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

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00Wednesday, December 21, 2005 3:05 AM

Papa will be visiting another nativity scene on Jan. 5, one that JPII visited regularly when he was able and even Mother Teresa viewed.


00Wednesday, December 21, 2005 8:23 AM
If he had been born 6 kms farther south,
he would be Austrian

Reception at the Hall of Benedictions. The Light of Peace was handed to the Pope by 11-year-old Juergen Lengauer who had saved his 2-year-old brother from drowning last summer; his heroism earned him the honor of going to Bethlehem to light the flame at the Grotto of the Nativity and then to light the Christmas tree at St. Peter's Square later. Other gifts were also presented to the Pope.

The following is a translation of a report from KATH.NET, an online German news agency-

It was a warm reception which greeted 900 representatives of the region called Upper Austria (Oberoesterreich) at the Vatican on Saturday, December 18. In addition to his prepared text, the Pope spoke informally to the delegation to recall his childhood visits to Austria.

Regional Chairman Josef Puehringer, speaking for this delegation, told the Pope it was a geat honor for him to be received at the Vatican, then said: “Holy Father, if you had been born just 6.2 kilometers farther south, then you would be one of us. I would be your regional chief, not Edmund Stoiber (the Bavarian state chief minister).

The pope took up Puehringer’s remarks in his response. After he had greeted everyone, he recounted:“We didn’t stay long in Marktl, but once we were in Titmoning, my mother and my siblings often went over the bridge [over the river Inn, which is a boundary between Germany and Austria.] Then we would be in Austria, and we were always happy to do this. We felt very close to Austria, to which we felt bound by a deep historical as well as emotional oneness, and I often felt ‘This is not a boundary, it’s a link.’”

He went on: “Later, my siblings and I also spent many beautiful vacations in Petrinum near Linz, at the invitation of the brothers Kronsteiner, who were church musicians. Professor Kronsteiner made it possible for us to go on excursions around Linz, so that I learned to admire the inexhaustible beauties of the countryside of Upper Austria and even the Muehlviertel. These are memories that warm my heart, and make me aware that we belong to each other. And so I am very hapoy indeed that for the second time, your region has brought the Christmas tree here to Rome, as a visible sign of our relationship.”

“I would like to thank youi all for this splendid Christmas tree, as well as for all the other smaller trees you have brought to decorate other rooms of the Apostolic Palace. I will have one of them in my living quarters so that when I celebrate Christmas, I will feel that you are there with me.”

During the audience, which was held at the Hall of Benedictions next to the façade of St. Peter’s (behind the famous Loggia of Benedictions), the Pope was also handed the Light of Peace that had been lit from a candle in the grotto of the Nativity at Bethlehem several days earlioer.

The Pope said; “I thank you also for the wonderful idea of this Light of Peace coming from Bethlehem, because it makes visible the deepest meaning of Christmas, Christ as Light of the World.”

Following is Zenit's account of the reception, in which it limits itself to the official message that the Pope read:

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Christmas tree is a sign of the "brilliant light" of Jesus, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this Saturday when receiving in audience a delegation of Austrian pilgrims, including civil and Church representatives, who had donated the Christmas tree which now adorns St. Peter's Square. The 30-meter (100-foot) fir is from the forests of Eferding.

"At Christmas the joyful announcement of the birth of the Redeemer resounds in all parts of the globe: The hoped-for Messiah was made man and dwelt among us," the Holy Father told his guests in the Hall of Blessings in the Apostolic Palace.

"With his luminous presence," Benedict XVI continued, "Jesus has dissipated the shadows of error and sin and has brought to humanity the joy of divine blind love, of which the Christmas tree is a sign and a reminder."

The Pope recognized that, in this sense, the Christmas tree is an invitation to receive in one's heart the gift of the joy, peace and love of Jesus.

"To believe in Christ means to let yourself be encompassed by the light of his truth that gives full meaning, value and sense to our existence, given that precisely to reveal to us the mystery of his Father and of his love, he also reveals man fully to himself and shows to him his lofty vocation," the Pontiff concluded.

Pope John Paul II introduced the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square. Every year a different region of Europe gives a tree. Oberoesterreich also gave the 1989 Christmas tree.

[Thanks to Sylvie and Beatrice in the French section for the pictures]

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00Thursday, December 22, 2005 2:27 AM
From the Italian press today:

B16's first encylical coming out January 6?

“God is love,” Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, will be released in January on or after the Feast of the Epiphany, although it will be dated December 25, 2005.

The encyclical, “Deus caritas est,” after the first words of the Latin version, will be 40 pages long.

Divine love and human love are the focus of the meditation, written by the Pope in German during his summer vacation in Les Combes and Castel Gandolfo. It was subsequently translated first into Latin, then to Italian and English. By the date of publication, translations in other languages will be available.

It is reported that there was some discussion over whether the Latin “Deus caritas est” should be translated in Italian as “Dio e amore”(God is love) or “Dio e carita” (God is charity).

Any nuances which may have been lost in translation are clear in the Latin version, where different kinds of love are expressed with different terms. In the first part of the encyclical, the Pope reportedly makes the distinction between the Greek terms eros and agape, between human love and divine love. The second part reportedly deals with the relationship between God and man, and the human implications of love.

Underscoring the “charity” aspect of love as described in the encyclical, the Pontifical Council for Works of Charity will play a leading role at the presentation of the encyclica.

Pope John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals during his 26-year Papacy – the first, “Redemptor hominis,” appeared in March 1979, five months after his election.

From Sylvie in the French section:

For the first time in decades, she says, French TV will broadcast the Midnight Mass from the Vatican on Christmas Eve, not just on one channel. The top two French channels have announced they are carrying the Mass live from St. Peter's.

The page from a TV Guide-style magazine, says 500,000 faithful are expected in Rome for Benedict's first Midnight Mass as Pope.

TF1 and France-2 have decided to carry the broadcast because as such, it is a major event. They expect the high point of the broadcast to the the Pope's homily.

The following is some information gleaned from the on-line news service of Stern, the German news empire.
I have paraphrased the item, rather than a direct translation

Does the Pope really need this?

Will Munich lawmakers succeed in naming Pope Benedict an honorary citizen of the city, which he served as Archbishop from 1977-1981?

The CSU, majority party in the Bavarian state council, would like to, but political opponents who already defeated a similar proposal in 1997, are strongly against it.

Leading opponents are the Greens, who said “This Pope should not in any way be honored.” Lydia Dietrich, a Green member of the council, called the Pope “an anemy of women” and “backwards-looking, “ adding that statements that homosexual marriages would be a “legalisation of something bad” and a “severe threat to society” preclude the conferment of any honor.

00Thursday, December 22, 2005 7:02 AM

Leading opponents are the Greens, who said “This Pope should not in any way be honored.” Lydia Dietrich, a Green member of the council, called the Pope “an anemy of women” and “backwards-looking, “ adding that statements that homosexual marriages would be a “legalisation of something bad” and a “severe threat to society” preclude the conferment of any honor

I really hate these comments of those stupid people. This is so typical here in Germany. I don't think he really needs to be a honorary citizen of Munich. In 1977 they would't give it to him because of the same stupid reasons and now they start this senseless discussion again. I guess he is more pleased to become a honorary citicen of his beloved Traunstein.
00Thursday, December 22, 2005 7:09 AM
Pope Benedict, addressing the boys of the Sistine Chapel Choir the other day, said Vatican liturgical celebrations should set an example for the rest of the world:

"...your contribution is essential to liturgy; it is not a marginal ornament, since liturgy by itself requires this beauty, it requires song to praise God and to give joy to those who participate.

"For your great contribution I want to say thank you to all, with all my heart. The Pope's liturgy, the liturgy in St. Peter’s, must be the exemplary liturgy for the world. You know that through television and radio, many today throughout the world follow these liturgies. They learn from here, or do not learn, what liturgy is, how liturgy should be celebrated. That is why it is so important, not only that our ceremonial masters teach the Pope how to celebrate liturgy well, but also that the Sistine Chapel Choir be an example of how singing in praise of God should be made beautiful."

00Thursday, December 22, 2005 5:02 PM
IT'S OFFICIAL: Church acquires papa's "birth-house"
A short item from the German news agency, dpa, confirms a substantial part of the story we posted here on 12/20 from a Frankfurt newspaper:

MUNICH (dpa/lby) - The (establishment of a) Church Foundation for the purchase of the house in Marktl-am-Inn where Pope Benedict XVI was born has been signed and sealed.

The Archdioceses of Munich-Freising and Passau said Thursday that the Bishop of Passau, Wilhelm Schraml, has set it up as a church foundation with public rights, which has been recognized by the Bavarian cultural ministry.

The historic house will become a museum. Principal donor to the Foundation is the family of the late Archbishop Joseph Frings of Cologne.
00Thursday, December 22, 2005 7:59 PM
Here's a translation of an article today on kreuz.net, an German online Catholic news service,
that is informative about some Papal wear we have recently seen on Papa, prompted by
the re-emergence of the camauro yesterday.


Benedikt XVI in the footsteps of John XXIII

The head covering worn by the Pope yesterday is called a camauro.
In winter, it is made of velvet and lined with ermine.
A summer camauro would be made of lighter material.

The camauro was the official headgear worn by Popes (when not performing liturgical rites)
from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
John XXIII was the last one to use it and was also buried in it (also the last one buried this way).

Blessed John XXIII in his glass bier

The camauro developed from the hood on the mozzetta- the elbow-length red capelet
with front fastening worn by the Pope for specified non-liturgical services.

By tradition, the Pope wears a red silk mozzetta without trim in summer,
and in winter, a red velvet mozzetta lined with ermine.
For Easter week, the Pope wears an ermine-trimmed white mozzetta.

Originally, the mozzetta and the camauro were always worn together.
But in yesterday’s audience, the Pope wore the tabarro (red cape)
over a white greca (papal overcoat).

The problem (yesterday) was that the cap and the cape did not match.
[The camauro was dark red, the cape light red].

The camauro is a very old item, It probably originated from the “camelaucum”
which was the headgear of the Byzantine emperors. It is referred to
in the “Liber pontificalis” (Book of the Popes), in which it says that
Pope Constantine (who died in 715 ) had worn it.
The book is a chronological collection of Papal biographies starting from 530.

The usual half-informed media reports yesterday called the camauro a Santa hat.
Some tried to be witty about it – Headlines included “Almost a Weihnachtsmann
(Weihnachtsmann,or Christmas Man, is the German Santa Claus)
or “Pope Benedict’s old hat”. Reuters news agency started out with
“Here comes Santa Claus – no, wait! Isn’t that the Pope?”

The reason for the camauro yesterday was not Christmas but the icy Roman morning
and that the audience was being held in the open air. The Pope -because of his age
and physical constitution – is extremely sensitive to cold,
and in view of his Christmas duties, cannot afford to catch cold at this time.

However, during the rest of the general audience [after he got off the Popemobile],
the Pope wore his usual white
pileolus (papal skull cap), called zucchetto in Italian.

In his message to the audience – without the camauro –
the Pope warned the faithful not to allow material interests to obscure the meaning of Christmas,
saying that in a consumer-oriented culture, it was important to pass on
the Christian faith and traditions to the next generations.

In remarks addressed to German-speaking people, the Pope referred to the symbolism
of the Winter Solstice on December 21. In the spiritual sense, he said,
“The light of good triumphs over the darkness of evil. Love overcomes hate.
Life defeats death.” And at Christmastime, what shines forth is the message of
the triumph of God’s love over sin and death .

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00Thursday, December 22, 2005 11:04 PM
At the end of his prepared remarks today to the Roman Curia, during which he reviewed the outstanding events of 2005 from the perspective of the Church, the Pope devoted a few sentences to his own election. In translation -

"Finally, I must perhaps recall that April 19th of this year, when the College of Cardinals, to my not inconsiderable fright, elected me successor to Pope John Paul II, successor to St. Peter in the chair of Bishop Of Rome. Such a task was completely beyond what I could ever have imagined as my vocation. Therefore, it was only with an act of great trust in God that I could say Yes in obedience to having been chosen. Then as now, I ask all of you for your prayers, on whose power and support I count.[G/] At the same time, I wish to thank from my heart all those who have welcomed me and continue to welcome me with such trust, kindness and understanding, accompanying me every day with their prayers."

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00Friday, December 23, 2005 4:51 AM
Dec 22,12:25 PM ET

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI recalled the "fright" he felt at being elected pope, telling cardinals during his year-end speech Thursday that he never imagined he would be chosen and only agreed to it because he had great faith in God.

Benedict reviewed what he called the "great events" that affected the Roman Catholic Church in 2005, highlighting the suffering and death of Pope John Paul II, the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne, Germany.

He left the April 19 conclave that elected him pope to the end of the lengthy speech, saying he felt "not a little bit of fright" when he was chosen by the College of Cardinals to succeed John Paul.

"Such a job was completely beyond anything I could ever have imagined as my vocation," he told the cardinals and Roman curia gathered in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. "As such, it was only with a great act of faith in God that I could say in obedience my 'yes' to this choice."

He asked the prelates for their continued prayers.

Benedict has spoken infrequently about his election, although in one of his first public audiences he quipped that he felt like a "guillotine" was falling on him when he realized the votes were going his way. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected after four ballots in 24 hours in one of the fastest conclaves in a century.

Benedict, wearing a fur-trimmed red and gold-brocade cape over his white cassock, opened his Christmas greeting to the prelates by recalling the April 2 death of John Paul, and the weeks and months of suffering that preceded it.

"No pope has left us with such a quantity of texts that he left us with; no pope in history has been able to visit all the world and speak directly to the men of all continents as he did," he said.

"The Holy Father, with his words and his works, gave us great things; but no less important is the lesson that he gave us from the cathedral of suffering and silence."

The speech, which lasted over 20 minutes, also covered Benedict's recollections of his first major encounter with young Catholics at World Youth Day in August, as well as the October meeting of the world's bishops in Rome.

He devoted a substantial portion of the speech to the significance of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings on reforming the Catholic Church. The Vatican officially marked the 40th anniversary of the council's conclusion earlier this month.

The pope attended the meetings as a young theologian and is among those who interpreted it as less of a liberalizing break that brought the church into the modern world as a recovery of the church's traditional identity.

Benedict said Thursday that the council's outcome had been received with difficulty in many parts of the church because it had been wrongly interpreted — in part by the mass media — as a rupture with the past and not a recovery. He called Thursday for a correct interpretation of the council's spirit.

"The Second Vatican Council, with the new definition of the relation between the faith of the church and certain essential elements of modern thought, has reviewed or corrected some historical decisions, but in this apparent discontinuity it has rather maintained and deepened (the church's) intimate nature and its true identity," he said.

Vatican II was a turning point for the church. The council's reforms allowed Mass to be celebrated in languages other than Latin and priests to face their congregations instead of having their backs to them.

The council also called for efforts to bridge differences between Catholics and other Christians, and produced a document in which the Catholic Church deplored anti-Semitism and repudiated the "deicide" charge that blamed Jews as a people for Christ's death.

00Friday, December 23, 2005 5:19 AM
From Dappled Things (Fr. Jim Tucker):

Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Camauro Photopost -- You knew it was coming: a Dappled tribute to
what the news media are calling the Pope's Santa hat.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Camauro -- We all knew it was coming:

The last Holy Father to wear the fur-trimmed papal hat
known as the camauro was Blessed John XXIII:

Note: If you don't see the pics, right-click and then click on "Show Picture"!
From "Whispers in the Loggia" (Rocco Palmo):

Thursday, December 22, 2005
Today From the (Vatican) Catwalk

From the Auguri Natalizi with the Curia this morning, rumors of the ermine mozzetta's transience are greatly exagerated.

So, indeed, there were three: summer (silk), PETA-friendly winter (i.e. no ermine), PETA not-so-friendly winter (with ermine).

The next question is why he's wearing his pectoral cross over it. I can hear it coming already....

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

....Of course, there is a subtext to all this, one which has been forgotten in all the superficial coverage of the Pope's donning what resembles (to the untrained eye, of course) a Santa hat four days before Christmas -- an aesthetic input overload festival exemplified by Reuters' lead that "He was not riding on a one-horse open sleigh, but when Pope Benedict arrived on the popemobile for his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, on-lookers could have been forgiven for thinking Santa Claus was in town."

What they all missed is this: The Pope is still outside for his Wednesday gatherings because demand for tickets to the general audiences and other events is at an all-time high, higher even than in the halcyon days of John Paul II, who had long retreated to the Nervi (the Paul VI audience hall, which seats about 6,000) by this time of year. Benedict simply doesn't want to let the masses down; though much more subtle than his seemingly superhuman predecessor, he is keenly aware of the power of presence.

As my Tablet colleague Robert Mickens reported last week from Rome, the Prefecture of the Papal Household -- which coordinates logistics for those who wish to see the Pope, both in audience and for liturgies -- has been beyond overwhelmed with requests for Midnight Mass tickets, having to turn down "thousands" of applications. One hopeful congregant got his query returned "with a line through it and a big, fat 'NO' written on the page," Mickens wrote.

Sunday, December 18, 2005
Dig My Grecca?
Another day, another dollar, another Benedictine fashion statement.

No, the Pope is not wearing a First Communion suit with his zucchetto. As many of you know, Rome can get chilly in December. And so, riding to his first pastoral visit at Santa Maria Consolatrice, which was once Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's titular church, Benedict XVI pulled another warming object from the papal mothballs -- the "grecca," also known as the "douillette"; in layman's terms, a double-breasted white overcoat. John Paul wore it only when he had to, which was extremely rarely.

Saturday, December 17, 2005
Addio, Ermine

....Benedict XVI has taken on a new, modified form of the winter mozzetta.
(The original was, of course, exhibited at the homage to the Immacolata nine days ago.)

The new form, shown here is still velvet, but no hood, and, with apologies to the church queens,
no ermine. Remember, after all, that this is the PETA Papacy.

From "The Shrine of the Holy Whapping"
(Catholic Nerds at the University of Notre Dame):

Nothing encourages An Almost Fanatical Devotion to the Pope even like a good hat.*
And even better than the Pope wearing the Coveted Camauro, is the fact that everyone
(except the usual sticks-in-the-mud) loves it.

The Telegraph's headline proclaims that the camauro "delights crowds."

They also report:
"The Pope was told it was cold outside and he said he had just the thing.

"He came out holding the hat and said he would wear it. He even joked
that it made him look like Father Christmas."

I really want to see the inside of whatever room he went into to get it.

That's fun. And really, religion should be fun. What would Teresa of Avila say?
"God and a camauro is better than God alone."
OK, she said it about chocolate, but...

*Except for, like, the Gospel. But, whatever.

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00Friday, December 23, 2005 3:20 PM
Reuters, the British news agency, has chosen this picture, taken 11/30/05 during a general audience, as oen of its 20 top images of 2005. The only other known figures included among the top 20 - chosen primarily for photographic impact rather than significance - were President Bush stumped before a locked door in China, Michael Jackson in hospital pajamas going to the courtroom, Saddam Hussein in the dock, and Lance Armstrong after winning his 7th Tour de France. The rest are mostly dramatic moments illustrating many of the headline disasters and emergencies in 2005.

Reuters caption for this picture: A suggestive image of Pope Benedict XVI as he puts on a red cape.
00Friday, December 23, 2005 3:30 PM

I think I would have captioned the photo, "Pope Benedict and his personal secretary."

00Friday, December 23, 2005 4:26 PM
RE caption: Or, "Pope Benedict and his (invisible) secretary".

Beatrice in the French section calls our attention to this beautiful logo for the forum-proper
on the site www.leforumcatholique.org/forum.php:

The exhortation reads: "DO NOT FAIL TO SUSTAIN HIM!"

Just as interesting is the photomontage of Popes on the home page of the forum:

Note how a great majority of them are portrayed wearing the camauro.

00Friday, December 23, 2005 5:06 PM
Ratzigirl contributes this bit from the site of the Sisters of Santa Maria Consolatrice:

April 19, 17:50
The world exults at the announcement of the election of a new Pope in the person of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Less than an hour after that, he appears on the Loggia, looking very emtional and flushed (from the red capelet?)
and with black sleeves evident under his white vestments. We have learned, that to the person who helped him
get robed in papal white and who had suggested it would be better if he took off his black sweater,
he replied: "But I feel cold!" And so, he kept the sweater on...

We saw him then, smiling and perhaps even a bit embarrassed,and he came directly into our hearts,
especially since many of us, Sisters of Santa Maria Consolatrice, had often seen him up close
here in Casalbertone, the parish of which he was titular cardinal for 16 years, from 1977 to 1993.

00Friday, December 23, 2005 6:04 PM

@ Teresa: RE caption: Or, "Pope Benedict and his (invisible) secretary".

@ Benefan: Let's make it, "Pope Benedict and his private secretary".

Regarding the pope photos:

@ Teresa: "Note how a great majority of them are portrayed wearing the camauro."

@ Benefan: Can we stop with the camauro already? That was then (500 years ago for the most part); this is now. You know how much I hate that thing on Papa.

00Friday, December 23, 2005 6:58 PM
Can we stop with the camauro already?
[SM=g27824] ROTFLOL!!!

00Friday, December 23, 2005 10:46 PM
His black sweater
Dear friends - you know me! I was so moved just now when I read that someone told Papa to remove his black sweater before donning the white surplice and red mozzetta and he said "But I feel cold". Of course he did! It probably wasn't very cold in Rome in April, but HE must have felt cold at the very thought of going out to that loggia for the first time. Poor, liebling Papa! I wanted to hug you then and I still do!
What a silly billy I am! Can't help it! [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27836]

By the way - it's so interesting to find out the real names of all these garments. I love the white overcoat, actually - think he looks superb in it! [SM=x40800]

Love, Mary x [SM=g27811]
00Friday, December 23, 2005 11:49 PM

demand for tickets to the general audiences and other events is at an all-time high, higher even than in the halcyon days of John Paul II, who had long retreated to the Nervi (the Paul VI audience hall, which seats about 6,000) by this time of year.

I remember when I went to Rome end of Oct (beginning of Nov) they already said that the audience would take place in the Paul VI Hall......they probably had the intention to wait another two weeks and now we are in the middle of December and there are still far too many pilgrims to get them all into the Hall. [SM=g27811]


"But I feel cold".

Yes, of course he felt cold....who wouldn't?! You could see it in his face, in his smile, I think he was so frightened about the situation. Would I like to hug him? Mmh...no comennt. [SM=x40791] [SM=x40800]
00Saturday, December 24, 2005 2:43 AM
Pope's books arrive at renovated Vatican apartment Pope Benedict XVI said today he felt like he was surrounded by old friends now that his books have arrived at his newly renovated Vatican apartment.Benedict thanked the workers who remodelled the third-floor apartment in the Apostolic Palace during a special audience today, praising them for having done so much in just three months.“I’m convinced that this work would have lasted at least a year or maybe more, becauseI had a small house made for me in Germany and know how long such work takes,” he told the workers.He apologised that he had not prepared a formal speech that was “worthy of the work you have done” because he had been so busy in recent days, but thanked them “from the heart” in off-the-cuff remarks that were transcribed by the Vatican. “I can just admire the things you have done, like this beautiful floor,” he said.“In addition, I particularly like my new library, with the antique ceiling. For me, it’s like being surrounded by friends now that the books and bookshelves have arrived.”In addition to the library, the renovation included new medical facilities within the apartment for the Pope.The Italian daily Corriere della Sera also said the kitchen was expanded and modernised and that a special apartment had been prepared for the Pope’s older brother, the Reverend Georg Ratzinger, who currently lives in Germany.

00Saturday, December 24, 2005 2:49 AM

Jil, we KNOW you would hug him. So would we all if we had the chance. In fact, I propose we give Papa a gigantic group cyber-hug from our entire little forum. Everybody gather 'round. No pushing. Okay, grab him. Maryjos and Nan, you are hugging him a little too hard. We don't want to cut off his air supply. Just a warm gentle hug and a heartfelt prayer for his best and happiest Christmas ever.


And the same to all my dear forum friends whatever language you speak and wherever you will be celebrating Christmas. May you feel the love, joy, and peace of God's presence in your lives now and throughout the coming year.

00Saturday, December 24, 2005 7:01 AM
Okay, grab him...

Okay, grab him. Maryjos and Nan, you are hugging him a little too hard. We don't want to cut off his air supply.

[SM=g27820]: [SM=g27825] I've been framed! ROTFLOL [SM=g27838] [SM=x40800]
00Saturday, December 24, 2005 7:08 AM
From the Passauer Neue Presse today, 12/24/05, an article based on reminiscences by Georg Ratzinger about the Christmases that he and his siblings had in Bavaria. Herewith, in translation -
By Karl Birkenseer

When Pope Benedict was still Joseph Ratzinger, he visited the Richardi family in Pentling every year at Christmas. He was especially fascinated, according to the couple, by the Creche. He knew every figure in it and loved to look at it with the children in the family – first the Richardis’ son, then their two daughters, and later their grandchildren.

While his brother Georg played Christmas songs on the piano, the Cardinal liked to reminisce on his childhood Christmases – the family singing together after the presents were distributed, Midnight Mass in Traunstein, and the small family creche with moss and stones from the nearby woods…

In the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the Ratzinger boys would be busy with the creche. Maria, the eldest (born 1921) would be helping out their mother, but the two boys made do.

“It was a very simple creche,” Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, the former Cathedral choirmaster of Regensburg, said. “Neither of us were artists at this, but it gave us great joy.”

In Tittmoning, where the family lived from 1929-1932,they found one of the most important materials for their creche, something that served them over the years. It was volcanic tuff, lightweight and porous, with which one could build “particularly beautiful hilly landscapes”. They have not found similar material elsewhere. “So we took the tuff with us to Aschau and to Traunstein,” Georg says. “My brother even has some in Rome.”

It’s very probable that the Pope was thinking about his own experiences with creche building when, at the feast of the Immaculate Conception, he praised the Italian practice of putting up the creche the day after December 8. The Pope said it was a simple but very effective means for transmitting Catholic doctrine to children. He also urged that the days before Christmas should be marked by “inward recollection, simplicity and inner joy” rather than widespread commercialization.

This “simplicity and inner joy”, according to Monsignor Georg, marked the Christmases of their childhood. It was also marked by the children’s impatience for the arrival of the Baby Jesus.

“That is why the sharing of presents took place much earlier in our house than in other families,” he recalls. Shortly after afternoon tea at 4 p.m. , the family prayed the rosary "kneeling down, with our elbows propped up on the seat of the chair." A bell would then be rung, which signalled it was time for the children to go to the living room, where there would be a fir tree on the table with wax candles alight, “which gave the room a mystic atmosphere."

"The tree would be decorated with glass balls, angel’s hair and tinfoil strips, and with stars, hearts and comets that our mother cut out of thin metal.”

In 1936, Georg, who was by then in high school, composed a small Christmas number that the three children played for their parents – “my sister on the harmonium, my brother at the piano, while I played the violin. My mother was moved to tears, and even our father, although he was more reserved, was impressed.”

After the reading of the Christmas Gospel, the family sang carols – "Stille Nacht,"“O du froehliche,” “Ihr Kinderlein kommet” – then the gifts were distributed. “Usually things to wear, the things one needed.”

When he was 11, Georg received a book of church choral music. “My brother was happier about it than he was about his own presents, because there was not a single German word in it -everything was in Latin. That sent my brother into raptures..."

Their parents knew they would make Joseph happy if they gave him stuffed animals. Georg remembers a dog, a cat and a duck.

Joseph was not yet two years old when the following story happened. Georg remembers, “We were still in Marktl, and the store opposite our house had decorated a window for Christmas. It had a small teddy bear that my brother liked so much, so we always went near the window to look at it. When the teddy bear disappeared two days before Christmas, my brother cried bitterly. But on Christmas Eve, when we shared our gifts, there sat the bear in the living room, and everything was OK again.”

Is that story the reason why Benedict, after he became Pope, found the Papst-Teddy so cute, whereas he keeps away from any of the other fan articles?

In any case, his own childhood memories will be with him as he celebrates his first Christmas as Pope.

Georg will be flying to Rome for a two-week visit with his brother. With the renovation of the papal apartments, he now has a small room waiting for him.

He is bringing Benedict a Christmas present – a new wristwatch with a dark leather strap. Georg said it was not easy to decide what to give a Pope. I told him, 'As Pope, you can have anything – books, clothes…' But I said, why don’t I give you a watch?" And so he's bringing him a watch.

Family picture: Doesn't Papa look like Georg here?

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 24/12/2005 7.12]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 24/12/2005 7.51]

00Saturday, December 24, 2005 12:05 PM
aww,what a sweet story!!!im so happy that Georg can spend holidays with his dear brother Pope..haha,so much for gift surprise there,a watch for Papa or maybe he has another gift for Papa [SM=x40791] [SM=x40791] [SM=x40800]
00Saturday, December 24, 2005 6:25 PM
Great story!!!!
Thanks for the warm Christmas story, Teresa Benedetta!
And for that photo of Papa - hadn't seen that one!
This story is a great Christmas present!
Love to you all - Mary x [SM=g27811]
00Saturday, December 24, 2005 8:18 PM
From kreuz.net (German online Catholic news agency) today :

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in an Italian TV interview that Pope Benedict watches news programs and selected music broadcasts on TV. He watches German newscasts at noon, and in the evenings, the Italian newscasts.

In the same interview, Navarro-Valls said the Pope's first encyclical would be dated December 25, 2005, but will not be released until next month. It will be available in 8 languages, including Russian and Arabic.
00Monday, December 26, 2005 3:41 AM
Andreas Englisch of the German newspaper BILD filed a Christmas-Day article on the first Christmas at the Vatican by the first German Pope in 5 centuries:

“Fraelicke Wainachden” (Froehliche Weinachten=Merry Christmas) is what the four Italian lay sisters wished their boss today, after which they had to laugh – the German words always trip them up.

But the Holy Father understood them and knows that Carmela, Emanuela, Loredana and Cristina wish him only well.

The lay nuns from Memores Domini did everything to prepare an unforgettable feast for his first Christmas as Pope – the first Christmas celebration in 5 centuries by a German Pope.

But this year, unusual things have happened at the Vatican:
For example, every year, the Apostolic Palace gets 20 Christmas trees for its various rooms except in the Papal apartment itself. But this time, even the Pope’s living quarters have a Christmas tree.

However, there will be no exchange of presents. Pope Benedict XVI’s simple tastes may not allow that. But he and his two secretaries, Georg Gaenswein and Miecyslaw Mietek, with whom he will spend Christmas Eve, will surely share Christmas cheer in front of the Papal Christmas tree.

Many are wondering these days: How does a German Pope celebrate Christmas? What would he want for a Christmas meal?

With John Paul II, it was simple. He ordered a roast goose, stewed apples , as well as smoked trout from Poland. The nuns who kept house for him called the papal farm in Castel Gandolfo, and a truck with the requested food stuff would travel the 23 kms between the summer residence and the Vatican. This year, however, the farm got no call…

“Pope Benedict has not ordered anything, so we did not know what to send him – a goose, a hen, a duck?“ said Giuseppe Bellapadrone, who is in charge of the farm.

He decided to send a capon. Roasted in olive oil and garnished with rosemary, it is served with roasted potatoes, compote and yogurt.

The truck also brought a huge shipment of poinsettias from Castel Gandolfo. Bellapadrone is absolutely sure of this because he has been told that Germans love poinsettias (called Weihnachtssterne = “Christmas stars” in German). He has been raising hundreds of them.

Most of the plants were used to decorate the Basilica, but the Pope is giving some to his housekeepers.

The sisters don’t need any more gifts from the Pope because they already got the best gift earlier – a new kitchen and household appliances. A dishwashing machine, a coffee maker, vacuum cleaners, a washer-dryer….

The Papal apartments had none of these appliances before. The electrical fittings were 30 years old and would not have supported any appliances without blowing the fuses.

Part of the renovation ordered by the Pope when he moved in was an updating of all electrical, water and heating systems.

He also had a small room built for his brother, Georg, who is expected to arrive in Rome on December 28. He is bringing a package of desserts baked for the Pope by Georg’s housekeeper Agnes Heindl, who knows the Pope loves to snack on sweets.

But in the early morning of Christmas Day, the Papal apartments were kept quiet. Telephones were disconnected, and any noise was avoided so the Pope, who had gone to bed after 2 a.m., could sleep a little longer.

However, he was scheduled to pray in his private chapel by 8 a.m. followed by Christmas Day Mass at 10 a.m., then the noontime Urbi et Orbi message and blessing.

A worldwide TV audience of a billion was expected to have watched the Urbi et Orbi message.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 26/12/2005 4.30]

00Monday, December 26, 2005 5:10 AM
Lovely christmas stories, thanks alot Teresa ! the part about young Joseph and the teddy bear just made me go awww... [SM=x40791] Hope Papa wasn't too sleepy but if anything the screaming girls at the Urbi et Orbi message were there to help...[SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]
00Friday, December 30, 2005 1:51 PM
RAdio Vatican's German service today cites an item dated 12/29/05 from KNA,
a German Catholic news agency:

Pope Benedict XVI continues to play the piano as he used to, according to his brother,
Monsignor Georg Ratzinger.

"He knows that his playing is not necessarily an 'artistic' Interpretation,
but it gives him pleasure," he comments. He adds that the Pope "still finds
the most beautiful possibilities in playing Mozart."

He says that Steinway donated a grand piano for the Pope's use at Castel Gandolfo,
but the Pope refused a similar offer for the Papal apartments at the Vatican.

Monsignor's comment: "To play what he wants to, his old piano is fine for him."
He implies that a new one would not serve any purpose: "First, he does not have
all that time, and second, he is realistic about his playing abilities."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/05/2007 4.06]

00Friday, December 30, 2005 11:57 PM

Scritto da: TERESA BENEDETTA 30/12/2005 13.51
RAdio Vatican's German service today cites an item dated 12/29/05 from KNA, a German Catholic news agency:

Pope Benedict XVI continues to play the piano as he used to, according to his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger.

"He knows that his playing is not necessarily an 'artistic'
interpretation, but it gives him pleasure," he comments.
He adds that the Pope "still finds the most beautiful possibilities in playing Mozart."

He says that Steinway donated a grand piano for the Pope's use at Castel Gandolfo, but the Pope refused a similar offer for the Papal apartments at the Vatican.

Monsignor's comment: "To play what he wants to, his old piano is fine for him." He implies that a new one would not serve any purpose: "First, he does not have all that time, and second, he is realistic about his playing abilities."

How typical for him! I don't play the piano but I can imagine what a pleasure it must be for a musician to play on a decent Steinway piano, even if he is not an 'artist'.

How many people have a grand piano in their house just to impress others - without being able to play it properly. And the Pope keeps his old piano because 'he is realistic about his playing abilities'.

At least it's nice to see that he hasn't given up his music.
00Saturday, December 31, 2005 1:13 AM
I don't know whether it fits here so if it doesn't please Teresa move it somewhere else.
At CRF Unicorn posted a beautiful latin prayer Pro Pontefice Nostro p072.ezboard.com/ftheratzingerforumfrm34.showMessage?topicID=...
I found on Russian forum the actual prayer being read or rather sung in Latin. The file is for download so now I am learing it by heart [SM=x40790]

Questa è la versione 'lo-fi' del Forum Per visualizzare la versione completa click here
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