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

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benefan
00Saturday, September 2, 2006 4:05 AM

Neighbor plans papal homecoming down to the honey on the table

PENTLING, Germany (CNS) -- The neighbor who cares for Pope Benedict XVI's home in Pentling has planned the pontiff's Sept. 13 homecoming in great detail. "Waiting for him on the dining table in his house will be a very special surprise from me," said the neighbor, Rupert Hofbauer. "There will be several jars of honey from his own bees, from his own garden, and I am sure he is going to love this." For many years Hofbauer, a part-time beekeeper, has been keeping his bees in Pope Benedict's garden -- with the approval of the pope. "I know he misses his house dearly, and he told me so when I visited him in Rome" last year, Hofbauer told CNS Aug. 31. "He asked after his garden, the flowers, even the bees, and after our two animals: Chico, the cat, and Igor, the golden retriever."
Jil
00Saturday, September 2, 2006 7:43 PM
benefan,

thank you for the nice article.

The neighbour, Rupert Hofbauer said in a TV-interview that he has received so many offers to sell the honey, people offered him a fortune. But he would never do this. And when he went to Rome to visit Pope Benedict he had brought him a jar of honey which Papa really appreciated.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, September 3, 2006 12:18 AM
PAPA WILL NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE !
I have just finished translating the Pope's colloquy with the diocesan priests of Albano (see HOMILES, MESSAGES, DISCOURSES) and am completely blown away by it.

Not just by the content, which is the equivalent of five off-the-cuff homilies by him, but by the incredible and truly singular opportunity that it gives us to 'know' him even better, and in the most engaging and absorbing way.

Benedict XVI has not only written far more than any other Pope in their lifetime. He is also the first Pope in the era of modern communications to have spoken out so often and at length without a text but for the record; and 16 months into his Papacy, a compilation of his extemporaneous homilies, remarks, interviews and answers at public Q-and-A sessions already make up a very impressive volume!

And yet, how sad and how telling, that out of all the words he said at the session with the Albano priests, the Italian media only picked out a short fragment in which he spoke about St. Francis of Assisi, not even reporting it in the context of why he said it - that he wanted the life of St. Francis to be an example to the youth of today of what it means to be converted to the way of Christ and immeasurably expanding their lives that way.

Once again, I am struck by how Benedict shows himself to be, above all else, a priest. When he tells other priests to live up to their vocation and how, he is telling us in very concrete terms how he does so himself, and it is an awesome, privileged glimpse into the interior life of a fully-committed man of God. And all in down-to-earth terms, devoid of false pieties.

Two things I will never ever forget from this colloquy:
1. The humility and the realism to say "I cannot try to do everything because one person alone cannot - I do what I, with the help of others, can do; and the rest I leave to God who knows best." God does not judge us by what we can not do or are in no position to do, but by what we do and try to do within the limits of our possibilities.

What a contrast to the professional do-gooders who believe and act as though the fate of the world depended on them alone! What a consolation for each of us who can only try to cope with getting through the day as best we can! What comfort and aid to parish priests [and all other persons of responsibility] who often feel that their best is never enough compared to the magnitude of what they must do!

2. The humility, once again, to say that priests can and should learn from the sacrifices of married couples - that celibacy is not the only sacrifice possible, that marriage and raising a family entails sacrifices beyond what a celibate priest can envision.

Much was made previously of the assumption that Joseph Ratzinger - who spent half his life before he became Pope as a university professor and half as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - did not have any pastoral experience outside of the exalted duties of being Archbishop of Munich and Freising for a few short years.

What we know of his life indicates that he spent a few months doing pastoral work in the Munich suburbs before he got a teaching assignment that launched him on his academic career. We know that after moving to Regensburg, he did some volunteer parish work in his suburban parish, mostly saying the daily Mass.

What seems evident from his responses to the concerns of parish priests - whether in Val d'Aosta, Rome or Albano, is that he is well aware of parochial problems and parishioners' lives, and that this is no ivory-tower recluse who has lived all these years isolated from the wear-and-tear of the daily grind.

And all those years at the CDF, talking informally to almost every visiting cardinal, archbishop, bishop or monsignor who came to Rome, certainly exposed him to the problems of the Church around the world, not only at the macro-level as we know from his many books and writings, but apparently at the micro-level as well, as we are learning from his given-and-take with other priests.

For those who are not Benaddicts like us, what better evidence of the protean phenomenality of this Pope that in the space of less than a week, he undertakes a major colloquy with diocesan priests tackling specific parochial problems with universally valid responses; goes on to make a pilgrimage to venerate a relic whose only 'authentication' so far is the faith that has been attached to it for 500 years; and from there, goes straight into a three-day seminar on creation and evolution with his former doctoral students and invited experts?

To those who said "Who could ever fill the shoes of such a great Pope like John Paul II?", the answer is, "Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI does not need to. He stands very well, indeed, in his own shoes, thank you!"
.Sue.
00Tuesday, September 5, 2006 8:18 AM
German banker, friend of pope, surprised at invitation to visit


By Tess Crebbin
Catholic News Service

MUNICH, Germany (CNS) -- A German banker who used to chauffeur Pope Benedict XVI said he has been invited to spend the night in the Regensburg seminary with the pontiff during his Sept. 9-14 trip to Germany.

"I was very surprised and honored when I received a letter stating that I am to stay overnight at Regensburg," Thaddaeus Kuehnel, director of the Hauck and Aufhauser private bank in Munich, told Catholic News Service. "The request came from the Regensburg seminary, by letter."

Kuehnel said he did not know why he received an invitation when so many of the pope's other friends remain uncertain if they will have a chance to meet with him.

"It may have something to do with the fact that our friendship goes back some 30-odd years," Kuehnel said. "Long before he became pope, when he faced controversy at home and abroad, I always spoke out for him, and I think he never forgot this.

"When he took a lot of flak here in Germany because of his conservative stance, I was the one who always stood by him," he added. "I think this bonds us, that we have been together through the good as well as the bad times."

Kuehnel said he never tried to profit from his close relationship with the pontiff.

"The car in which I drove the pope more than 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles), which was my own, has recently been sold in Russia," Kuehnel said. "I sold it at a normal price, and the people who bought it never knew its history. Had I publicized it, I could have made a lot more money from this car, but that is not my style at all."

Kuehnel said he looks forward to a warm reunion with the pope and is not nervous.

"He may be pope now," he said, "but he is still a friend of mine with whom my relationship goes back many years."

For more than 20 years, Kuehnel has driven Bavarian specialities to the former Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome, and this tradition continues.

"I still drive Advent wreaths to him, and then, at Christmastime, also Bavarian Christmas trees. This is my annual Christmas gift to him," he said. "Also, I take him the Christmas packages of the Zentis company, which makes jams and sweets."

Kuehnel said he will discuss private matters with the pope when they meet at the seminary.

"One of the things that I have never spoken to him about," Kuehnel said, "but may take the opportunity of doing so now, when we see each other at Regensburg, is about Sister Iphigenia of Bad Adelholzen. She used to send the former Cardinal (Joseph) Ratzinger his beloved Adelholzener fruit juices and mineral waters to Rome. On her deathbed, she told me about a vision she had, that he was going to be pope one day. Maybe now is the time to let him know about this."

In his work as a banker, Kuehnel said, he tries to apply his Catholic faith to his daily dealings with people.

"I want to prove that being a practicing Catholic is very much in accordance with success in the business world," he said. "And with our private bank, I think that we have shown this."

Kuehnel said he learned the attitude of actively living his faith from his friend, Joseph Ratzinger.

"He was always a kind and gentle man," he said, "long before he became pope. The former Cardinal Ratzinger's image as 'God's Rottweiler' was completely unfounded, because he was never that way. Those of us who knew him then, and who still know him now, can see that the only change to have taken place is that, finally, the world is starting to see him as he really is."
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, September 6, 2006 8:41 PM
COOL PAPA - NEW VERSION!

Papino in 'saturno' - Benefan notes he wears it with a cowboy tilt to the brim!


VATICAN CITY, Sept. 6, 9006 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Wednesday showed once more that he has a thing for old hats.

The Pope surprised tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter's Square for his weekly general audience by wearing an unusual, wide-brimmed red hat when he rode in on his popemobile.

It was the first time the 79-year-old German pontiff wore the hat, known in Italian as a "saturno" [also called 'capello Romano,' or Roman hat] because it is vaguely reminiscent of the ringed planet Saturn.

Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963, used a saturno and John Paul II, who died last year, donned one occasionally during trips to hot countries.

It was not the first time Pope Benedict has worn a strange-looking hat at an outdoor audience to shield himself against the weather.

Last December, to keep warm against the bitter cold, he wore a red velvet cap, trimmed with white fur.

That hat, known as a "camauro," was commonly worn by popes in the mediaeval period to keep their heads warm on cold days and is featured on many paintings at the time.

American Papist chimes in with the Wikipedia info about Papal headgear:

A cappello romano (literally Roman hat) is a hat with a wide, circular brim and a rounded rim worn by Catholic clergy. It is made of either beaver fur or felt, and lined in white silk. Unlike many other articles of ecclesiastical attire, it serves no ceremonial purpose, being primarily a practical item. (The galero is a ceremonial wide brim hat no longer worn.)

The wearing of a cappello romano is optional, but it is never worn during services. It is generally uncommon outside of Rome today, though it was quite popular in other countries with a Catholic majority population from the 17th century until ca. 1970.

There are some, mostly minor, differences in the designs of cappelli, depending on the rank of the wearer. The pope wears a red cappello with gold cords. All other clerics wear black cappelli. A cardinal may have a cappello with red and gold cords with scarlet lining. A bishop's may have green and gold cords with violet lining. A priest may substitute black lining for his. Cappelli worn by deacons and seminarians have no distinguishing items.


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I think Papino is not so much being traditional - though he is using traditional Papal gear - as much as simply being practical about dressing for the weather! And ends up being
'cool' in more ways than one today!

And I like it that the red of the hat and the shade from the brim bring out the blue of his eyes!


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 06/09/2006 20.53]

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, September 13, 2006 4:23 AM
BUT WAS IT REALLY A SECRET?
BILD titled it 'RATZINGER FAMILY SECRET REVEALED' and did have a scoop with this, thanks to their archive search, but did they have to release the news during the Pope's visit to his homeland? Not that there's anything wrong with getting a bride through an ad, but it just did not sit well with me when I saw it in BILD last Sunday.



Because it was news, however, I had to post it, and besides, the pictures were great. Then I thought to myself, what if it was not a secret at all but known to the children? It's not hard to imagine those two upright parents explaining it to the kids when they asked, "How did you two get to know each other?"

I did not have time to translate the BILD article for my post on Sunday, but I find today that CNA ran a story on it based on a London Times article which in turn was based on the BILD article. So I'll post a translation of the original article when I get around to it, in the midst of all the more topical translations about the visit!

But first, here are the pictures from the BILD article, followed by the CNA story.



Papino's parents in their youth: Papa at age 20,
Mama's earliest known picture, undated




Papino at age 4, in a family picture.
Caption says that his father is the second man
standing from right, and that his mother is
standing to the left of her husband; sister
Maria, then 9, is the girl in the light dress,
and Georg is the boy seated on the extreme left.


Maklara's enlargement of Pepperl from the group photo.

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Photo from BILD


Pope’s parents met through singles ad

London, Sep. 11, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI and his brother, Fr. Georg Ratzinger, 82, were surprised to learn this week that their parents, Joseph and Maria, met through a singles ad their father had placed in local Catholic weekly, Liebfraubote.

The disclosure came at the outset of the Pope’s return to his native Bavaria, where he intends to visit his parents’ grave and the village of Marktl am Inn, where he was born, reported the London Times.

The July 1920 ad was found in the Bavarian state archives by a researcher for the tabloid Bild. According to the report, the ad read: “Middle-ranking civil servant, single, Catholic, 43, immaculate past, from the country, is looking for a good Catholic, pure girl who can cook well, tackle all household chores, with a talent for sewing and homemaking with a view to marriage as soon as possible. Property desirable but not a precondition.”

Maria Peintner, 36, an illegitimate baker’s daughter and a trained cook, replied. She did not have a fortune, but they married four months later.

The Pope said he remembers his father as “strict but fair” and his mother as warm and open-hearted,” reported the Times.

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[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 13/09/2006 21.29]

Simone55
00Wednesday, September 13, 2006 12:56 PM
BUT WAS IT REALLY A SECRET?
No, it wasn't a secret !
Peter Seewald mentioned it already in his book Benedikt XVI Ein Portrait aus der Naehe.

The pics are fantastic, also that singles ad, the BILD staff can figure out everything, but mostly it is a terrible newspaper.



[Modificato da Simone55 13/09/2006 12.58]

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, September 13, 2006 1:32 PM
THANKS, SIMONE, FOR THE INFORMATION. SO IT WAS NEITHER A SECRET, NOR A SCOOP FOR BILD. They should have at least acknowledged that Seewald already published the information earlier!

I know BILD's a tabloid - their front pages (pictures and headlines) sometimes make my hair stand on end, but they have been giving the Pope, as I said in the VOYAGE TO BAVARIA thread, mostly respectable and always respectful coverage since his election, so I look into it online whenever there's an important papal event.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, September 13, 2006 10:35 PM
REMEMBERING RATZI IN REGENSBURG
Pope’s friends say
fame has not changed
Joseph Ratzinger


Regensburg, Sep. 13, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Bavaria has provided the occasion for many of his close friends to talk about their friendship with the man who they say “is a humble person who has never taken advantage of his powerful position in the Church and has been a friendly and available neighbor, professor, and priest.”

“An official car? For what? That’s why the public bus exists!” That’s how Father Wilhelm Gegenfurtner, the former vicar general of the Diocese of Ratisbona, remembers the Pope.

Father Gegenfurtner often went on small excursions with the Ratzinger brothers. Nowadays, every once in a while his phone rings and on the other end someone says, “The Holy Father wishes to speak with you, please.”

The German priest especially treasures his memories at the cathedral with Father Georg Ratzinger, who directed the choir and the orchestra, and sitting off to the side, always in the same place, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and his sister Maria.

“Many people had a mistaken image of the cardinal, since as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith he always had to play a critical role,” said Father Gegenfurtner. “They did not see him as he really is, an open and friendly person who smiles and is always reaching out to people.”

Maria Baumann, who manages a small museum in Pentling called, “The Pope is one of us,” which includes a collection of many personal items from then Cardinal Ratzinger’s home, said the Pope’s former home is “just as he left it in 2005. It seems like he just left and that he will be returning at any moment.” She said the Pope’s brother helped her select the items for the museum.

The Richardi family has also experienced the humility and openness of the Pope. Their friendship with him began at the end of the 1960’s. At that time Mr. Richardi was a professor at the same university where Ratzinger taught.

“Here in Pentling he has always been sort of a member of the family,” said Margarete Richardi. It was Joseph Ratzinger who presided at the marriage of their two daughters and baptized their grandchildren. He also recently celebrated Mass for their 40th wedding anniversary.

The Richardis also told of how the whole family has adopted the Pope. Margarete recalled an instance when her grandson Sebastian, then two, said suddenly, “Cardinal, come here, I want to show you something.” A few minutes later she saw the two kneeling down on the floor and playing dominos together.

Memories of a sister

Others have fond memories of the Pope’s sister, Maria. Wolfgang Beinert, who was Professor Ratzinger’s assistant and later his successor in the theology department in Regensburg, remembers her as faithfully fulfilling the promise she made to her parents to watch over and care for her two brothers. Consequently she always took care of then Cardinal Ratzinger’s office and managed his home.

“Maria Ratzinger,” Beinert recalled, “was a very intelligent woman and wise counselor to her brothers.” She shares Joseph’s great love for animals, especially cats.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, September 13, 2006 11:59 PM
MORE FROM BROTHER GEORG
I am posting part of a CNA story on an interview given by brother Georg to ZDF television recently, in which he spoke in general terms about how he expected the 'private day' of t Bavarian visit would go. We'll probably know soon enough more details about how the day actually went, but the rest of the interview was equally interesting.
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Regensburg, Sep. 13, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI explicitly asked to reserve a private day during his visit to Bavaria.... His brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger dropped a few clues about what the Pope’s activities would be during an interview with the German television network ZDF.

“I hope he can have lunch with me, take a short walk and perhaps take a nap. And I hope the rest of day can take place without much interference or hassles. Of course, as we make our way by car to Pentling, first to the tomb of our parents and later to the Church of Ziegetsdorf, there will be a lot of people present, especially old acquaintances who will be happy to meet him again. So it will not be completely private, but I do hope there will be a certain amount of privacy,” Ratzinger said.

While he said it is true that “the ministry leaves its mark on the person,” Monsignor Ratzinger said his brother has not changed much.

“I cannot say he has changed a great deal. He strives not to get excited. In some sense, the way I see it, it is important to maintain interior control and peace in order to correctly carry forward one’s mission and adequately reach out to people,” he said.

Monsignor Ratzinger says it is a heavy cross for the Pope not to be able to carry out his intellectual work and book writing as he used to.

Asked about how his own life has changed since his brother Joseph was elected Pope, Ratzinger said, “To me it has changed very little. It’s mainly the Italian tourists who see me and get very excited, as if they weren’t meeting the Pope’s brother but rather the Holy Father himself. But regarding everything else, I think my relationships with my colleagues, friends, and others have not changed at all.”

loriRMFC
00Thursday, September 14, 2006 3:21 AM
The 2 articles above are great. Its nice to know that the brothers are spending time together and as curious people its nice to have an idea of what they'll be doing. LOL at Georg saying that Italian tourists act like their meeting the Pope when they meet him [SM=g27824] I think the 1st article showcases part of Papa's great character when he says "An offical car ? What for ?" (Despite this I still personally think a car is necessary if I had to depend on the bus in my area, I'd go nowhere [SM=g27828] Besides he owned a VW Golf later so I guess it was necesary.)
maryjos
00Saturday, September 16, 2006 9:32 PM
Is there honey still for tea?
Rumour has it that Pooh Bear knows about the beehive in Papa's garden and the fact that Herr Hofbauer makes honey. Pooh adds to his collection of full hunny jars whenever his balloon happens to take him over Pentling.
[SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823] [SM=g27823]
@Andrea M.@
00Monday, September 18, 2006 11:51 PM
An Interview with G. Ratzinger
Hello everyone,

this is an interview with G. Ratzinger. It talks about the Holy Father's visit to Bavaria but it also talks about the most recent controversy with the Islamic world:

Pope's Brother: "He Hopes That It Will Be Sorted Out"

In his first interview since Benedict XVI's visit to Bavaria, the pope's brother talks about the trip, papal vacation plans and the pontiff's reaction to Muslim protests against his speech in Regensburg.

On Sunday, a Vatican flag with the papal coat of arms still flew outside Georg Ratzinger's home in the center of the Bavarian town of Regensburg, where Benedict XVI had visited his 82-year-old brother last Wednesday. Ratzinger, himself a priest and the former director of Regensburg's world-famous cathedral boys' choir, the Regensburger Domspatzen, will probably not see the pope until after Christmas, when he plans to travel to Rome again. But the brothers regularly talk on the phone, allowing Ratzinger to share Benedict's thoughts on the recent controversy surrounding the pope's speech at the University of Regensburg in this exclusive interview.

DW-WORLD.DE: How did you experience your brother's visit to Bavaria?

Georg Ratzinger: I expected everything to be very flustered and hounded. In fact, things turned out differently. It was solemn and somehow even cheerful, if I may say so. I was deeply moved.

Did you have a favorite moment?

It was especially nice for me that we were allowed to be alone for about two hours in his house in Pentling, of course. He was tired and got some rest and we chatted a bit. That was nice. But it's trivial to emphasize this vis-à-vis the church services, which are quintessential for people and which grip people internally. I thought that all festivities were well prepared. They gave people an emotional religious experience, an experience of religious commitment. That's how I really experienced it.

The Bavarian bishops have asked the pope to spend his vacation in Bavaria in the future. Do you think that's possible?

I've heard that several vacation spots have been checked -- mainly in South Tyrol, where we frequently spent our vacation. All of them didn't work out because of the people that are responsible for security. There were shortfalls everywhere that made the security people say: This is not acceptable. I think that the vacation in the Aosta valley -- in relative solitude and with a very good and healthy climate -- has worked out well. I don't expect that his vacation will be moved to Bavaria.

Have you talked to your brother since his return to Rome?

We have talked on the phone.

Has he talked to you about the controversy surrounding his speech at the University of Regensburg?

He mentioned it briefly. Of course he regrets that Muslims have reacted like that and have completely misunderstood him. It's not his opinion. He would never hold such a view. It's the quote of a man, who lived 500 years ago. Naturally, it's a grotesque misunderstanding that it was taken out of context and presented as if it were his opinion. But he hopes that it will be sorted out and understood when he explains the situation correctly -- and that it won't have consequences for mutual relations.

Mathis Winkler interviewed Georg Ratzinger

© Deutsche Welle on September 18th, 2006

Andrea

[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 18/09/2006 23.52]

Jil
00Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:25 AM
Andrea,
danke für die tolle Übersetzung!


There were shortfalls everywhere that made the security people say: This is not acceptable. I think that the vacation in the Aosta valley -- in relative solitude and with a very good and healthy climate -- has worked out well. I don't expect that his vacation will be moved to Bavaria.



That's very sad. Security should not be the only reason for a holiday destination. There was an interview on German TV this morning when a journalist said that it was possible for the Pope to travel to Germany for a few days without anybody knowing - apart from the securitiy people. So maybe he plans a few days off in Bavaria and we never find out. [SM=g27827]:


f course he regrets that Muslims have reacted like that and have completely misunderstood him. It's not his opinion.



Surely not - but it is mine!!!!!

Jil
@Andrea M.@
00Tuesday, September 19, 2006 3:48 PM
Deutsche Welle
Hallo Jil,

die Meldung von der Deutschen Welle habe ich einfach so übernommen, die war bereits übersetzt.

It was not my translation, it was done by Deutsche Welle.

Andrea
Wulfrune
00Thursday, September 21, 2006 12:31 AM
And now for something nice....
After reading all the tripe that is going around at the moment, here are some refreshing insights from someone who actually saw Joseph Ratzinger on a daily basis.

The board game sounds fun - do any of our German members know it?


MUNICH - 21 September 2006 - 436 words

Recollections from Pope's former housekeeper

Tess Crebbin - freelance German correspondent

Sister Agapita, of the Sisters of Mercy convent in Munich, was a housekeeper to Cardinal Ratzinger, before he became Pope Benedict XVI. She was one of 50 people who received Communion from the Pope during his recent Mass at Munich-Riem. Sr Agapita reminisced with journalist Tess Crebbin.

"We spent many joyful moments together," she said by phone. "It was much more than just your average housekeeper-Cardinal relationship, because he really involved us in his daily life and we also used to pray together."

She also told David Costanzo, a city reporter for the TZ newspaper, of her nervousness prior to her first meeting with Joseph Ratzinger. "I was sent to look after his household in 1972 at the archdiocese," she said, "and was very much in awe of him and my new position. So I hoped he was not going to be there when I first arrived, to give me some time to adjust to the new situation and learn everything around the household. I was lucky, because for the first week of my taking up my new post, he was away at a Bishop's conference and so I had a chance to familiarize myself with my new tasks. But I need not have worried, because he was a very humble person who never made any of his staff feel inferior. On the contrary, he always made us feel like we were important to him and that we were all one big family in the face of the Lord."

Sister Agapita also talked about her memories of playing the German board game "Mensch aergere Dich nicht" with the Pope. "This was one of his favourite games," she said, "and it means, translated, "don't get annoyed" because you can be in the process of winning and at the last moment be booted out by your opponent. When playing this game, I found out that Cardinal Ratzinger had a wonderful sense of humour and we laughed a lot together."

Sister Agapita related how, when the Pope John Paul II was shot, Cardinal Ratzinger immediately " gathered all of us around to say the rosary together with him for the Pope's recovery. I thought it was really significant that he had asked his staff to join him in prayer, fostering among us the feeling of community and union."

Sister Agapita was one of three nuns who looked after the household of Cardinal Ratzinger until he was called to Rome. She says that she was impressed by the dignity and faith that radiated from him.


© Independent Catholic News 2006


Music of Lorien
00Thursday, September 21, 2006 3:38 AM
And now for something nice....indeed
Thanks, Wulfrune, for that wonderful little article. We often learn the most about Papa from the women who have worked closely with him, don't we? All the charming little details from everyday life are just, well, fascinating. If anyone knows about that board game, please do enlighten us!

I had often wondered where Papa was and what he did when John Paul II was shot. BTW, I hope you had a great time in Bavaria.
Wulfrune
00Saturday, September 23, 2006 3:09 PM
Something else to enjoy....
Chris Blosser has discovered that the University of Regensburg website has a section dedicated to Prof Ratzinger.
Regensburg University

There are some photos I've not seen before, including a 'where's Wally?' style one with a bunch of clerics on a staircase.

The RFC have got a thread on the subject and 'Rcesq' has translated much of the material already. It's well worth a read. I posted a couple of stunc fotos on the Immagine section here, but I hope no one will consider it a waste of valuable forum space if I repeat them here:



On the RFC it was noted that on the right hand clip (which seems to be earlier than the left hand one) the heading describes the new professor as Georg's Brother. Back then, Georg was the more famous!! How times do change.


Wouldn't we just love to have knocked on that door with our 'theological difficulties'??? SIGH SIGH SIGH
[SM=x40791] [SM=x40791] [SM=x40791] [SM=x40791] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816]

[Modificato da Wulfrune 23/09/2006 15.51]

PhoenixRising
00Saturday, September 23, 2006 3:36 PM
*GASP!!!!!!!!!!!!*


[SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27838] [SM=g27838] [SM=g27838] [SM=g27838] [SM=g27838] [SM=g27838] [SM=x40791] [SM=x40791] [SM=x40791] [SM=x40791]

[Modificato da PhoenixRising 23/09/2006 15.38]

NanMN
00Saturday, September 23, 2006 8:04 PM
[SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] [SM=x40798] Clare the pictures in those articles are... amazing! Imagine a time when Georg was more well know... well with his music and the choir, yes. But look who is shining now!!!
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, October 1, 2006 10:20 AM
ABOUT MARIA - JOSEPH'S SISTER
The following was posted by Palma as a new thread, so I have transferred it here, where we also post items about Georg Ratzinger, as well as other persons who have a personal relationship to the Pope, and of course, his close associates.

Palma, I hope you don't mind. The English section is, in effect, only a thread in the entire forum, so we cannot have too many sub-threads. Therefore, we have tried to group our posts under specific topics which are self-explanatory, and try not to open any new sub-threads unless there is a consensus or an urgent need. For instance, we did not see fit to open a sub-thread just on Regensburg and its aftermath because in the way of things, this will turn out to be a nine-day wonder, and the Pope is very much at the center of it all, anyway, so any new development is always bound to be NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT.

I will also transfer your 'good morning' greeting to The "Hurray! I logged in" sub-thread, OK? Once I have effected the transfer, the 'new' sub-thread will be eliminated.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Posted on:
01/10/2006 10.02
=Palma=
Post: 3
Registrato il: 25/07/2006
Membro Junior


I posted this in www.ratzingerfanclub.com too

These are biographical aspects gleaned by Panorama during a meeting in Munich with journalist Peter Seewald, co-author of two famous interview-books with the present Pope: (Salt of the Earth, 1996, and God and the World, 2000). Seewald continued to research on the Pope’s past, speaking to his old friends and ex-students, gaining the confidence of his brother Georg, and has come out with a new biography of the Pope, “Benedict XVI: A Close-up Portait.”

The two women who played a key role in Joseph Ratzinger’s life were, of course, his mother and his sister, both named Maria. His mother, a deeply religious woman, helped the little Joseph discover and appreciate the beauty of liturgy. His sister left everything to follow him, first through his various posts in Germany’s leading universities, then to Munich, and finally to Rome, where she kept house for him until she died in 1991.

“With her death, Ratzinger lost an irreplaceable point of reference. She was the person who had never left him. And who, through her love and simplicity, always knew how to help him keep his feet firmly on the ground,” Seewald says.


And also I will post some fragment from different memory, some people who worked whit him.
.

The years of teaching in Bonn and Münster by Gianni Valente

He would read the lectures in the kitchen to his sister Maria, who was an intelligent person but hadn’t studied theology. And if the sister showed she liked them, it was the sign for him that the lectures were all right». Ninety-two year old Professor Alfred Läpple, who was Ratzinger’s prefect of studies at the seminary in Freising, adds: «Joseph always said: when you’re lecturing, the great thing is when the students put down their pens and listen to you.


The years of teaching in Tuebingen

Once again, from Ratzigirl's forum, an Italian newspaper published an interview given by Kueng after his ex-colleague had become pope. It is quite interesting... Here's a translation:


In Tuebingen, their relationhip became a little bit more personal , and they would hold joint meetings with the students.
"Even if we never really had a true personal friendship, we saw each other quite often, after classes, over a drink. Or we would dine in each other's house. He lived with his sister Maria, an exquisite lady who was always very kind. But she was very protective of him. For example, she would put a tablecloth over the books on his desk, so that visitors would not see what he was working on."

Was Joseph Ratzinger distrustful of others?
"I think it was his sister who was. Ratzinger was always very courteous, but in a discreet and reserved manner."



I think in Tuebingen his sister Maria have opened his eyes, at his dangerous friendship with Kueng.



From another article about Ingrid Stampa;
….
While Ingrid Stampa has served as Ratzinger’s domestic–a role which she took up on the death of his sister and trusted counsel Maria.


From his memory from Milestones (1998) :

… my sister who was occupied at this time as a secretary in a solicitor's office procured in her spare time in exemplary way the pure writing of the manuscript which could be delivered so just within the put appointment.


From a TV interview :

The conversation turns again and again to the Pope’s sister: Maria Ratzinger. That woman “was highly intelligent,” says Wolfgang Beinert, who has known Joseph Ratzinger for a long time. He was his university assistant and later successor as professor. The sister promised her parents to take care of the brothers. So she managed Joseph’s office at the university during his time as professor and also kept house. The sister was also a clever advisor, tells Beinert and she shared Joseph’s love for cats. …

From another article:
In the Regensburger suburb of Pentling theology professor Joseph Ratzinger let after his change of Tübingen in the Danube city in 1969 build a small house in which he lived from 1970 with his sister and secretary Maria.

Sister regulated finances
The picture, 30 times 40 centimetres, originated with oil tempera on wooden chalk reason. Well the artist still remembers the payment of the picture: " From Rome came a letter in which cardinal Ratzinger apologised for the non-appearance of the payment. His sister Maria who does the financial things for him is on vacation. One week later the sister was there again - and the cheque in the mailbox.


When Joseph Ratzinger began his career as a university teacher, his sister Maria gave up her occupation as a secretary in a solicitor's office to lead the household to her brother. She accompanied him to Bonn, Münster, Tübingen and Regensburg. Also when Ratzinger became an archbishop in Munich and in Rome prefect of the religious congregation, she was on his side. …
From another article:
… When her sister Maria still lived, she also belonged to this unusual circle which had completely made a mistake to the church: two brothers as a priest, Maria late in 1991 as a household and important help to Joseph Ratzinger. Georg does not see himself in the classical role of the older brother. " I cannot be a counsellor to him, he knows even more than me. "
....
In 1991, Cardinal Ratzinger lost one of his main companions: his sister, Maria, an intellectually accomplished and strong-minded woman who had devoted much of her life to caring for him, died fairly suddenly, acquaintances said.



So for Joseph his sister was not just a household and she never was. She was a very import and trusted person to him, whit who he could work . Probable he always told everything to his dear sister otherwise they ( Joseph and Maria ) can’t never were so close and probable they always spoke to each other before make any decision.

So his sister Maria never left him, she was always with him .
I think she was a more important than his brother Georg to Joseph, but that is life you always lose what is mort precious, important to you, that is from my experience.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 12/10/2006 5.33]

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, October 1, 2006 12:55 PM
FLYING WITH THE POPE
CASTEL GANDOLFO - Benedict XVI is an ideal passenger: "He is precise, he is always on time, he is never demanding, he is humble, and he does not get airsick."

So says Col. Antonio Berardo, crew chief of the 31st Squadron of the Italian air force, who is in charge of the Pope's helicopter trips.

Before leaving Castel Gandolfo where he spent most of the summer, the Pope yesterday met with the civic and religious officails of Castel Gandolfo, members of the various security forces that helped with security and crowd control during his stay in Castel Gandolfo, and others who provide support services when the Pope is in residence here.

Among those he thanked were "the officials and aviators of the 31st Squadron who have kindly assured my movements by helicopter."

He told everyone "To each and everyone goes my sincere thanks and my assurance that I will always remember you in my prayers, dear friends, for yourselves, your families and others dear to you."

Berardo has been a papal pilot for more than 20 years, starting with John Paul II. Besides the Popes, he has also flown Mitterand of France, the late Arafat, and the King and Queen of Belgium.

That's because the helicopter he flies is assigned to the Prime Minister's office to transport guests of state as well as Italian VIPs on official government business.

What kind of passenger is the Pope?
He has exemplary precision - he is always on time according to the schedule of departure or arrival. During the trip, he is calm and does not have any fears. But what is most surprising is his humility and simplicity.

How would you compare the two Popes as passengers?
They are both exceptional personalities, but in different ways. Benedict comes across as a very humble man, easy-going, always on schedule, very methodical. John Paul II was less predictable. I remember once he wanted to see a solar eclipse, and as soon as we had landed in Castel Gandolfo, he asked us to stay and watch it with him. He liked to improvise."

Just out of curiosity, what's the helicopter like?
It has two cabins, a small restroom,and a kitchenette. But the Pope does not usually take a meal, usually coffee or a cold drink. Those who always travel with him are Don Georg, his personal secretary; Mons. Harvey, who is prefect of the pontifical household; Dr. Renato Buzzonetti and phohographer Arturo Mari.


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 05/10/2006 15.10]

benefan
00Monday, October 2, 2006 5:11 AM

Pontiff Bids Farewell to Castel Gandolfo

Will Return to Rome This Week

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, OCT. 1, 2006 (Zenit.org).- After his two month stay at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, Benedict XVI will return to the Vatican early this week.

"Next Sunday we will see one another in Rome!" said the Holy Father spontaneously to the crowds gathered today to pray the Angelus in the courtyard of the palace.

"Today is the last Sunday of my summer stay in Castel Gandolfo. To the bishop of Albano, to the mayor, to the parish priests and to you all, dear residents of this beautiful city, I renew my affectionate greeting with a cordial 'au revoir,'" said the Pope amid loud applause.

On Saturday Benedict XVI received in audience Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano and more than 100 others of the local community.

"I wish to thank cordially all those who in different ways contributed to make my stay beneficial and serene," said the Pope during the audience, as reported by the Vatican press office.

The Pontiff said to the local religious and lay communities that over "these months I have felt your spiritual closeness and I give you my heartfelt thanks, hoping that all will correspond with renewed generosity to God's call, using their energies at the service of the Gospel."

The Holy Father also mentioned the "courtesy and hospitality" of the residents of Castel Gandolfo to his person and to "the numerous pilgrims and visitors who come to visit the Pope, especially for the Sunday Angelus meeting."

Benedict said: "My most sincere thanks to each and every one, which I confirm assuring you of a constant remembrance in prayer," "dear friends, for your families and loved ones."

And upon each one the Holy Father invoked the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, and imparted his apostolic blessing.

Castel Gandolfo is located some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Rome.

Next Wednesday he will hold the general audience in St. Peter's Square.
benefan
00Thursday, October 5, 2006 7:07 AM

Pope meets delegation from Aschau am Inn, recalls childhood memories

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI relived some of his most precious childhood memories, such as his first Communion, bike rides with his mother, and helping neighbors herd cows, when a delegation from Aschau am Inn, Germany, made the pope an honorary citizen.

The pope held a private audience Oct. 4 in a meeting room inside the Vatican's Paul VI hall with a delegation of nearly 40 residents of the small Bavarian town east of Munich, where the pontiff spent his elementary school years.

The Ratzinger family moved to Aschau am Inn in 1932, when the pope was 5 years old, and stayed there until the pope's father retired in 1937.

Pope Benedict told the delegation, which included the town's mayor and some of the pope's former classmates and friends, that he was greatly honored to receive the special recognition from a town he still considers home.

Speaking off the cuff in German, the pope said some of his most important and beautiful memories are set in Aschau. He spoke of how his family and the town celebrated Christmas and Easter.

"I think of Christmas in the room with the bay window, where the Christmas tree stood, and then going to church through the light snowfall," he said.

It was while all the lights in the church were blazing as the congregation sang "Silent Night" that "we knew the Lord was truly born and that it was good to be alive," he said.

The pope said that of all the towns in which he has lived none compared to Aschau in having given him a sense of experiencing Christ's resurrection.

At the time, the church there began Easter celebrations "the old-fashioned way," he said, with heavy black cloths draped over all the windows so the church was "totally in the dark."

The priest would loudly sing "Christus resurrexit" ("Christ is risen") and "suddenly the black drapes fell to the ground and the light flooded the church and we knew ... that Christ is risen," the pope said.

Pope Benedict said by making his first confession and receiving his first Communion in Aschau he was introduced into the world, the faith and the life of the church.

He recalled the many friendships he made at school and admitted that students' joking around "sometimes got the teacher angry, but I think all in all we weren't that bad."

"In Aschau I experienced the beauty of creation," he said, detailing the many hills and mountains he and his mother hiked or biked and the many animals his neighbors kept.

"I even herded cows," said the pope, adding with a chuckle that even though he didn't think he had ever been much help "it brought me closer to nature, and it was important for me to have had this first experience with God's creatures and to bond with animals."

It was in Aschau, he said, that "we made our first friendships with dogs and cats."
benefan
00Thursday, October 5, 2006 7:09 AM

Pope to visit, open academic year at Lateran University

Oct. 04 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Lateran University on October 21, for the opening of the academic year there, university officials have revealed.

The Pope will preside at ceremonies opening sections of the Lateran that have been expanded and extensively remodeled. He will be on hand to bless a new library named for Blessed Pius IX, a lecture hall dedicated to Pope John Paul II (bio - news), and an auditorium that bears his own name.

Pope Benedict has already visited the basilica of St. John Lateran on several occasions since his election. He "took possession" of the basilica, which is Rome's cathedral church, on May 7, 2005. He also celebrated Mass there on Holy Thursday, opened a diocesan conference on June 5, and presided at Corpus Christi ceremonies at the basilica on June 15. However, this will be the Pope's first visit to the pontifical university attached to the Lateran basilica.

The Holy Father will travel across Rome on Saturday morning, to be greeted at the Lateran University by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the grand chancellor, and Bishop Rino Fisichella, the rector.
benefan
00Thursday, October 5, 2006 7:09 PM

Traunstein: Pope Benedict's Real Hometown

By Ann M. Augherton
ARLINGTON CATHOLIC HERALD Managing Editor
(From the Issue of 10/5/06)

If you look at a map of Bavaria and chart Pope Benedict XVI’s life, you’ll find several places where he lived but only one place he calls his “hometown” — Traunstein.

Though Joseph Ratzinger was born in Markt am Inn in 1927, his police investigator father and mother moved often. In 1933, they bought an old farmhouse just outside Traunstein.

Six years later, Joseph was sent to the local boarding school, called St. Michael’s Archiespiscopal Seminary. His older brother, Georg, had been there for four years. They attended the nearby school, called Traunstein Gymnasium.

St. Michael’s Seminary Director Father Markus Moderegger gave a glimpse of what life was like for the future pope.

He said Joseph didn’t think he was suited to life in the seminary. “He missed his family and the farmhouse, which he called a paradise. He wasn’t used to living with a lot of boys, but he did make new friendships and learned something important while living here,” he said. “He learned to accept others and their otherness.”

He said the future pope gradually liked it, “except for sports, which was torture for him. He received his lowest marks in sports. He was extremely intelligent.”

Life at the seminary “strengthened the faith he already had,” Father Moderegger said, adding that 15 percent of the young boys at the boarding house go on to become priests, a number that is on the rise since a native Bavarian became pope.

The seminary was a financial burden for the Ratzinger family, Father Moderegger said. Joseph’s sister also worked to help support the family.

According to Father Moderegger, today people send their children to the seminary because both parents are working and they want their gifted children to have access to a good education.

Although heavily subsidized by the Church, the students don’t have to be Catholic. Currently there are two Protestants and one with no religion, he said.

Joseph would walk past St. Oswald Church on his way to school, often stopping in for a visit. It was in this church that the brothers were altar boys and together celebrated their first Mass as priests on July 8, 1951.

The church is the centerpiece of Traunstein’s Italian-looking town square, but just across from a maypole.

Although its date of origin is not known, the church as it appears today dates back to a significant restoration in 1877, following two fires.

The Ratzinger brothers remained at the seminary until 1941, when it was closed and turned into a military hospital. Joseph entered the seminary in Freising for his priestly studies in 1945 and was ordained June 29, 1951.

Years later, the brothers spent many vacations at the boarding house. Father Moderegger refers to the community as “their substitute home.”

In the mornings, the brothers would celebrate Mass in the chapel, have breakfast together, and Joseph would read the paper to Georg, who has vision problems. Then Joseph would work on papers and Georg would play the piano.

It was a “place of peace, a sanctuary,” he said. On the last day of their holiday, the brothers would walk to town and buy gifts for the sisters at the seminary. The last time they came was January 2005. The pope’s desk always has a rose on it, something the nuns do to remember the Holy Father who will likely never return because of what they refer to as “protocol.” In 1982, then Cardinal Ratzinger gave the seminary status as a foundation to ensure its continued existence.

During the pope’s recent trip to Bavaria, the people of Traunstein gave him the “Benedict Bell,” which he gave to St. Michael’s. It was rung for the first time during his trip to the region. Sadly the pope was unable to visit his hometown, but he reportedly told Traunstein Mayor Fritz Stahl, “I’m in Traunstein at least once a week in my thoughts.”

maryjos
00Sunday, October 8, 2006 1:58 PM
Cufflinks versus white sweatshirt


Here is a photo which clearly shows the cuffs of Papa's white sweatshirt [the one matching his black one of April 19th?]. It was taken in the Aula Paolo VI yesterday [Oct 7th] during a meeting with groups from Emilia-Romagna. Now - why was he wearing the white sweatshirt instead of his usual shirt with beautiful cuffs and cuff links????????????? Was it because he wanted to wear something warm, bearing in mind he had a cold and bad throat? But, this event was indoors, plus he wore his usual shirt on Wednesday, outside and when there were showers and when his throat was really bad.
Please, someone put forward a reason for all this! I've been perplexed by it ever since the Audience of Sept.28th 2005 when I saw him and he was wearing the white sweatshirt [OK - I know it could have been because he knew I was there and he didn't want to lose a cufflink as a souvenir to me!!!!!!]
I really do want to know. That day was hot, yet it appears that he wears the sweatshirt when he feels the cold............
I know little details bother me, but I can't help it...it's the way I am!
Luff to you all! Mary x [SM=g27811]

[Modificato da maryjos 08/10/2006 14.01]

stupor-mundi
00Sunday, October 8, 2006 4:32 PM
Re: Cufflinks versus white sweatshirt

Scritto da: maryjos 08/10/2006 13.58


Here is a photo which clearly shows the cuffs of Papa's white sweatshirt [the one matching his black one of April 19th?]. It was taken in the Aula Paolo VI yesterday [Oct 7th] during a meeting with groups from Emilia-Romagna. Now - why was he wearing the white sweatshirt instead of his usual shirt with beautiful cuffs and cuff links????????????? Was it because he wanted to wear something warm, bearing in mind he had a cold and bad throat? But, this event was indoors, plus he wore his usual shirt on Wednesday, outside and when there were showers and when his throat was really bad.
Please, someone put forward a reason for all this! I've been perplexed by it ever since the Audience of Sept.28th 2005 when I saw him and he was wearing the white sweatshirt [OK - I know it could have been because he knew I was there and he didn't want to lose a cufflink as a souvenir to me!!!!!!]
I really do want to know. That day was hot, yet it appears that he wears the sweatshirt when he feels the cold............
I know little details bother me, but I can't help it...it's the way I am!
Luff to you all! Mary x [SM=g27811]

[Modificato da maryjos 08/10/2006 14.01]



Teresa, if you look carefully, you will see that (even at today's Angelus) the pope is wearing his usual white shirt under the white sweater...Believe me everything is all right, if you stay at home reading or writing (as the pope is supposed to do)you really need a (cotton) sweater on in Rome during these days!!! [SM=g27811]
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, October 8, 2006 6:09 PM
STATE OF THE POPE'S HEALTH
Thanks for the reassurance, stupor-mundi. I hope MaryJos feels better...

As someone who is quite cold-sensitive myself (having grown up in a country where the mean temperature year-round is 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the coolest it gets in the lowlands is perhaps 80 degrees!), I can understand why the Pope - who obviously looks after his health, and admits to being cold-sensitive as well as heat-sensitive, where John Paul II was particularly heat-sensitive - would wear a sweater for the Aula Paolo VI audience soon after getting over a cold that gave him that hoarse voice at last Wednesday's audience.

The hall would still be air-conditioned at full blast for those thousands of pilgrims from Emilia-Romagna. And I don't know about England, but I can't go out of the house in New York any more without a sweater or a jacket - autumn is here!
----------------------------------------------------------------


P.S. Very apropos, Josie in the main forum just posted this article by Vatican correspondent Andrea Tornielli written for one of Italy's PEOPLE-style weekly magazines, DIPIU, to reassure the world about the state of Benedict's health. Here is a translation -

THE POPE'S HEALTH IS FINE!
By Andrea Tornielli

"I am an old man and I do not know how much more time the Lord will give me."

Benedict XVI said this simply and with a smile, answering a question from a newsman on the plane carrying him to Munich last month - his fourth international trip as Pope.

But those words unleashed headlines and a cacophony of voices in Italy that raised alarm over his health. An alarm that was disturbing to many of the faithful who have come to love him, after he stepped into the shoes of a predecessor who was there for very long.

First of all, what were his exact words? Soon after the plane had taken off from Rome, the Pope - following a custom begun by John Paul - went to the back of the plane where the media representatives were.

A German journalist asked him if he also planned to travel to Berlin in the future. The Pope answered:

"I am very happy to be returning home. It's certainly good to see my homeland at least one more time. But I am also Pope of the universal Church, and already I am thinking of my trip to Istanbul and my trip to Brazil next year.

"I am an old man, and I do not know how much more time the Lord will give me. I do not know if I can come back to Germany after this, but if I do, I would be very happy and would consider it a gift from God."

It is clear that these statements, said very naturally by a smiling Pope, do not contain anything alarming. It is a sensible answer given by a man of 79 going on 80 who was suddenly forced in April 2005 to change his life radically by taking on an enormous responsibility.

Benedict XVI also expressed himself in similar terms in the interview for German TV that he gave in August. He said then:

"I must say that I do not feel so strong that I can plan many long trips, but wherever such a trip will allow me to send a message, where such a trip responds to a true desire, I would go, to the degree that I am able to."

Instead, the words the Pope said on the plane were interpreted by many as a farewell to Germany and almost a direct announcement of poor health!

What is the state of the Pope's health, in fact? Does he really have serious problems? Whoever followed his schedule in Bavaria would have seen him able to endure fatigue, heat, long ceremonies, even delivering long homilies on his feet (instead of sitting, as he usually can when in the Vatican).

We do know that in the early 90s, the then Prefect of the CDF had one serious health episode. During a summer holiday in Bressanone, he apparently fainted and hit his head on a radiator, lying there for some time before someone got to him. He was treated for a circulatory problem [others have said it was a mild stroke] which was fortunately resolved by timely intervention and since then, he has been on blood-thinning medication [baby aspirin once a day, the usual clot preventive advised for most adults - his brother referred to the aspirin once in one of the many interviews he has given. A recent meta-study I had occasion to report on found that 2 baby aspirins a day will prevent primary or secondary stroke as well as myocardial infarction, or death of some heart tissue, in most adults. ]

But from that time, that problem has been well-controlled.

It must be understood that becoming Pope meant a sudden change in his daily routine and greater demands on him, even physically.

But he has known how to adapt himself and has tried to keep certain healthful habits from before, such as his daily walk. He used to do that in his Borgo Pio neighborhood, but now he does it in the Vatican gardens or on the roof garden installed by Paul VI in the Apostolic Palace.

Papa Ratzinger cannot stand very warm temperatures (so he cuts down the length of his messages during his weekly audience at St. Peter's when there is a heat wave) nor biting cold.

Having been accustomed all the years before he became Pope to wear a warm beret in winter, now that he can no longer do that as Pope, he has replaced it with traditional Papal headgear like the camauro, which covers his ears in winter, or the saturno, which protects his head from the hot sun. [Not to mention the very practical white parasol that an aide can hold out over him, against the sun or against the rain].

When the open-air ceremonies are very long, we have seen him drink some water at some point during the rites.*

He also has to watch himself when he is in a high altitude. When he went up Mont Blanc last year, it was said he felt momentary dizziness.

Likewise, he must be careful about long airplane rides. But despite this natural precaution for a man his age, the plan to go to Brazil [a trip of at least eight hours from Rome] indicates that his state of health is satisfactory. Otherwise, the Vatican doctors would have advised against it.

We have the words, for example, of Burkhard Pfaff, the Pope's private doctor on the trip to Bavaria: "It is a minor medical miracle to see how well the Holy Father is."

TV viewers see how briskly and easily he goes up and down airplane steps. And when he was in Altoetting, he gave up his midday nap to walk in the gardens with his brother Georg.

So there are no health alarms at all. The Pope is well. Of course, this is a man who will be turning 80 in April, and who reasonably assumes that he will not have a very long Pontificate.

The statement he made on the plane, "I am an old man, I do not know if I will be able to come back", should not be interpreted as a warning bell, but as the simple statement of a man of faith, a Christian, a believer. Of someone, therefore, who is used to thinking everyday about meeting His Lord, knowing that for him as for everyone, the final call can come at any time.

----------------------------------------------------------------

*I don't know if anyone has given some thought to it, but having worked at one time for a public official whose daily schedule meant being in public view for hours at a time, I appreciate the 'preparation' it requires.

It means, among other things, that one must avoid eating or drinking anything that might force you to make a sudden trip to the bathroom in the middle of a public ceremony! It means emptying yourself literally before you start your public schedule. Minor but routine inconveniences for very public figures....

So when Papino takes a drink in public, we know he needs it!

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/10/2006 0.14]

maryjos
00Monday, October 9, 2006 7:09 PM
Re-assuring article........
Thank you, Teresa, for this re-assuring and interesting article. As well as my general prayers for our Papa, I pray for his health so much. Several of the books mentioned the accident when he fell and knocked himself out, but it's all very vague. No book has much detail about his private life and I suppose that's the way he wanted it.
As soon as I read about the trip to Brazil I started to worry. And then there's the possibility that he'll go to Sydney for WYD in 2008 ! Now, that really is a long plane journey.
But I do feel that he is much livelier since his election. I noticed the difference between the interview he did for EWTN in July 2003 and the one for German television at Castel Gandolfo this August - he seemed so much more relaxed and happy in the more recent one. It could be that his interview with Raymond Arroyo was so serious all the way through, plus it had to be conducted in English, apart from at one point where he lapsed into Italian. I don't think English is one of his favourite languages.
Love, Peace and Choy! Mary x [SM=g27811]
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