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

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00Saturday, January 13, 2007 10:41 PM
ZENIT's Spanish service on 1/11/07 carried this interview with a Spanish theologian who has just written his third book on Joseph Ratzinger. Unfortunately, the 'interview' is maddeningly sketchy!.

ROMA (ZENIT.org)- A new book on Benedict XVI highlights his Augustinian side, that is his similarites with the saint of Hippo and his passion for Augustine.

«Joseph Ratzinger: Vida y Teología», published in Spain by Rialp last year is a portrait of the theologian who became Pope.

Pablo Blanco, doctor in theology and philosophy, and professor at the University of Navarra, has written two previous books on Ratzinger: "Joseph Ratzinger: Una biografia" (Eunsa, 2004) and "Joseph Ratzinger: Razon y cristianismo" (Rialp, 2005). His new book also contains Ratzinger's Spanish bibliography.

Blanco spoke to ZENIT about his new book.

"For Ratzinger, everything started with St. Augustine." What does this sentence from your book mean?
It means, on the one hand, that his first work was about the concept opf Church in St. Augustine. But there's much more. Joseph Ratzinger is Augustinian in that he shares with the saint - to me, at least - the triple dimension of being a poet, a pastor and a thinker.

Like the Bishop of Hippo, the German theologian not only dedicated himself for 50 years to theology, but he has also been a bishop (of Munich and now Rome), and his poetic talent is evident from his homilies and his writings.

Is Pope Benedict XVI also the theologian Ratzinger?
Yes and no. Yes, because he remains who he is, even as Pope, and I think his long career as a theologian is one of the best preparations to know the situation, the pproblems asnd the great possibilities for the Church.

And no, because a Pope does not govern alone. He has a team of 'collaborators' - above all, all the other bishops - who help him carry out the difficult task of leading the Church.

In the emblematic year of 1968, Joseph Ratzinger signed, along with 1360 other theologians, the Declaration of Nijmegen, which was addressed to the ex-Holy Office, requesting for more religious pluralism. What was that about?
It was a request by theologians for more independence from Rome and their bishops, although Ratzinger did not fully agree with everything in the declaration.

He has written on several occasions about theological pluralism (which I try to explain in my book) but this is very far from being relativism. The first seeks truth and freedom, the other would submit all truth to any freedom.

You note that life, love, truth and theology are the four parameters which define the thought of Joseph Ratzinger. Do you think the Pope would agree?
I would love to ask him. I do think his love of theology is beyond doubt, having dedicated his life to it. He also considers love and truth inseparable, and that, too, one can appreciate in his life and his works.

Joseph Ratzinger has always aimed at a theology that is linked to life, not something elaborated in a lecture hall or one's study. Likewise, he sees that theology should be linked to preaching, to spirituality, to the needs of the moment.

Sometimes, I think Joseph Ratzinger would even add a new parameter - beauty - which I speak of at the end of this book.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 14/01/2007 7.05]

00Monday, January 15, 2007 1:28 AM
It's been some time since I last posted a 'quotable' reference to our Forum. Here's one from
a blog by Fr. Tim Finigan, who is parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen (Kent), England.

I love it not only because of what it says about the Forum, but because he actually translates that wall-size commemorative 'plaque' at the Lateran University from the Latin!


Saturday, January 13, 2007
First Latin plaque?

I found this on that unfailing source of all things papal, the Papa Ratzinger Forum: (Underscoring by Teresa, obviously]

The text reads:


Which might be translated as:

May the memory always be preserved of the auspicious day of 21 November 2006 on which Benedict XVI, Pontifex Maximus, following the footsteps of his predecessors, and having been received with greatest joy by the academic community, visited the Pontifical Lateran University, blessed the new library as a seat of studies and research to foster sacred tradition, and inaugurated the Great Hall dedicated to himself. Accompanying him were Camillo Ruini, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, the Grand Chancellor, and Rino Fisichella, titular bishop of Voghenza, the Magnificent Rector, who saw to it that the work was begun and completed.

ICEL translation for those who feel excluded by all this:
[Very clever!]

One day last year, the Pope came to our school. He made us all very happy when he said a prayer for the new bookcases and a big room with his name on it. Cardinal Ruini (who is very important) was there and so was Bishop Rino who got it all done.

I needed a book for this one - Circonscrizioni Ecclesiastiche. Nomi Latini De Curia. (published by the Vatican) which gives the vernacular names for all the sees in the world: including Vicohabentia.


But wait, there was more!

Saturday, January 13, 2007
Ratzi forum goes green-eyed

A gem found on the Papa Ratzinger Forum. The section for pictures of Pope Benedict is populated by adoring females. This set of photos caused some tears, I think.

Lady Ratzinger comments:
Scherzi a parte ragazze,io sono seriamente gelosa!Non posso vedere cose simili!!!

Benny, don't betray us like this!!! Girly joke - I am seriously jealous. I can't look at things like this!!!

Hmmm. Maybe I would like to be Pope after all :-)


The post drew this comment from another blogger, Ma Beck, of Chicago:

Ah, my Papa!

Adorable pics.
(Some day... some day..)

1/14/2007 4:42 AM

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 15/01/2007 3.49]

00Monday, January 15, 2007 8:40 PM
Our plans for 2007
Tee hee hee!!!!!! Nan and I don't plan to go to Brazil to see Papa - it's too far and too hot and steamy.
But we do have plans for seeing our Papa up close this year! Continue to watch this thread or one of the others! [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799]

I don't want him to go to Brazil, but of course he will, just as he went to Turkey. But Brazil is horribly hot and humid and it's a long plane journey from Rome [I worry about that and trust that he'll be able to get up and walk around during the flight]. At least he is only going to open the conference, so will only be there for a few days.
Luff and Peez, Mary x [SM=g27811]
00Tuesday, January 16, 2007 6:09 PM
Here's a translation of a heartwarming little item posted in the main forum by Lella from Il Gazzettino del Nord-Est today:

"Pope Benedict XVI emanates a wondeful sensation of calm and profundity, an extrardinary magnetism. And yet, he presents himself with a simplicity that goes straight to the heart. Even at a meal, where he appreciates dishes that are not excessively 'constructed' or 'baroque', but focused on using fresh ingredients from produce, prepared without excesses but tasteful and genuine. Like the best of Venetian cuisine, I might add."

Nadia Pasquali, owner of the restaurant 'Alla Borsa' at Valeggio, remembers meeting the Pope last summer at Castel Gandolfo. Along with two colleagues from the Veneto region, Sergio Dussin of 'Al Pioppeto' in Bassano, and Massimiliano Trento, executive chef of 'Villa Razzolini Loredan' in Asolo, she catered the lunch on the occasion of Cardinal Sodano's retirement as Secretary of State and the asumption of that post by Cardinal Bertone.

The menu: Angus beef carpaccio marinated with truffles; tortellini with butter and salvia sauce; veal medallions au gratin; and apple strudel with cream. The wines: Gambellara Classico (2005), Corvina Veronese, Mumm champagne, and Bassano grappa.

It wasn't easy - but between late flights and security escorts needed to get to Castel Gandolfo, as well as the awesomeness of the venue and the prestige of the guests, they managed quite well. Of course, they were also rewarded at the end with the Papal blessing.

It was a repeat invitation from the Vatican for the three Venetan restaurateurs. In May of 2005, they were asked to cater all the lunches and dinners at the annual sessions of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
00Tuesday, January 16, 2007 6:23 PM

German soccer star says Pope drew him back to faith

Jan. 16, 2007 (CWNews.com) - German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer has told the Munich newspaper Abendzeitung that his October 2005 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI was “the most important experience” of his life.

As chairman of the German committee organizing the 2006 World Cup competition, Beckenbauer met with the Holy Father at the Vatican in October 2005. The encounter made a deep impression on the German athlete, and after the Pope’s trip to Bavaria in 2006, Beckenbauer began to immerse himself in the Pope’s writings. As a result of his reading, Beckenbauer returned to the active practice of his faith.

“Benedict XVI leads people to the Church,” Beckenbauer told Abendzeitung, “and I myself am the best example of that.”

Known as “the Kaiser” because of his dominance of the game, Beckenbauer was captain of the German squad that won the World Cup in 1974.

@Andrea M.@
00Tuesday, January 16, 2007 6:34 PM
More precisely ...
Dear benefan,

thanks for finding and posting this article. I read this in the German-language press as well.

Note: Mr. Beckenbauer was quoted by the German press as having read all the homilies that the Holy Father had pronounced during his visit to Bavaria in September 2006.

He said: In there it says: "Go to church and thereby show your Faith". After having read this the "Kaiser" says he has once again taken on the habit of going to Church more regularly and more willingly.

He considered his meeting in 2005 with the Holy Father as a "highlight" of his life. He was quoted as saying that "he had rarely met someone with such a charisma, such a benevolence and friendliness."


P.S. My comments and notes are a rough translation of the information I found in "Rheinische Post" (newspaper)

[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 16/01/2007 18.36]

00Tuesday, January 16, 2007 10:40 PM
What a beautiful thing to read after all the absurd to-do about fashion and the Vatican! And after reading that most informative Spiegel article Benefan posted in Readings, we can only hope the Kaiser's example can lead some of his own countrymen to find their faith again.
00Tuesday, January 16, 2007 11:21 PM
Thanks for sharing a great story about Franz Beckenbauer.[SM=g27828]
Music of Lorien
00Wednesday, January 17, 2007 5:08 AM

Thanks for sharing a great story about Franz Beckenbauer

It's wonderful to read that after all the recent nonsense here and there about the Pope and about GG.
I think I remember a photo of that meeting with Franz Beckenbauer, I'll see if I can find it.
00Thursday, January 18, 2007 3:27 PM
In this recent picture of Cardinal Dsiwisz
taken in Cracow, I like the portrait (or is
it an actual photograph?) of Benedict XVI
that he has on the wall behind him!

But I am puzzled by Rocco Palmo's comment about this picture:

..more than just sometimes, however -- especially on seeing shots like this one -- you can't help but feel for the poor guy.

Why 'poor guy'? He is clearly not alone (even if the spotlight in the above photo isolates him from the rest of the crowd that is obviously milling around him) as far as love and support - prayers, especially - from the faithful.

Rocco rightly reminds us of these poignant sentences from the Pope's inaugural homily - always good to bear in mind:
"And now, at this moment, weak servant of God that I am, I must assume this enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity. How can I do this? How will I be able to do it? All of you, my dear friends, have just invoked the entire host of Saints, represented by some of the great names in the history of God’s dealings with mankind. In this way, I too can say with renewed conviction: I am not alone. I do not have to carry alone what in truth I could never carry alone. All the Saints of God are there to protect me, to sustain me and to carry me. And your prayers, my dear friends, your indulgence, your love, your faith and your hope accompany me."
Homily, Mass for the Inauguration
of the Petrine Ministry
24 April 2005

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 18/01/2007 16.10]

@Andrea M.@
00Sunday, January 21, 2007 4:10 PM
From Panorama
This is an assessment of an Italian theologian that I found in the print edition of Panorama Magazine this week. Here is a translation from the Italian:

18 January 2007

The difficult task to be Pope – Il difficile mestiere di Papa


Like the one of the prayer with the Grand Mufti in the Blue Mosque

By Vito Mancuso of the San Raffaele University in Milan

Venomous polemics are today hindering the pontificate of Benedict XVI. Yet, in order to view things in perspective and with a realistic view of events, I am convinced that this unfortunate Polish case will finish, with time and which was really nothing with regard to another great event of which Papa Ratzinger was the protagonist.

I am referring to the gesture made in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, during the visit to Turkey at the end of November. There Benedict XVI prayed with turned towards Mecca alongside the Turkish Grand Mufti. And he left a clear signal of peace and of interreligious dialogue. A signal that our world in confusion and divided, oftentimes accused by the Pontiff of Relativism, did not wait to recognize in this his spiritual and absolute value.

For sure, it does not appear to be easy to be a Pope today. There is someone to whom the immense public role that one has to play comes spontaneous, as was the case with John Paul II. There is someone else who - on the other hand - suffers from this being exposed to the public, as was the case with Paul VI. Benedict XVI is closer to Paul VI – the Pope from Brescia. He is a theologian, likes reading and writing more than speaking and smiling, he never was an actor. But if he has accepted to become Pope, he knows that he has to expose himself to our society in which photographic images have become so important. How many speeches does he need to give every week? How many persons does he have to meet? I think that the papacy needs a robust diet in order to lose weight: much less speeches, letters, encyclicals, books (which, moreover, hardly anyone reads, also among the clergy and many more gestures.

Like the one in the Blue Mosque that is worth a thousand speeches. The symbolic importance of a gesture is enormous. It is the spiritual action par excellence of the Pontiff, as a builder of bridges in order to unite men. Benedict XVI in Istanbul showed himself capable of doing it. I wish he would be this way also in the future.

© Panorama

[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 21/01/2007 17.09]

00Monday, January 22, 2007 6:45 AM
Let me just save this here until I can find a larger version of it,
or someone with Photoshop skills can enlarge it.

It's the prayer card commemorating the death of Papi's mother -
a picture I found in the Alfa y Omega chronology of Joseph
Ratzinger's life. It's tiny because it is just one of many
pictures illustrating the chronology, which is in the form of
a table illustrated with pictures juxtaposing events in world
history with events in Joseph's life.

It says:

'Think prayerfully
of our beloved good mother

born 8 June 1884 in Muehlbach
died 16 December 1963 in Traunstein"

I am unable to read the print of the
description that is written under her name;
It starts with 'Gendarmerie..." so it must
have to do with having been a police
officer's widow; nor can I make out
the words of the Biblical quotation
00Monday, January 22, 2007 8:03 AM
Mama Ratzinger

THANKS A LOT, NESSUNA - That was quick! But I am still unable to make out the small print. Maybe one of our German members can figure out the words.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 22/01/2007 8.39]

00Monday, January 22, 2007 9:15 AM
This is one year late, but yet again, from ALFA Y OMEGA (issue of February 2006), comes the Spanish translation of a text that Pope Benedict XVI contributed for a book that was being put together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth in 2006, with contributions by 60 personages, mostly artists.

Helga Rabl-Stabler, president of the Salzburg Festival, provided the text, entitled "My Mozart," to the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, which published it on the Feast of the Epiphany last year.

The magazine does not say so, but I imagine this could well be the first secular contribution by any Pope to any book - even if it does begin and end with God! Here is my translation from the Spanish:

My Mozart
By Benedict XVI

In our parish of Traunstein, when they performed a Mass by Mozart during church holidays, to me, a boy who lived on a farm, it felt like the heavens had opened.

In front of me, in the presbytery, columns of incense rose which muted the sunlight. In the altar, the sacred celebration was taking place, a celebration that we knew would open up heaven for us. And from the choir came music that could only have come from heaven, a music that showed us how the angels must rejoice over the beauty of God. And some of that beauty was present there with us.

I must say that even now, something like that happens to me when I listen to Mozart. In Beethoven, I hear and feel the effort of genius to give its all, and in fact, his music has a grandeur that touches me to the core. But the passionate efforts of Beethoven are perceptible and sometimes, in a passage or two, it shows in the music.

Mozart is pure inspiration - or at least, that's what I feel. Every note is just right and cannot possibly be any other. His message is simply there. And nothing in it is banal, nothing is simply playful. Existence is neither demeaned nor falsely harmonized. Nothing is left out of its grandeur and its importance, but everything becomes a totality, in which we also feel the redemption of the dark side of life even as we perceive the beauty of truth, which so many times we may wish to doubt.

The joy that Mozart gives us - and which I feel in every encounter with him - is not based on shutting out reality, but it is an expression of the most elevated perception of all, which I can only characterize as inspiration, from which his compositions seem to flow as if they were so obvious.

And so, listening to the music of Mozart, I am left ultimately with gratitude that he has given us all this, and gratitude because all this had been given to him.

Benedict XVI

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 22/01/2007 9.25]

00Monday, January 22, 2007 10:36 AM
A better one

Maria Ratzinger with her younger sibling

@Andrea M.@
00Monday, January 22, 2007 11:06 AM
Hello everyone,

Thanks, Palma for finding and posting a better version of the prayer card. Here now is the text (both in English and in German):

Prayer Card for Maria Ratzinger:

It says:

Think prayerfully
of our beloved good mother


A police (gendarmerie) officer's widow

born 8 June 1884 in Mühlbach
died 16 December 1963 in Traunstein

O Lord, in Thee have I hoped
let me never be confounded in eternity.

(Ambrosian Canticle)

Trauerkarte für Maria Ratzinger:

Sie lautet:

Gedenket im Gebet
Unserer lieben, guten Mutter



geb. 8 Juni 1884 in Mühlbach
gest. 16 Dezember 1963 in Traunstein

Auf Dich, o Herr, habe ich gehofft;
Ich werde nicht zuschanden in Ewigkeit

(Ambrosianischer Lobgesang) *

* Also known as „Te Deum“

[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 22/01/2007 11.48]

00Wednesday, January 24, 2007 12:47 AM
Beatrice on her papal website beatriceweb.eu resurrrects a quotation from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1997 about Abbe Pierre and similar figures who enjoy a great press as much for their commendable social work as for their disagreement with the Catholic church on key issues.

It's from an interview he gave the newsweekly L'Express in 1997 and which that magazine reprinted a few days after he became Pope. Here is a translation of the question and the cardinal's response:

The French people [when polled] regularly express themselves overwhelmingly in favor of Abbe Piere, Soeur Emmanuele and Mgr. Gaillot. Does it not embarrass you that these same people criticize the Vatican on moral questions?
I think they rightly admire their commitment in behalf of the poor and the marginalized. And certainly, their freedom to say what they want also fascinates. Especially if it's a bishop who opposes authority! But one must nuance the popularity of such personalities. They do not reflect the entire reality of French Catholicism - for instance, the great attraction that monasteries exercise, the pilgrimages, the religious life...

Besides, the French people showed their overwhelming acclamation for the Pope
[he uses the same term the interviewer does, 'plebisciter' - a verb which means to vote overwhelmingly in favor of soMEthing or someone] when he visited France last year (1996).

The interview is really worth translating in full. For instance, surely the interviewer thought in 1997 that he was simply asking an academic question with his last one in the interview:

What profile do you expect for whoever will succeed John Paul II?
No one expected John XXIII after Pius XII. And even less, our present pope after John Paul I. Therefore, I would not even dare to prognosticate.

However, the Papacy will continue to carry out three essential missions:

First, to look after the unity of Catholics within the Church and around the world.

Next, to promote dialog between Christianity and other religions. The Pope will always be the artisan of ecumenism, because he has an authority in the world that no other religious leader or organism has.

And finally, the Pope must be the voice of ethics and religion in a world dominated by science and technology.

In an increasingly anonymous and bureaucratic environment, we will have great need of a human face, a Pope who can remind us of the spiritual foundations of our life

Joseph Ratzinger was never other than consistent - nor, with reference to his answer to the first question, less than bluntly honest!



[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 24/01/2007 0.53]

00Thursday, January 25, 2007 5:04 PM
The Holy Father had a beautiful reunion yesterday with citizens of Tittmoning, the little city in Bavaria where his family lived from 1929 to 1932. I have put together the following story from reports by the Italian news agency APCOM and from the German service of Vatican Radio:

The Pope spoke about his childhood, Christmas at his kindergarten, Santa Klaus (Nikolaus to pious Germans) and the Krampus, a mythological evil creature in Bavarian children's stories, when he received a delegation from Tittmoning yesterday.

More than a hundred Tittmoning residents came to Rome to present the Pope with his certificate of honorary citizenship in the little Bavarian city where he lived with his family from 1929-1932 (he was 2-5 years of age). They also gave him a video and pictures of how Tittmoning followed his recent trip to Bavaria.

The Pope's nostalgia was tinged by a dose of realism.

"Unfortunately," he said, "as far as it is humanly foreseeable, I will no longer be able to go back to Tittmoning and I will never again walk the streets of my childhood and my youth, but they will stay in my memory, and even more vivid now that I am truly one of you. Tittmoning is in my heart, and I am a Tittmoninger."

In his autobiography, Joseph Ratzinger called Tittmoning the 'dreamland' of his childhood.

"Vergelt's Gott! (God will reward you!)", said the Pope, using the archaic Bavarian words for saying thank you, then going into a reminiscence of his childhood Christmases in Tittmoning. [The following is a translation from the Radio Vatican transcript of the Pope's words in German]:

"Today I was telling my secretary [he doesn't mean GG because he uses the female form 'Sekretaerin'] about kindergarten, when we wound wander around the corridors rehearsing Christmas carols, and then proceed to the hall in which the Christmas tree stood - which remains like a dream to me; it reached up to the ceiling...And I told her about Nikolaus, who came in his gold brocaded robes [the St. Nicholas who inspired the Santa Klaus figure was a bishop],and so I was sure that all other Santa Klauses were false, he was the real one, the only real one....And two nuns would keep the door closed so that the Krampus, who was raging menacingly outside, could not come in. Because when the bad things we did during the year were read out, the nuns might not be able to keep the door closed against him. And that was worse than if he was actually inside, because something imagined is always worse than the real thing. For the worst cases, the sisters would say, 'For now we can still hold the door closed but if there's anything worse, we won't be able to.' And that was the biggest motivation one could have not to do anything bad in the coming year to avoid the worst."

The kindergarten of Tittmoning is still located in the old Augustininian monastery as it was when little Joseph attended it. The children of today's kindergarten sent the Pope a special greeting.

"Vergelt's Gott for everything, and God bless you," the Pope told his fellow 'citizens'. "Greet everyone for me whom I cannot personally greet, greet all of Tittmoning for me."

The delegation also presented the Pope with a copy of the 1768 icon found in the Bavarian Sanctuary of Saint Mary of Ponlach.


Dearest Papi, we will certainly pray that you will get a chance to visit Bavaria again, and soon!

It is so heartwarming how easily you talk about your childhood and your fond memories. It must have been a truly special childhood for you to remember it so often and with such fondness. But of course, everything about you and your life are extra-special...

What other public figure of your stature has ever spoken this way about his childhood? What other Pope has ever spoken so publicly about his childhood (as you did first when you spoke to the First Communion Children of Rome in October 2005)?...

More than ever, I am reminded of what Cardinal Meisner said about you after you were elected Pope: "He has the intelligence of a dozen professors put together and the purity of a a boy on his First Communion." Indeed, beneath that remarkable intellect seemingly beats the heart of the innocent Bavarian boy photographed so winningly more than seven decades ago who continues to smile at us with the same purity and innocence in all the lovely and prodigious photo-video documentation of your life as Pope.

Truly, every day in every way, we can only find more reasons to love you - and what a blessing that love is infinite!


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 25/01/2007 19.27]

00Thursday, January 25, 2007 6:51 PM
Thank you for enlargement and translation
Yes, thank you Nessuna and Andrea! I tried to enlarge the prayer card, but it was simply too small and I couldn't do it in PSP.

Now I have a problem [which others must share]: I can't copy and paste the words into Word. I tried to change the font colour - as white on white obviously won't come out, but nothing works. I don't know what's happened lately, but I used to be able to copy whole posts and then alter the background and font colours.

In the photo of Maria Senior with her family, which one is she???
Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate not knowing everything!

00Sunday, January 28, 2007 2:03 AM

Pope gives £2,000 to Cambridge chaplaincy

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
Times Online

The Pope has made an unprecedented personal donation of £2,000 to the Roman Catholic chaplaincy at the University of Cambridge to help it and the faith survive at one of Britain’s main centres of academic excellence.
Pope Benedict XVI, who was a university teacher for many years, intended the donation to signal his “encouragement and support”.

The two priests and the Dominican nun who work at the chaplaincy were stunned by the donation, which they believe is the first of its kind to come direct from the Pope. The Fisher House chaplaincy is appealing for £2 million to set up a foundation to ensure its survival. The Catholic academic community in Cambridge is dependent on the chaplaincy for its community life, and about 450 people attend Mass on Sundays.

The chaplaincy, in the centre of Cambridge in a former public house, has two choirs who sing in English and Latin and averages eight conversions a year. There have been ten vocations to the priesthood coming out of Fisher House.

The chaplaincy receives no funds from the university and hardly any from the Church.

@Andrea M.@
00Sunday, January 28, 2007 10:59 AM
The meeting of the Ratzinger-Schülerkreis in 2006
The following is a translation from the German of an article I found in Austria's "Salzburger Nachrichten" about the "Schülerkreis"-meeting in 2006. I consider it quite fascinating.

9 September 2006

"He does not do anything all on his own"


This interview was conducted by Josef Bruckmoser

About 40 former students comprises the selected circle of persons which has a meeting with Joseph Ratzinger every year. As one of a few Austrians and the only one coming from Salzburg, Roman Angulanza, is part of this meeting. Back in the 1960’s he was a student of Ratzinger’s in Bonn and Münster and until the year 2000 he was at the helm of the Catholic Educational Facility in Salzburg. We spoke with Mr. Angulanza about the pope seen at close range.

Mr. Angulanza, for three days you have been near the Holy Father. What kind of man was the one you were confronted with? Angulanza: You experience a person, who is very much at ease, very humorous, not at all driven by fear, he is surprisingly normal. He moves around his students like anyone else of us does. From our part there is much more of a feeling of bias involved.

Has this feeling increased since the students have to address their former theology professor as "Holy Father" instead of saying Herr Kardinal? Angulanza: I myself have never addressed him as “Holy Father”. Often he is referred to with a smile as "Padre santo", and then he laughs. It is a happy atmosphere.

Was this already the case in the summer of 2005, i. e. just a few months after his election as Pope? Angulanza: No, this time it was much easier. This is noticeable also in the pope’s environment. Even the Swiss Guards do appear to be less strict.

Is Joseph Ratzinger as pope less exposed to stress than was the case with Cardinal Ratzinger as supreme defender of the Faith under Pope John Paul II? Angulanza: As Prefect of the Congregation fort he Doctrine of the Faith he was under very strong pressure and suffered very much from it. Did he have to take measures or sign documents that were difficult for him? Angulanza: The order by the pope that the German dioceses would have to back out of offering pregnancy counselling * could be considered such a case. Back then he said it had been an utmost concern to the Holy Father (John Paul II) that the Church not dare come near collaboration in abortions - under no circumstances whatsoever.

Benedict XVI is in office for one and a half years. A significant turnaround in view of the Church politics of Karol Wojtyla is not recognizable. What does it mean for Christians having a new pope? Angulanza: His first encyclical "God is Love" (Deus Caritas Est) is his programme for government. The pope says: God loves Man without any reservation, and according to this principle the Church must act. Moreover, it has already become clear that Benedict XVI takes the responsibility of the bishops quite seriously. He expressed very clearly at the Bishop’s synod in Rome that he desired a free, controversial discussion. The bishops had not got used to this. But in future they will be prepared. Then there will be very open discussions taking place.

But, is it not exactly this present stalemate which is inhibiting reforms: The bishops are waiting for the Pope to give an impetus. The pope is expecting that the bishops say what in their opinion is urgent. Angulanza: The pope would like to see that also other than the traditional points of view come up. He steers a much more open course than most people would think. In a discussion with priests in Rome a young chaplain asked him what the pope’s view was regarding the ordination of women. Benedict XVI said: “This is a very good question, whether the Church should offer women also an office within its service, apart from the many other opportunities which already were possible for them. As a professor for theology Ratzinger had a very open view regarding this matter. He is the pope, he can take decisions. Angulanza: He would never take decisions all on his own. Let alone in such a debated issue as is the ordination of women.

In Italian newspapers repeatedly there was speculation about Catholics being able to go to communion after they were divorced and re-married. Or allow spouses to use condoms provided one of them is infected with Aids. Do you think that Benedict XVI strives for such reforms? Angulanza: Regarding the question of re-allowing divorced Catholics who are re-married to receive communion he has assigned a Commission to work on proposals. As a professor for theology Ratzinger had shown a very liberal mindset on this.

But as prefect of the CDF in Rome he had refused an advance made by three prominent German Bishops. They had been in favour of re-allowing Catholics in their second marriage after a careful examination of one’s conscience to receive Communion. It was from Rome that Ratzinger said: No!!!! Angulanza: Yes, that was the case.

Did this decision come as a surprise to you? Angulanza: For me this was a surprise, because at that time I had believed that this question could be dealt with by the Bishop’s conferences of the respective countries. People always talk about the “different“ Joseph Ratzinger’s in one person: there is the progressive professor, then there is the strict custodian of the Faith, who had campaigned against theologians like Leonardo Boff, Hans Küng or Eugen Drewermann . Now you are portraying him as an open-minded pope. Do you think that the different personalities exist in Joseph Ratzinger? Angulanza: I never quite experienced it in this way. Only his duties have changed. As a theologian Ratzinger has promoted new developments. As Prefect of the CDF he had to pay attention to the fact that anyone who teaches in the name of the Church does so according to the teachings which the Church stands for.

As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Church could not always assert his personal views, for within the Commissions responsible a common route would have to have been sought and he as a person was being very committed to the traditions of the Church. Then he literally said: "If Faith was only a thing which was regulated by a few old men in Rome, then it would be of little value."

"He follows the remarks made by natural scientists with great interest. During his address before the papal election Cardinal Ratzinger had talked about the dictatorship of relativism and had complained that no values would be acknowledged as being valid. Angulanza: This was only a small section of his homily. Many positive statements were not even mentioned in the media. Moreover, the German philosopher Mr. Peter Sloterdijk who can be considered totally unsuspicious had dignified the Holy Father of being “one of the most liberal and most ingenious interpreters of the Western method”.

The conservative, strict side of Joseph Ratzinger is known to the world. What do you think is liberal in his views? Angulanza: During our most recent meeting we had talked about evolution and the belief in creation. I discovered once again how the pope acknowledged and very much cherished the statements made by the natural scientists in a very open way and how he listened to what they had to say with great interest. He does not consort, but rather he trusts in the fact that the original rationality, which was at the basis of everything, would make us realize how evolution und creation can go together. Ratzinger does not settle for only making subjective opinions count and that there are no final wherefores and justifications.

Benedict XVI is an old man and he does not take any Hooray-decisions. Is he the classical case of a transitional pope? Angulanza: He himself does not view it that way. It will only show later on what the effect of his pontificate will be, when he always indicates all the positive aspects of the Faith. He does not moralize in any way. What he does and says is about the joy of believing and the joy of living.

© Salzburger Nachrichten

Note: * Pregnancy Counselling

This was a controversially discussed issue in the late 1990’s in Germany. Pregnant women who for serious economic and / or social reasons did not want to bear their child had the opportunity to get a legal abortion under the provisions established in § 218 of the German constitution. This was made possible after these women consulted with a panel of people active in the Church (e. g. from Caritas). After that they would have got a certificate which allowed them to have an abortion within the first twelve weeks of their pregnancy.

Cardinal Ratzinger as prefect of the CDF forced a change in this practice. But not every diocese was willing to abide by this decision without making their arguments in favour of continuing this practice heard. The last one only did so in 2002. Nowadays there is a private association called “Donum Vitae” which has taken over this kind of counselling. It is no longer directly linked to the Church.

@Teresa: I do not know anything about this book-project

[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 28/01/2007 14.12]

00Sunday, January 28, 2007 2:07 PM
Dear Andrea...Thanks a lot for the substantial interview with Fr. Angulanza that you have shared with us. What a privileged group they are, these former students of Benedict!

Have you read anything anywhere about what ever happened to the book that was supposed to be published based on the lectures and discussions at that Schuelerkreise reunion? Back then, when it was announced, they said it would come out in November 2006. If anyone should know, it would be Fr. Stephan Horn, who, I believe, made the announcement back in September and is (I think) president of the Schuelerkreise.


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 29/01/2007 3.39]

00Monday, January 29, 2007 3:39 AM
I was checking out something at the University of Regensburg site
tonight when I came across this entry which I had not seen before
[I am every inefficient about checking out sites thoroughly because
I get caught up in the mechanics of posting something into the Forum
first before proceeding to a further search, and then I forget all about
what I was doing earlier

This Bible, the Regensburg Picture Bible, was presumably presented to Pope Benedict
when he came to his old university on 9/12/06 - a day that will live on in history as the
Regensburg Moment {Reason's answer to the Unreason of 9/11/01!]

Acfording to the blurb that goes with it, the Bible realizes the Pope's own wish that
art works in his lifetime can be used to open new ways to appreciate the Bible for
the visually-oriented generations today. {He had the same idea for the Compendium of
the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for which he personally chose the artwork himself

50 works were chosen in which Catholic, evangelical and Jewish artists illustrated
Biblical themes. When the Pope was still Cardinal Ratzinger, the book was discussed
between him and Prof. Dr. Dr. Christoph Dohmen, who was then a member of the
Pontifical Biblical Commission and Dean of the Catholic Theological Faculty at the
University, and who published the book in Stuttgart, earlier in 2006.

Dohmen Christoph (Hrsg.): Die Regensburger Bilderbibel. Für Papst Benedikt XVI.
Stuttgart, 2006.


Oh, dear! The site now contains at least 27 documents related
to Ratzinger's association with the University - and all this
material has been sitting there all these months! Here are
the first few -

First, Joseph Ratzinger's typewritten CV submitted to the
University in 1968 (in PDF unfortunately) - the most
reliable guide so far to his academic preparation. The
document does not even need translation because the data
is all self-explanatory and evident. I would love to
convert this to an image, though.

This is the document formally naming him professor
at Regensburg in 1969:

This shows the academic roster of the Catholic theological faculty
at Regensburg in 1970:

This shows the professors' course assignments in
the summer semester of 1970:

This was taken at a session of the Regensburg faculty held
at the Inter-Orthodox Center in Athens in 1973, and RAtzi
is in the fifth row, half-hidden by the Orthodox priest and
his head-covering [as Music of Lorien pointed out to this half-blind!]

Below, the program for that meeting:

This is a newspaper clipping in May 1974 reporting that
Pope Paul VI had named Prof. Ratzinger to another 5-year
term on the International Theological Commission, to which
he had belonged since after Vatican-II [and which as Prefect
of the CDF later, he would become the ex-officio President
for almost a quarter-century!).

An interesting line in the news item notes that "Prof. Dr.
Ratzinger (is) the brother of the famous Domkapellmeister
Georg Ratzinger...."

A page in the 1974-75 university prospectus where Ratzi's
name appears as one of the university vice presidents and
pro-rectors (he got the ranking in 1974 and kept it till
he left for Munich in 1977).

In the same prospectus, his name appears as Dean of the
Theological Faculty:

In November 1974, he writes French philosopher Paul Ricoeur
inviting him to give a guest lecture at Regensburg in the
summer of 1975.

Ricoeur writes him in June that his lecture will be
on "Objectivization and Alienation in the Historical

This is a page about Ratzi the Regensburg professor in
the little book 'HIER BIN ICH DAHEIM' [Here I am home]
(published by the diocese of Regensburg in 2005 about
the new Pope as Regensburg resident):

I will post the other documents later. Meanwhile, you may
check them out yourselves at

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 01/03/2007 20.57]

Music of Lorien
00Monday, January 29, 2007 4:08 AM

This was taken at a session of the Regensburg faculty held
at the Inter-Orthodozen Center in Athens in 1973, and the
only person who could be Ratzi is the man on the right in
the front row who looks like Michael Caine.

Look further back. You can't mistake that hair.
Second row from the back, third from the left, behind the Orthodox priest with the beard, dark glasses and hat....

Wonderful find at the University!!!!!!!!! [SM=g27811]

I'm sure there is a proper name for that, other than a "hat"??
What do you call those?

[Modificato da Music of Lorien 30/01/2007 1.33]

00Monday, January 29, 2007 6:51 AM
DEAR MUSIC- I knew I shouldn't trust my bad eyesight! Thanks, I'll go in and make the correction now....I am afraid I don't know the term either for that head covering - but it's an Orthodox thing, so maybe we can look up Orthodox religious wear on line.
00Monday, January 29, 2007 11:13 AM
What a find!
The University of Regensburg site's documents are most interesting. Thanks for sharing, Teresa!
00Monday, January 29, 2007 1:07 PM
Black Hats
Kalymauki or kamilafki (Sl. kamilavka). The black cylindrical hat worn by Orthodox clergy. The black monastic veil (epanokalynafkon) worn by the celibate clergy at various services or ceremonies is attached to the kalymauki (see Epanokalymafkon).

From A Dictionary of Orthodox Terminology - Part 2

Fotios K. Litsas, Ph.D.

Orthodox terminology

I think the term in brackets is 'slavic' not 'slang' as it looks more like Russian.
00Monday, January 29, 2007 11:39 PM
Clare, thank you for researching that headgear!
But I heartily wish that the man hadn't worn it or, better still, that our Ratzi had been placed in the middle of the front row instead of the toothy bloke with glasses!
Oh I am AWFUL!!!!!!!
! [SM=g27818] [SM=g27818] [SM=g27818] [SM=g27818] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]
Music of Lorien
00Tuesday, January 30, 2007 1:23 AM
Thanks, Wulfrune! I realized I had written 'man' instead of clergyman or priest by mistake, so I corrected that blunder.

The dictionary of Orthodox Terminology is very interesting reading, thank you.

@Maryjos, it is indeed a great pity that the headgear was so tall, and that our Ratzi did not stand on tippy-toes to see over it a little more. [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]

[Modificato da Music of Lorien 30/01/2007 1.31]

@Andrea M.@
00Tuesday, January 30, 2007 7:50 PM
Possibly a belated re-post
It could have been interesting to check out "Il Giornale" for the full story ... having said that: Teresa advises me that she has already translated the corresponding article which can be found on page 78 of the "News about Benedict" thread

The Ratzinger Code? Pope uses Dan Brown's publisher

By Phil Stewart

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - If Pope Benedict hopes his first book will sell like Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," he wound up with the right U.S. publisher.

Doubleday, the company that sold Brown's book about Jesus fathering children -- which the Vatican branded as blasphemous -- is also handling the American market for Benedict's book about the life of Christ.

The Vatican's publisher distanced itself from the decision-making process in a statement on Tuesday, but Italian media still poked fun at the choice of Doubleday.

Only last year, a Vatican cardinal threatened legal action as the book was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, staring Tom Hanks. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now Vatican secretary of state, called it a "sack full of lies" and called for a boycott.

"Il Giornale" newspaper jokingly declared in a front-page story that the Pope, former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was now about to put out a "'Ratzinger Code"' of his own.


The reality may be more the stuff of business acumen than intrigue.

The Vatican sold worldwide distribution rights to Italy's Rizzoli which "independently" awarded Doubleday the U.S. rights, the Vatican's publishing house said.

Doubleday, it noted, had published a book by Pope John Paul and other Catholic works.

Benedict's book, "Jesus of Nazareth," is meant to be a personal, historical-theological analysis of Jesus as the central figure of the Christian faith.

The first volume of the book will cover the life of Christ from his baptism in the River Jordan as a young man to the Transfiguration, when the gospel says three of his apostles saw his divine nature and had visions of Moses and Elijah.

Dan Brown's book is an international murder mystery centered on attempts to uncover a secret about the life of Christ that a clandestine society has tried to protect for centuries.

The central tenet of the book, which has sold more than 40 million copies, is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children.

[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 30/01/2007 22.46]

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