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

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00Wednesday, February 21, 2007 11:49 PM
Lella has posted a brief review of Alessandra Borghese's new book, which I am posting here for continuity, but will also post in BOOKS ON BENEDICT for the record. Here is a translation:

Rome, 21 feb. (Adnkronos/Adnkronos Cultura) - A long trip through the region where Benedict XVI was born. Meetings with people who have known him most up close. Descriptions of enchanting places still int he grip of ancient unchanging traditions. Country churches, small monuments, breathtaking scenery.

Writer and journalist Alessandra Borghese visits the places where Joseph Ratzinger grew up in the book 'Sulle tracce di Joseph Ratzinger'(In the footsteps of Joseph Ratzinger), published by Cantagalli.

Borghese recounts that the idea of visiting the "Pope's places" came up during one of her visits to Bavaria. It soon turned into a search for the sensations, the colors and the landscapes absorbed by Ratzinger in his youth.

She writes, "I wanted to see with observant eyes the landscapes of those places where he grew up, to immerse myself in the climate of those towns and cities, penetrate the spiritual atmosphere of the baroque churches in that part of Germany which so profoundly marked - of this I am sure - the way of being and thinking of Joseph Ratzinger as a man before being Pope."

Accompanied by her friend Gloria von thurn und Taxis [who lives in Bavaria herself], whom she describes as a "strong, decisive and serious woman," Borghese said she tried to capture the serenity of the hidden andmore genuine parts of the Bavarian countryside.

"This ancient land of Bavaria," she writes, "has often been called 'the German Catholic enclave,' because out of close to 30 million inhabitants, more than half are practising Catholics."


Ratzigirl says she has bought a copy of the book and will start sharing some of the anecdotes in it.

Speaking of Ratzigirl, the big news for the Forum today is that she agreed to come out of anonymity and gave an interview to Gianluca Barile of Petrus, who features that interview on


under the title "Giulia and her Forum on the Pope, a story of conversion." I hope to be able to translate it as soon as I can.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 25/02/2007 2.04]

00Thursday, February 22, 2007 2:43 AM
Ratzigirl shares one anecdote towards the end of Alessandra's book, in which she recounts speaking to the Pope briefly after the private day he spent in Pentling with his brother on Sept. 13, 2006.

Borghese quotes the Pope: "We puttered around the kitchen together cooking as we used to do, but this time we weren't allowed to wash the dishes afterwards!"

What a warm and sweet and unusual image of a Pope, any Pope!

00Thursday, February 22, 2007 2:48 AM

WOW!!! Congratulations to Ratzigirl!!!

Today Petrus, tomorrow the cover of TIME magazine! With her looks and the forum booming, she's got all the makings of a celebrity. I predict more than 15 minutes of fame coming up.

00Friday, February 23, 2007 12:36 AM

Scritto da: benefan 22/02/2007 2.48

WOW!!! Congratulations to Ratzigirl!!!

Today Petrus, tomorrow the cover of TIME magazine! With her looks and the forum booming, she's got all the makings of a celebrity. I predict more than 15 minutes of fame coming up.


cover TIME? IT's a Joke...I suppose....a dream...pheraps!! [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824]
00Friday, February 23, 2007 12:59 AM

No Joke, Ratzigirl! I think your success with this Papa forum would be a very interesting story to a lot of people. Why not TIME magazine someday?

00Saturday, February 24, 2007 4:19 AM

Regensburg university to publish Pope's collected works

Feb. 23, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The University of Regensburg-- where Pope Benedict XVI once taught theology and where he made the most controversial speech of his pontificate to date-- is planning to publish a complete set of the Pontiff’s written work.

The Regensburg project would include all of the books and essays written by Joseph Ratzinger from his early days as a theology professor through his work as Roman Pontiff. The collection, which would span many volumes, would be annotated by scholars at Regensburg. The university, with support from the Regensburg diocese, is creating a faculty position to study the Pope’s work.

Pope Benedict taught theology at Regensburg from 1969 until 1977, when he was named Archbishop of Munich. He remains on the faculty roster as an honorary professor, and still owns a home near the university.

00Saturday, February 24, 2007 5:49 AM
About time that University did something for the man who only made the name Regensburg known to the whole world overnight! I bet before September 12, 2006, few people outside of Europe had heard of Regensburg at all.

Anyway, I've always wondered why the U. of R. never once thought, in the 28 years since he left them, before he became Pope, of giving him an honorary degree. I can understand other German universities snubbing him for such an honor (even Bonn, Munster, Tuebingen where he taught, or Munich, his Alma Mater) because they are probably all under liberal administrations, but he was a vice-president and faculty dean at Regensburg!

Does anyone know if Popes can receive honorary academic degrees?I don't seem to recall any such honor for JP-II, ex-university professor himself and pedigreed intellectual. George Weigel does not mention any....

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 24/02/2007 5.51]

00Saturday, February 24, 2007 10:37 AM

Scritto da: TERESA BENEDETTA 24/02/2007 5.49

Anyway, I've always wondered why the U. of R. never once thought, in the 28 years since he left them, before he became Pope, of giving him an honorary degree. I can understand other German universities snubbing him for such an honor (even Bonn, Munster, Tuebingen where he taught, or Munich, his Alma Mater) because they are probably all under liberal administrations, but he was a vice-president and faculty dean at Regensburg!

Well, I've read somewhere he is still enrolled as honorary professor of University of Regesburg what is more than "Doctor honoris causa", usually given title as honorary degree.

about "professor" from Wikipedia:
German (Central European)
After the doctorate, German scholars who wish to go into academic work are supposed to take a Habilitation, i.e., they write a second thesis mostly on a position as a Wissenschaftlicher Assistent ('scientific assistant', C1) or a non-tenured position as Akademischer Rat ('academic councilor', both 3+3 years teaching and research positions). Once they pass their Habilitation, they are called Privatdozent and are eligible for a call to a chair. Alternatively a process for acknowledgment by "Junior-Professorship" is possible.

Note that in Germany, there has always been a debate about whether Professor is a title that remains one's own for life once conferred (similar to the doctorate), or whether it is linked to a function (or even the designation of a function) and ceases to belong to the holder once she or he quits or retires (except in the usual case of becoming Professor emeritus). The former view has won the day - although in many German Länder, there is a minimum requirement of five years of service before "Professor" may be used as a title without the respective job - and is by now both the law and majority opinion.

Similar or identical systems as in Germany (where a Habilitation is required) are in place, e.g., in Austria, the German-speaking part of Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.

In Czech republic when you once are named "professor" by president of Czech republic (on proposal of academic senate of univeristy), you may use that title until you die, even you doesn't lecture at university anymore.

00Saturday, February 24, 2007 3:02 PM
Thanks for the very helpful information, Maklara....However, honorary degrees are a mark of special distinction, at least here in the United States and in my country, for instance. Each European university must have dozens, if not hundreds, of retired professors who retain their academic title, but not very many people who are chosen by university boards to receive an honorary degree. It's usually done once a year, during commencement time, but some universities can choose to confer it as the occasion demands - as I think, for instance, the University of Navarra in Spain may have done for Cardinal Ratzinger.
00Monday, February 26, 2007 3:35 PM
Ratzigirl today shares this wonderful item from Lella, who has started a blog - and this item she got from the writer who signs himself Angelo Custode (Guardian Angel) in Panorama magazine. Here is a translation:

How does one receive a Pope for dinner? This has to be asked because in the past few weeks, Benedict XVI has left the Vatican incognito three times to join some prelate friends on their respective birthday celebrations.

"What are you doing tonight?" the Pope reportedly asked one of the monsignors in the Papal Household staff one day, who said it was his birthday and he was having dinner with three other prelate friends.

Since those other prelates also old friends of the Pope, the monsignor said, "Holy Father, please come too."

So in a black coat and wearing his black beret of old, the Pope presented himself at the dinner!

In Munich, on the evening of September 10 (second day of his Bavarian visit), the Pope joined a group of friends at the home of a family that had long known him.

This was not reported in the German press - which generally respects the right of a Pope to privacy. [Is that a fact?] But not within the Leonine walls of the Vatican, where, for instance, the dinner offered by Cardinal Angelo Sodano for the Pope on Feb. 20 was talked about openly a month before.


Unfortunately, the item does not tell us more. But it is great to know Papi has more of a private social life than one would gather from just reading about his public activities. He has always been consistent, though, talking or writing about the importance of not losing touch with friends, as he reminded the Roman seminarians last week.

For those who read Italian, Lella's blog is on


She's the second Forum member who has decided to start a blog - the first was, of course, Beatrice with beatriceweb.eu, which is a full-fledged site.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 26/02/2007 22.24]

00Monday, February 26, 2007 9:15 PM

Scritto da: TERESA BENEDETTA 21/02/2007 23.49

Speaking of Ratzigirl, the big news for the Forum today is that she agreed to come out of anonymity and gave an interview to Gianluca Barile of Petrus, who features that interview on

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 25/02/2007 2.04]

Congratulations Ratzigirl for your great interview! [SM=g27811] [SM=g27811] [SM=g27811]
And what a gorgeous photo that is! I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood came knocking at your door after this!
00Tuesday, February 27, 2007 2:42 AM

Angela Ambrogetti of Vatican Radio has this commentary on the picture of Pope Benedict's left shoe, above, which could do with a cobbler's attention (picture taken at his meeting with Rome seminarians).

VATICAN CITY - There's an image of Joseph Ratzinger that I always have in my mind's eye. When he was a cardinal walking the streets of Borgo Pio, the ancient quarter surrounding the Vatican, and I would see him emerge from a street corner, just like that.

That was how I first came to know him, meeting him on the street, with his observant eyes, walking briskly but discreetly, dressed in simple clergyman's suit, a beret on his head, and holding a briefcase or an umbrella.

When our eyes met, I would greet him, and he always answered with a smile, even if he had never seen you before.

And one impression remained: the way he walked - brisk, fast, light and decisive. The same walk that we see today, when he's almost 80, as he crosses Sala Nervi (Aula Paolo VI) or St. Peter's Basilica.The way he walked at Auschwitz, when, by himself, he entered that place of every sorrow as Pope.

The history and the faith of the Church walk to that step today.

When he was a cardinal, he wore black shoes, with laces. Now he wears the shoes of Peter, they are red, and they are 'slip-ons' - and worn out, because they are the shoes of the Fisherman.

The secular press has commented excessively about the Pope's shoes - what leather, what model, what brand - and they forget these are the shoes of the Fisherman, a symbol of the pilgrim Church.

Whoever has been to St. Peter's knows that people go to kiss the foot of the statue of the Apostle midway along the central nave. This is an act of formal devotion that for years was also practised by kissing 'the sacred slippers of the Pope' -
a rite that meant obedience and subjection to the Roman Pontiff, certainly, but also one signifying that the Church walks in the footsteps of the Pope.

And the shoes are red like the passion of the martyrs, according to liturgical indications.

Mons. Georg Gaenswein, the Pope's personal secretary, explained it simply to some German children in a magazine article last summer. Andreas, 6, from Kleinwinklarn, wanted to know why the Pope wears red shoes.

"It goes back to the liturgical practice of the Church," Gaenswein said, "in which the priest wears different colors throughout the year during Mass. The color changes according to the occasion. In the past, the Popes also changed the color of their shoes, not just their vestments. So if the color for the Mass was green, the shoes were green; if red, then the shoes were red. But in time, red was established as the color for the Pope's shoes, and that is why up to now, the Popes wear red shoes."

Obviously, it has nothing to do with fashion. The Pope's red shoes signify passion for the Church, and they get worn out in the exercise of his love for the Church.

So if someone gives him more expensive shoes, let's say it's their gift, their contribution to the Fisherman's journey.

00Wednesday, February 28, 2007 4:01 PM
Affari Italiani, Italy's first online newspaper, takes note in a story today of PETRUS, the first online newspaper dedicated to the Pontificate of Benedict XVI...

300,000 visitors a day
and still growing


More than 300,000 visits a day from 44 countries - tehse are the principal data todate about PETRUS, the first online newspaper dedicated exclusively to the Pontificate of Benedict XVI, created and published by journalist Gianluca Barile at the address www. papanews.it.

It makes PETRUS the third most followed online Italian newspaper online after Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica. Yesterday, the daily visits peaked at 331,060, after less than a month in existence.

"All because of the Holy Father and the power of His words," says Barile, who counts with the collaboration of Vatican reporters Angela Ambrogetti and Elisabetta Mancini, Italian journalist Brun Volpe who writes from Mexico, and Alberto Giannino, president of the National Association of Catholic Professors in Italy.

The site publishes in real time, 24 hours a day, news and photographs about the Pope as they become available. Although it is published in Italian, almost 25% of its current readership come from 43 other countries. Here is a breakdown:
Italy 75,67%; Malta 4,93%; Switzerland 3,55%; USA 3,99%; Uruguay 2,73%; Brazil 1,15%; France 1,05%; Argentina 0,92%; Poland 0,82%; Germany nad Mexico,0,79% each; Vatican 0,72%; Portugal 0,53%; Spain 0,43%; Congo, 0,33%; Hungary 0,26%; Costa Rica, UK and Russia 0,23% each; Netherlands 0,13%; Uzbekistan, Bielorussia and Australia 0,10% each; Hong Kong, Belgium, Lithuania and Ukraine 0,07% each; South Africa, Venezuela, Taiwan, Turkey, Slovakia, Slovenia, Norway, Luxemburg, Canada, Japan, Israel, Ireland, Indonesia, Denmark, Czech Republic and Chile, 0,03% each.

@Andrea M.@
00Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:07 PM
Jürgen Habermas on the Regensburg Lecture


Pope Benedict XVI with his lecture held in Regensburg has given an unexpected turn towards criticising modernity to the age-old conflict of Hellenization and De-Hellenization of Christendom. He has also responded negatively to the question of whether Christian theology has to confront the challenges of modern and post-metaphysical Reasoning. The Pope is invoking the synthesis made by Augustine to [St.] Thomas [of Aquin] of Greek Metaphysics and biblical faith and implicitly contests that there were good reasons for a polarisation of Faith and Knowledge in recent history. Even though he is criticising this view, «one would have to go back to the time of before the Age of Enlightenment and say good-bye to the discernments of modern times», he speaks out against the power of these arguments which have led to the synthesis of this view of life having been shattered.

The Step from Duns Scotus (German medieval scholar) to Nominalism does not only lead to a protestant God of Will but it also paves the way for modern natural sciences. Kant’s critical turnaround does not only lead to a criticism of the evidence that God existed but also to an understanding of autonomy - which as such - only made our modern day understanding of Law and Democracy possible. And Historism does not necessarily lead to a relativistic self-denial of reason. As a child of the Age of Enlightenment he (Duns Scotus) makes us sensitive in view of cultural differences and protects us from an over-generalization of judgements which are dependent on their respective contexts. Fides quaerens intellectum – as welcome as the search for the reason within Faith is, to me it would appear less helpful to fade out those three waves of De-Hellenization, which have contributed to the modern understanding of the secular reason from the genealogy of a «common reason » of the faithful, of the non-believers and those of different faith.

Note: If you do not understand a single thing ... I do not either ...

00Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:12 PM
Oh, thanks Andrea! Here is what I made of it myself, earlier, and I am glad I did not appear to misunderstand anything important. Actually, I had begun to question some things about Habermas's statements, but that would really be presumptuous of me, so Iim holding off...


Pope Benedict XVI in his Regensburg lecture gave the old contraposition of Hellenization and de-Helennization an unexpectedly modern-critical turn. He has thereby given a negative answer to the question of whether Christian theology must work out the challenges of modern, post-metaphysical reason. The Pope refers to the synthesis that has been established,, from Augustine to Thomas, between Greek metaphysics and Biblical faith, and implicitly denies that there is good ground for the actual polarization between faith and science in modern Europe. Although he criticizes the concept - “one must neither turn back from the Enlightenment nor reject of the insights of the modern age” - he is bracing himself against the strength of the argument on which that ideological synthesis has shattered.

The step that Duns Scotus took towardss nominalism led not only to the Protestant god of will, but also paved the way for modern science. Kant’s critical turn led not only to a critique of the proof of the existence of God, but also to the concept of autonomy that our modern understanding of rights and democracy has made possible. And historicism does not lead inevitably to a relativistic self-denial of reason. As a child of the enlightenment, he makes us sensitive to cultural differences and protects us from generalizing context-dependent judgments. Fides quarens intellectum – as welcome as the quest for the rationality of faith is, it seems to me of little help to leave out (fade out? take no account of? ) those three dehellenization phases - which led to the modern self-understanding of secular reason - from the genealogy of ‘common reason’ among believers, non-believers and persons of different faiths.


My first question was really about the last statement. Because if he is talking of people of other faiths (say the Buddhists or the Hindus, for example), they never had anything in common with Greek culture, so why would their 'genealogy' of common reason have to include the 'de-hellenization' process?

But, as you said, maybe we are just not able to understand philosopher-speak! But why can we all understand Ratzi????



This is a belated reply to your post about Ratzigirl at the top of the page:

Since everyone now knows Ratzigirl by face, I don't think I am breaking any secrets now if I say that once, in the ORDINE thread, where the 'sisters' can post things of a more personal and social nature, everyone commented when she shared with us her last birthday photograph in August, "Have you ever considered joining the 'MISS ITALIA' contest?"

The reason I didn't post it right away is that I had second thoughts that I might be violating a rule, so I had to ask her if it was all right - and she said good-naturedly, OK, since after all, her picture is all over the place by now.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 28/02/2007 23.24]

@Andrea M.@
00Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:17 PM
Jürgen Habermas
Dear Teresa,

Your version sounds much better than mine, don't you think ???

Sounds more English and less a translation, if you see what I mean ...

I have said before - I do not like to translate these articles - I find them hard to understand in German and therefore I am surprised that I came up with something worthwile!!!!

But why can we all understand Ratzi???

Because "Ratzi" has the ability to say very complicated things in very plain, simple words and thus comunicate with the faithful. This is an ability not many people have ...

[I am especially thinking of those men and women working in schools and/or universities where this ability is not unimportant]


[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 28/02/2007 23.28]

00Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:33 PM
Dear Andrea -

I was thinking - If someone in the media does not come up with a translation of the Habermas article soon, why don't we each try to translate, exchange our work in private, then put it together for a final version we can post on the Forum? I think, as a rule, we should do that with dificult texts that 'require translation,' in the sense that they should be shared in the Forum.

And frankly, I still don't see why Habermas should have been 'ersetzt' at all about the Regensburg lecture. His objections as expressed in those two paragraphs hardly sound like outrage at all, much less 'horror'!
00Thursday, March 1, 2007 3:31 AM


I have a suggestion. Save your excellent language skills, valuable time, and remaining eyesight for translating something the rest of us will be able to understand and therefore read. I have read both your translations so far of the Habermas article and I suspect none of us is going to get past the first paragraph. (Sorry if I have underestimated anybody's interest or ability.)

00Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:33 AM

Save your excellent language skills, valuable time, and remaining eyesight for translating something the rest of us will be able to understand and therefore read.

I totally agree Benefan. Dear Teresa and Andrea, please save your skills. Even with a dictionary at hand I had trouble reading even the first paragraph [SM=g27820]: [SM=g27825] [SM=g27820]: [SM=g27825] [SM=g27820]: [SM=g27825] . Frankly its not doing great things for my self esteem right now [SM=g27819] [SM=g27819] [SM=g27819] !
00Thursday, March 1, 2007 8:39 AM
Habermas is refering to the of Saint's Augistine explanation to all the living being and so on. For St. Augustine everythoing cames from GOd. For S. Thomas it was like a chain of consequences.
God is the begining, but not the direct "Origin" of everything.

Also, there is a reference to Kant's refutetion of Saint Augustine Argumental theologichal of the existence of God. For. S.A the concept of God, implies perfection, so such perfect being must exist, because if he doesen't, he couldn't be perfect.
Kant spent all his life studied such dificult problem to be refuted and he got the "solution": existence is not a "A priori" condition of GOd....God only exist if you " give him" the status of an existing being.

Hope you understand something, because even I who spent 7 years studying it never could reach a perfect understanding of all this. [SM=g27818] [SM=g27826] [SM=g27825] [SM=g27816]

Ratzi's an Agustunian in his theological and philosophical understanding of GOd .

[Modificato da @Nessuna@ 01/03/2007 8.40]

00Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:06 PM
All right - at the risk of offending anyone who thinks I am simply indulging in cant - let me plunge right in and take the fall, if I have to. If the Habermas excerpt had been an ordinary news item, I would have translated it freely, to try to get straight to the sense of it. But since it is a philosophical essay, I tried to respect the author's way of formulating his thoughts.

This is what I wrote to myself, to help me think it through, after I had translated Habermas's direct statements about the Regensburg lecture, and which I was reluctant to post, as I indicated earlier.

In the first paragraph, he is saying that the Christian synthesis of Greek reason and Biblical faith, expressed in Augustine as well as Thomas, has “shattered’ against the strength of arguments that explain the polarization of faith and science in modern Europe today – arguments like those of Duns Scotus and Kant. And that Benedict does not seem to accept that there is good ground for such polarization. But why would he, seeing that he still considers the Christian synthesis valid? And Benedict is not just 'bracing himself' against these contrary arguments; he has been arguing against them proactively – as he did at Regensburg.

In the second paragraph, Habermas is saying that dehellenization was a necessary process to arrive at today’s scientistic and liberal-democratic reason. Is this the ‘common reason’ he sees shared by everyone in the modern world, regardless of faith or lack thereof? But what a Eurocentric view! What about the Buddhists and the Hindus, for instance, whose respective world-views contain no Western element at all?

But let me not forget that the main thesis of Habermas’s article, as the subtitle put it was, "the defeatism of modern reason.” Benedict XVI goes beyond criticizing this defeatism [which in the past he has referred to as Europe’s ‘self-hate’] but to criticizing the fact that scientistic Westerners have deliberatedly restricted the bounds of reason to exclude the transcendent, i.e., God.

Habermas said earlier Benedict XVI ‘has given a negative answer to the question of whether Christian theology must work out the challenge of modern post-metaphysical reason.”

On the contrary, the Pope was quite explicit in his closing statement at Regensburg, when he said, “The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur - this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time.” How can an open challenge like that be a negative answer?

The debate is open, and the Christian faith - metaphysics and all - will and can defend itself against self-limiting post-metaphysical reason.

P.S. Habermas has consistently been against the exclusion - if not of God - then of the religious viewpoint in the public discourse. So he is not one of those that the Church has to debate on this issue. He sees the value of religious feeling and thinks the secular world can learn from it, provided it gets the message in non-religious terms!*

The reason I have spent a little time on this is because Habermas's essay was, in effect, the first direct answer to the Regensburg lecture on its philosophical merits. I still wonder why someone like Hans Kueng, for instance, has not replied to it similarly, pro or con, but on its merits as a philosophical challenge.

P.P.S. *Cardinal Ruini points out today, in a criticism of Habermas's criticism, that the religious message cannot be conveyed, in effect, without its transcendent heart, God.
(See post below about Ruini)

Further P.P.S
I was looking for a picture in the APOSTOLIC VOYAGE TO BAVARIA thread this morning when I came across an article describing Germany's new-found interest in religion which cited Habermas, among others.

He points to the recent shift of Jürgen Habermas, one of Germany's foremost philosophers, as evidence of the potential for a rethinking of the public role of religion. A professed secularist who has spent nearly half a century arguing against religiously informed moral argument, he made some arresting statements in his 2004 essay, "A Time of Transition."

"Christianity, and nothing else," he wrote, "is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [to Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

In the light of such unequivocal remarks, his quibbling - for that's what it is - over the Pope's (or Catholic theology's) supposed reluctance to 'work out' post-modern reasoning becomes even more odd!

Habermas's recent criticism itself would belong to the category of "everything else is post-modern chatter". Christianity does not need to 'work out' post-modern reasoning - it only has to affirm and defend itself against it, which Benedict XVI and the Church have been doing, ceaselessly and very well.

I would dearly love to have the full text of that essay from 2004.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/03/2007 18.33]

00Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:23 PM

Uh, yeah. That's what I thought he was saying. Thanks, Teresa.

00Friday, March 2, 2007 1:50 PM

Good pretext to use a recent photo scanned by Sihaya from an Italian newspaper, showing Cardinal Ruini welcoming Pope Benedict
at his recent visit to the Major Seminary of Rome.

Speaking of synchronicity, Sandro Magister in his blog today informs us -

In opening this morning, March 2, the 8th Forum of the 'cultural project' of the Italian church, Cardinal Camillo Ruini gave a perfect sampling of what he will be doing after he leaves the presidency of the Italian bishops conference.

He will be doing what corresponds to his original vocation as a bishop, which is not politics, but the Magisterium in theological and philosophical confrontation with the culture of today.

It is not surprising that Ruini sees in Benedict XVI's Regensburg lecture the axis of this Pontificate.

Nor that he sees in the criticism of the Regensburg lecture by the Frankfurt philosopher Juergen Habermas something that merits fecund criticism in its turn - incomparably more deserving of attention compared to the reflex dissent of progressivist Catholic intellectuals.

Magister then links to his posting of Ruini's complete speech from today entitled "Reason, science and the future of civilization" [in the original Italian version only]. It is the ideal continuation, he says, of a speech Ruini gave to the Roman clergy last December, titled "The heart of Benedict XVI's teaching" [which I posted in READINGS on 12/20/2006].

I read over Ruini's speech today, and picked out his ultimate criticism of Habermas's criticism of Ratzinger. Here is a translation:

Habermas has been pursuing with personal and intellectual sincerity an alliance between secularized 'enlightened' reason and theological reason, but he actually thinks of this alliance on an unequal basis.

Namely, while he says theological reason should accept the authority of post-metaphysical secular reason, the latter - without passing judgment on religious truths - 'ultimately' accepts as 'reasonable' only that which can be translated into its language [what I referred to in my previous post as 'getting the message in non-religious terms']. Therefore in the end - excepting religious truths in their transcendent principle (God who reveals Himself) and their substantial determinative content!...

In the last analysis, Habermas is staying within the self-imposed limits, empirical and calculating, which Ratzinger sees in secular reason.

And that's a judgment that, as a layman lacking the preparation for philosophical criticism, I could not make. So thank God, someone like Cardinal Ruini has reacted. Die Tagespost did carry two reactions by philosopher-writers which I still have to translate, or at least summarize.

Ruini's speech deserves a full translation (which I hope I can do in a timely manner, although I hope Magister sees fit to post a translation soon) - his criticism of Habermas is only part of it. It's a very well-reasoned presentation that justifies how Magister called his 12/20/06 introduction of Ruini's speech ,"The Vicar of Christ explained by his Vicar (in Rome)."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 02/03/2007 19.45]

00Saturday, March 3, 2007 6:27 PM
In the German section, Benedetto.fan indicates a story in the Passauer Neue Presse about a proposed 80th birthday gift for Pope Benedict XVI from the cities and towns of Bavaria.

It's a longish piece, so I will just report the highlights without doing a direct translation

Joseph Michael Neustifeter, an artist from Eggenfeld in Bavaria, tells writer Petra Frond that he is even more enthusiastic now about working on a second bronze commemorative pillar for the Pope, that the cities and towns of Bavaria will present to him for his 80th birthday.

It would be similar to the bronze pillar unveiled in front of the Pope's birthplace in Marktl last September.

Neustifter said it would be about 4.3 meters high - a bit more than the Marktl pillar - and that it will also have St. Benedict as its centerpiece, but instead of depicting the Apostles and Biblical scenes for the other reliefs on the pillar, as in Marktl, the new pillar will feature scenes from the life of the Pope - "Marktl, of course, but also Traunstein, but mostly, Regensburg, Freising and Munich."

Neustifter said that the Pope had been previously asked what he thought about the idea and that he apparently said he liked it.

The artist has been communicating with the Vatican through Regensburg professor of philosophy Ulrich Hommes, who is a friend of both, and through Mons. Georg Ratzinger, the Pope's brother. Neustifter got to know Hommes and Mons. Georg when they were on a television program together.

The other novelty about the new Pope-pillar is that instead of being donated by a single person, as the Marktl pillar was, it is planned to have as many as 50-100 Bavarian cities and towns contribute a sum of 1000-2000 euros each for the pillar.

The Pope has apparently expressed the wish that the pillar be installed eventually in front of the church in Velletri, south of Rome (and only some 20 kms away from Castel Gandolfo), which was one of his titular churches as Cardinal.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/03/2007 18.36]

00Sunday, March 4, 2007 3:47 AM

I think somewhere in the main forum, we already
have this or something similar. But let me just park it here
for the time being.

00Tuesday, March 6, 2007 12:14 PM
This weekend, korazym.org ran a well-illustrated feature article on the new book
by Alessandra Borghese. Here is a translation.

Alessandra Borghese, on vacation in Panarea.

A Bavarian Pope seen through
the eyes of a Roman princess

By Loris Lauretano

Discovering the places, friends, habits, the house where he was born, his kindergartern, the farmhouse, the lyceum, the seminary, the spring, the cat Chico, the private sphere of Joseph Ratzinger, including his favorite dishes.

So we find out that Joseph Ratzinger loves Kaiserschmarren (pulled pancakes with lots of sugar, almonds, raisins), Weisswuerste ('white' veal sausages ) and Brezen (Bavarian doughnuts).

Ignacio Ingrao writes for the March 8 issue of Panorama that Alssandra Borghese's new book "is more than just a travel guide: it is valuable in order to better appreciate this Pontificate."

A personal investigation by Alessandra, princess of the noble house of Borghese, has resulted in the recently published Sulla tracce di Joseph Ratzinger (Cantagalli, Feb 2007, 160 pp, 16 in clor), which was previewed in Corriere della Sera magazine on Feb. 15 ("'I found out that the Pope loves the Emperor's dessert": Alessandra Borghese's stories on Papa Ratzinger.")

The book will be formally presented by Mons. Liberio Andreatta of the Opera Romana Pelegrinaggi (Roman Pilgrimage Works) and the author herself on March 13 at the office of the Vicariate of Rome. Mons. Rino Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, will also take part.

To be presented at the same time will be the book written by French journalist Jeanne Perego, La Baviera di Joseph Ratzinger, the now well-known guidebook to the Pope's Bavaria, which she published shortly after the Conclave (she has lived in Bavaria for the past several years). It served as a guide as well for Borghese's book.

The Princess now appears to be specializing in travel books, as her previous book before this was her Ritorno dall'India(Return from India). "Sulla tracce..." is the story of the trip taken by the author with her best friend, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, on the eve of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to his homeland last year.

The Princess Borghese decided to write the book because she herself has sentimental connections to Bavaria, she wrote in the March 1 issue of Gente magazine, for which she is the Vatican correspondent, "The writer visits the places that shaped the Pope."

"His strength," she writes, "comes from the love he got from his family and from the culture of his Bavaria which is rich in the faith."

"Some places like Lake Starnberg and the city of Regensburg are particuarly dear to me," she writes, "because several years agio, as I wrote in the book Con occhi nuovi (With new eyes), they witnessed the first steps in what was a totally unforeseen development in my life: a return to the Catholic faith."

That faith, she said - which she did not explicitly seek to regain - was "given back to me in Bavaria - and it is certainly the most precious gift that I have been given."

Sulle tracce di Joseph Ratzinger begins almost like a novel. "Initially I had other plans. But through these past years, I have learned to be flexible to the way the Holy Spirit blows. And so instead of working on a book I had been planning for months, I found myself instead starting to write these pages dedicated to our beloved holy Father Benedict XVI and to his homeland, the Bavaria of old.

"Here's how it happened: After a summer spent, as usual, on the island of Panarea (Greece?), I proceeded to Germany to spend most of August there. Initially, the plan was to spend some time by one of the most beautiful lakes in the foothills of the bavarian Alps, Lake Starnberg, as a guest at the residence of the Princes Thurn und Taxis."

Donna Alessandra then accompanies us through Bavaria, Catholic outpost in Protestant Germany, with her best friend, Princess Gloria, daughter of petty nobility from the Bavarian countryside and widow of the Bavarian Prince Thurn und Taxis, a contact that was very valuable throughout the trip.

One sees right away that this is not the usual book on the Pope, even if it is published by a house that also publishes the pope's books. It is neither a historic work nor an analysis of Joseph Ratzinger's work.

It is rather an engaging and affectionate narration which leads the reader to the places where the Pope grew up, which formed him as a man and as a priest. And with this Pope, a melange of Weisswuerste, the sound of an organ, the colors of the Bavarian countryside, nicknames given to certain memorials, for instance, help build an image of the Pope as described by a Princess descended from a noble house that produced a Pope itself (Paul V).

And her reporter's notes are candid about this land where Joseph Ratzinger would have spent the final years of his life if he had not been elected Pope.

"A book full of profound reflections, rich with intense emotions and with encounters with persons near and dear to Benedict XVI, who help to show us less known aspects about him," writes the reviewer for Corriere della Sera.

"Alessandra Borghese immerses herself in the ancient land of Bavaria to discover the roots of a Pope who is open to the world. To go over its country lanes, its fields and forests, its many historic towns and villages, the beautiful baroque churches and famous Marian shrines - and to discover that the firmness and great strength of this Pope came principally from the love he got from his family and friends, rooted in the culture of a lively land that is impregnated with the faith.

"And there emerges the portrait of a man who is proud of his Bavarian identity, shaped by a profound religiosity that was lived and daily witnessed in his own life, and because of this, well able to open himself to the world."

[I hope the reviewer enclosed most of the last sentences quoted above in quotation marks, because he is quoting Borghese directly, as we will see towards the end of this article!]

"Like everyone else, I was conquered by his smile"

"I first met Joseph Ratzinger in the spring of 1998. And in the years before he became Benedict XVI, I had the honor of dining with him more than once, of attending his liturgical celebrations, of taking part in the celebration of his golden jubilee as a bishop.

"The thing that struck me from the very first was his kindness and gentleness. A man you could trust, full of a sense of humor, someone who always says thank you with a smile. Someone who looks you in the eye and is truly interested in whoever is before him, whoever he may be.

"To know a man of the Church this way, to be conquered by his intellectual and human charisma, to follow him even if just to listen to him speak, and then one day, to have him be at the head of the Church, is a unique experience in the course of anyone's life."

The book is composed of five chapters: "A land linked by faith to Rome", "Theologian and pastor in Munich and Freising," "Altoetting, the Mother's house"; "Places of infancy and and early youth"; and "Regensburg, the little Rome", with a Post-Script, "From Regensburg to Istanbul."

A picture page from the book shows the Thurn und Taxis
residence in Regensburg, Alessandra and Gloria with
the Pope's brother, and a photograph of the Pope's
house in Pentling.

In Chapter 1 of the book, the author tells us how the book came about unexpectedly. Seven months ago, the Princess had planned on a restful August in the Bavarian Alps, at the lakeside vacation home of Gloria Thurn und Taxis.

"But I had hardly unpacked when everything changed. The night I arrived, I had just greeted my friends when I learned that there was going to be shown on TV an interview with the Pope a few weeks before his visit to Bavaria....How could I not watch that, postponing everything else, including the natural wish to chatter with friends after many months of not seeing each other?"

Many signals had been converging towards the princess's next step. A few years back, this had been the setting for her return to the Catholic faith.

And now, her planned R&R became instead an expedition to retrace the footsteps of Joseph Ratzinger as a child and as a young man, among the places he knew and the friends who knew him.

"It was inevitable to ask myself how much this Pope, this Catholic bishop on whom such a huge responsibility had fallen, owed of his personality to his own character and his personal virtues, but also how much he was the happy product of a land like Bavaria, which has always been Catholic, tenacious in its faith, serious in the practice of it, but also warm in spirit, lover of good music, and therefore, of harmony, always so colorful in its way of life."

So she undertook her pilgrimage to the places near and dear to the Pope. "That very same night, I began to think of prolonging my Bavarian stay, and the desire grew to be able to visit the places most important to the life and person of Benedict XVI. It was an instinctive decision, dictated by profound filial devotion and out of great love for this Pope. A man who, in those difficult years in Rome as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was often misunderstood and misrepresented as some sort of Prussian taskmaster."

In Chapter 2, Borghese introduces us to a land linked to Rome in faith. "Joseph Ratzinger, a true Bavarian, is very attached to the land of his origins. His heart beats for this land in southeastern Germany, between the Alps and the cold plains of the North."

"This ancient land is often called the German Catholic enclave because more than half of its 13 million inhabitants today are practising Catholics. A very different picture from the rest of Germany, which is mostly Lutheran in the north.

"As a descendant of Pope Paul V Borghese, who was a protagonist in the Counter Reformation, I cannot forget Martin Luther, and that it is on the route between Munich and Berlin that one finds Wittemberg, cradle of the Reformation, where Luther nailed his famous theses to the church door, calling for reforms in the Church - reforms which are doubtless also rooted in northern distrust of Latin Rome."

And now, the Bavarians have a Pope, she says. "The element which most defines the Bavarian is perhaps his pride in the ancient traditions of his land. Even the state constitution defines it as the 'free state of Bavaria,' which unlike the other German states, is based on the protection and custody of its cultural patrimony."

Chapter 3 begins, "When Gloria and I had to decide where to start our trip..." and focuses on Munich and Freising, the two cities where Ratzinger studied to be a priest and was ordained priest.

"I find him always so modest and reserved," she says, "and perhaps it is at the monastery of Scheyern where his nature really comes to light, a place where he can take long walks in the woods...Here nobody comes to look for him and he felt truly at peace."

Munich is a German city where one can feel the Mediterranean as well, spiced with the smells of Weisswuerste, "which deserves separate mention because it is so important for the residents, who eat it with some sort of reverence, following precise ritual. And I know that the Pope has always liked them. This sausage should be eaten freshly prepared, usally as a mid-morning snack. It is customarily eaten with Brezen and a mild mustard sauce, all washed down with beer."

After descriptions of the Archbishop's palace, of Freising ("the other part of the diocese"), of Corbinian and the Wieskirche, we are treated to a trip to Maria Eck with a special guide - the Pope's 'driver'-friend Thaddaeus Kuehnel, who, among other, things, provides the Pope with a supply of his favorite bottled water.

Thaddäus Kühnel, with Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, Friar Eric and
Alessandra Borghese in front of a hotel in Maria Eck

Kuehnel met the Ratzinger siblings Maria, Georg and Joseph in 1978, at a nunnery in Adelholzen, which was next to the summer residence of the Archbishop of Munich, Villa Auli.

"When we got into the car," Kuehnel recalls of excursions in subsequent years with the siblings, "we entrusted ourselves to the care of St. Christopher. We would say the rosary and sing hymns in praise of Mary....When the cardinal had to move to Rome in 1981, I assured him, 'Don't worry - I will bring you all the things you want from Bavaria.'... And that's something I have done over the years since then, several times a year...bringing him bottles of his preferred water, even."

"I had to ask him what water he meant," Borghese writes.

It's Adelholzner Primusquelle, from a spring named after a Roman legionary Primus who was martyred on the spot where the spring now comes out of little fountain. And so, the two princesses asked Kuehnel to bring them to the fountain.

Having a drink from the the Primus fountain .

"There were dozens of persons lined up to fill up plastic bottles at the fountain, within sight of the big buildings housing the Adelholzner plant which turns out 50 million bottles a day..."

After a visit to the Scheyern monastery ('a precious oasis of peace and prayer"), Borghese comes to chapter 4, about Altoetting.

Borghese's writing is very different from her personality - it is calm and involved, whereas she is generally always in motion, almost cyclonic.

"I would like to take the reader by the hand and be with him quietly, This book is written as only a woman can, noticing things that catch a woman's eye and engage heer sentiments, without falling into sentimentalism." This is obvious in the details che chooses to narrate.

In Altoetting, the two friends meet the owner of the hotel Post, who remembers visits by the brothers Joseph and Georg. "After saying Mass, they would come here to eat - Brezen straight fron the oven, newly-prepared Weisswuerste, with Weisswuerstsenf, the mustard sauce that goes with it."

Chapter 5 focuses on the places of Joseph Ratzinger's infancy and childhood, starting in Marktl am Inn, where the future Pope was born.

"The parents Ratzinger, who were devout believers, taught their children to be pious. On Sundays, their father went to the six o'clock Mass, then to the 9 o'clock Mass, and finally to the afternoon Mass."

The princesses meet up with the Pope in Marktl, where they take
their place with the rest of the folk behind the barrier

She points out that almost directly across the river Inn, in Braunau, also in April, but in 1889, Adolf Hitler was born.

Then Titmoning, a child's dream of a town, and Traunstein "which is still for me the most beautiful village in the world", according to the Pope. They visit St. Michael's seminary, then proceed to the monastery at Au and then to Aschau.

Chapter 6 takes us to Regensburg, the little Rome on the banks of the Danube, the city that has become the Ratzinger family home. They attend a religious feast on the square, they talk to some who have cooked for the Pope, and to the bishop. Then, almost reverently, they visit the Pope's house in Pentling.

Another picture page: A calendar in the Pope's house
with the date of January 7, 2005, the last day he was home
before becoming Pope; Chico the cat; and the two princesses
with Mons. Georg's housekeeper Agnes Heindl in the 'chapel
within the Pope's house

And still more old monasteries, great works of art, enchanted villages and fascinating country landscapes.

And something about the then-cardinal's favorite dessert:
"The Kaiserschmarrn of Regensburg, the Emperor's dessert - is a giant sort of fried pancake stuffed with almonds, raisins, powdered sugar, and enjoyed best with lots of lemonade."

Alessandra talks to brother Georg, who says, "We were free to decide what we wanted to do in life. I wanted to be a priest, and since I am three years older, I came to my decision earlier. And Joseph decided to do the same."

Taken at an audience given by the Pope for Regensburg friends at the seminary
where he stayed. Gloria pushed the wheelchair for a disabled niece to meet the Pope

In the closing Post Script, the Princess Borghese links the Regensburg lecture to the Turkey trip which she covered.

And in conclusion: "Intense emotions. Profound reflections. I am thinking that this great Bavarian Pope is now giving us, we Catholics and the rest of the world, everything that he has received in the course of his life: the genuine and sincere love of his family and friends, the formation he received, a deep and sincere faith, the culture of a land that is full of life - the fundamental solidity that allows him to be truly an instrument of the Holy Spirit.

"Thus, Joseph Ratzinger, a man deeply faithful to his roots and to his identity as a son of Bavaria, despite coming from a rural atmosphere, from small provincial towns, a priest formed by years of Christian faith lived fully and consistently - because of all this, truly open to the world and its manifold cultures. This clear self-identity, rooted in a religion that he lives and bears witness to every day of his life, makes him fearless.

"'These have been unforgettable days from a spiritual and pastoral viewpoint,' he said on his return to Rome from Bavaria, with fresh and vivid memories of the solid Catholic communities he encountered in the places where apostles felt at home.

"It was an important visit for many reasoons, not the least because it reinvigorated our hopes, often vacillating in a world of wars, hate and blind vendettas. The Pope, with his humility and kindness, teaches us daily how to live in peace, respecting each other."

Borghese said she asked Vittorio Messori and Joaquin Navarro-Valls to look at the book proofs. And she is working on how to get a copy of it to the Pope in a special way.

"Seeing that it tells his story as a boy as well, I would like some children to present it to him...We will see."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 06/03/2007 18.54]

00Wednesday, March 7, 2007 1:11 PM
And from Lella's blog, here's a preview from La Repubblica today, translated here, of the Pope's new book about John Paul II which will be published next week.

Ratzinger: I advised him
not to go to Bob Dylan's concert


Bob Dylan meets JP-II. Ratzi lost this cause!

VATICAN CITY - On Bob Dylan, John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger disagreed strongly. But perhaps only on Bob Dylan.

The cardinal, who was then prefect of the Cognregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reveals that he was against the Pope's attendance at a concert by Dylan and other pop music stars at the Eucharistic Congress in Bologna in 1997, but the Pope decided to be at the concert anyway.

This is one of many anecdotes that Pope Benedict XVI recounts in a new book called Il mio amato predecessore published by Edizioni Sao Paolo, which will be distributed with the magazine Famiglia Cristiana next week, and in which the Pope presents his recollections of his personal dealings with his predecessor.

On the pop concert in Bologna, Ratzinger says, "There was reason to be skeptical - I was, and in a certain sense, I still am - whether it was right to have this kind of 'prophets' intervene (at such an event)."

But the Pope's words on the occasion, he admits, "referred to propositions that the leisure industries and the consumeristic world completely set apart, questions that regard each of us personally."

Benedict XVI also reveals that John Paul II drew inspiration from, among others, the German philosopher and sociologist Max Scheler (born in Munich 1875, died in Frankfurt 1928), "especially on moral aspects, on sexuality, on virginity and on marital relations."

He recalls a debate within the Curia whether the Pope should attend World Youth Day in Paris, because some were fearful that an old and ailing Pope would not attract the youth. "But we know how well it all turned out."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 08/03/2007 1.36]

00Wednesday, March 7, 2007 5:36 PM
Angela Ambrogetti of Vatican Radio wrote the item (translated here) for PETRUS today:

An art book on
the cathedrals of Europe
for the Pope's 80th birthday

By Angela Ambrogetti

VATICAN CITY - "Christianity certainly did not start in Europe... but it was here that it received its most historically effective cultural and intellectual imprint, and it remains particularly woven into (the culture of) Europe."

Joseph Ratzinger wrote that many years ago in describing the crisis of culture today in an essay that was re-published a few months after he became Pope, and a text that now forms the introduction to a work dedicated to the cathedrals of Europe under the title "Beauty and identity."

[Another report identifies the Ratzinger essay used as the introduction for the book as the lecture he delivered in Subiaco on April 1,2005, on receiving the St. Benedict Prize from the Benedictine monastery there. It was the eve of John Paul II's death.]

For the 80th birthday of Pope Benedict VXI, FMR, a publishing house that specializes in aesthetic art books, commissioned Christian art expert Mons. Timothy Verdon to trace - through the most beautiful images of cathedrals and baptisteries in all of Europe - the history of the Church, of liturgy and of social life during the past 2000 years.

It is an artistic undertaking which is also a reflection on the Christian identity in a society which now wants to take away the Cross from schoolrooms.

Verdon, a scholar of Christian iconography, professor of the history of art in Florence, and author of essays on Christian art in Europe, explains the social and cultural significance of cathedrals.

"Cathedrals are still being built today, such as that of Evry near Paris, which is an outstanding example of realizing a sacred space - imposing, and in this case, even of great importance - in a working-class district where the sacredness of a particular space speaks of the relation between God and the poor."

"Where a Christian community is born, there must be a church where the bishop's chair (cathera) can be located," Verdon says. "Even now, it sill makes sense to try and construct particular spaces which - whether by sheer size or beauty - can help lift the perceptions of the faithful towards God."

But the problem of identity remains, he points out, and one must turn to the roots of the Logos. To recall, as Benedict XVI has said, that Christianity is a rational religion, open to everything that is rational, and, one can also say, consistent.

"The negative testimony of Christians who spoke of God but lived contrary to His will has obscured the image of God and opened the door to unbelief," Ratzinger wrote in the essay cited above.

But the roots of European Christianity are very visible thanks to the imposing testimonies to faith that the cathedrals represent - centers of aggregation, they would be called today,
of communities which consider it important to demonstrate their identity and are not afraid to do so everyday with their lives.

"One would be particularly blind not to acknowledge the Christian roots of Europe," Mons. Verdon comments. Who can dispute that?


In fact, the book was presented at the Vatican on March 6, as this belated VIS release shows:

VATICAN CITY, MAR 8, 2007 (VIS) - On March 6, in the Paul VI Hall of Rome's Pontifical Lateran University, the presentation took place of a recently published book entitled "Beauty and Identity: Europe and its Cathedrals," written by Msgr. Timothy Verdon.

Among those participating in the event were Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, Bishop Salvatore Fisichella, auxiliary of Rome and rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, and Marilena Ferrari, president of FMR, the company that has published the book.

The volume, which intends to pay homage to Benedict XVI for the occasion of his 80th birthday (April 16), is a limited edition with a print run of just 1,000 numbered copies. On the cover is a figure of "St. Peter" by Giuseppe Ducrot.

In the book, Msgr. Verdon, an expert on iconography and the history of religions, uses the images of 36 European cathedrals, churches and baptisteries to trace the history of the Church and the liturgy, and of the social life that, with the Church and through her, has developed over the last two millennia.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/03/2007 12.33]

@Andrea M.@
00Thursday, March 8, 2007 3:38 PM
More on Habermas' response to Benedict XVI
We have seen our own coverage of this before and I am sure somewhere here we have seen Cardinal Ruinis address before but nevertheless I would like to post this item here:

Habermas Writes to Ratzinger, and Ruini Responds. Allies against the "Defeatism" of Modern Reason

The famous atheist philosopher invokes a new alliance between faith and reason, but in a form different from the one Benedict XVI proposed in Regensburg. Cardinal Ruini highlights the points of agreement and disagreement. And he insists on “the best hypothesis”: to live as if God exists

By Sandro Magister

ROMA, March 7, 2007 – It was his last address as president of the Italian bishops’ conference, CEI. But for cardinal Ruini it was a new beginning instead, the full return to his first vocation: that of a theology and philosophy teacher who confronts today’s culture.

Cardinal Ruini delivered the address on the morning of Friday, March 2, before about a hundred Catholic intellectuals and scientists involved in fleshing out the most ambitious program of the CEI in the past ten years: the “cultural project.”

The general title of the meeting was: “Reason, science, and the future of civilization.” And cardinal Ruini developed his discourse by entering as a third protagonist into the dialogue on faith and reason already underway between Benedict XVI and the philosopher Jürgen Habermas.

Habermas, who defines himself as a “methodical atheist,” is the last great representative of the acclaimed philosophical school of Frankfurt. He took part in a memorable public debate with then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, held in Munich on January 19, 2004. The debate – which later became a book, published in various languages – revolved around the foundations of modern liberal states, and was prompted by the thesis of another German thinker, Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, according to whom “the secularized liberal state lives by presuppositions that it cannot guarantee.” Both Habermas and Ratzinger –like Böckenförde before them – asked themselves what religion can offer of its own to this incompetence of modern state. And both, in a different way, proposed a renewed alliance between faith and reason.

As is known, it was precisely to reconnecting faith and reason that Benedict XVI dedicated the lecture held at the University of Regensburg on September 12, 2006: a lecture that cardinal Ruini has repeatedly indicated as the axis of the current pontificate.

So it was to be expected that Habermas would reply to this lecture. And this is what he did with a long article published on Saturday, February 10, 2007 in the leading newspaper of German-speaking Switzerland, the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung.”

In his discourse, presented below, Ruini makes a detailed summary of Habermas’ positions and his criticisms of the lecture in Regensburg, before analyzing and contesting them.

Here it’s enough to add that Habermas describes the impulse that drove him to study a new relationship between reason and faith in this way: “the desire to mobilize modern reason against the defeatism that lurks within it.”

Habermas sees this “defeatism of reason” at work both in “positivistic scientism” and in the “tendencies of a modernization run amok that seems to obstruct rather than to foster the imperatives of its moral view of justice.” It’s a secular lesson that has much to teach to Catholics fascinated by modern rationalism.

[Magister then follows with the "slightly abbreviated and with the addition of section titles ... March 2, 2007 address in which cardinal Ruini criticizes Habermas’ criticisms of Benedict XVI."

[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 08/03/2007 15.44]


Teresa's note: As I explain in the post below, I have transferred the text of Ruini's speech to READINGS].

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 08/03/2007 16.40]

00Thursday, March 8, 2007 4:14 PM
Thanks, Andrea! I am truly glad Magister decided to write a full article on Ruini's response to Habermas and commission an almost complete translation of Ruini's speech. As I said in my 3/2/07 post above, when I posted Magister's blog about Ruini's criticism of Habermas, I was hoping Magister would come up with a translation of the speech before I found time to translate it!

And I hope you don't mind if I transfer the text of Ruini's speech to READINGS, where, if we ever get to find authoritative English translations of the Habermas NZZ article, we should post it too.

The other Habermas 'posts' are in this thread because they are brief tentative comments on something not strictly news (so could not be posted in NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT).

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