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

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00Wednesday, December 7, 2005 11:22 PM
What about this? It doesn't cost a lot and I already saw it in a store (I resisted, but may be next time....) [SM=g27824]

00Thursday, December 8, 2005 9:56 AM
Several weeks ago, I posted in the RFC my translation of a short news item about an Austrian sculptor who took a branch from a plum tree in the garden of what used to be theRatzinger home in Traunstein and made it into a Crucifix for the Pope.
Recently, Professor Albin Moroder, 83, was able to present the Crucifix to the Pope himself at the Vatican. Following is my translation of an article Prof. Moroder wrote for kreuz.net,
a German news agency.

Prof. Moroder and his wife Christine with the Pope.

(kreuz.net, Mayrhofen/Tirol) I often sit late at my PC working on my Home page. One day, I suddenly felt obliged to learn something about the new Pope, Benedict XVI.

On the Internet, I found a report about the Pope’s childhood years. I learned that Joseph Ratzinger had spent some part of his childhood in a farmhouse in Hufschlag.

In his autobiography, the Cardinal had described this place as his true home. Hufschlag near Traunstein is in southeastern Germany, 20 miles from the Austrian border.

Farmhouse? I thought to myself, surely there must be an orchard there.

“Of course,” I seemed to hear the late Cardinal Koenig of Vienna whisper in my ear – I had made him a Crucifix eight years ago. “You must also make a Crucifix for the new Pope.”

I had a close relationship with Cardinal Koenig since 1997, when twice he visited an exhibit of my works at a Vienna orthopedic hospital. The works were uniquely fashioned out of fork-shaped tree branches.

It was a great honor for me that he visited twice. After the second visit, he asked me to make a Crucifix for him.

A special bond also united Cardinal Koenig and now Pope Benedict, who came to Vienna in March 2004 to celebrate the funeral Mass for Cardinal Koening.

And so the thought gripped me fully to sculpt a Crucifix for the new Pope, with a branch from any tree that was in the garden of that farmhouse in Hufschlag.

I drove to Traunstein to check out that possibility .

The present owner’s son-in-law, Albert Rieder, agreed after a lengthy conversation to have me get a branch from one of the trees in the garden. “Find one and I will cut it for you.”

He took a ladder and climbed up one tree to saw off a branch. I had no idea what the piece of wood would be like.

Happy over the forked branch I got, I could not help placing it in front of the door to what was the Ratzinger home.
I imagined the young Joseph going in and out of this door.

That the branch came from a plum tree also led me to imagine how often the boy must have gathered plums from the tree.

Back in my home village of Mayrhofen in the Ziller valley, I set to work intensively on the branch. It was clear to me that the work must be carried out in a very precise manner. I could not imagine that everything would succeed at the very first try. The branch was not thick enough for me to carve a head, so I cut off the bottom end and glued it to the top of the branch.

For three months, I studied the branch carefully. I had a tremendous respect for the work it needed. I did countless preliminary sketches until I found one which I believed to be the right solution.

Final sketch and working mdoel of Crucifix
With holy respect, I then sent about to sculpt the wood. I had already marked out the lines I intended to model.
It should all flow out of the form of the branch itself.

How surprised I was to find out then that in due course, the wood started to show some colour changes which
apparently indicated the wounds of Christ (where they would have been found in the sculpture). I felt chills running up and down my spine, as I contemplated the wonder of it all.

All of Christ’s wounds were plainly to be seen. And “blood marks” appeared where the hands and feet were!

Observing the body of the Crucifix, one can see that a small crack was even there for the side wound. One could clearly imagine the blood that came out of it and ran down the side of Jesus.

As I wolked on the Crucifix, I had the feeling that I was working on something special, something holy. I considred that a sign from Heaven that Benedict XVI is the Pope that God had intended for us.

Then came the big day. The Austrian bishops were to be received in special audience by the Pope. My wife and I were
to go with them!

This would never have been possible without the help of the prelate Dr. Hans Walter Vavrovsky of the Salzburg Cathedral. For years, he had been a “cooperator” in my home district of Mayrhofen and had visited my parents house often. When I had told him that I was working to make a Crucifix for the pope from a branch taken from the garden of what used to be the Ratzinger home,e offered spontaneously, “I will go to Rome with you to see the Pope.”

And so it came about that I had the opportunity to present the Holy Father with the Crucifix I had made for him.

I thank God for the grace of making me an instrument in laying down a sign, albeit a small one, that says: “Yes, he is the Pope that God has planned for us.”

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 08/12/2005 22.13]

00Thursday, December 8, 2005 10:25 PM
Here are two bookmarks bought by Paparatzifan (I am not sure if she bought them in Rome or earlier, during her recent quick visit to her native Argentina:

For those who do not read Spanish, the bookmark on the left quotes from Benedict's first words as Pope: "In the joy of the risen Lord, confident in His continuing help, let us go forward. The Lord will help us, and Mary, his most blessed mother, will be on our side."

On the left, the quotation says: "Thanks be to God, He has placed many good persons beside me along the way, so that I will never feel alone."
00Friday, December 9, 2005 3:53 AM

This picture taken at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005, shows a series of four special silver and gold Euros bearing Pope Benedict XVI, and issued on Dec. 6, in coins of five, bottom center, ten, top center, twenty, bottom left, and fifty, top left, and a special edition of the two-Euro coin (right) to commemorate the XX World Youth Day which took place in Cologne, Germany, from 16 to 21 August 2005. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
00Friday, December 9, 2005 7:39 AM
00Tuesday, December 13, 2005 1:22 AM

This is your life . . . as the pope A clever and funny guide to all things papal could be invaluable should you ever become pontiff Friday, December 09, 2005 NANCY HAUGHT Obviously, the position has been filled. Benedict XVI has been the leader of the Roman Catholic Church for almost eight months now, but you still might want to file away a copy of "How to Be Pope" (Chronicle Books, $10.95, 127 pages) for, as they say, "future reference." Piers Marchant's collection of truly useful tips, subtitled "What to Do and Where to Go Once You're in the Vatican," is a laugh and a half, a self-help guide whose humor lies in its straightforward and detail-driven approach. For most readers, of course, the possibility of being elected pope is purely a hypothetical proposition, but who can resist the imaginary trip to Rome? Read on for a sample of news you could use if you ever woke up and found yourself bishop of Rome, vicar of Christ or pontifex maximus. Do you have to change your name? No, but most popes have done so since 533 when Mercurius didn't want to be mistaken for the pagan messenger Mercury. Where do you report for work? Marchant includes a floor plan of Vatican City, pointing out the Apostolic Library, Apostolic Palace and the apostolic department store. What if you don't like your room? Not to worry. Plug into the great papal tradition of remodeling. See Marchant's list of monumental makeovers of the papal apartment. What do you wear to work? Depends on your day. A diagram on the full-dress uniform takes you from pointy tip of the miter to the always fashionable toes of your red shoes. White papal parkas and white sneakers or boots are available when the weather, or your activities, demand more of you. Who will do your laundry? You'll be relieved to know that, early in your term, you will appoint five nuns who will do your wash, clean your apartment, help with your correspondence and rustle you up whatever you'd like to eat. What do you do all day? Roll out of bed at 5:30 a.m., say Mass, breakfast at 8, work through lunch to 2 p.m., say goodbye to your staff (most of whom will enjoy a siesta from 2 to 4, while you keep working), dinner at 6 p.m. and lights out by 11 p.m. How do you write an encyclical? Very carefully. These official letters are meant to be public. "They expound on your particular philosophies," Marchant writes, which is a nice way of suggesting, "write what you know." What language will you speak? How many do you know? John Paul II was fluent in at least seven, but Latin is the lingua franca of Vatican City. Even the automated teller machines use Latin as their principal language. Marchant includes a list of essential Latin words. Who do you work with? A handy organizational chart outlines who works for whom and how they relate to you. A diagram will help you tell your clergy apart by their uniforms. Remember, cardinals -- whether they're birds or princes of the church -- are red. Where is the nearest drugstore? Tucked within the Vatican walls is a pharmacy that fills about 6,000 prescriptions per month. But it doesn't carry magazines or batteries. Can your mother be a saint? Maybe. Just remember, Marchant says, "the prestige and credibility of the church is at stake. On any day, as many as 15,000 candidates may be standing in line, but you get to decide who proceeds directly to veneration, beatification and canonization. Who else lives in Vatican City? About 1,100 residents live there full time and about 95 percent are men. There is, Marchant observes, no birth rate. What else do you need to know? Much, much more. See the book for tips on the papal wave (more up and down than side to side), explanations of exorcism and excommunication (and try not to confuse them), papal travel (no, you don't have to stand in line at customs) and your medical benefits (no deductible and no out-of-pocket expense). Anything else? No, you're set. And, as they say of some papal documents, Urbi et orbi, "to the city and the world!" Nancy Haught: 503-294-7625; nancyhaught@news.oregonian.com
00Tuesday, December 13, 2005 1:38 AM
hehehe..so many papabilias [SM=x40801]
00Thursday, December 15, 2005 9:03 PM
I've wanted to know for some time.....

Buona sera at tutti! I've managed to scan this photo from Milestones, as I've wanted to know ever since I first saw it, what the wall hanging is [the one with the funny animals], where it possibly comes from and.....most important, where can I get one like it?
Hoping someone can help!
Love, Peace and choy to all our friends here,
Mary [SM=g27811]

[Modificato da maryjos 15/12/2005 21.05]

00Thursday, December 15, 2005 9:28 PM

Wasn't that photo taken in Papa's house? The wall hanging is probably still there and the house is empty. Maryjos, I'm sure if anyone can figure out how to get inside, it's you.
00Thursday, December 15, 2005 10:39 PM
Papa's reunion with the "class of 1951"

Rupert Berger is the priest in the center with Joseph and Georg Ratzinger in a picture that was printed countless times around the world soon after Joseph became Pope.

The following story from the online site of
markplatz-oberbayern.de (thanks to a lead from Kristy in the RFC German section) tells us something of Papa's private life as Pope - he makes time for friends.

Bad Toelz – Not everyone can say “I had lunch with the Pope.” But the former parish priest of Bad Toelz, Rupert Berger, was recently a guest at the private quarters of Pope Benedict XVI in the Apostolic Palace – and had both breakfast and lunch with the Pope.

He would prefer not to make too much of his extraordinary experience, which occurred when he went to Rome for the traditional reunion of his “ordination class.” For Berger, it was above all “a very personal visit with someone who we all know well…(and it was) just like old times”.

Joseph Ratzinger and Rupert Berger were among 44 men (including Georg Ratzinger) who on June 29, 1951, were consecrated as priests by Kardinal Michael Faulhaber. Since then, the “class” has met each other regularly. Ratzinger’s election as Pope did not change the custom.

Eleven members of the “class of ‘51” travelled to Rome last month to see him. Berger said, “Many have died, and others are no longer able to travel.”

At the Vatican, they all celebrated Mass together, then had breakfast followed by lunch at the Apostolic Palace.

“After lunch, he (the Pope) said that now he had work to do,” said Berger, who now lives in Traunstein.

“We spent more time reminiscing than discussing politics,” he said of the reunion, which wwas held in a “very happy and relaxed” atmosphere.

They did not discuss the Pope’s election, either. “But one had the impression that he feels at ease now in his new role.” However, as a person, Berger thinks Ratzinger has remained who he was.

Obviously, the personal aspect of the reunion was more important to Berger than the unusual circumstances of the meeting.

Asked about the Apostolic Palace, he said the ceilings were “awesomely high” and that the many rooms were baroque in decoration, but that the Pope’s private quarters looked “quite normal.”

But he seems not to have particularly noticed details of what they ate.

“First, some noodle thing, then meat with vegetables, and a dessert – all quite Italian.”
00Thursday, December 15, 2005 11:50 PM
Wall Hanging
I wonder if the hanging that Maryjos covets is from South America? Benedict has travelled there, and it might have been a gift - or maybe his sister got it for him? It looks like a textile of some sort, in bright colours, so I think that South America is very possibly its origin.
00Friday, December 16, 2005 7:42 PM
Going to work as a cardinal.......

Hope this has pasted here all right. We have some photos of Papa walking to work across the Piazza san Pietro - wearing his cardinal's cassock and carrying that black briefcase. I think he's always looked, and felt, smarter in ecclesiastical clothes than in ordinary ones. And I think he was more comfortable going to work in his cassock. Although I adore photos of him in his blue or white shirt, black sweater and dark suit, often the suit jacket looked too big. He's just so right in his "official" garb and his unique way of walking is just....mmmm....... [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816]
Thanks for all the stories on these pages - I'm really enjoying - sorry, enchoying - this thread.
Benefan - I'm working on that Peruvian wall hanging. Yes, Wulfrune, I think it probably is South American. But the thought of "nicking" it had not entered my mind - honestly! I'm still working on how to get the best vantage point when Papa goes to Bavaria!!!! It's not going to be easy.
Liebe Gruesse - Mary x [SM=g27811]
[SM=g27822] [SM=g27822] [SM=g27822] [SM=g27822] [SM=g27822] [SM=g27822]
No - the quote didn't paste. If someone knows how to copy and paste quotes, please instruct!!!! Herzlichen Dank!!!!

[Modificato da maryjos 16/12/2005 19.44]

00Friday, December 16, 2005 9:55 PM
Yesterday, I posted on "Chatter" a translation of Beatrice's post in the French section about Victor, the "miracle" boy, which more properly belongs to this thread. I was replying to Sylvie who posted the alert about Bea's post in that thread. Yesterday, Bea did not have her translation of the article yet, but now she has posted it - and here is the full article, complete with pictures. [The translation has gone from the original Italian to French to English, but the story is quite straightforward so my third-hand translation here should be faithful to the original.)


At the train station, Beatrice noticed the December 14 issue of the Italian magazine Oggi, because the Pope was on the cover, with an accompanying story on Page 2. [Oggi is a People-type magazine].

The words on the cover say:
The moving scene of Ratzinger's prodigy*
In Germany, they shout:
This Pope already works miracles

*The Italian word 'prodigio' can mean both 'miracle' (the act) as well as "prodigy" (the person)

Ratzinger works miracles? In Germany, they say Yes
The Pope's caress has healed Victor

By Roberto Beccaria

The doctors gave him no hope: the cancer had metastasized through his body. He asked his parents to bring him to Benedict XVI in Cologne. Today, 3 months after that meeting, the tumor has mysteriously disappeared.

Both pictures were printed in reverse by the magazine (the Pope's hair parting was on the right side instead of on the left, and the Pope was shown to the right of Victor and his mother. Beatrice has returned the pictures to the proper orientation, that is why the "EXCLUSIVO" printed on the second is seen in reverse print. I re-posted the original picture as we had it in August at the bottom of the articlefor reference.

For believers, it is simply a miracle; for the doctors, just another case, but rare.

For Victor, it is the best and most unexpected Christmas gift, arriving in advance.

In fact, no one had thought that the results of his last biopsy would be negative, but in miraculous fashion, Victor is “cancer-free.” His cancer has been cured.

A few months ago, no doctor could give the least hope of survival for this 6-year-old boy, the second of three children of Felix and Michaela.

“The first (doctor’s) visit was like a thunderclap in a calm sky,” his mother recalls. “Our world crumbled around us, because from the start, they gave us the worst prognosis. Victor’s body was already ridden with metastasis. The doctors told us that in all likelihood, no surgery, no chemotherapy – which we nevertheless had our son undergo – would be of any use.”

But in those darkest of days, it was Victor himself who lit a small flame of hope. The last one.

“It was around the end of July, “ father Felix recalls. “We had just returned from the nth – and useless – series of medical tests. No good news there. Victor, who meantime had lost all his hair due to chemotherapy, asked us to help him fulfill his simple wish – 'I want to meet the Pope.’ “

Because Benedict XVI would be in Germany, a few weeks later, when he came to Cologne for World Youth Day. [The family lives in Duesseldorf, a city north of Cologne]. Victor’s parents, truly surprised by the boy’s surprising and unexpected request, did everything to fulfill that wish. “How could we not try?” Felix asks, with a smile.

Through their diocese, they obtained a special pass for Friday, August 19: the Pope would be visiting the church of St. Pantaleon, after his historic visit to the Jewish synagogue. Victor and his parents could be in the first row (of onlookers –in the hope of shaking hands with the Pope, at the very least.

The crowd was huge. The hands extended across the police barriers, more so. And yet, Benedict – was it chance or Providence? – was drawn to the completely bald boy wearing a surgical mask, in the arms of his mother. The Pope reversed course, approached them, took the face of Victor in his hands, caressed it gently, and murmured some words to Michaela. It was a simple gesture of affection and compassion, caught live on television - an image immediately seen around the world.

“Now I have received the strongest blessing in the world, “ Victor said serenely to his parents as they drove back home to Duesseldorf.

“My wife and I were filled with joy ourselves,“ said Felix. “We had fulfilled Victor’s wish. At that time, nothing was more gratifying than his simple and spontaneous joy.”

A mistake, really. Because they were going to receive news that was infinitely more gratifying three months later – hearing the word Krebs-frei (cancer-free).

A disease that the doctors had declared incurable had been defeated “in an unforeseen and mysterious manner,” according to the doctors themselves. The German newspapers did not report this in half-hearted terms: “It’s a miracle!” they proclaimed in their front pages.

But from a technical point of view, it cannot be called a miracle: the Church only officially recognizes miracles worked by someone who is dead. “Of course, no one can dare place a limit on God’s omnipotence,” some Curia prelates commented, thus admitting indirectly the wonder evoked by the news even at the Vatican.

“I don’t know – call it what you will,” Michaela says. “Me, I only know one thing: before this, my son was ridden with metastases, and now, it has all disappeared."

Many German oncologists, interviewed by the press and on TV, were quick to point out that, although rare, the cure of cancers such as those that Victor had could happen.

To this rational objection, the family’s parish priest answered rather gleefully: “It’s all written in the Gospels. When the Pharisees did not wish to believe in the healing of a man who was born blind, they interrogated him to exasperation, casting doubt on whether he was really blind and taking him for an impostor. While he simply answered them – 'Me, I do not know – I do know that once, I could not see, and now I can.’”

For now, Victor makes the victory sign with his hands. He knows his Calvary is over. He is smiling. He knows he can go back and play with his friends. He knows that the long afternoons spent at the hospital for doctor’s visits, treatments and tests, will soon be nothing but a bad memory. He knows he can now go back to school, and not have to worry about the treatments he has to undergo.

And he also knows, that perhaps, he will have his hair back in time for Christmas. A beautiful gift, yes. But nothing in comparison to the sweetness of the word that no one had pronounced to him before now: Krebs-frei.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 16/12/2005 22.00]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 16/12/2005 23.09]

00Friday, December 16, 2005 11:00 PM
Thank you again, Beatrice, for this article from the 12/16/05 issue of Visto, an Italian TV magazine:

The touching history of the German boy cured of cancer
after a blessing from Benedict XVI

The Pope’s caress saved Victor’s life

There are those who say it’s a miracle, but the Church and science won’t say so, because the boy also underwent chemotherapy. But what’s sure is that the Pope has given him strength to fight the disease.

Last August, when Benedict XVI went to Cologne for his first and most awaited trip abroad, the cameras of the world were focused on him. And not one of them missed the tender encounter between the Pope and a bald-headed little boy who wore a surgical mask around his mouth, and whom the Sovereign Pointiff caressed and blessed.

The images were moving not only because the boy was obviously a cancer patient, but also because one had the impression that Benedict, while passing by the crowd of onlookers, had notcied the boy from several meters away, had made a sign to the parents to come nearer, and then finally, held the boy close, caressing his face and giving him a blessing.

A deeply moving and fatherly gesture towards a boy about whom he learned that his name was Victor, he was 6 years old, and that he had been brought to Cologne from Duesseldorf by his parents, expressly in the hope of meeting the Pope.

But surely, the secret hope in the hearts of Victor’s parents, one they dared not express in words, was that above all, the meeting with the Pope – on top of long and painful medical treatments – could in some way lead to the boy’s cure, or at least, to make it more likely.

After that meeting, Victor continued to undergo more chemotherapy sessions. But at his last testing recently, the doctors concluded that the cancer had disappeared. In effect, a complete regression, although it will probably take several years more before Victor can be assured that the cancer will not recur.

There are those who already call it a miracle, more specifically, Ratzinger’s first miracle – the shy Pope who, even before completing a year as Pope, has already saved a child from death.

Surely, this extraordinary story suggests many things: the Pope and the boy are both Germans who met on German soil, and the pictures of their August meeting were seen around the world, as though to pre-announce the news of Victor’s healing.

But those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground say that it is really too soon to make a conclusive judgment, that one must consider how cancer therapies make progress daily, especially for pediatric cancers, and that the psychological attitude of the patient plays an important role in the healing.

One thing is sure: Victor, who is only 6, must feel very comforted in the affection not just of his parents, but also of the Pope, who, for his part, was able to warm the heart of a child with his great tenderness. For now, Victor lives, and that’s what matters most.

Maurizio Saglio
00Saturday, December 17, 2005 2:21 AM
Articles on Victor
Thanks for the follow-ups, great to hear [SM=g27828]
00Saturday, December 17, 2005 9:59 PM
Beatrice from the French section posted this December 17 article from the daily newspaper Le Figaro, presented here
in translation-
The austere life of a Pope who loves silence
By Herve Yannou, Figaro correspondent in Rome

The Vatican prepares to celebrate the first Christmas in the pontificate of Benedict XVI. On this occasion, we look into the daily routine of the German who became Pope on April 19.

The creche has been installed at the foot of the obelisk on St. Peter’s Square, in the shadow of the giant fir that is this year’s Vatican Christmas tree.

In this early morning hour, the bronze gates that constitute the official entrance to the Vatican, with Swiss Guards on duty, are still closed. It is 5:30 a.m. A light goes on in the right-hand corner of the third floor of the Apostolic Palace (1)*. Benedict XVI is awake.
*[Numbers in parentheses refer to location on the floor plan in the accompanying illustration]

In Rome, there are no secrets but mysteries. Since his election, the rooms occupied up there by the Pope have not always revealed their mysteries. With Benedict XVI, the doors of the pontifical apartments have closed once again.

John Paul II kept an open door. He received guests every morning for his private mass, almost never ate lunch or dinner alone. It was easy then to glean bits of information after these pontifical meals.

These days, his successor’s guests do not expect to be fed. Benedict XVI has maintained the austere life style he led before he became Pope. Except for a small number of privileged guests, he does not receive anyone in his private quarters.

The Pope governs the Church from this “ivory tower”, out of sight and more importantly, away from the ears of indiscreet listeners. More than ever, silence is golden for the Bavarian Pope.

It has been a hundred years that Popes have lived on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace. Benedict XVI officially took possession the day after his election. He lives there with his household.

Carmela, Emanuela, Loredana and Cristina – women in their 40s, lay sisters of the conservative Italian movement Commumion and Liberation (not religious nuns like those who kept house for his predecessors) are in charge of cooking and cleaning.

Angelo Gugel, John-Paul’s butler, continues to serve at table.

John-Paul’s second secretary, the Polish Mogr. Mieczyslaw Mokryzycki, nicnamed “Mietek”, has also been retained.

Mgr. George Gaenswein, the Pope’s private secretary, is the most mediagenic member of the papal household. A Bavarian like the Holy Father, 49 years old, sportsman, “Don Giorgio” has had to give up his previous lifestyle with his move to the Apostolic Palace, where he has his quarters on the fourth floor – on the level of the roof gardens and terrace with its unobstructed view of Rome.

Once a habitue of downtown restaurants, Gaenswein has not lost his smile, but he has cut ties with many of his former friends to dedicate himself to the exclusive service of a very discreet Pope.

He accompanies him everywhere and has learned to be firm. Not about protocol, but about strict instructions. Whoever has a chance to be presented to the Pope gets a few seconds to greet him and have a photograph taken. Questions are not allowed.

Benedict leads by a schedule. It’s his way of governing. With a watch on Rome time, you will know what he is doing during an ordinary day.

After he gets up and gets dressed, he celebrates Mass in his private chapel of stained glass and pale marble (2), the same one that was set up for Paul VI and used by John Paul II. His two secretaries serve Mass, and the four lay sisters attend.

Then, breakfast in the dining-room (3). The Pope takes a cappuccino.

Then, to his private study (4), whose walls are lined with bookcases crammed with 20,000 books from his personal library. If the weather is fine, the window opening towards St. Peter’s Square will be open. It’s the same window where he appears on Sunday noon to lead the Angelus.

A statue of Saint Joseph, an icon of the Madonna, a porcelain cat, an old white telephone, an old desk blotter and a pencil holder are the familiar objects on the desk of the theologian-Pope.

It is in this university-like atmosphere that he reads, studies, write many of his own speeches, and goes over documents. He delegates very little.

His former housekeeper, Ingrid Stampa, who used to transcribe his handwritten notes in German, has not followed him to the new quarters. She has new duties at the Secretariat of State in the other wing of the Palace and lives in quarters on a small street inside the Vatican.

Except on Wednesdays, when he has the general audiences, Benedict’s public life begins at 11 a.m.

Using a private elevator, he goes down to the official suite on the second floor (5). This is where he receives heads of state, bishops and various groups. The list of oficial guests is published every morning.

His most important “ministers” meet with him, each on a specific day and time, but the Pope can cancel such meetings if he has to.

Preceded by ushers, and introduced by the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, guests pass through a series of 11 ante-rooms before reaching the Papal presence.

Meals are simple, usually Italian, and not too salty. The Pope follows a diet since a cardiac alert 15 years ago. But he has a weakness for sweets.

After lunch, he has some time to relax, playing Mozart on his piano(6)[installed in the office of his secretary]. It was not easy to transfer his old semi-grand from his previous apartment to the Apostolic Palace.

Benedict XVI ordered a renovation of the Papal apartments – These are elegant but severe, large rooms with marble floors and gauzy drapes. Last summer, more than a hundred laborers, painters, electricians, plumbers carried out the renovations.

The infirmary was cleared and modernized, and has been installed with dental equipment )7).

The C&L sisters each have their own rooms (8).

The kitchen is brand new (9). Made in Germany, the equipment was a gift from a generous donor.

But the furniture is still mostly that which John Paul had.

Above all, despite the legends circulated and the Pope’s known affection for them, there are no cats to be seen.

At 4:30 p.m., a black Mercedes with tinted glass enters the medieval courtyards of the Apostolic Palace. It’s time for Benedict to go the Vatican Gardens for his daily walk.

The police have secured the area around the shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, where the car stops. The Pope and his secretary step out. They usually walk as far as the heliport before going back to the Apostolic Palace.

At 6 p.m.. the Pope resumes meeting with officers of the Curia and their delegations.

Every day, only the Pope’s “chief minister”, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State for the past 15 years, goes past the Sqiss Guards on duty directly to the Papal apartments. He meets with the Pope to discuss the official business of the church, but his visits are not listed on the official agenda.

Neither are those of certain vistors whom the Pope receives under great secreacy. Such as the controversial theologian Hans Kueng or Mgr. Bernard Fellay, head of the Lefebvrians.

But Benedict can also break his habits. Last summer, when he was at Castel Gandolfo, he came down to dine with the Swiss Guards and stayed for an evening of songs and music.

It is now 9 p.m. A shadow passes through the Porta Sant’Anna, the administrative entrance to the Vatican. Mgr. Gaenswein is giving himself a discreet night out.

Soon, the bells toll the half-hour. The lights go out in the papal bedroom.

00Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:19 PM

A little Christmas present to all friends here, with thanks for the best year yet - 2005!!!!!!
Love and Peace and Choy!
Mary x [SM=g27811] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799]
00Sunday, December 18, 2005 2:36 AM
Beautiful job, MaryJos, very professional! Thank you.
00Sunday, December 18, 2005 8:03 AM
Beautiful card Maryjos!!! [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799]
00Sunday, December 18, 2005 2:22 PM

Wonderful X-mas-card, maryjos, thank you so much !

[SM=g27811] [SM=g27811] [SM=g27811] [SM=g27811] [SM=g27811] [SM=g27811] [SM=g27811]
00Sunday, December 18, 2005 3:26 PM

His former housekeeper, Ingrid Stampa, who used to transcribe his handwritten notes in German, has not followed him to the new quarters.

I don't believe that ! I think, Ingrid is also living together mit the papal family....and why not. Her presence is good for Papa.

00Sunday, December 18, 2005 5:55 PM
Papal Household

I don't believe that ! I think, Ingrid is also living together mit the papal family....and why not. Her presence is good for Papa.

Well, I do believe it. Why should "Le Figaro" make this up? It seems to be a decent article. And it's the same that Georg Ratzinger told us in an interview a few weeks ago on Phoenix.
It's not our decision who is good for Papa and who isn't. I'm sure he knows.
00Monday, December 19, 2005 1:26 AM
The Full Article on Victor

Thank you so much Teresa for the article on Victor and the Papa's apartment. Interesting to know about Papa's living style. [SM=x40790]

Thank you Maryjos for that beautiful Christmas card !!
Feliz Navidad to you as well and to everyone. [SM=x40790]

I haven't post in such a long time that I forgot my password [SM=g27829]
00Monday, December 19, 2005 9:02 AM
so many info from that article! love it! gets a glimpse of Papa's routine more or less [SM=x40799]
00Monday, December 19, 2005 12:11 PM
Papa's apartment and routine
Good morning everyone! Monday morning in England - wish I could be roaming about in the Vatican this morning.........
Thanks for the information about Papa's apartment and routine. Interesting though the 3D model is, I feel it's not giving all the details. For example - is there only one bathroom and that one leading from Papa's bedroom?
Good to know that, the day he had a dental appointment, he didn't have to go outside the Vatican to visit his dentist. What an excellent idea to have dental equipment in his apartment! And, so relieved also that it's fully equipped for a medical emergency..........though, please God, that doesn't happen.Papa deserves all of these things - he works hard enough for it.
I'm going out to buy a small Pooh Bear watch,so that I can have it on Rome time. Only an hour ahead of GMT, I know, but I'd still like it - and it's an excuse for an old lady to buy a child's watch!!!!!
Hey, girls, have you seen the absolutely STUNC photos on the Cardinal thread upstairs on the main Italian forum? If not, hang on to your chair before going there or you'll go straight into orbit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Peace and Choy to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mary x [SM=g27811]
Keep on Gregorian Chanting!!!!!
[SM=x40800] PAPA I LOVE YOU! [SM=x40793]
00Monday, December 19, 2005 4:58 PM
Here is a loose translation of an item today from the German news agency, kathnews.de:

The Archdiocese of Munich has belied press reports that the house where Pope Benedict was born in Marktl-am-Inn has been sold.

“...the bishoprics of Bavaria are interested in acquiring the house because of the once-in-a-century happening that a Bavarian became Pope," a press statement said. “In order to enable the dioceses to bid for the house, a foundation is planned to raise most of the necessary funds from private sources. The other dioceses will support the diocese of Passau, to which Marktl-am-Inn belongs, in setting up this foundation.”

Note: Nothing has been heard so far from the owner's house who had said she expected to decide who to sell to by October 2005.
00Tuesday, December 20, 2005 12:56 AM
Pope gives Vatican employees Christmas gifts of cake, wine, rosaries

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For his first Christmas as pope, Benedict XVI gave all Vatican employees signed Christmas cards and gifts of Italian cake, sparkling wine and rosaries.

The Vatican's 4,223 employees Dec. 14 each received a colorful Christmas postcard depicting a reproduction of a 16th-century painting of "Adoration of the Magi." The painting, crafted by an unknown artist, hangs in the chapel of St. Lawrence in the Vatican.

On the card's reverse side is the pope's coat of arms and a greeting -- a quote in Latin from a sermon of St. Augustine in the pope's handwriting.

"Awake mankind! For your sake God has become man," it says, followed by Pope Benedict's signature and the year.

Together with their cards, Vatican workers also carried home a large Italian Christmas cake called "panettone" and a bottle of Martini sparkling wine, gifts Pope John Paul II used to give employees every year along with his own hand-signed Christmas card.

But this year Pope Benedict also included a special set of blessed rosary beads whose metal center bears a "Madonna and Child" on one side and his coat of arms on the other.

December paychecks will also bring some extra Christmas cheer. Under Italian law, workers, including Vatican employees, are entitled to an extra month's salary -- usually given at the end of the year.
00Tuesday, December 20, 2005 1:33 AM
Thanks for the warning Maryjos
[SM=x40790] [SM=x40790] [SM=x40790] [SM=x40790] [SM=x40790] [SM=x40790] [SM=x40790] [SM=x40790] [SM=x40790]
But even with the warning, I rapidly flew into orbit!!! Hey, I like it up here [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823]
00Tuesday, December 20, 2005 3:01 PM
The German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse (PNP) has a more detailed story today on the status of the sale of Papa's "birth-house" in Markt-am-Inn. Herewith, in translation -
So, then: Dioceses will buy the Papst-Haus?

Marktl Mayor Hubert Geschwendter in front of the house -
Although the house has not been sold yet, preparations are under way in the district for a weeklong celebration in April to mark the Pope's birthday and the first anniversary of his election. (Foto: Kleiner)

By Robert Pfiffer

The house where Pope Benedict was born in Marktl-am-Inn may change hands this week. Victoria Rauh representing the brokers told the PNP yeterday it is hoped “that the transaction can be concluded before Christmas, in order to bring a positive message to all Catholics worldwide.”

Rauh belied earlier reports that a deal had been concluded. “There is no contract yet between the owner and a possible buyer.”

Marktl’s mayor Hubert Gschwendtner also said, “Nothing has been signed.” The Marktl district has right of first refusal on the purchase. That means that any contract for sale must be shown to it FIRST. Then, with just one Euro more over the contracted price, the district can buy the house itself.

But Gschwendtner most likely will not have to use the right of first refusal. Not just because Marktl does not have the rumored 3.5 million Euros asking price, but because potential buyers apparently have no objections to coming up with a plan for using the house that will be acceptable to the community.

The concept, which the present owner Claudia Dandl herself has often shared publicly, is that the house be converted to a place for meetings and dialog, such as theological symposiums.
The inner courtyard of the building could house a pavilion for art exhibits. Quality art pieces would be sold. Six to seven rooms would be open for public viewing, including the room in which Joseph Ratzinger was born.

It is not planned to turn the house altogether into a Ratzinger Museum. “It will not be a Ratzinger monument – we do not intend it to be a place for pilgrimage,” an insider said. Rather, it will house exhibits and documentation that will promote better understanding of the office of the Papacy.

This is fully in accordance with the wishes of the diocese of Passau (to which Marktl belongs).

“For us it is fundamentally important that, because of its special importance, the Holy Father’s birth house should fall into the right hands, who can give the Pope as a person and the Papacy itself the corresponding respect,” said Wolfgang Duschl, press spokesman for the diocese.

He too confirmed that the sale of the house has not gone through yet. He did say that Passau, along with other Bavarian dioceses and with the help of private financing, are thinking of setting up a Foundation.

But PNP sources indicate that the establishment of this foundation is farther along than officially announced so far. The two other participating dioceses are Regensuburg and Munich-Freising. The newspaper Die Welt had originally reported this plan in August, but the dioceses said at the time that it
was all speculation.

Yesterday, however, the press spokesman of the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, Wilfred Roehmel, said: “In view of the once-in-a-century happening that a Bavarian cardinal has become Pope, the Bavarian dioceses do have an interest in acquiring the property. …In order to do this, the establishment of a foundation is being considered in order to raise the greater part of the purchase price from private sources.”

It is openly known that there are many potential donors for such a foundation. The main burden may be borne by the family – an industrial dynasty - of the deceased Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne, who had brought the young professor Ratzinger from Bonn to be his theological adviser at the Second Vatican Council.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 20/12/2005 15.09]

00Tuesday, December 20, 2005 5:17 PM
If you have ever wondered what small talk passes between the Pope and the groups he meets after the general audiences, a delegation from the little Italian town of Cesenatico on the Adriatic coast (eastern Italy) gives us an idea.

Ratzi.lella from the main forum shared a small item from “La Corriere di Romagna,” a newspaper in central Italy from which the following was gleaned:


A delegation of about a hundred persons, led by their Bishop and by Giancarlo Barocci, president of the hotel association of Cesenatico, met the Pope last Wednesday.

They asked him to visit Cesenatico: “It’s a small town on the Adriatic, Your Holiness, but well-known and appreciated by tourists from Bavaria.” [The Adriatic beaches of Italy, like other beach areas in southern Europe, are overrun by German tourists in the summer.]

“Ah, Cesenatico!,” the Pope exclaimed. “ My Emanuela (la mia Emanuela) often talks to me about it. She is from your diocese.” [Emanuela is one of the 4 C&L lay sisters who run the Pope’s household at the Apostolic Palace. She comes from San Piero in Bagno near Cesenatico.]

To their invitation, the Pope replied: “I would love to. If God gives me time!”

They presented him with a painting by Giuseppe Casali, a noted local artist, showing the Creche of the Marineria, a Christmas event started 20 years ago in which the Nativity scene is recreated on boats.

“Oh, but how beautiful this creche is!”, the Pope remarked. Barocci, who addressed the Pope in German, explained what the Mariniera Creche was all about. The Pope gave a special blessing for the Creche.

Barocci said afterwards: “We saw a Pope who tends to smile readily and who is easy to talk to. In many ways, even, different from what we are shown on TV.”

Of course, our Italian sisters are twittering over how Papa said "la mia Emanuela" (my Emanuela), a very Italian way of
referring to a familiar or intimate! Wouldn't each of us wish to be in a position where the Pope would speak of us that way?
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