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

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TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, November 4, 2007 2:18 AM
BENEDICT XVI: CHRIST'S SPECIAL AMBASSADOR
INTERVIEW WITH PETER SEEWALD


It's always an occasion when Vittorio Messori or Peter Seewald write an article or give an interview about Pope Benedict XVI because both have a personal and professional relationship with Joseph Ratzinger that no other journalist has had the privilege so far.

For some reason, I missed seeing this pre-Austrian trip interview given by Peter Seewald at the time it first appeared. I have posted this translation in the Austria thread in the right chronology, but I am posting it here as well because it is more than just about the Austria trip.




VIENNA, Sept. 5 (www.kath.net) - "One could say that the German Pope has stepped up to sort out, clean up, get things to work - and wipe out what is false and the defunct [in the Church]", says German publicist and Papal expert Peter Seewald in an interview with KATHNET.

He analyzes for us the significance of Benedict's visit, for Austria and for Catholicism. Here is a transcript of the interview conducted by Maria Cavagno.



When did you last see Benedict XVI? And how did it go?

Our last meeting was in February 2006. He was attentive, amiable and simple, like always. But something was different. I find that he no longer hunches his shoulders forward like a protective shield as he once thought he had to.

My impression was that this was someone who is wholly with God and therefore has completely come into his own. And that's the way it is. Benedict has not only been imprinted by Christ but has allowed himself to be transformed. He has become a mystical adept, whose existence is virtually prophetic.

How would you characterize the Pope's relations with Austria?

Very personal and intimate. He is a neighbor by origin and by mentality, and speaks the same language. It also has to do with his family history. His father is from Lower Bavaria but his ancestors came from Upper Austria, and his grandmother and mother are from the South Tyrol.

The Pope himself, as everyone knows, grew up in the Bavarian-Austrian border area, under the influence of the the episcopal city of Salzburg. His bond to Austria is evident from the many holidays that he has spent there as professor, bishop and prefect of the CDF. I would say, that was not just out of love, but that (for him), it is a part of his homeland.


It appears that Benedict has a great affection for Mariazell. How did this come about?

As great as his intellectual abilities are, so is his heart towards the piety of simple folk. His mystical endowment has so far been fully undervalued. Ratzinger likes pilgrimages, especially to the classic Marian shrines. With their special flair, their moving humanity, their mystical aura, and lastly, the power of the saints which unites great and small.

He has been to Mariazell only once before, in 2004, as a cardinal, when he was invited by the European union of notaries to celebrate the Eucharist [during their pilgrimage], but he immediately loved the place. So he took the opportunity when the Austrian bishops invited him [for the 850th anniversary celebrations].

He publicly stated that he 'could not say No' to the invitation, which he considered providential. It is noteworthy that he has visited the important Marian shrines in all of his foreign trips so far: Altoetting, Czetochowa, Aparecida, and now Mariazell. [Seewald forgot to include Ephesus.] One might say, the shepherd brings his sheep together - and does it under the cloak of the Madonna.


What points do you expect the Pope to emphasize in his discourses for Austria?

The Pope is coming to strengthen Christians in their faith. The liturgical calendar gives him the opportunity to preach about the Incarnation of Christ. The Letter to the Colossians which will be read on Friday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, says: "Christ is the image of the invisible God....everything is created through him and in him."

The following day, the Church celebrates, in the feast of Mary's nativity, the beginning of salvation which came to the world through the Incarnation.

On the whole, the emphasis in Austria will be similar to the Pope's Bavarian visit. It has to do with overcoming a deafness to God everywhere, to get a better look at the Creator and his world, at what really matters in life. Ratzinger is showing that faith is not opposed to reason, rather that it is basically an expression of reason.

And that it is worthwhile to recognize anew the total relevance of the Gospel. That it must no longer be treated with suspicion, but as Revelation which provides us with answers for life. Faith is not a system of theories, but a personal relationship with God. This question has become central again today - after decades of erroneous 'development' among some clergy, theologians and even the laity.


After the Brazilian visit, the Austrian trip is the second and last foreign trip this year. What differences and resemblances do you see?

The difference lies in the occasion and the magnitude. In South America, the Pope opened the 5th General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, a historic church assembly representing 40 percent of the world's Catholic population.

It dealt with answers for challenges like the new sects, but most of all, the social and economic problems of the Latin American nations. An observer judged later that "the Pope had taken the marginalized peoples into his arms". At the end of the conference, no less than a 'continental mission' was decided. 'Mission' is also a task in the western hemisphere, but naturally with a different emphasis.


How so?

In Europe, we are experiencing two parallel currents. First, there is a considerable decrease in Christian consciousness, not just in public life but even among families.

Add to this that the in the next 10 years, the Catholic Church will experience an unparallelled quantitative collapse. In that time, something like one-third of believers, priests and religious now alive will die without being replaced.

At the same time, however, we are beginning to see a powerful renaissance of tested values and forms, which many scientists think may well surpass the medieval Renaissance.

And it is being unleashed by fear of the cultural and moral decline of civilization as we know it, as well as terror over possible catastrophes of apocalyptic proportions. All systems are breaking down at the same time. And so the question is: How have we come to this, that mankind with all its enormous economic and technological progress, feels so profoundly threatened?


And what does that mean for the Church

A lot. This Renaissance also makes itself felt through a new interest in Christianity. There is a tremendous longing for wholeness, for salvation. Those who have kept away are ready once again to look into what their own ancestral religion has to offer.

They realize that amidst the storms of globalization and 'turbo-capitalism', the Catholic Church has shown itself to be the only firm shelter and safe harbor. And that is a fact not to be under-estimated in turbulent times.

Within the Catholic church itself, we are experiencing with Benedict the start of a historic hour, a change in paradigms. The old paradigm was: If we do not accommodate ourselves to secularized society, then we will lose the flock. The result was self-secularization, a demystification, and ultimately, a desanctification.

The new paradigm is: It is not the world that has oriented itself towards the Church through this 'ingratiation', but the Church towards the world. But when the Church gives up what is most holy in it, then she gives herself up. The holy disappears, certainties dissolve, and its blessings dwindle.

This analysis, heretofore the thinking only of a minority, now becomes applicable worldwide, with an intellectual and theological genius like Joseph Ratzinger at the helm in Rome. This is extremely important. Because until now, there seemed to be resignation over the critical condition of the church. Now, that is no longer simply accepted.

There will be appropriate corrections, a pruning back towards simplicity, especially in Church institutions, so that they can flourish again. That is why a battle against false gods has also started within the Church. And Benedict has achieved this feat without unleashing further fragmentation and polarization, as many had feared.


In summary?

One could say that the German Pope has stepped up to sort out, clean up, get things to work - and wipe out what is false and defunct. That also goes for ecumenism.

Anyone who goes along with the Pope must join him now, not on 'Saint Never'! A great part of Protestantism has obviously become unreachable. Anti-Catholicity now seems to have become an indispensable element of their self-definition.

On the contrary, the reunification process with Orthodoxy is quantitatively very promising and qualitatively near at hand.

"We have almost everything in common," the Pope rejoiced recently. "Above all, we share the earnest hope for unity. From the bottom of my heart, I pray that this dream can soon be realized."


How do you think Austrian Catholics will receive Joseph Ratzinger in their homeland?

Majority will sincerely rejoice, others will dismiss him, as they have done till now. But doubtless there will be something of a Benedict effect. The Pope's encyclical reached more than a million in print, his Jesus book is sold around the world, and in Rome he is breaking records for audiences.

With Ratzinger, one must not see a single meaning in everything, because even non-believers see this special ambassador of Jesus more and more as an inspiring mediator of sense, a bearer of hope, who talks about the prospects for a new future. And so the question will not be how many listen to him, but how many are ready to follow him.

Not least within the Church, where there is an extremely persistent attitude of rejection among diehards, for whom things must always be as they are, who will uncritically hold on to their behavior patterns even if these have led them astray in the past.


How can Benedict XVI build a bridge to those who look at this visit with skepticism?

By inviting them to come to him with the same openness with which they have always challenged the Church. Because this Pope is able to address circles which were previously unreachable. His style - of humility and dialog, but also of clear words - his intellectual brilliance and his reaching out to his interlocutors will find a sympathetic reception.

The Church has become a topic for public discussion, and the Christian faith has been newly discovered as a subject and a possibility. Church dropouts have decreased, and attendance at seminaries indicates a changed trend. And the very fact that the head of the Catholic Church could displace Harry Potter from the top of the bestseller lists is a spectacular sign.

John Paul II paved the way for this movement. He was himself Mr. Bombastic. Specifically, it was his attitude rather than what he preached that people accepted. Now, one can say that, in the ways in which Wojtyla and Ratzinger differ, they complement each other perfectly.

Benedict is an unlikely 'personality', often somewhat like a doll. But the more his 'personality' recedes, the more what he says comes to the foreground.


What would you ask the Pope first if you could interview him now?

We see that life on this planet has reached a certain cusp. We no longer have all options available. It has come down to either-or. A few days ago, Benedict formulated some thoughts about the ecological - but above all the spiritual - climate catastrophe during the youth meeting in Loreto, and made a dramatic appeal for a change in lifestyle.

He said: "Go against the current! Do not heed the self-serving and insinuating voices, the voices of the mass media, who tout a lifestyle of arrogance and violence", a lifestyle of 'success at any price', which is all about 'appearance and possession', not about 'being'."

That was also a powerful criticism of the media, that nobody else would have dared. The protection of creation, he continued, has become a burning task. One must 're-forge a firm bond between man and the earth' - 'before it is too late', he added.

Perhaps it's a dumb question but I would like to know how much time we have left.


Are you going to follow the Pope's Austrian visit yourself?

Bavarian TV has invited me to work with them in their broadcasts from Mariazell and Vienna. So I will be on site, and I look forward to the associated impressions and stimuli. But a consolidation, such as this Pope is carrying out, is not a state spectacle. The real activity takes place in silence, unseen.

Still it is a thrilling and, above all, worthwhile process that is undreamt of. I think that Benedict XVI heard God's words a long time ago, similar to what St. Benedict and before him, Francis of Assisi, had heard: "Go, rebuild my house that, as you can see, is threatened with ruin."

lutheranguest
00Sunday, November 4, 2007 2:28 PM
Re: PAPA'S NEW TRACTOR
I guess Papa is expecting some heavy labour in the vineyard of the Lord. [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]


Excellent reflection and interview (above), thanks for posting!
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, November 4, 2007 7:23 PM
THE POPE'S ELECTRICIAN
By Paolo Mosca

Translated from today's issue of Il Messaggero:


"I was atop a ladder repairing a light in the kitchen of Cardinal Ratzinger's home at Citta Leonina. And he kept saying, 'Be careful, Signor Angelo, 'you are dear to me! Don't hurt yourself on my account.' Since he became Pope, I still do his electrical repairs but now I do it at the shop and send back the appliance(s) through his assistant, Signora Ingrid."

Recounting his association with the Pope, electrician Angelo Mosca, 70, at his workshop at Borgo Pio 53, is clearly moved.


But before getting to that ladder in the kitchen, what came before?

A lot. When I was born, the zone of Monte del Gallo had ill repute. Shortly after the war, only 3 or four of us among a hundred friends had survived prison. We were hungry. My father Claudio was a sidewalk vendor, selling holy images by St. Peter's Square, and my mother Annunziata was a school cook and cleaner.

By 1949, I had managed to learn enough in five languages to help Papa sell more items, like postcards for the Jubilee. He was a gruff man, and on Sundays, if he found me still in bed at 7:30 in the morning, he would scream, 'Go to Mass!'

I owe everything to him and to the parish priest of Monte del Gallo, Don Giuseppe, who allowed me to play football with the parish team.


How did you become an electrician?

It was my mother who, going around the stalls of the market in Cavalleggeri, found me a job as a gofer in an electrician's shop for 100 lire a day. After having taken a few courses, I learned the trade myself. Then when I married Vanda in 1961, we bought the shop as a wedding gift to ourselves."


Then you began working for the Fabbrica San Pietro [the Vatican factory that restores art works and historical objects].

Yes. They also take care of maintaining St. Peter's Basilica and its Sacristy, and until a few years ago, we serviced them exclusively. Since then, we have been working independently for bishops, cardinals and His Holiness.


So, from years of hunger to worklng for the Vatican is a dream.

Yes, but in the midst of that, my wife suffered an unforeseen cerebral hemorrhage in Fregene, and it looked as if she would not make it. On her eighth day in coma, the doctors at the Gemelli were giving her up for dead.

It was the night of March 19, 1983. The following day, the beatification process for Padre Pio would formally start. I couldn't sleep. And I prayed. "If you are really a saint," I prayed to Padre Pio, "then please start your process with a miracle."

Then on impulse, I took a cab at 2 a.m. and proceeded to Gemelli. From the basement, I took the elevator to my wife's ward. I met a nurse who is also named Angelo who told me, "Do you know that in testing your wife's leg with a little fork, she reacted?"

In short, after undergoing an operation, she healed perfectly. From that night on, I have been a devotee of Padre Pio and of Fray Daniele, his most faithful friend who predicted the birth of my son.


Did you tell this to Ratzinger?

I will tell you a secret. Signora Ingrid arranged to have me speak to him in private for an hour. I told him about the miracle. He listened to me like an older brother would. Then he asked to see my whole family.


Did you ever feel Ratzinger would become Pope?

Every time Signora Ingrid brought me something to fix, I would tell her: "I'll give you a discount - it costs 30 euro but I'll charge you 25. I'll collect the balance when your cardinal becomes Pope."

So now the young monsignors who come here to have their appliances repaired are competing to get a discount from me. "One never knows," they say....

Il Messaggero, 4 novembre 2007

=====================================================================

OK, anyone who thinks Ms. Stampa has little to do anymore with the Pope's practical personal affairs, think again!

Did anyone really think that just because he became Pope and Stampa does not live in the Apostolic Palace that he would suddenly do without her close assistance? Remember also a recent article that said she is the only person in the Vatican who can come to see the Pope without prior notice.




Janice0Kraus
00Monday, November 5, 2007 11:53 AM
Teresa,

You're making much too much of this. When Benedict was elected Pope, media writers had Stampa doing everything from writing his speeches, to selecting his reading material, to running the German section of the Secretariat of State, to greeting dignitaries (Archbishop James Michael Harvey's job). Obviously, she is doing what she has always done. She is a general factotum for Benedict, which is what she was when he was Cardinal Ratzinger and that hasn't changed. Her position wasn't elevated by a move into the Apostolic Palace, which he could have sanctioned if he had wanted [whether or not she was a single woman; the Memores Domini sisters, despite their consecrated status, are single women].

The real import of the article is how Benedict is still employing people from his old neighborhood for services. For shoe repair, he uses a Peruvian shoe repairman who works near Vatican City [so much for the Prada shoes stuff]. And his loyalty is very much in line with what people have said of him.
Janice0Kraus
00Monday, November 5, 2007 12:08 PM
And don't forget that Benedict spends part of every Saturday with the School of Community, which involves the Memores Domini sisters. That seems more important than whether Stampa can enter his office without being announced.
maryjos
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 12:17 AM
I'm not quite sure what you mean.....
Janiceokraus - I'm not quite sure what you mean. Are you saying that journalists over-estimate the importance of Professor Stampa? I can assure you that she is still very close to Papa, even if she doesn't live in the actual Apostolic Palace. I can't say more [for once my lips are sealed], but I know, you can take my word for it.
Mary
Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 12:05 PM
Assuming you actually know something that isn't available in the world press, no Stampa is not that important. The Pope is trying to revivify Catholicism (so that Philip Jenkins' prediction that Europe will fall to Islam AND evangelical Protestantism does not become a reality). That is what is important, not that Ingrid Stampa goes into his office without being announced. She's a general factotum and that appears to be all she's ever been. I don't see what the big deal is, really. It's a minor sidelight on Benedict's reign as Pope, but that's all.
Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 12:11 PM
And, yes, I'm absolutely saying that journalists over-estimated the importance of Stampa. Most of what was reported does not even make sense.

If you actually know anything about her "importance" that is not available to everyone, you should be interviewed yourself. You must be a font of information they would like to tap.
Wulfrune
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 2:31 PM
Whatever Miss Stampa's role is these days, it must be something that plays to her abilities or she'd have gone back to Germany.

I have no insider information at all, but tend to think that she mostly does work not directly connected to HH - like translating and so forth, which we know she has done in the past. We do know that she is on hand to escort Georg Ratzinger on his visits to Rome. He knows her and her familiar face (in his case, voice, as he's almost blind) must be a comfort for him.

My guess is that as the Memores Domini tend to the domestic side of things, Ingrid has more of a desk job, but that Pope Benedict sounds her out when he's been writing something in the way he used to with his sister Maria. She may well have direct access to him, but I don't know how often she would see him. His life as Pope will be so much more busy (in a different way) than it was as Cardinal.
maryjos
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 6:58 PM
You're right, Wulfrune
Professor Stampa was asked to become Cardinal Ratzinger's housekeeper not long after the death of his sister, Maria. Maria's death devastated him so much that he could not live in his apartment for a while and went to live in the German College. All this is well known and no secret. Ingrid became more than a housekeeper - a true friend, who created a roof garden for him and deeply cared for him. For these reasons and others I have a very high regard for her.
She's a very well-educated and intelligent woman, having been a music professor in Hamburg [with special interest in Ancient Music; she plays the viola da gamba]. It's known that she did translation work and, translated John Paul's last book Memory And Identity into German and Italian.
Yes, I do know more than I can tell here. And, although it was hinted in the more salubrious press that she may have been more than a platonic friend to Cardinal Ratzinger, that is, of course, absolute rubbish! I can't stress that strongly enough.
Janice, you were the one who pulled her name out of that article and emphasised it. You seem to dislike Professor Stampa. That's up to you, but do you really know her? Just leave the subject alone now, please, because you won't get any more out of me.
Mary
Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 7:30 PM
I don't care about Miss Stampa one way or the other. But she seems irrelevant to the importance of the other things the Pope is doing.

By the way, if you do know more, and if, as you yourself wrote, there are rumors about her and the Pope, I think it is wrong to put them out there and then say nothing. I did not bring that up: you did. I never heard there was anything to their relationship other than an employer and employee.

Just because I don't think she's so vitally important doesn't mean I dislike her. I don't know her. But when they are writing histories about the Pope's reign in the future, I doubt she'll be one of the themes.
Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 7:31 PM
And Teresa was the one who "pulled" her name out of the article. It was really about an electrician who had befriended the Pope.
Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 7:33 PM
Maybe the Vatican would like to know that there are a bunch of middle-aged women discussing the private life of the Pope under the title "Papa Ratzinger Forum" and hinting at "something they can't tell" about his relationship with Miss Stampa.
Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 7:37 PM
And, Maryjos, why on earth would anyone in the Vatican or its environment, tell you about Cardinal Ratzinger? Do you have some access that those in the press, who can ferret out everything, do not have? I really doubt it. You're being as scruffy as those rumours you seek to deny.
benevolens
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 9:04 PM
Janice, I wonder why you're reacting in such a hostile manner? If Mary says she knows Prof. Stampa is still very close to the Pope we should take her word for it, as she wouldn't make such a comment lightly. Do you seriously believe Joseph Ratzinger to be such an unsympathetic character as to discard his closest confidante of many years to the role of 'factotum' as you rather disparagingly call her as soon as (or soon after) he becomes Pope? She clearly is not and has never been just that. I think you not only seriously underestimate Prof. Stampa but also Pope Benedict himself when you say she is nothing more than his employee. Joseph Ratzinger has counted on her friendship, support and brain trust ever since 1991. If you don't take it from me, just read Peter Seewald.
Allow me a personal comment: Could it be you are just simply jealous of Prof. Stampa?

Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 9:28 PM
No, I'm not jealous, but I do wonder why Maryjos said she "knew" things that she couldn't say. What could they be? It's hardly likely that a bunch of middle-aged bloggers would know something the world press couldn't find out. That's all I'm saying.

If a person can't bring up a question and ask for some kind of substantiation when someone says "they know," then you're not proffering information, you're just engaging in idle speculation and rumour.

I never said she wasn't a friend of the Pope, but she is a general factotum - i.e., he asks her to do a number of things rather than specialize in any one thing.

And by the way, his sister died in November 1991. Stampa wasn't hired until 8 months later. So get your facts straight. He stayed in the Teutonicum for 8 months.

You sound like a bunch of teenagers. I thought this was a semi-serious place to go for information and now I find that all you do is present heavily-fisked reports, with questionable assertions. Too bad.
Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 9:36 PM
Remember how this started: Teresa posted an article about an electrician who had befriended the Pope. The article mentioned Stampa in an incidental way. Then Teresa wrote:

"OK, anyone who thinks Ms. Stampa has little to do anymore with the Pope's practical personal affairs, think again!

Did anyone really think that just because he became Pope and Stampa does not live in the Apostolic Palace that he would suddenly do without her close assistance? Remember also a recent article that said she is the only person in the Vatican who can come to see the Pope without prior notice.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/4/2007 7:26 PM]"

I merely observed that Teresa was making too much of this, that Miss Stampa was not that important to make such an impassioned observation. After all, what is she to you?

It's amazing how all of you stick together, even when your position is indefensible.
Janice0Kraus
00Tuesday, November 6, 2007 9:37 PM
And, benevolens, since you don't know me from Adam, omit the personal comments. I haven't made any about you. So why are you attacking me, since I have done anything to you.
=Palma=
00Wednesday, November 7, 2007 12:28 AM
Actually JaniceOKraus want to say, Inrid Stampa not the most important woman to the Pope. They are others women, too.
Actually Ingrid Stampa was very mediatised after Cardinal Ratzinger election, because she talked a lot with the media and with Peter Seewald who wrote a book about Pope Benedict. Unfortunately she was very uncarefully with her words. The media made her a star and Peter Seewald has referred to Stampa as “the first lady of the Vatican”. She made a very uncomfortable situation to the Pope.

What is know about her in nowadays : when the Pope was in Castel Gandolfo and Ingrid Stampa worked at the translation of "Jesus of Nazareth" book , she appeared every three days in the Papal summer residence.




benefan
00Wednesday, November 7, 2007 2:28 AM

"It's amazing how all of you stick together..." JaniceOKraus

Actually, we don't all stick together all of the time. We do occasionally have some mild differences of opinion but one very wonderful thing about this forum is that everybody has tried their best to be kind and charitable to each other and welcoming to newcomers. A number of us email each other and have become friends outside the forum.

Most of us enjoy sharing the delight of those members who can make a trip to see our dear Pope, as Mary, Wulfrune, and Benevolens have just done. Their generosity in sharing their photos and experiences has brightened the week for most of us and we are grateful for that. Mary has been to the Vatican 4 or 5 times and has always kindly filled us in on her experiences.

Ingrid Stampa has been discussed in many blogs, forums, and media reports since Benedict's election, just as Palma has written. Ingrid is not used to dealing with the media and when the barrage of reporters started interviewing her right after Benedict's election, she did say several things that caused all sorts of speculative stories about her relationship to Benedict. It was very unfortunate and I personally feel that that was why she did not accompany him to the Apostolic Palace. If she had, the gossip mongers would have killed his papacy. As it is, various media reports and photos do indicate that she is still an active part of his life.

One of our forum members emailed me after a trip to Rome a year ago that she ran into Ingrid on the street near Ingrid's apartment, which is close to the Vatican. It is not that difficult to meet her. For all I know, Mary may have run into her as well and Mary knows enough German and Italian to actually converse with her. Although I will be the first to admit that I am jealous as h___ of Ingrid, I appreciate tremendously all her work for our terrific pope and I am glad he has such a devoted and capable friend to lean on when he needs help.

I am also very appreciative of our devoted and capable forum members, especially at the moment, our three recent visitors to Rome.

Janice0Kraus
00Wednesday, November 7, 2007 4:05 PM
Palma,

You're really plugged in to what goes on with the Pope. Do you live in Rome?
Janice0Kraus
00Wednesday, November 7, 2007 4:06 PM
Palma,

You're really plugged in to what's going on with the Pope. Do you live in Rome?
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, November 7, 2007 6:27 PM
WHEN IN ROME, DON'T MISS THE POPE

Not exactly the ideal plug - and certainly, something Benaddicts don't need - but for those who have not yet visited Rome, or who have done so before and not thought of taking the opportunity to 'see the Pope', why not? From a blog in the International Herald Tribune:


Posted by Elisabeth Rosenthal
Rome, Nov, 20, 2007


Now I am not at all religious. But I’ve always thought that one of the great experiences that most visitors to Rome overlook is the chance to see the Pope — live and in action.

Of course, they visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican Museums. So why not check out the Pope himself? It is a bit of living history and you can see the Pope without much trouble (no lines, no metal detectors!), when he delivers his weekly message to the crowds in St. Peters Square. [Ms. Rosenthal apparently is not aware of the other weekly message - at the General Audience - where one can see the Pope from much nearer than four stories below.]

Summer excluded, Pope Benedict XVI speaks nearly every Sunday at noon from the window of his apartment overlooking St Peter’s Square. (The same window where Pope John Paul II, the previous Pope, delivered his final messages when he was dying two years ago.)

When the wildly popular John Paul II was still alive, the Sunday message was a real happening — it had the feel of Woodstock for Catholics. There were huge crowds of young Catholics from all over the world on the Square often flying flags and singing songs as a warm up act until the Pope appeared. The mood now is more subdued, but pilgrims from all reaches of the globe still flock to the square for the occasion. [Still flock? She hasn't been reading Vatican news either about B16's record crowds - and even this has been reported enough in the secular press by now!]

The Pope’s message, which is delivered mostly in Italian, is rarely breaking news. [It is not meant to be a news report! It is primarily a homily, a spiritual message.] On a recent week it was a usual mix of religion and calls for world peace?, particularly an end to fighting in Darfur.[Do I detect some disdain there, for both religion and calls to world peace, as though such calls were futile?], But then — to choruses of cheers — he welcomes and blesses the crowd in half a dozen languages.

For Catholics it is a dream come true. For me (and even my teenagers, who’ve come along) it is a chance to see a world leader in action, and a one-of-a-kind cultural experience. And don’t think you won’t be moved. St Peter’s Square (a product of Michelangelo and Bernini, in part) is magnificent architecture, and the Vatican is great at putting on spectacles!

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, November 7, 2007 8:21 PM
LATERAN CHURCH-LAITY 'DIALOGS' TO RESUME:
RAVASI AND FERRARA TO DISCUSS
'JESUS OF NAZARETH' ON NOV. 13




VATICAN CITY, Nov. 7 (PETRUS) - Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi, President of
the PontifiCal Council for Culture, and Giuliano Ferrara, editor of the newspaper Il Foglio will discuss the book JESUS OF NAZARETH on November 13, at the resumption of the Diocese of Rome's cultural encounters.

The event, entitled "Benedict XVI's JESUS OF NAZARETH: The history, faith and itineraries of our civilization", will be introduced by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's Vicar in the Diocese of Rome. It will be held at the Lateran Palace, headquarters of the Diocese.

It is part of a series of encounters for cultural and spiritual reflection between Church representatives and lay thinkers on the realities of contemporary life. These encounters are part of the urban mission intended by John Paul II for the diocese of Rome and inaugurated by Cardinal Ruini in 1996.

The first dialog took place in December 1996 on the topic "The faith today" in which journalist Arrigo Levi confronted the then Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi.

Famously, on November, 17, 1998, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger discussed "Faith and Reason" with the philosopher-writer Vittorio Possenti.

Other dialogs have included a 1998 encounter between he critic Piero Citati and Mons. Bruno Forte, now archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, on the topic "What is death?'; and a dialog in April 2002 between Mons. Ravasi and the sociologist Francesco Alberoni about "Prayer, a necessity reborn with the apparent eclipse of God".

The last dialog, on Jan. 20, 2004, was between Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then Archbishop of Genoa, with the eminent journalist Gaspare Barbiellini Amidei (who died last July), on the topic ":From one generation to another: The family and transmission of values".

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, November 8, 2007 3:05 AM
RANDOM IMAGES

Beatrice reproduced this picture on her blog, showing Papino with his two secretaries
(before Mietek became an archbishop) and chief bodyguard Domenico Giani in Castel Gandolfo -
from a 2008 German calendar. I think this is the first time I've seen a picture of the moat at CG!





From Gloria's acquisitions on a recent 3-day visit to Bavaria with Gabriella:







And a book by Fr. Eberhard von Hemmingen,
director of Vatican Radio's German service:
THE POPE IN HIS HOMELAND -
Meetings and Memories




maryjos
00Thursday, November 8, 2007 11:33 AM
Calendars and visits
So there's a German calendar for next year too! Lovely unexpected photos, Teresa. I'm so pleased Gloria and Gabriella have been able to go to Bavaria. If anyone lives too far from Rome, but near enough to Bavaria, do go there!!!!! Of course, the most interesting places for us are those associated with Papa, but the whole place is beautiful, from the fairly flat green farmland in the north - dotted with villages and monasteries on hills - to the Alps in the south. The clean air just HAS to be breathed!!!

Talking of books, I have "Der Papst in der Heimat", sent to me by a Bavarian friend, but I feel sure it's available from Amazon.de Clare and I are now lucky enough to own "Joseph e Chico", as Benevolens kindly went over to Ancora books to buy copies for us. Ancora bookshop is at the top of the Via della Conciliazione on the left as you face Saint Peter's, for the information of any members who may be going to Rome soon.

Luff, peez and unity to all on this forum!
Mary
[SM=g27811] x
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, November 9, 2007 3:45 AM
A 'NEW' RATZINGER BOOK IN ITALIAN
BUT IT'S ALREADY AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH

Translated from Apcom:

Rome, Nov. 8 (Apcom) - "Vangelo, Catechesi, Catechismo" is the new book by Joseph Ratzinger that is coming out thee days from Marcianum Press of Venice.

It was written when he was a cardinal, but this edition will carry a preface by Cardinal Angelo Scola, Patriarch of Venice.

A note from the publisher says the volume will help towards an understanding of the words gospel, catechesis and catechism, and their reciprocal relationship.

The author clarifies the roots of the deep relationship among these concepts, gradually bringing to light the novellty and uniqueness of Christianity, through a profound analysis of the means that the faith provides the an who is in search of the sense of existence.

"The desire for happiness is intrinsic in our being," the theologian Ratzinger writes, "and the catechism shows us that happiness can only be achieved with others, in a common responsibility for all humanity. But in turn, communion among men and their reciprocal responsibility for each other is possible only in communion with God and one's responsibility towards God. Morality is in this sense a doctrine on what happiness is and how to find it - not a selfish happiness, which is only an apprent happiness, but true happiness."



The 'product description' of the English edition published by Ignatius Press last year is much more informative and to the point. A majopr oversight in the Italian news item is the very omission of the subtitlte to the book.


Gospel, Catechism and Catechesis
Sidelights on the Catechism of the Catholic Church

By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger


Ratzinger, one of the key persons responsible for the compilation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, offers new insights on the catechetical character and Biblical foundation of the worldwide bestselling Catechism that has had such a positive response from ordinary Catholics across the globe.

But he acknowledges that the response of many theologians and "professional religionists" has been negative toward the Catechism.

He says that if theologians don't want to be "shut out" of this worldwide development of sensus fidei and lose touch with the common Catholic, they will have to engage the Catechism positively.

The main purpose of this book is to offer an invitation to this changed approach to the Catechism. He wants people to see, as he shows here, how the Catechism is an excellent teaching tool that responds to man's deepest questions about the meaning of life, how to live a good life, and how to attain happiness in this life and in eternal life.

He shows how the Catechism affirms that man's happiness is love, and that the essence of true love has been manifested in the Person of Jesus Christ.

"This modern Father of the Church offers us a rare insight into how the Catechism was written and, therefore, how it ought to be interpreted. It is eminently readable while never sacrificing precision of thought or language."

- Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Editor, The Catholic Answer



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, November 9, 2007 6:06 PM
THE POPE'S NOT LIKELY TO COME TO QUEBEC NEXT JUNE...
AND IMPRESSIONS ON MEETING BENEDICT XVI
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

I posted this item under The Pope's Day yesterday, Nov. 8, in NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT, but it should be posted here as well.

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 8 (CNS) -- The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said coming to the Vatican to visit Pope Benedict XVI and curial officials "is always something that energizes us."

Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Manitoba, conference president, led a small delegation to the Vatican Nov. 6-12 for regularly scheduled annual meetings with Vatican officials.

The vice president of the bishops' conference, Archbishop Pierre Morissette of Baie-Comeau, Quebec, and secretary-general, Msgr. Mario Paquette, accompanied Archbishop Weisgerber.

Archbishop Weisgerber told Catholic News Service that the delegation's 20-minute private meeting Nov. 8 with Pope Benedict "went very well."

He said they spoke with the pope about the problem of secularization and the situation of the aboriginal peoples in Canada.

"He is a marvelous listener and very hospitable," he said.

The archbishop called the pope's ability to make time for and dedicate his attention to the many people who come to see him "a great gift."

The Canadians' appointment followed the pope's 35-minute meeting with the president of Mozambique "and it was amazing how he can be extremely present and make you feel you're the only one in the world,"
Archbishop Weisgerber said.

The archbishop told the pope they hoped he would take part in the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec in June.

He said when they asked if the pope was planning to attend "he just smiled very warmly,very nicely and said his schedule for 2008" was not yet finalized.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told CNS Nov. 7 he has not seen any plans for a Quebec trip.


Archbishop Weisgerber said he did not mention the online petition aimed at convincing the pope to journey to Quebec since he had only just recently learned about it.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, November 11, 2007 9:09 PM
ORIANA AND THE POPE
By RENATO FARINA
Il Giornale


Renato Farina, who was a good friend of Oriana Fallaci, writes a short memoir about her in Il Giornale today. Last August, along with Mons. Rino Fisichella, Farina spoke about her in what was probably the best-attended seminar at the annual meeting for Comunione e Liberazione in Rimini. A report on both Fisichella's and Farina's interventions in Rimini was posted on this thread.

As I cannot translate Farina's current article in full for now, I will choose only the parts of it that have to do with Benedict XVI, who apparently exerted a powerful 'Benedict effect' on her from the time she first read his books.


===================================================================

[For some reason, Fallaci was rather negative about John Paul II. Farina quotes her as saying, "I don't like him. He is a great man, but I don't like him." Farina doesn't explain why. Farina continues:]


...Then I spoke to her about Cardinal Ratzinger, of my experience from previous encounters with him.

She said, "Ratzinger, yes, he is a good man! He interests me a lot. When I read him, I feel like I am breathing freely, as if even The Alien [the term she used when referring to her cancer] is drawing back. Do yo u think you could organize it so I could have a meeting with him?"

...Eventually, she came to know Mons. Rino Fisichella, who had defended her views in an interview. The Lateran rector recalled this at the Rimini session last August. And he even read out some letters Oriana had written him, which he had been guarding jealously.

His first letter to her read like this, from what I transcribed then:

New York
June 2005

Monsignor, you have moved me. Of course, I knew that you are the rector of the Lateran university, that you are the bishop who reasons beyond familiar patterns and without bothering whether you are politically correct.

But when I read your interview in Corriere, I was really on the verge of tears - I who never cry! - and I felt less alone, as I do when I read a writer named Joseph Ratzinger!

Thanks for having understood me so well, because I see in him a soulmate, why I have said that if an atheist and a Pope can say the same thing, then there has to be something true, desperately true, in that something.

The problem is I am severely ill. The Alien is now devouring even my eyes. But I want to speak to you about that most important matter of which I suppose you are already aware: the desire to meet His Holiness - very quietly and away from indiscreet eyes. That has been my continuing desire since I began reading his books.

When he was elected Pope, of course I leaped for joy, but at the same time, I thought, "Oh God! Now I will never get to meet him" and I resigned myself with a great sigh...."

But she did get to see him. She had a private audience in Castel Gandolfo with Ratzinger.

[When the meeting was being set up], she tried to write of herself in the third person so that if anyone happened to see her letters, no one would guess it was she.

Before the meeting itself, she stayed for a few days in Fisichella's home. Fisichella cannot stand cigarette smoke. How would they both manage?

Our friend leaves Monday. Here in the city, the poor woman stays cooped up at home, like Diogenes in his tub, and is suffering because, not having had a smoke in at least 12 hours, her blood pressure must be below 60 by now!

She has a concern that she never even thought about before. Oh God! Would she be required to dress according to protocol? Because she no longer has any formal clothes, only spartan men's jackets. Is is right to impose that on a sovereign?

Then there's the incubus of having to wear a veil. Me, I would never cover my head, even when I am dead, not even after chemotherapy left me bald. So, if she has no head gear at all and protocol requires it, what will she do?

These may seem like foolish trivia, but it's not. I know that even after 26 years, I have not recovered from the trauma of having to wear the chador even if I then took it off before the Ayatollah (Khomeini of Iran] to infuriate him.

... I think I need a flatiron and two candles, the smoke-absorbing ones. I learned that from [Giulio][ Andreotti [ex Prime Minister of Italy, now senator for life, and publisher-editor of 30 GIORNI].

Once when I arrived at his office, the first thing he did was to light a candle. "What's this?," I asked, "are you lighting a candle to me?" He answered, "NO! it's for your cigaret smoke." I told him I would try to restrain myself .. but it turned out we needed the candles after all.

Andreotti confirms the incident. He also told me that she later asked him whether she could be granted an exemption and be allowed to smoke when meeting with the Pope, because otherwise she would faint. So I believe she did smoke while meeting the Pope. At least, they don't lack candles in the Vatican.

Crotchet
00Sunday, November 11, 2007 10:39 PM
This is a very moving story, Teresa! Many thanks for the translation so far. If the rest of the article is as interesting and inspiring, I'm looking forward to your full translation (if you have the time!?) Isn't it fascinating that especially this woman (Oriana) was so strongly affected by Ratzinger's writing that even "the Alien" seemed to retreat....? I can identify with that.
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