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

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00Sunday, April 1, 2007 11:01 PM
Funny and so nice
Czech section of Vatican radio informed, today was no Angelus from window, because Palm Mass lasts quite long. When mass finished and Papa left, spanish youth was loudly chanting: "We here down want upper window to be open."
After while Papa showed in his window and with choy greeted everybody silently during all youth screaming. [SM=g27828]
00Monday, April 2, 2007 1:47 AM
The following blurb is translated from Avvenire:


Avvenire pays tribute to the Pope
on his 80th birthday
By Matteo Liut

He has surprised everyone with his ability to dialog, to rouse interest, to confront a spectrum of human lives and experiences with all humility.

With measured wisdom, he has gathered, appreciated and relaunched the messages of his predecessor, already venerated as a saint by the faithful who, two years ago, in a most 'unexpected' manner, by his own admission, he had 'inherited' from Karol Wojtyla.

On April 16, Benedict XVI turns 80 - 78 of those years lived away from the spotlight that in the past two years have revealed a Pope who is very unlike the false image that had been created of him in the media.

With a special issue of over 100 pages in color and published as a magazine coming out on April 15, Avvenire wishes to use the Pope's birthday as an occasion for a more profound look at the man who is Pope, 'BENEDICT XVI: The 80 years of a Pope who conquers'. To look into the heart of his message, to reveal the profound humanity that he shows in truly 'unexpected' ways, by his actions, by his gestures, by his look.

In pages rich with comments, stories, testimonies, photographs, and citations, one sees that these last two years of Joseph Ratzinger's life constitute the mature fruit of a lifetime of study, of a passion for debate, of an unbounded confidence in the encounter of faith and reason.

It has been a long course - starting from a Europe lacerated by war, but amid Catholic people animated by devotion and constancy, and in the intimacy of a family founded on love.

One therefore discovers a 'hidden design' that develops through those years, thanks to the 'breath of Logos' which shaped 'a true teacher' who has always labored humbly 'in the vineyard of the Lord.'

Thread after thread, page after page, image after image, Avvenire offers not just 'a book to keep' but a small treasure to enhance that special link that connects the Successor of Peter to the heart of every Christian community and every single believer.

Through the words of those who know him and of those - lay or otherwise - who have decided to answer in their own ways the challenge launched by Joseph Ratzinger to every Christian, one will perhaps understand better why he decided to dedicate his first Magisterial document to 'Christian love.'

And we will also understand better his desire to serve the truth, which he translates into clarity of words and the refusal to make intellectual compromises, but also in an unconditional capacity to listen and a sincere interest in anything human.

We can therefore celebrate the Pope's birthday looking with 'unexpected' light at how he acts, the choices he makes, the words he says.

And in the end, we will probably find ourselves not just 'conquered, won over, by him' but rather 'won over, with him' by that which has seduced him all his life: the love of God, which is the only resource that makes man truly man.

00Monday, April 2, 2007 2:47 AM
See in Die Tagespost, this item by the German news agency dpa:

A Leipzig publisher that specializes in mini-books is coming out with an unusual birthday tribute to Pope Benedict XVI - a 500-page de luxe edition of Deus caritas est in German and Latin, in a book that measures 38x53 mm on gold-edged paper and in a red-satin wrapped case. It will come with a Meissner porcellain medallion of the Pope. Production is limited to 75 books [why not 80? - 81, including a personal copy for the Pope] which will be sold at Easter for 98 Euros. [I think even at that price, those 75 books will be snapped up pretty quick!]
00Monday, April 2, 2007 5:51 AM
To mark the anniversary of John Paul II's death tomorrow, Vatican Radio's Angela Ambrogetti decided to talk to a knowledgeable friend about the relationship between the Polish Pope and his German successor for this piece she wrote for PETRUS. Here is a translation:

Vatican-II brought together
two future Popes

by Angela Ambrogetti

VATICAN CITY - Gianfranco Svidercoschi is not just a Vatican reporter: he is also a witness and a friend. As a journalist, he has reported for years about the Vatican. As a witness, he has narrated John Paul II's Pontificate [he is co-author with Cardinal Dsiwisz of the book "My Life with Karol"]. And as a friend, he agreed to talk to me about it.

Above all, we talked about a special friendship, a 'conciliar' one. Between a young Polish bishop and a younger German theologian who first crossed paths in the bustle of the Vatican-II sessions, and met again years later, both cardinals now, to elect a Pope in 1978. Thus started a collaboration and a harmony that have marked and continue to mark the life of the Church.

"Wojtyla was at the Council, first as auxiliary bishop and then as Archbishop of Cracow, while Ratzinger was the theological consultant for the German bishops. Each involved in their respective assignments, they did not really get together socially, but they knew about each other and there was reciprocal esteem.

"They really got together the first time on the eve of the first conclave of 1978 which elected John Paul I. By now, Ratzinger was Archbishop of Munich, and a cardinal taking part in his first conclave [It was also Wojtyla's first; Paul VI made him a cardinal in 1969.]

Gianfranco now gives the testimony of Cardinal Dsiwisz, who was secretary to Wojtyla, as Dsiwisz recounts it in their book together.

"The German and the Pole got to talking about the specifically Christian character that the Catholic Church needed to offer the world at the turn of the millennium. In an analysis of the world and the Church in our time, they agreed above all that the Church should offer a clear and precise way to recover its Christian identity."

Afterwards, Wojtyla became Pope [and wanted Ratzinger with him in the Curia right away, but the latter declined because he had only been assigned to Munich the year before]. It would take three years till Wojtyla got Ratzinger to come to Rome, to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Later, Gianfranco and I would discuss their doctrinal compatibility, ut meanwhile I continued to ask about their friendship.

"It was a constant personal relationship of affection, which Don Stanislaw frequently refers to, as if to validate his own ideas and feelings. He speaks towards the end of our book of the martyrdom that John Paul II lived with his illness - perhaps few remember that the first signs of Parknson's came in 1992, and so, John Paul led the church for more than decade under that burden. Don Stanislaw cites Ratzinger who said, 'John Paul II experienced the Cross at firsthand.'"

A friendship, would you say, that got its final seal in the homily Ratzinger delivered at John Paul's funeral?

"That was very beautiful - the homily he gave as Dean of the College of Cardinals. You know, Ratzinger was always considered somewhat gruff and serious because of what he had to do as prefect of the CDF. One time, informally, I asked him, 'Eminence, I find it somewhat difficult to see in you the progressive theologian of Vatican-II.' He looked at me with a smile - we were at the Teutonic College [in the Vatican Gardens] - and he pointed to the Palazzo Sant'Uffizio {the Holy Office] and said, 'I have been given this assignment. This is my role.' In other words, on behalf of the Pope and the Church, it was his duty to defend the faith. And I understood that he had not turned into the hidebound conservative he was reputed to be. In fact, I soon found out that he was the main opponent of the excessive bureaucracy that the Curia had become with time...

"Well, this cardinal - whom everybody thought to be the person he had been made out to be - impressed everyone with that beautiful homily at teh funeral, even calling the late Pope by his name Karol, but most especially with those now-famous closing words, 'He is standing at the window of the Father's house, looking down and blessing us.'

"Don Stanislao says in the book that, still overwhelmed by the loss, those words caught his attention, but then, he did not have the courage to look up because he did not want to see that closed window of the Apostolic Palace, from where Wojtyla had so often looked down on the Square. But he thought about it in his heart."

Our conversation had to end for now. We will resume another day. And we will speak about the Magisterium, or rather the important consequences of the perfectly 'conciliar' Magisterium of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.


I often find myself having to point out to friends and acquaintances, when the occasion arises, that the hundreds of millions who followed John Paul's funeral on TV had the best possible introduction to Joseph Ratzinger - the multitudes that were soon to be under his care, though no one one could predict this at the time. And that this made Ratzinger the first Pope in history ever to be already 'familiar' to the whole world - thanks to what the Italians fittingly call Mondovisione - at the time his election was announced.

I personally think this counts a lot with most of the 'simple, ordinary' Catholics around the world who watched him offer that Mass, deliver that homily, and lead us all in the final farewell to John Paul - and that the memory of that alone is a powerful counterforce to anything negative that media, with their petty games within their limited spheres, can do - because none of them can hope to match the massive impact of global TV.

And more than any temporal leader on earth, what other personality is as often presented and followed on global TV as the Pope? With every Mass, with every liturgy, with every foreign visit of his that is broadcast around the world, the people of the global village do not need to refract their perception of Benedict XVI through the biased prism of media - they can see and hear for themselves. (I remind myself of this when I get too heated up over a media offense against the Pope).

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 02/04/2007 6.02]

00Monday, April 2, 2007 7:10 AM
Beatrice featured this on her website two weeks ago, at least, and I have been saving it to translate for today, as we remember John-Paul II. Beatrice says this imaginary encounter was devised by a friend of hers based on an account Cardinal Ratzinger made in a TV interview about how he finally came to Rome to join the Curia and about his attempts to retire. Here is a translation.

Rome, January 2002

- Cardinal Ratzinger, come in, please! You wanted to see me?

- Yes, Holy Father. I have a request to ask you. I will be 75 years old this year, it's the retirement age, and I would love to go back to Germany...

- Excuse me, Cardinal...Are you talking to me of retirement, to me who can hardly stand up while you trot about like a young man every day across the Square? You still have all your hair, you have a musician's ear, you don't even need glasses except to read. How can you talk to me of retiring? Please, no, I need you here.

Let me remind you that it took me three years to get you to come to Rome. I had to negotiate a lot, Pope that I am.

You remember the first time? 1979, shortly after my election. You said No, you were still fairly new at the job in Munich and you owed the diocese to stay on. OK, I understood that.

The following year, you said you had problems in the diocese and you could not very well leave unless they were resolved - because then they would say you were escaping your responsibilities. I understood that, too.

In any case, you always seemed to have an indisputable reason to refuse. Well, I was not going to argue with you. I could wait.

The third year was 1981. After the assassination attempt on me. You couldn't have dared to refuse me then! So you asked me if you could continue to publish your books, outside of the work at CDF. I agreed, against the advice of some in the Curia, I must say.

Well, now that you are here, I'd like to keep you on. I know I've held on to you for 20 years even if the usual Curial term is only for 5 years. And I know it's not the first time you've asked to be allowed to go. But I need you here in Rome, Cardinal Ratzinger, if you please.

(Then, smiling) Listen, Joseph, you are a remarkable man, and I should know. Besides, you have never sought to get to the head of the line, which is not the case with everyone in the Curia. But I must say you have your share of ecclesiastical coquetry: I think you rather like having your peers - including your Pope - plead with you.

(Visibly amused) You know, if the cardinals ever wanted to make you Pope, they had better pull out all the stops, if you'll allow me to say so. Someone should warn them. If they want you to stay in Rome, they should reach near-unanimity on your name in record time, or else you will pack your bags and leave....Let's see, if I remember right, it took eight ballotings to elect me. With you, there shouldn't be more than 4.

- But, Holiness, last month Cardinal Martini made the same request to you and you accepted!

- Oh, I know how much you regard the good Archbishop Emeritus of Milan. Well, he wanted to retire to the Biblical Institute in Jerusalemn, and I thought that was a great idea. And don't forget, Cardinal, he also has the beginnings of Parkinson's...
Now, it's true Martini is a remarkable man, but I could do without him in Rome. Easily, I might add, strictly between us. But I need you here!

Besides, not only do I ask you to stay, Joseph, but I have another thing to request. The dean of cardinals will be leaving us soon, and I would want you to be the next dean. I will support your nomination and I don't doubt for a moment that you will be elected.

This means I want you to be with me till the very end and beyond. I would like it very much that it would be you who would preside at all the cardinals' meetings preparatory to the next Conclave, and I want you to celebrate my funeral Mass. We both know the time is near. You will not have to wait long. The Lord will be calling me to Him soon. After that, you may go back to Germany... (sotto voce) The Holy Spirit can sometimes be mischievous!

-I beg your pardon?

-No, it was a private joke. Well, Cardinal Ratzinger, I will see you on Friday as usual. Remind me to show you a letter from the Archbishop of Johannesburg. He has some sensitive questions, and I would like to hear your opinion....

- And my retirement?

- I already said No, Cardinal. Any other questions?

- Well, no!

_ Good. Then we'll see each other Friday.

- Yes, Holiness. Friday it is.
00Monday, April 2, 2007 7:29 PM
Alessandra Borghese has a little space in Corriere della Sera's magazine where she usually records idle thoughts, quite briefly. As April begins, here was one such idle thought:

Benedict XVI loves to take walks. Even as a child, he was used to walking long distances on foot (e.g., going to and from school in the center of Traunstein from the village where they lived).

Even today, walking is for the Pope a way to relax, to reflect and to sort out his thoughts.

Every day, even when it is raining, the Pope takes a walk through the Vatican Gardens. He leaves the Apostolic Palace, passes by the Torre San Giovanni (where Cardinal Bertone had been staying before Cardinal Sodano moved out of the Secretary of State's apartment in the Apostolic Palace), makes a prayer stop at the pavilion of the Madonna della Guardia, then proceeds towards the Grotto of the Lady of Lourdes.

So, in a way, the Pope, even while staying within Vatican walls, makes a daily Marian mini-pilgrimage. And this brings me to the happy thought that the Pope shares two important dates in April with the seeress of Lourdes, St. Bernadette.

April 16, which is the Pope's birthday, is Bernadette's 'birthday in heaven', the day she died, while April 19, the day of Benedict's election as Pope, was the day of Bernadette's funeral.

It may seem paradoxical, but Papa Ratzinger and Bernadette are alike - both are gentle, modest and humble, and if they could have had a choice, both would have preferred to live away from the spotlight.

[I thought she would also say that Bernadette, too, had to walk long distances everyday to do her daily chores. In fact, the walk from her house to the grotto in Massabielle is one of tehe recommended walking itineraries for visitors to Lourdes.

Borghese has been a volunteer worker since 1999, spending a few weeks in Lourdes during the busy pilgrimage months in summer to help attend to sick pilgrims
00Tuesday, April 3, 2007 12:31 AM
Lella reports Italy's Auditel figures (their equivalent of tHE Nielsens) for yesterday's Palm Sunday Mass broadcast on RAI-1 was 2,406,000 viewers, or a 31.63% share of the morning audience.

Now, obviously, Italy is a special case, and I cannot think of any country that one might cite as an analog. Nevertheless, despite the general impression that faith is languishing in Italy, as in all other places in the West, can someone please explain why, since his Papacy began, Benedict XVI's Masses and Angelus have consistently drawn an audience share of of 20-30% in whatever time slot they are on? Which means that at any given time, at least one of 5 Italian TV viewers - and at best, one out of 3 - is interested enough to follow a liturgy on TV. That is just amazing, any way you look at it.

So, we shouldn't be too quick, I suppose, to discount the force of tradition, if not of the faith iself!


In terms of live bodies turning up at St. Peter's Square -
- 50,000 came for Palm Sunday celebrations yesterday, 4/1
- An equal number was estimated for thoe faithful who attended
the memorial Mass for John Paul II celebrated by Beneidct XVI today, 4/2
- And the figure for the last 3 Wednesday audiences held outdoors has been around 40,000 each Wednesday.

So even for an an ordinary audience, when there is no liturgy, just a catechesis, Benedict has drawn almost as large a crowd -which is mostly random and unorganized - as a 'mobilized' crowd (the WYD participants) on Palm Sunday, or the John Paul II devotees who gathered for the anniversary Mass today.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/04/2007 2.02]

00Tuesday, April 3, 2007 12:43 AM

For tne Italy-wide celebration of World Youth Day;
the diocese of Rome marked it yesterday, Palm Sunday.
00Tuesday, April 3, 2007 5:35 PM

Scritto da: TERESA BENEDETTA 02/04/2007 19.29
Alessandra Borghese has a little space in Corriere della Sera's magazine where she usually records idle thoughts, quite briefly. As April begins, here was one such idle thought:

Benedict XVI loves to take walks. Even as a child, he was used to walking long distances on foot (e.g., going to and from school in the center of Traunstein from the village where they lived).

Even today, walking is for the Pope a way to relax, to reflect and to sort out his thoughts.

Every day, even when it is raining, the Pope takes a walk through the Vatican Gardens. He leaves the Apostolic Palace, passes by the Torre San Giovanni (where Cardinal Bertone had been staying before Cardinal Sodano moved out of the Secretary of State's apartment in the Apostolic Palace), makes a prayer stop at the pavilion of the Madonna della Guardia, then proceeds towards the Grotto of the Lady of Lourdes.

So, in a way, the Pope, even while staying within Vatican walls, makes a daily Marian mini-pilgrimage. And this brings me to the happy thought that the Pope shares two important dates in April with the seeress of Lourdes, St. Bernadette.

April 16, which is the Pope's birthday, is Bernadette's 'birthday in heaven', the day she died, while April 19, the day of Benedict's election as Pope, was the day of Bernadette's funeral.

It may seem paradoxical, but Papa Ratzinger and Bernadette are alike - both are gentle, modest and humble, and if they could have had a choice, both would have preferred to live away from the spotlight.

[I thought she would also say that Bernadette, too, had to walk long distances everyday to do her daily chores. In fact, the walk from her house to the grotto in Massabielle is one of tehe recommended walking itineraries for visitors to Lourdes.

Borghese has been a volunteer worker since 1999, spending a few weeks in Lourdes during the busy pilgrimage months in summer to help attend to sick pilgrims

Papa B shares same b-day as my sis but that makes me sad thinking about it:(
anyway,i love St. Bernadette and i cried when i saw a tvmovie about her life in EWTN
00Tuesday, April 3, 2007 8:39 PM
One would have expected this brilliant initiative to come from the Vatican publishing house itself (LEV, Libreria Editrice Vaticana), as soon as the Holy Father wound up his first catechetical cycle for the Wednesday audiences - the fascinating series in which he introduced us to the Apostles, major and minor. [Before that, he was merely completing the catechetical cycle on the Psalms that John Paul II had begun].

But, as Beatrice informs us on her website, beatriceweb.eu, it's a French publishing house, Editions Bayard, that's first off the block with it - the Catecheses given by Benedict XVI from March 15, 2006, to February 14, 2007, in a volume called "Les Apôtres et les premiers disciples du Christ", subtitled "Aux origines de l'Eglise":
["The Apostles and the first disciples of Christ: The origins of the Church].

The preface is written by Mons. Carre, archbishop of Albi, who underscores what is evident to whoever has been following the Benedictine catecheses on TV:

Through these first witnesses [of Christianity], we will better understand who Christ is, through their eyes - how each one met Him or discovered Him, lived with Him, announced Him and ultimately gave his life for Him.

We can relive the personal encounters of the Apostles and the first disciples with Christ. The Pope presents these different personalities to us very simply but at the same time in depth. He knows how to highlight everything that the texts of the New Testament tells us and tie it up to facts of Tradition which enhance our acquaintance with these first Christians. He brings them close to us and places us in contact with them ,so we can say to Jesus as they did: "Who else could we go to, Master? You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6,68).


What this book initiative tells us is that a major French publisher thinks there is a market out there for the words of the Pope - despite the general impression we have that Catholicism in France is in desperate straits. It may well be, but if there is a core of true believers that buys and reads books like this, then the Pope has his 'nuclei' in place in France, the communities that may be small but who stand by the faith, defend it, and hopefully, propagate it by their words and above all, by their example.

This is somehow related to the comment I made earlier about the TV audience in Italy that regularly gives the Pope's televised events a 20-30% share of the market.

The enemies of the Church should not be too quick to write it off, as Italian politicians are now learning the hard way.

So...when will an Italian or a German publisher (or English for that matter) take the cue from Bayard?

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/04/2007 23.28]

00Tuesday, April 3, 2007 11:26 PM
Thanks to Lella, from her blog, this announcement from the Vatican publishing house, LEV (Libreria Editrice Vaticana):

"Pensieri Mariani" (Marian thoughts) contains a selection of brief texts by the Holy Father on the Virgin Mary, assembled by Prof. Lucio Coco, who edited for LEV an earlier volume on Benedict's thoughts, "Pensieri spirituali", which has had numerous reprints and translations into numerous languages.

Besides the collection of meditations, it also has a section of prayers to Mary written by the Holy Father, as well as a thematic index to the contents.

"Pensieri Mariani" is already sold in bookstores at 6.50 euro.


I wish we could report as often about books coming out in English.
00Wednesday, April 4, 2007 4:27 PM
Pope Benedict's car
goes on sale for charity

BERLIN, aPRIL 3 (Reuters) - For the second time in two years, a car that once belonged to Pope Benedict is up for sale.

In May 2005, the Texas-based Golden Palace Casino paid almost $250,000 to a 21-year-old German for the gray 1999 Volkswagen Golf, and is now selling it for charity.

The casino said it would donate the proceeds of the auction, which began at the weekend, to the British arm of the aid organization Habitat for Humanity.

On Tuesday, bids on online auction site eBay for the vehicle, which belonged to the Pope when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had passed the $160,000 mark. The auction is due to close on April 10 at 1900 GMT.

Benjamin Halbe, the car's previous owner, told Reuters he was happy it was on sale for a good cause.

"At first I was surprised, but now I'm excited to see how many bids will be made and how high the price will go," he said.

The vehicle has changed since Halbe owned it. Golden Palace plastered it with advertising stickers and the words "Pope Benedict Mobile," as well as a photograph of the pontiff.
00Thursday, April 5, 2007 1:19 AM
Just from the Aug 2006-present catalog of Amazon in Germany -
if only for the titles and covers, for now! Blurbs/reviews are all in German, so I'll eventually add in those that have particular interest as translated.

This first is to come out this month, for the Pope's 80th birthday and they do not have a cover photo available yet - but it's the promised 'complete bibliography' of JR/B16 to now, as compiled by the Ratzinger Schuelerkreise (Stephan Horn is president), with selected texts.
Papst Benedikt XVI. - Das Werk. Die Gesamtbibliographie - Schriften. Reden. Aufsätze von Stephan O. Horn und Vinzenz Pfnür von Sankt Ulrich Verlag (Gebundene Ausgabe - April 2007)

The following 2 are books by Fr. von Gemmingen, director of Vatican Radio's German service - the first a biography 'His Life in Pictures and Recollections'), and the next the first volume of his 'Chronicle' of Pope Benedict's papacy (covering 2005/2006). A second volume for 2006/2007 will come out June.

Benedikt XVI., Die Chronik des Pontifikats : Urbi et Orbi - 2006/2007 von St. Benno (Gebundene Ausgabe - Juni 2007)

The rest are more or less self-explanatory.

tu mir












'He came by bicycle; the other in an Alfa-Romeo' is the
suggestive title of this 'double-potrait' of Joseph Ratzinger and Hans Kueng.


30 jaehre


in deu


in reg



This is a new reissue of
the autobiography.
The actual cover has a great picture
that's copy-proof, but here's the link:


kirche lebt








nah/gibt es/wort/pfing

diener/dom ies/wer hilft








jesus cd


Coming out in October 2007;

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 05/04/2007 14.57]

00Thursday, April 5, 2007 3:07 PM

Left, the re-issue; right, the original edition.

The news papers of Poligrafici Editoriale (Quotidiano nazionale, Il Giorno, Il Resto del Carlino and La Nazione) are offering their readers a re-issue of the sumptuous picture book BENEDETTO XVI: L'alba di un nuovo Papato (Benedict XVI: Dawn of a new papacy) first published last year, with photographs by Gianni Giansanti and text by Jeff Israely, Time magazine's Vatican correspondent.

The book costs 19.40 euro in bookstores, but if bought with any of the above newspapers on April 16, the Pope's 80th birthday, it will only cost 9.90 euro.

00Saturday, April 7, 2007 7:06 PM
I meant to comment on this when I was translating the Pope's homily at the Chrismal Mass last Thursday, and it is just as well ZENIT has written a story about it.

Our scholarly Pope, of course, has a ready fund of Biblical and Patristic citations for his spiritual and theological discourses, but he has made literary references not a few times. He likes to cite Dante Alighieri, for instance. Last Thursday, he cited a short story by Tolstoy, as you will recall if you read the homily.

Pope Explains the Incarnation Using Tolstoy

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Though God can't be seen with our eyes, we can see his action in the world, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today at the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica, with cardinals, bishops and priests present in Rome.

The Holy Father illustrated God's actions using a narration by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, about a severe ruler who asked his wise men to show him God so that he could see him.

"The wise men did not know how to do this. So a shepherd, who was just returning from the fields, offered to take the place of the priests and the wise men," the Pontiff recalled.

The king learned that his eyes would not suffice to see God, Benedict XVI added. But the shepherd offered to show the king how God acts. To do this, we must exchange clothing, said the shepherd to the king.

"Hesitantly, but urged by curiosity, the king consented, giving his regal clothing to the shepherd and dressing himself in the simple clothing of the poor man," the Pope related.

"And then came the answer: 'This is what God does,"" he continued. "In fact, the Son of God -- true God from true God -- left his divine splendor […] took on the condition of servant and became a man."

The Holy Father added that God performed a "sacred exchange […] he took on what was ours, so that we could receive what is his, becoming similar to God."

"This is what happens in baptism, " Benedict XVI continued. "We clothe ourselves in Christ."

"This means that we enter into an existential communion with him," the Pope added, referring to St. Paul's explanation: "'I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.'"

The Holy Father explained that "Christ wore our clothing: the pain and joy of being a man, thirst, hunger, tiredness, the hopes and delusions, the fear of death, all our anguishes until death."

During the Mass, after the renewal of the priests' promises, the Pope blessed the oil of the catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the holy chrism.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/04/2007 7.45]

@Andrea M.@
00Sunday, April 8, 2007 9:50 AM
Meditations for the Via Crucis 2007
This is a re-post from the "Chatter"-section:

Writer of Vatican's Way of Cross reflections awed over responsibility

By Carol Glatz for Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- It's not every day a person gets a call from the Vatican, and most people would be bowled over when it happens.

The late Mario Luzi, who as a prolific Italian poet shouldn't have been at a loss for words, was "flabbergasted" when the Vatican called him up saying Pope John Paul II wanted him to pen the meditations for the pope's 1999 Good Friday Way of the Cross, an event watched each year by millions of people around the world.

That same sense of astonishment washed over journalists in 2002 when the Vatican asked a select group to draw up that year's meditations.

John Thavis, Catholic News Service's Rome bureau chief, recalled that he was both "surprised and a little intimidated" by the once-in-a-lifetime assignment.

Msgr. Gianfranco Ravasi was shocked this year when the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, telephoned him to say that Pope Benedict XVI wanted him to compose the Good Friday reflections. The 2007 stations are drawn directly from the Gospel of Luke, whereas last year's followed the traditional Catholic set that includes events not in the Bible such as St. Veronica wiping Jesus' face.

The monsignor told the Catholic newspaper Avvenire he never thought such a papal invitation would come his way and that "the same sense of astonishment" felt by his poet friend, Luzi, "would hit me next."

But what made Msgr. Ravasi reel, he said, was not so much the fact that the Way of the Cross papal liturgy is watched by so many people. Instead, it was the fear that his mediations could never be up to snuff in the wake of the pope's own reflections which he wrote as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2005.

Pope Benedict's comments on Christ's passion and the way people today still contribute to his suffering were "of great power that had left a strong impression on the huge audience," Msgr. Ravasi told Avvenire April 1.

But the pope must have felt this biblical scholar would measure up.

Prefect of the Milan Archdiocese's Ambrosian Library and a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Msgr. Ravasi is a noted expert on Scripture and recognized for his ability to make Christianity understandable in today's world.

The task for the Way of the Cross commentary and prayers is to help participants walk in Christ's footsteps, so in presenting the stations Msgr. Ravasi looked at modern sins and sufferings and how today's Christians should respond.

In his meditation for the fifth station -- "Jesus is judged by Pilate" -- Msgr. Ravasi wrote about "the savage power of the masses" and how they can be manipulated by "occult forces hatching plots in the shadows."

In that station, Pilate is eventually worn down by the enormous pressure of public opinion although he found Jesus innocent. Msgr. Ravasi wrote that the "indifference, lack of concern, personal expediency" shown by Pilate appear "common enough in our own times" in which "we are ready to trample on truth and justice" to avoid trouble or to get ahead.

In his meditation for the sixth station -- "Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns" -- Msgr. Ravasi denounced the "thousand sadistic and perverse ways" people are tortured, abused or mocked "in the darkness of countless prison cells."

God will condemn all the world's tyrants and torturers, and welcome "not only their victims, but all those who visited prisoners, healed the wounded and suffering, and assisted the hungry, the thirsty and the persecuted," he wrote.

He also highlighted the plight of the aged, infirm, lonely and dying, and how despite God's utter silence Christ does not succumb "to the temptation of despair and surrender, but to a profession of confident trust in the Father and his mysterious plan."

All those "who are desolate and unhappy, ignored by the busy and distracted crowd which hurries by" can be seen in the Christ bent beneath the enormous weight of his cross in the seventh station, Msgr. Ravasi wrote.

Though Christ is pummeled with hostility or indifference, there are those who choose to follow him "and bear the abuse he endured," he wrote in the reflections.

Msgr. Ravasi also reflected on women "who have been abused and raped, ostracized and submitted to shameful tribal practices, anxious women left to raise their children alone, Jewish and Palestinian mothers, and those from all countries at war, widows and the elderly forgotten by their children."

He said Jesus' encounter with the women of Jerusalem at the ninth station brings to mind the many women who in "an arid and pitiless world" still "bear witness to the gift of tenderness and compassion."

Jesus on the cross makes a final gesture of love at the 11th station, when he promises his kingdom to the good thief. Here Christians are reminded not only of God's infinite gift of forgiveness, but also of the true goal in "our toilsome journey through history," the biblicist wrote.

That goal is paradise, he said, the "fullness of life, it is the intimacy of God's embrace. It is the final gift which Christ makes to us."
00Tuesday, April 10, 2007 7:56 PM

Vatican invites faithful to celebrate Pope's 80th birthday

Vatican, Apr. 10, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican's liturgical office has issued an invitation to the people of Rome to join Pope Benedict XVI at Mass on Sunday, April 15-- the feast of the Divine Mercy-- to celebrate the Pope's 80th birthday.

Pope Benedict will turn 80 on the following day, April 16. He will be joined at the Sunday Mass by the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia as well as the auxiliary bishops of the Rome diocese. The Eucharistic celebration will take place in St. Peter's basilica.

The celebration will also look forward to the 2nd anniversary of the Pope's election, on April 19.
00Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:34 PM

Pope Benedict on display in wax

5 April 2007

Hamburg (dpa) - Pope Benedict XVI went on display in Germany Thursday as a waxwork with outstretched arms, just a few days before the pontiff turns 80 on April 16.

A team led by Berlin wax artist Gottfried Krueger spent six months making the figure, which went on display at the 127-year-old Panoptikum, a waxworks museum in the northern port city of Hamburg.

Benedict, wearing his white outdoor robes, is shown with a painted backdrop representing St Peter's Basilica in Rome. Close by are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, racing driver Michael Schumacher, the Beatles and Michael Jackson

Proprietor Hayo Faerber said about 150,000 people tour the wax show, Germany's biggest, every year. It is located in the city's Reeperbahn night-life and red-light area.
00Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:38 PM
Joseph Ratzinger the poet
I post piece of email my friend studying in Regensburg wrote:

I would love to share with You something what I have found in book from Stefan von Kempis titled Benedetto Biographie (Leipzig 2006) on page 136. (As You know young Joseph Ratzinger used to write also poems, for example in the war prison there were Greek
hexametres. I was always courious what his poems might look like. And in this book are two short poems written for two his small pupils who asked him ?their chaplain and religion teacher to write something intheir remember-books.
It is also cheerious because the first girl was often ?set behind the classroom-door by him because she used to talk too much. Hmm, I really already should know what can we wait from that author but I must admit I was very surprised, shocked, how formally precise (rhyme, rhythm?) they are and natural at once.

Gott allein genügt:
Was das Herz auch sonst noch liebt,
Was es sehnend will umfangen,
Was es dränget zu erlangen,
Ist von ihm ein Schimmer nur,
Der uns weist auf seine Spur-
Er ist´s, der Dies alles gibt:
Gott allein genügt.

Es führet uns auf allen Wege
Auf mühsalreichen und auf frohen
Geheimnisvoll doch einen Weg nur unser Leben:
Es führt uns aufwärts zu der hohen
verborgenen Welt des ewigen Gottes hin
Und dies ist alles unseres Wanderns Sinn

The first one was put on the first page:)) then follows each time short dedication with signature. It is also interesting that it is dedicated for really small girls and in spite of it such a quality. When I was younger and now too I have been always sad when almost everything for young people did not have a high quality level. As if young=not very intelligent.


Another wonderful find from your friend in Regensburg, Maklara. VIELE DANKE!
Here is a translation of these beautiful verses (unfortunately I can't do it in rhyme):

God alone is enough:
What the heart would otherwise love,
What it would otherwise embrace,
What it is driven to long for –
Are all but a glimmer of Him.
They are but His traces –
It is Him who gives everything:
God alone is enough.

He leads us along all ways
Through troubles and through joys
Mysteriously – for life is but a way:
He leads us upwards to the heights,
The hidden world of eternal God -
The sense behind all our wanderings.


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 11/04/2007 17.36]

00Wednesday, April 11, 2007 1:05 PM
80. Geburtstag

Here you may write your congratulantion to Heilige Vater. Or if your german abilities are quite good, read the wishes from german VIPs (Anslem Grün included [SM=g27828] )

Program of concert:
Monday, 16th April 2007, 18:00
Vatican, Paul VI Aule

* Giovanni Gabrieli:
Canzon noni toni a 12 für 12 Blechbläser aus Sacrae Sinfoniae

* Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Konzert für Violine und Orchester G-dur KV 216
Hilary Hahn, Violine

* Antonín Dvorák:
Sinfonie Nr. 9 e-moll op. 95 (From the New World) my favourite piece

* Giovanni Gabrieli:
Sonata XIII für 12 Blechbläser aus: Canzoni et Sonate

Radio-Sinfonieorchesters Stuttgart des SWR
Dirigent: Gustavo Dudamel
00Thursday, April 12, 2007 2:36 AM
Still making up for my backlog of stories one can find only in the Italian media, Corriere della Sera shows us the simple bedroom Pope Benedict will be using when he stays overnight in Pavia on April 21. This makes the third 'Papal' bedroom we have 'seen' in recent weeks, in photographs - the first two being those he will occupy at the Monastery of St. Benedict in Sao Paolo and the Bom Jesus Seminary in Aparecida when he travels to Brazil next month.

It's very edifying for everyone to know that when the Vicar of Christ on earth travels, he gets no special luxuries in lodging. The rule is either the Nunciature in the host country or the Archbishop or Bishops' Palace of the host diocese, and if neither of those are available or suitable for any reason, then any monastery or seminary in the host city.

And so the Papal Suite, if one may even call it that, is generally as monastic as the Pope's own bedroom in the Apostolic Palace.

A simple room in the Bishops Apartment
that has been uninhabited for 200 years

By Giuseppe Spatola

PAVIA — Simple, well-lit and humble is how one might describe the room in the Bishop's Palace of Pavia which will be occupied by Benedict XVI the night of April 21.

Located between the refectory and the Private Secretariat of the so-called 'noble apartment', the room is on the first floor (second floor in US usage)of the historic building built in the 17th century by Bishop Hippolyte and the work of architect Pellegrino Pellegrini.

The whitewashed walls are relieved only by the azure blue of the frescoes above the simple brass bed. On the wooden night table is a lamp and the breviary, while there are two Bibles on a lectern, as requested by the Pope - one in German, the other in Latin.

It is a part of the Palace that has not been used for 200 years. In the past five months, some 50 laborers worked with 20 historical restoration experts to make it ready for the Pope.

Once past the courtyard that faces the Cathedral of Pavia, the Pope will ascend the 52 steps of the Grand Stairway of Honor designed in the 17th century by Nusanti. The first door opens onto the hall where the Pope will have lunchon Sunday with some 50 bishops who will be attending the Angelus earlier at the Borromeo Gardens.

The restorers worked carefully to be able to maintain the friezes of the 17th century hall, brightened by the ochre walls decorated by the portraits of bishops who have guided the Diocese of pPavia since 1600.

The far end of the hall opens into the so-called Private Secretariat, which is really a library with some 6,000 volumes of historical books and sacred texts. To the right of this library is the Pope's bedroom, and to the right, a small sitting room and dining room.

Pope Benedict will be arriving in Pavia around 8:30 in the evening after saying Mass at the Piazza Ducale in nearby Vigevano.

He will dine alone in the little dining room adjoining his bedroom. Nothing more than a vegetable soup and a tisane before going to bed.

But he will have a menu of Lombard specialities the next day when he lunches with the bishops. The piece de resistance is supposed to be the dessert called 'torta diplomatica' (diplomatic cake) prepared by the historic pastry shop Vigoni with liqueur-flavored cream and almond paste. The meal will be served with sparkling wines of the region.

For security, police barriers will close off some six kilometers of streets within the historic center of Pavia during the pope's visit.

Arrangements are being made to make sure that traffic in the rest of the city will not be prejudiced. On April 22, at least 300 buses and 4,000 cars bringing the faithful from the surrounding areas are expected in Pavia.

Corriere della sera, 7 aprile 2007


I have been unable to find a picture of the Bishop's Palace in Pavia online, and I can't even get the Google Earthlink for Pavia to work. Pavia is one of those exquisite medieval cities one finds dotting Italy from north to south, and its historic center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, so I hope I can assemble some pictures together before the Pope's visit, which is nearer than we think!

Just 2 days after his second anniversary as Pope, it is appropriate that he should pay his homage to his great role model St. Augustine.

00Thursday, April 12, 2007 2:42 PM

Nuncio Edmond Farhat looks at a new special edition
Austrian stamp released in Vienna today, April 12,
for the 80th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI.
REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader (AUSTRIA)

00Thursday, April 12, 2007 4:55 PM
Re: Joseph Ratzinger the poet
“Gott allein genügt”, I love the poem. This is one of the cutest little stories I’ve heard about Papa.
Thanks for sharing, Maklara! And for the translation, Teresa!
00Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:52 PM

German municipalities to give Pope Benedict XVI charitable fund as 80th birthday gift

The Associated Press
Published: April 11, 2007

MUNICH, Germany: Municipalities in Pope Benedict XVI's southern German homeland are creating a charitable fund they will present to the pontiff for his 80th birthday — along with some Bavarian beer — officials said Wednesday.

Several of the communities in the southern state of Bavaria, where the pope was born and spent his youth, have already contributed more €10,000 (US$13,300) to the fund, which is aimed at supporting various charitable projects of the pope's choice in the Middle East.

"It is to be a fund that allows for an appropriate amount of money to be collected to support projects for the church in the Holy Land," said Herbert Bauer, an official with the Inn and Salzach communities.

Bauer hopes that other communities will contribute to the fund over the coming months, allowing it to grow and create an endowment for use well into the future.

For his April 16 birthday, the pope can also expect to receive various regional specialities, including 80 bottles of locally brewed beer, to be brought to him by Cardinal Friedrich Wetter of the dioceses of Munich and Passau.

00Friday, April 13, 2007 11:08 AM
Georg Gänswein about Papa's birthday

All who understand little german, here is interview from thursday (via german section of Radiovaticana). It's not only about birthday and gifts. The interview is quite long (9 minuts) and interesting, hope it will translated to english too.

[Modificato da Maklara 13/04/2007 11.11]


Thanks for the tip, Maklara! Unfortunately, my REALPlayer is malfunctioning so I can't hear a thing. I did go to the German site of Radio Vatican and picked up this written introduction to the interview - translated here:
Gudrun Sailer interviewed Mons. Gaenswein in Castel Gandolfo yesterday, who says that "he indicated the Pope should count on having some surprises." Gaenswein is quoted:

"The official events are already known. But what's on the private intimate program is a secret. Even the Holy Father does not know, and I will not say anything now. There's much room for surprises in private."

PAGING ANDREA! Maybe you can give us an English summary of the 9-minute interview.


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 13/04/2007 12.20]

00Friday, April 13, 2007 12:49 PM
I did find another interesting item in the German page of the Vatican Radio site - I really should remember to visit Vatican Radio's German and Italian sites daily:

Turkish Religious Affairs Minister Ali Bardakoglu has praised Pope Benedict XVI's commitment to peace and moral values.

Bardakoglu is one of 45 personalities who contributed to a book edited by German journalist Matthias Kopp (on the occasion of teh Pope's 80th birthday), to describe their personal encounters with the Pope. [What a great idea!]

In his essay, Bardakoglu thanks the pope for his visit to Turkey, during which he made clear the common responsibility of religions for world peace and justice.

Kopp handed a copy of the book, "Und ploetzlich Papst" (Suddenly Pope), to Pope Benedict after the general audience last Wednesday.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 13/04/2007 13.57]

00Friday, April 13, 2007 1:51 PM
For those of you who have problems with RealPlayer:
There's also an mp3-version of the latest interview with Georg Gänswein on the radiovaticana site.

Here's the link:


(The first audio file: 00074413.mp3)


Thanks, Sue. In fact, I did try that too, but the problem appears to be with the audio-card on my PC or with my speakers, and I certainly won't get it fixed early enough. So I'm going to miss the audio on the book presentation too! TERESA

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 13/04/2007 14.00]

@Andrea M.@
00Friday, April 13, 2007 2:03 PM
GG interview in Vatican Radio
Ok, I will provide a translation into English as soon as possible.

Sneak preview:

The Official programme of the Holy Father's birthday is already known

GG will not yet tell what the Papal family have prepared in terms of surprises

Gifts from the Papal family will be presented before breakfast on the "big day"

All sorts of letters, things have reached the Vatican already: books, CDs, writings, etc.

Holy Father requested that not too many personal gifts be given

But also perishable goods, foodstuffs reach the Vatican: what is not immediately eaten is given to other institutions of the Curia such as seminaries and the like

GG is responsible for handling the distribution of these things

A "Magazzino privato" exists for what reaches the so-called Terza Loggia

From Italy Pope was also given a plush teddybear (not KNUT ,though, another one): was given to Bambino Gesú Hospital. Pope received letter of thanks by children. Those who could not write themselves had adults write for them

An E-mail address was established by the Holy See, GG did not give his mail address for this purpose

He says his account and computer are already working "on the limit"

Which letters does the Holy Father read? Official mail and private mail from people who have a "joint past" together with Benedict XVI

He has two "audiences" daily where both men discuss things on the agenda

New book is Benedict XVI present to the faithful

GG thankful for the book, has already read it, recommends it (Note: OK, he has to, but I would think he would also if he were not in the position he is in)

[Modificato da @Andrea M.@ 14/04/2007 8.43]

00Friday, April 13, 2007 3:37 PM
Send best wishes to Papa via Vatican.va
00Friday, April 13, 2007 6:21 PM
REUTERS today posted a series of photographs showing preparations for the re-opening of Pope Benedict's 'birth house' in Marktl as a Museum on April 15, one day before his 80th birthday. Obviously, the photos were taken early on, so there isn't much to see yet, but take a look at those photo blow-ups that appear to punctuate the exhibit (see first photo)!

Left, the room where he was born.
They have not yet put back the crib that used to be there.

The house - bought last year by the Archdiocese of Munich, with money donated by the family of the late Cardinal Frings of Cologne, who took Fr. Ratzinger with him to Vatican-II as his theological consultant. The bronze pillar was unveiled by the Pope last September and depicts scenes from his life. Apparently, the square in front of the house is now formally Benediktplatz.

Here's the AP story that came in hours after the photos:

Pope's birthplace to open to public

MARKTL AM INN, Germany, Apri. 13 (AP) - The house where Pope Benedict XVI was born in religious rural Bavaria opens to the public Sunday, a day before the pontiff's 80th birthday.

At the pope's urging, the foundation that owns the home did not try to restore the structure to the state it was in 80 years ago. Instead, exhibits recount Joseph Ratzinger's life and teachings and stress the importance of his close family and the roles played by his parents, Josef and Maria Ratzinger.

"This house should not be a museum, but a spiritual challenge, a place of meeting with things that are important to us as well," said Bishop Wilhelm Schraml.

Most important, Schraml said, was to understand "how important the deeply religious family life was for young Joseph Ratzinger." The future pope had parents "who pray, who bring their children together with the faith and the church," Schraml said.

The pope's father, a police officer, moved the family to Traunstein when Joseph was 2, and Benedict has said he has no memories of Marktl.

The three-story white house where Benedict was born on April 16, 1927, the Saturday before Easter, stands in the center of the small town on the Inn River on the border with Austria.

The first floor of the house is devoted to the events of Benedict's life and to the Marktl region, with the pope's birth certificate and baptismal register. Upstairs, exhibits focus on his work as a theological adviser at the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, and on his achievements as pope.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 14/04/2007 4.50]

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