June 24, 2006 3:45 AM

Papal summer liturgical schedule released

Jun. 23 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has published the schedule of public liturgical ceremonies for Pope Benedict XVI in coming weeks, including the dates of his September trip to Bavaria.

The Vatican has not yet formally confirmed plans for the Pope's trip to Bavaria, although the Pontiff himself has mentioned in public that he plans to see his native land "in September." (The Vatican habitually does not confirm papal trips until a few weeks before they take place.) But the office of liturgical celebrations has confirmed plans that have already been widely discussed, listing an "apostolic voyage to Munich, Altötting, and Regensburg" to take place September 9 -14.

The liturgical office also announced that the Pope has "authorized" two beatifications: On September 17, the cathedral of St. Stephen in Budapest will be the site for the beatification of Sarah Salkahazi (1899- 1944), a Hungarian nun who was put to death for hiding Jews during the Nazi persecution. On the same day, in Brescia, Italy, Father Mose Tovini (1988- 1930) will also be beatified. The Vatican has not announced who will be preside at these ceremonies; Pope Benedict does not preside at beatifications.

On June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Holy Father will preside at Mass in the Vatican basilica. During that ceremony he will impose the pallium-- the liturgical vestment symbolic of metropolitan authority-- on all the new archbishops appointed during the past year.

On August 15, the liturgical office announced, the Pope will celebrate Mass for the feast of the Assumption at the church of St. Thomas in Castel Gandolfo, where he will be staying at his summer residence.
00Monday, June 26, 2006 4:31 PM
Vacation a Time for God, Says Holy Father

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- For Benedict XVI, vacation is a privileged time to come close to God and to discover the beauty of the world.

The Pope expressed this today after reciting the midday Angelus with the 30,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Speaking in Polish, the Holy Father said: "May this time bring you closer to God and to men, and enable you to discover the beauty of the world."

The Pontiff also greeted those who are getting into their cars these days to begin their holidays and exhorted them to "responsibility on the highways" and reminding them that "correct conduct when driving is a concrete way to respect one's own and others' life."

On July 11, after his trip to Spain, to attend the World Meeting of Families, Benedict XVI will travel to Les Combes of Introd, in Val d'Aosta, in the Italian Alps, to spend a few days of rest, until July 28.

00Tuesday, June 27, 2006 12:54 PM
I don't think we have looked at this site.

It contains an inverview with Ratzi, conducted almost exactly a year before the Big Day of 2005 (if I get it right- the site is in Italian) and A LOT OF PHOTOS taken during his visit to Monte San Giovanni Campano.
00Tuesday, June 27, 2006 5:50 PM
Catholics can get indulgence for praying for families in early July

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To encourage Catholics to attend the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain, and to recite prayers with their families, Pope Benedict XVI is offering a special spiritual gift, the Vatican said.

"The gift of a plenary indulgence" will be given to those who participate in the July 1-9 meeting in Spain or who gather their own families together in early July to pray for families, the Vatican announced June 27.

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment deserved for sins.

In order to receive the indulgence, Catholics must attend the meeting in Spain, go to confession, receive the Eucharist and offer prayers for the intentions of the pope.

If they cannot go to Spain, the decree said, "they will obtain the same plenary indulgence under the same conditions," but rather than going to the meeting they are to "recite as a family the Our Father, the creed and other devoted prayers" asking God to strengthen their families.

Both those in Spain and those remaining at home are to promise to "dedicate themselves generously to conforming their families ... to the holy rule of the Gospel," said the decree, which was signed by U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court responsible for regulations governing indulgences.

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