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

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00Saturday, December 31, 2005 2:52 AM
00Saturday, December 31, 2005 12:24 PM
I think that Papa will enjoy the Steinway in Castelgandolfo more than he expects (or is letting on). My husband is a keen amateur at the piano, possibly at a similar standard to Papa, and his brother recently bought a new Steinway baby grand. This brother has no kids, no dependents, and is able to treat himself - another person might want a 'good' sports car instead. Anyway, Laurence (husband) says that the Steinway is out of this world to play - it almost plays for you, like Sparky's magic piano. For a pianist this machine is a total 'fix' and the sound is amazing of course. Even I can tell the difference!

I'm told each Steinway sounds unique, and added to that, they are made either in America or Germany, and that makes a difference too. Gavin played several before deciding on the one he liked best. I imagine Papa's piano was made in Germany though he would not have had the chance to test it individually.
00Saturday, December 31, 2005 7:50 PM
From the Italian newspaper Il Tempo today -

Mozzetta and camauro
are not (fashion) accessories

Since Joseph Ratzinger became Pope, much attention has been paid to what he wears.
Most especially, public opinion has commented repeatedly in diverse ways -
including sarcastic or scandalized – first on his shoes (too red, and too expensive),
then his mozzetta (capelet) – also a showy red and sometimes lined in ermine;
finally the camauro, a winter cap, also red and also lined with the fur of that
“poor” little predator, the ermine.

And yet, because of misinformed opinions, some considerations must be made clear here:

1. The Pope does not decide how he should dress. His garments are for all purposes
a uniform of office, and as such, he can only use the articles of clothing that different
public circumstances require him to wear.

2. Red is the distinctive color of the Popes; it is the characteristic color
of their uniform. Everything that is not white should be red.[this does not apply
obviously to liturgical colors
] John Paul II preferred darker shades of red,
but properly speaking, the right color is what Ratzinger has been wearing: flame red.

3. It is true that there is a visible difference between the way John Paul II dressed
and how Benedict XVI now dresses. But the difference only applies to the later years
of Papa Wojtyla. In his last years, John Paul II allowed himself a certain liberty
with the way he dressed not because he was less strict about following protocol
(think of how often he asked even seminarians to dress properly)- but because
his illness did not allow him to put on garments that would further hamper
his already-limited and difficult body movement. For example, in the last years,
he could no longer wear an alb to say Mass. However, it is also true that,
even in the early years of his Papacy, John Paul II hardly ever wore the mozzetta
and the camauro never, but he didn’t do so because he could not tolerate
warm temperatures. Instead of the ermine-lined velvet mozzetta, he wore the lighter
satin mozzetta, and in place of the camauro, he wore a flame-red wide-brimmed hat.

4. Pope John XXIII was the last Pope who used the camauro, which he did
when it was too cold. In his time, the Vatican palaces had no central heating
as they do now, and so he used the camauro even inside the Vatican. But even if protocol
did not require it, Benedict first wore the camauro at the December 21 general audience
because of the wintry cold that prevailed in Rome that day (3 degrees below zero Centigrade).

5. Benedict XVI is particularly attentive to what he wears, because he wants
to set an example for all priests and bishops so that they may be equally careful
of what they wear. John XXIII once said that “human psychology requires seeing (examples)”,
by which he explained – If we look at a bishop in civilian clothes [Italians use the term
“clergyman” to describe a civilian suit worn with or without Roman collar
we think we’re looking at just some ordinary person, but if you see him in cassock,
you think of him as an apostle or as a prince of the Church.

But even the code of canon law, as well as the manual for the ministry and life
of a priest say this: The cassock is the priestly habit (to put it on does not mean
being a traditionalist or Lefebvrian); it can only be replaced by civilian clothes
if the priest is not inside a Church. The priest is never detached from his function,
and therefore should always be dressed as a priest; if he wears “clergyman”
instead of the cassock, it should be black or dark gray with a Roman collar.


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 31/12/2005 19.52]

00Sunday, January 1, 2006 12:34 AM
Luigi Accatoli, Vatican correspondent for Corriere della Sera, wrote his little sidebar in the 12/27/05 issue:

Paul VI- 12, John Paul II- 62, Benedict XVI- 33. That’s the number of languages used by the three Popes to extend Christmas greetings in 1976, 2004 and earlier this week.

The figures perhaps give us an indication: the German Pope is looking for his own “measure” that can place him midway between the natural reserve of the Pope from Brescia and the tendency of the Polishh Pope to overdo things .

Pope Paul VI used between 6-12 languages for Christmas greetings during his Papacy from 1963-1978. That was too limited for the polyglot Pope from Cracow who started off with 24 languages in Christmas of 1979, went to 33 the following year, then to 53 in 1989 and finally to 62 in the last three yars of his Papacy.

There was curiosity over what Benedict would do – compete with his predecessor, go back to Montini’s moderacy, or come up with his own figure. He did the last. He said Merry Christmas in 33 languages, the same number used by John Paul in his second Crhistmas.

But one can almost bet that he will move beyond this number in succeeding years, in order to use the languages of all the principal Catholic communities around the world and languages that stand for the world’s great cultures. John Paul also included languages of peoples who were undergoing particular tragedies or had just done so.

Comparing the list of 33 languages that Papa Ratzinger used last Christmas to the 33 used by John Paul in 1979, the most obvious difference is the number of Slavic and eastern European languages used by the Polish Pope which the German Pope did not: Slovenian, Servian, Czech, Slovakian, Byelorussian, Lithuanian, Ukraiian and Amrenian. Over the years, Wojtyla extended his repertory to African languages like Kirundi, Kinya-rwanda, Malgache; and Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam; even Esperanto.

One variant by the present Pope over his predecessor, who used to end his messages with the greeting in Polish, in order to give more time to greet his compatriots. Papa Ratzinger left his native German in its usual place as the fourth language of the Catholic world, after English but before Spanish.

What Accatoli does not mention is that Pope Benedict ended his Christmas greetings in Latin, using the words of St. Augustine that he used as the text for his first Christmas Card:
"Expergiscere, homo: quia pro te Deus factus est homo" -- [Awaken, o man, because God has become man for you. ]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 01/01/2006 0.41]

00Sunday, January 1, 2006 3:52 PM
[SM=g27811] [SM=g27811]
00Sunday, January 1, 2006 5:01 PM
My late father was a gifted piano technician and restorer and was also a commissioned pianoforte tuner for local concerts and recitals. In his humble opinion, the best pianos were Steinway grands [I imagine the one given to Papa was a full size Steinway, not a baby grand, as there must be room at Castel Gandolfo]. Dad used to say that each Steinway had a personality of its own; he loved nothing better than to get such a piano in tip top condition for some of the famous pianists who used to come to even a small place like Taunton. I just wish Dad was still alive to know about our Papa - he would be so pleased and interested. Plus, if Papa had known him he would have wanted my Dad to be his personal "keeper of the pianoforte" - which could have given me access to the Papal apartment..........Mmmmmmmmm
Only imagine, girls!
Thanks for all these news items!
Love and HAPPY NEW YEAR, Mary x [SM=g27811]
00Sunday, January 1, 2006 5:08 PM

Don't cry about a bear ever again, Papa! You can have mine, if you've lost that first one that Mutti gave you.......
Bussi! Deine, Mary x [SM=x40793]
00Sunday, January 1, 2006 6:34 PM
ZENIT's Italian service today re-caps an earlier story about the record crowds drawn by Benedict XVI, out-numbering the crowds recorded for John Paul II:

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2006 (ZENIT.org)- Since the start of Benedict XVI’s Pontificate, nearly three million pilgrims have come to Rome to take part in an encounter with the Pope.

As released by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household on Dec. 28, some 2,855,000 pilgrims took part in audiences, liturgical celebrations and the Angelus with Benedict XVI during the past 8 months.

The numbers do not include the million youth who took part in the concluding Mass of World Youth Day in Cologne last August, nor the 200,000 pilgrims who attended the Pope’s Mass in Bari on May 29, at the conclusion of the National Eucharistic Congress.

Speaking to Radio Vatican on December 29, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said, “One needs to reflect on this enormous numbers.”

“In previous years, the general audiences at this time of year were held in the Aula Paolo VI,” he said. “But now, it is not possible to do that because of the huge numbers who come for the Wednesday audiences. And if we look at the numbers who come for the Angelus, ithe numbers are truly very surprising.”

“Is it because religious sensibility has increased?” Navarro-Valls asks. “This is a question that's out there.”

What about a genuine interest by the faithful in seeing and listening to the new Pope?!?!?!
00Sunday, January 1, 2006 6:37 PM

Don't cry about a bear ever again, Papa! You can have mine, if you've lost that first one that Mutti gave you......

....and I'm sure you don't mind to hand it to him, do you, Maryjos?

00Sunday, January 1, 2006 7:11 PM
The homily by Cardinal Dionigio Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Milan, at yesterday’s Te Deum
in Milan Cathedral, was a tribute to two Popes.

Referring to John Paul II, Tettamanzi recalled “the endless crowds, who in prayerful silence
and tears, Visited him when he lay in state, took part in his funeral rites, and who have
been coming to pray at his tomb – gestures which tell us how much grace in conversions and
saintliness God has given us through this great successor of Peter.”

Tettamanzi then invoked “praise to God for our new Pope, whom the Spirit chose in timely manner,
and who now guides and supports us through his clear and courageous ministry,
faithful to the living tradition of the Church, and fully engaged in the fundamental problem
of the modern age – the relationship between faith and reason. (A Pope who is) loved and
followed by a growing number of participants in his liturgical celebrations and catechesis.”

Finally, Tettamanzi also recalled that 2005 was the 50th anniversary of
Archbishop Giovanni Batista Montini’s nomination as Archbishop of Milan, “who became Pope Paul VI
after eight years of his intense and significant presence among us,” as well as the 25th
anniversary of the episcopal ordination of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Tettamanzi’s predecessor
as Archbishop of Milan.
00Monday, January 2, 2006 2:25 AM
Many thanks to Ratzi-Lella in the main forum, who scanned this story from the Italian magazine
CHI("Who?")and e-mailed it to me. The painter's impressions of Benedict are unusually striking.

By Roberto Allegri

“I never thought I would be so emotionally moved to meet Benedict XVI,”
says the painter Ulisse Sartini.

“In 1992, I met John Paul II in a private audience, when I presented a portrait
that I had made of him. It was a meeting that literally overwhelmed me.
I did not think that I would ever again meet anyone with such charisma. But I was wrong.
Benedict XVI is incredibly fascinating - in a way much different from Papa Wojtyla –
but just as powerful and extraordinary

Sartini’s hands and voice tremble as he speaks. He smiles when he realizes this.
Benedict is gentle, open and smiling. To speak with him is like speaking with an angel.”

In a previous issue, this magazine showed an exclusive preview of Santini’s painting,
which had been commissioned by the Vatican. A painting destined to be reproduced in mosaic
by the specialists at St. Peter’s to join the famous collection of Papal portraits
adorning the Basilica of St. Paul’s outside the walls in Rome. It has reached its destination now,
but before that, it was presented to the Pope, along with the artist.

What impressions did you have of Papa Ratzinger?
He has a sunny personality (solare), someone who always smiles. When he looks at you,
you get the impression that he knows you profoundly, even if he has never seen you before.
He is luminous. When he walks, he gives the impression of a light that moves.
Maybe because he realizes that he is Christ’s vicar on earth. But also because
he emanates an irresistible humanity. When I met him, I felt I wanted to embrace him with great affection!”

What did he tell you?
He made me a lot of compliments about the painitng. He kept thanking me, telling me
how much he liked it, while holding my hands in his. He examined both the painting
and the mosaic carefully, and he seemed truly satisfied and happy.

How did the meeting come about?
That day, it was arranged to take place at St. Paul’s outside the walls. When I arrived,
I was greeted by Cardinal Marchisano, who is vicar-general in Vatican City and president
of the Fabbrica San Pietro which had commissioned the painting and executes the mosaics.
With him were the Bishop of St. Paul’s, Monsignor Montezomolo, Mosnignor Angelo Comastri
and other prelates… Then the Pope arrived, everyone clapped, and the painting
and mosaic were unveiled for him.

Did you get an idea which feature of the painting the Pope liked most?
I think it was the eyes. I had taken care to focus attention on the look in his eyes,
and I think I was able to capture an expression that he seems to have appreciated.

Did you have any difficulties painting it?
I had to work hard because I had very little time. I was commissioned around the end of July
and told that I had to finish it by October so that the mosaic workers would have
at least one month to reproduce it.… As this was a medium bust portrait, I had to concentrate
on the face and the look in his eyes. I had some problems with the mouth. I had been told
that the portrait should be ‘serious’, but all the photographs provided by the Vatican for me
to work from showed him smiling. ..Moreover, there were certain rules prescribed for the portrait,
so it was not as if I was free to paint as I wanted to. It had to be more or less
like the other portraits already on display, the Pope must be looking toward the right,
toward the altar, and even his garments should have a certain way of draping…

Is the mosaic now in place?
On December 3, the two portaits – the painting and the mosaic – were presented to the public
during a concert held at St. Paul’s Basilica. But I think the mosaic will not be attached up there
with the rest yet, in order to give the public more time to see it close up.

How did you come to paint John Paul II’s portrait?
It all started when I did a portrait of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, then Vatican secretary of state.
He had written the Commission on Cultural Treasures to ask for information about me,
and they sent him a letter, a copy of which he later showed me, saying that
“the work of Ulisse Sartini should be regarded with maximum consderation.”
Other commissions followed, and in 1992, I was asked to do a portrait of John Paul II.
That portrait still hangs in the Hall of Congregations. Now that there is a new Pope,
I don’t know if it will be transferred to the Vatican Museums or some other place.

Was Papa Wojtyla happy about the portrait?
Yes, I know that for certain. When I presented it to him, in a private audience at the Sala Clementina.
He appeared deeply moved. I remember my impression then – that he was regal, solemn and …...
[there is a 3-word phrase that I cannot figure out , because it is faintly scanned ]
But he aroused very strong emotions and touched me profoundly.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/05/2007 4.10]

00Monday, January 2, 2006 3:03 AM
A second story from Ratzi-Lella about another painter, another portrait of Benedict,
and another encounter. This one is from OGGI (Today) magazine

By Antonella Amendola

He is smiling, his eyes show a slight sense of wonder, as if he were delicately contemplating
a marvelous secret that he guards in his heart, a child’s heart. His hands
are clasped together in a vigorous gesture inviting solidarity and communion. It is very beautiful –
classic and modern at the same time - the first portrait of Benedict XVI, done by the painter Antonella Muccino.

Muccino has dedicated herself for years to sacred art. She is the mother of Gabriele and Silvio Muccino,
two brothers who are show business celebrities (one is an actor, the other a director).
She recounts the very special way in which the painting came about - she calls it "a sincere creation,
born at a moment’s notice, from the heart" – and now it hangs among venerable masterpieces in the Papal apartments.

“My faith illuminates and supports me in difficult moments,” she says. “I decided
to dedicate myself to sacred art in defiance of so many ugly things that have arisen
in our society since the 50s, and I wanted to see if I could re-visualize (some) artistic traditions
in a worthy manner. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected, I experienced an indescribable transport.
I ran to St. Peter’s Square, and I started to collect documentation on his personality,
his biography, his pictures. I tried to memorize his features with great care, his gestures
and the way he moves from all the video that was being shown on TV. And so I started the painting,
without even any preliminary sketches. I did not do it to show others but to satisfy
a profound emotion that I felt in me. There is so much goodness in the Pope’s look –
his entire being communicates a sacred respect for the human creature. He will be a very great Pope.
Like John Paul II....

“When I first learned that the Cardinal enjoyed playing the piano,” she continues,
“I understood right away what degree of lightness I should add to his theologian’s severity.
I wanted a portrait that would be official but not bureaucratic, large-scale but not cold.”

Once she finished the portrait, she sent a picture of it to Monsignor Paolo di Nicolo,
vice-prefect of the Pontifical Household, who screens contributions that have to do
with art and theology. Besides him, other discriminating eyes, like Cardinal Poupard and
a Monsignor Moggi, also passed judgment on the picture before deciding that yes, it deserved
to be brought to the attention of its illustrious subject.

It was a warm and windy day in early July,” Muccino recounts, “when I met the Pope
in St. Peter’s Square (after a general audience). You can imagine my emotions.
He came towards me smiling and benevolent, and held my hand between his.
‘It’s very well-done, and I recognize myself in it,’ he said. Then he turned to my husband Luigi
who was holding the portrait. ‘It is necessary to be close to artists and make them feel
our affection and our attention.’ My husband answered,
“Your Holiness, I have dedicated myself exclusively to my wife for the past 40 years!”

The portrait was taken to the Papal apartments, but whoever visited the exhibit
“John Paul II in Rome” at the Vittoriano (which started October 22 and will close this month)
can see a reproduction.

“I have painted the portraits of Padre Pio and several cardinals,” Muccino concludes.
“My paintings are already in the Vatican and some important churches in Rome.
But in this portrait of the Pope, which was born so spontaneously from my hands,
I put in something that goes beyond artistic dedication.”


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/05/2007 4.14]

00Tuesday, January 3, 2006 1:32 AM
Very interesting articles, Teresa! Thank you!
00Wednesday, January 4, 2006 4:32 AM
This is one of those items I failed to post in a timely manner
perhaps because it got lost in the shuffle of daily postings, but better late than never.

A More-Than-Academic Visit; Brains and Beauty
Benedict XVI Unveils a Bust of John Paul II

By Elizabeth Lev

ROME, DEC. 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- After seven months of papacy, this week Benedict XVI
paid his first visit to a Vatican department. Surprisingly to many, the Holy Father chose
to visit the charming little Casina Pio IV, nestled out in the Vatican gardens,
home to the Pontifical Academies of the Sciences and the Social Sciences.

Taking advantage of the occasion, as many as 10 cardinals and a dozen bishops were present.
The purple and red robes arrayed around the white papal throne made for an impressive tableau
against the ivory walls of the small meeting hall of the Academy.

The reason for his visit seemed clear enough. Two memorial inscriptions in Latin
and a bronze bust of Pope John Paul II had just been completed for the headquarters
of the Academy and Benedict XVI was there to dedicate them.

But more than a dedication ceremony link Benedict XVI and John Paul II to these academies.
Even prior to his election as Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI was a member of the Pontifical Academy
of the Sciences, and John Paul II founded the Academy of the Social Sciences in 1994.
Both Pontiffs share an intense interest in establishing and maintaining dialogue
among faith, science and society.

In his welcome speech, Nicola Cabibbo, president of the Academy of the Sciences, praised
John Paul II for his concrete efforts to reconcile the Church and science, most significantly
in his re-examination of the Galileo case concluded in 1984. Galileo Galilei had been
the president of the Academy of the Lynxes, the name first taken by the Academy
of the Sciences when it was founded in 1603.

Cabibbo recalled that John Paul II had further reiterated that there were no irreconcilable
differences between faith and science, in his 1998 encyclical "Fides et Ratio."

Nominated honorary member in the year 2000, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was active
in the Academy of Sciences, attending meetings and celebrating a special Mass for the members
in the Benedictine monastery at Montecassino in November 2004. The second academician
after Pius XII to be elected pope, it seems clear that Benedict XVI's interest in the work
of these scientists will continue.

The president of the Academy of the Social Sciences, Mary Ann Glendon, opened her
welcoming address by recalling that John Paul II had "called our Academy into being 11 years ago"
and had charged them with the duty to ensure that "social doctrines do not ignore
the spiritual nature of human beings."

Glendon then noted that Benedict XVI had also contributed to their work, with his
timely "warnings about the encroachment of relativism." She informed the Holy Father
that their reflections during the week's meetings had been on the human person,
a topic very dear to John Paul II as well as central to Catholic social thought.

Closing with the words of the Academy's founder, Glendon promised that the academicians
would "be not afraid" to listen to modern science and to pursue the quest for social justice.

The Holy Father returned the greetings of the Academy, expressing his pleasure
with the chosen topic of "The Concept of the Person in the Social Sciences." He stated
that the "human person is at the heart of the whole social order," and that
the "status of the human person" is a "theme which must continue to be part of
the dialogue with science."

As Benedict XVI prepared to unveil the bronze sculpture of his venerable predecessor,
he observed that John Paul II's "undisputed contribution to Christian thought can be
expressed as a profound meditation on the person."

After the speeches and formalities, the much-anticipated moment arrived -- the individual
introductions to the new Pope. The members of the Academy were brought forward and
presented one by one.

Those of us who had never greeted the Holy Father since his election were captivated
by his friendly and charming manner. A few scientists were pleased to hear Benedict XVI say
that he had read their work. Some he greeted as old friends with a joyous exclamation
and an embrace. He dedicated several moments to each person in the room, shaking hands
and smiling warmly at each of us as we were presented.

He came across as a shy man, asked late in life to become a public figure and
finding strength from God's grace to do so. He smile was sincere, his eyes friendly a
nd interested, and he took each person's hand in both of his in a warm, lingering clasp
that gave no impression of being hurried.

Maybe Benedict XVI is not an ultra-charismatic, superstar Pope blazing the trail to heaven,
but a warm and gentle Holy Father, aware of our weaknesses and failings but ready to
encourage and guide us along our path to God.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 04/01/2006 6.30]

00Thursday, January 5, 2006 1:51 AM
The day after the funeral for Pope John Paul II, the chief of the Vatican Press Bureau,
Joaquin Navarro-Valls, asked to speak to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College
of Cardinals, to ask what should be done about numerous posters saying "SANTO SUBITO!"
(Make him a saint right away!) left in St. Peter's Square.

"Eminence, should we have them taken out?" Navarro-Valls recounts he asked the Cardinal.

"Oh, please, no!!!" The Cardinal replied. "That's for the next Pope to decide."

Navarro-Valls spoke to journalists today at the presentation of the results of a study
made by the Institute on Public Opinion regarding the events that aroused most public
interest in 2005. The study was commissioned by Sky TV.

Pope John Paul II's death was number 1, while the three public personalities who aroused
most public affection were the deceased Pope, the new Pope and Italian President Ciampi.

Navarro reiterated a statement he made in an earlier interview that Pope Benedict
watches the Italian newscasts at night, while he watches the German newscasts at noon.
He also watches occasional musical broadcasts at night.

[Translated from an item posted by Ratzigirl in the main forum]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/05/2007 4.16]

00Thursday, January 5, 2006 5:03 AM

Cardinal Ratzinger and Senate President Pera at the presentation of their book "Senza Radici" (Without Roots).

“The word friend to refer to a Pope is too binding. Let us just say that I am an admirer
of Benedict XVI.” That is the modest way that the President of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera,
described his relationship with the Pope in a recent interview on the Italian TV program ”Telecamere".

[Pera, a philosopher and distiguished scientist and academic before he entered politics,
held two public colloquys with then Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004, which resulted in the book
“Without Roots” containing the text of their public dialogue on the crisis of Europe, relativism,
Christianity and Islam

The Senate President confessed that he had “rooted for” Ratzinger to be elected Pope
because “I thought that after the message of a great Pope like John Paul II who inspired
a great spirit of religion throughout the world, it would be necessary to follow with
a period of re-formulating the framework of Catholic doctrine, also with a view to better
penetration into the issues of civilian society. And who better for that task than Cardinal Ratzinger,
a man of great thinking, great faith and immense culture?”

He continues: “ I believe that not only was he of great help to John Paul II, but that he was
determinative in certain instances that were crucial for the orientation of the Church.
Who else could have become Pope if not him? Well, it happened, and of course, I was greatly pleased.”

He adds that between Papa Ratzinger and him there exists “a relationship of reciprocal esteem
and appreciation. I admire not only his culture and his doctrine, but also his courage.
He says things that are difficult to say, and he advances by making important and exacting demands.
And he does this at a time when he is aware that Erurope and the West are in crisis.
In most of the areas which Pope Benedict addresses, I find myself in agreement with him.
And since he became Pope, I would say that all his homilies have been, for me,
great intellectual nourishment, beyond their political implications.”

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 05/01/2006 5.25]

00Thursday, January 5, 2006 5:52 AM
Great articles Teresa, I especially like the recollection of the 2 painters, very touching. The one on the Vatican revelations is nice too with Cardinal Ratzi saying oh no ! That's for the new pope to decide...[SM=g27828]
00Thursday, January 5, 2006 1:45 PM

Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to visit the church of Dio Padre Misericordioso
(God the Merciful Father) in Tor Tre Teste for his next parochial visit as Bishop of Rome.

This is one of the few parishes that John Paul II was unable to visit in his 26 years
as Bishop of Rome. The church itself was inaugurated in October
2003, when the Pope
already had difficulty moving around.

Nicknamed "church of the sails" because of its look, the church was designed by
New York architect Richard Meier, a Jew. It is one of the few modern church buildings to seen in Rome.

[Translated from an item posted by Ratizigirl in the main forum]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 05/01/2006 13.47]

00Thursday, January 5, 2006 10:51 PM

VATICAN CITY, JAN 5, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received in audience the officials who provide service and assistance during pontifical audiences, ceremonies and official gatherings, collectively known as "Addetti di Anticamera" ["staff personnel of the antechamber"].

After recalling that they form a centuries-old "Collegio" under the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, the Pope said: "Times change, usage and customs vary, but what remains the same is the spirit with which each of you is called to work alongside the one called by Divine Providence to govern the Universal Church. Since this household, the Pontifical Household, is home to all believers, you too must ensure that it is hospitable to all those who come to visit the Pope."

The Holy Father emphasized the fact that the service of the "Addetti" brings with it a "commitment to bear witness to Him who is the true Lord of the household: Jesus Christ. This involves maintaining constant dialogue with Him in prayer, growing in friendship and intimacy with Him, and remaining prepared to bear witness to His welcoming love with all you meet. If this is the spirit with which you undertake your duties, ... then [those duties] can become a special apostolate, an opportunity to transmit courteously and cordially the joy of being Christ's disciples in all situations and all moments of our lives."

Recalling that tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Pope dwelt on the figure of Mary: "Just as she presented Jesus to the Magi, so the Virgin continues to offer Him to all humanity. Let us accept Him from her hands: Christ fulfils the most profound expectations of our hearts and gives meaning to all out plans and actions. May He be present in families and reign everywhere with the power of His love."
00Thursday, January 5, 2006 11:22 PM

Benedict XVI wanted to personally express his gratitude this evening for the daily work
of his "dear ecological workers" who insure "cleanliness and order in the vast area
around St. Peter's that is visited daily by so many pilgrims and tourists."

"You render a service which demands dedication and entails not a few sacrifices,"
he told the sanitation workers of Rome when he visited their headquarters at
Porta Cavalleggeri, where they set up a creche every Christmas season.

"Dear friends," he told the cleaners, most of whom know him from his years
as a cardinal when he celebrated Mass for them, "The Lord wants us to be watchful
and attentive, and not allow ourselves to be taken in by the false attractions
of everything that is ephemeral and fleeting."

"May the Lord grant you a peaceful and prosperous New Year. With this,
I assure you of my prayers for you and your loved ones, and I bless all of you
from the heart."

Welcoming the Pope were Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, and the directors of
the cleaners' union and their families.

When he arrived, Papa Ratzinger recalled that "every year, while it was possible
for him," John Paul II had come to admire the big Creche, which includes 100 little buildings
and 200 personages represented.

"Following that beautiful custom, I have come here tonight to visit you and
this Creche that you have realized this year. I know it means very much to all of you
that the Pope should not miss what has become a traditional appointment in
Christmas time, but I would like to assure you that it was also my desire to come here
in order that I can thank you personally."

I wonder why the event was not televised by CTV! Or did I just miss it?
00Friday, January 6, 2006 4:11 PM

Scritto da: TERESA BENEDETTA 05/01/2006 13.45

Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to visit the church of Dio Padre Misericordioso
(God the Merciful Father) in Tor Tre Teste for his next parochial visit as Bishop of Rome.

This is one of the few parishes that John Paul II was unable to visit in his 26 years
as Bishop of Rome. The church itself was inaugurated in October
2003, when the Pope
already had difficulty moving around.

Nicknamed "church of the sails" because of its look, the church was designed by
New York architect Richard Meier, a Jew. It is one of the few modern church buildings to seen in Rome.

[Translated from an item posted by Ratizigirl in the main forum]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 05/01/2006 13.47]

Really interesting - actually they showed a film on German TV about this church and it's architect Richard Meier. I can't say that a like that type of church but it is definitely an extraordinary building.
00Friday, January 6, 2006 6:08 PM

This should be a really fun ceremony to watch--Papa and the babies. Hopefully, it will be televised and there will be lots of photos too. This news item is from Catholic World News.


Pope Benedict chooses smaller Baptism ceremony

Vatican, Jan. 05 - Pope Benedict XVI will baptize 10 babies on January 8, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, during a Mass celebrated in the Sistine Chapel.

The Holy Father will be resuming a traditional practice that Pope John Paul II was forced to abandon in 2003 because of his declining health. However, Pope Benedict has indicated that he wants a more intimate ceremony for the families of the children, and so he will baptize a smaller number of children than the Polish Pontiff typically included in these annual ceremonies.

[Modificato da benefan 06/01/2006 18.09]

00Friday, January 6, 2006 9:30 PM
KTO will show this ceremony from Sixtine Chapel on sunday on 10:00 CET. Probably it will be in archive of this TV later, too.
I think it will be very funny especially if children begin to scream during baptism.
It's very pity that babies can't enchoy this great event.
00Friday, January 6, 2006 10:09 PM

I am looking forward to seeing Papa baptize those babies. I suspect the reason he limited the number being baptized was partly to preserve his sanity. Even though he seems to get along great with kids, he was a university professor and then prefect for years, spending hours studying in his nice, quiet office. I'm sure being surrounded by dozens of screaming kids would strain his poor nerves badly or, as some would say over here, it would get on his last nerve. The poor man deserves as much peace as he can scrape together.
00Friday, January 6, 2006 11:02 PM
Papa and the Babies

yes, I'm sure Papa worries a bit about "meeting the babies". He is not so familiar with that. You don't get many babies at universities. [SM=g27827]: So, I think eight babies are enough.
I can't wait to see the pictures. [SM=g27829]
00Saturday, January 7, 2006 2:22 AM
John Allen on 'The Encyclical' and yet another JPII-B16 comparison!
I have taken the liberty of placing my comments in parentheses and italics next to
some of Mr. Allen's statements in these excerpts from his "Word from Rome" column dated 1/6/06
in the National Catholic Reporter

A senior Vatican official told NCR in early January that the release of Benedict XVI's
first encyclical, Deus caritas est, would likely come sometime after Jan. 15. This official
said that Benedict is concerned about "information overload" from the Vatican, and wants
the Christmas and New Year's messages to have time to sink in before another important text
is issued.

Anyone looking for a "warm-up exercise" might consider C.S. Lewis' 1960 book The Four Loves.
The encyclical is expected to review different concepts of love, much like Lewis did
in distinguishing among affection, friendship, erotic love and unconditional love. Like Lewis,
Benedict will argue that if the modern world could arrive at a proper understanding of
the nature of love, many problems would be on their way to resolution.

Those closest to Pope John Paul II were annoyed when, after the election of Benedict XVI,
pundits began to style John Paul as a "pope of symbols" in contrast with Benedict as
a "pope of words." [Does anyone really take these supposed "contrasts" seriously?
No self-respecting journalist would descend to facile - and often false - comparisons
between two Popes, especially between one who is alive and just beginning his Papacy,
compared to someone who was Pope for 26 years

One evening in Rome last August I was with Archbishop Renato Boccardo, who organized
John Paul's final trips, after Boccardo had spoken with a group of Canadian youth. Describing
the claim that John Paul was a pope of gestures, Boccardo used the Italian word stupidaggine,
which roughly translates as "idiocy." Boccardo, of course, knows better than most
that John Paul was indeed a master of symbolism, but his point was that John Paul also delivered
some meaty words -- 14 encyclicals, 15 apostolic exhortations and 11 apostolic constitutions,
for example, to say nothing of thousands of speeches during 105 foreign trips. [Boccardo was right
if what he referred to as "stupidaggine" was this penchant for comparing the two Popes

Point taken.

Yet the words/symbols contrast does, nonetheless, capture something, which was
on display anew as Benedict XVI led his first Christmas and New Year's liturgies last week.
[In accepting the "words/symbols" contrast, Allen seems to imply that Benedict is
incapable of symbols!

John Paul II had a theatrical personality, with a keen sense of timing, inflection,
and dramatic effect, so that reading his speeches and listening to them in person were often
two different experiences. Benedict XVI is more literally a man of his word. Every term,
every phrase, in his public addresses is chosen carefully, and the structure is critical.
He rarely deviates [He does not deviate from the message, but how many times
have we heard him go beyond the prepared text, while keeping to his message
?], and rarely
can single phrases be lifted to "stand in" for the broader argument.

Clearly, it is the text, not the delivery, that interests him. While Benedict's ability
to speak fluently in multiple languages is impressive, and he's more charismatic in public
than some expected, seeing him "live" does not generally add much to his message. [Really???]

This is not by accident.

The emerging heart of Benedict's papacy is about truth -- his belief that modern men
and women must find their way back to objective truths about human life, imprinted in nature
by the Creator.
Even if the fallen human mind needs the "purification" of faith
to perceive this truth, Benedict believes that it nonetheless responds to something deep
in the human heart. [Thank you, John Allen. That's more like it.]

As such, Benedict feels little need for razzle-dazzle. His aim seems to be [ is -
he has said so several times] to subtract himself from the equation as much as possible,
so the message may shine through more clearly.

In a personality-driven age, this determination carries obvious risks. The global media
has so far taken scant notice of the pope's activity, so average people often have
little idea of what he's saying and doing
. [UNFORTUNATELY! The general media
appears to be more interested in trivia like his shoes or what else he is wearing
Reaction to the Vatican document on gay priests was illustrative. I was repeatedly asked,
by both reporters and average Catholics, "What does it mean that this is Benedict's
first big move?" Among other things, it means there's a gap between what the pope is pitching
and what many have caught, because this was hardly his first notable act
. [It also means
that the average viewer swallows the media line - because wasn't it the media that blew up
the "gay" document into "Benedict's first big move"; it's the way the media saw it, although
it was little more than an explicit reiteration of what had been Vatican policy for years.
The gap is entirely the fault of media, which does not report the Pope's substantive words
and acts enough, compared to the reams they waste on trivial pursuits

A similar dynamic was visible over the holidays. The usual gorgeous images were broadcast
from midnight Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and from St. Peter's Square on New Year's Day, but
there was relatively little discussion of the pope's message, in part because
his thoughtful reflections didn't lend themselves to sound-bites
. [Print media do not depend
on sound-bites - they have room enough for extended and comprehensive reporting and analysis,
if they want to - but they have failed to report the Christmas and New Year's Day messages enough,
and they have almost completely ignored the Pope's message for the World Day of Peace -
a major statement and analysis of the global situation. I can only hope they will refer back to it
when they report on the Pope's New Year's message to the Vatican diplomatic corps on Monday!

Under John Paul, reaction to the pope sometimes broke down along conventional
liberal/conservative lines, and sometimes it scrambled those categories, but few were indifferent.
[Is Allen implying that by comparison, people are largely indifferent to what Benedict says?
And haven't some in the media also peddled the facile and equally false conclusion that
"people came to watch John Paul II but did not really listen to him
"?] Under Benedict XVI,
it's possible that the most important division will be between those who are paying attention
and those who aren't, since the force of the pope's personality may no longer
be sufficient to command the world's interest
. [How strange to make that assumption,
considering that most of the media had doubted that Benedict would ever be able to captivate
the youth in Cologne, and yet he did - beyond the media's wildest dreams! I think
what Allen really means is "the media's interest", not "the world's interest"

Of course, one could fall back on Benedict's oft-cited dictum that Christianity
is destined to be a "creative minority," concluding that it doesn't matter whether the pope
reaches the masses, as long as he's shaping a future generation with a strong sense of
Catholic identity and passion. Certainly the size and enthusiasm of turnout in St. Peter's
Square so far, and in Cologne in August for World Youth Day, suggest that one should not
underestimate that potential.
[There you are! Then how could you have said that
"the force of the Pope's personality may no longer be sufficient to command
the world's interest"

Yet the "creative" part of Benedict's formula is at least as important to him as the "minority."
He wants a church with an impact on the culture, one that radiates joy and conviction,
and thereby points the way to a different future. In other words, he wants a church
the world takes seriously. Benedict's gamble seems to be that, for all its superficiality,
the post-modern world will still respond to the force of unadorned argument --
at least enough of the world to make a difference.

For all those who take the pope for an Augustinian pessimist, it's actually a rather hopeful
stance. Whether he's right -- and whether his particular arguments are winning ones --
will shape the drama of his papacy. [Unfortunately, however, the picture of the Papacy
projected immediately to the world by the media will shape the perception of this "drama

00Saturday, January 7, 2006 3:44 PM
Thanks to ratzi.lella in the main forum for this item from the 1/7/06 issue of
L'Arena di Verona. Here is a translation -


The private Ratzinger of Vaticanista Joachim Fischer

Lorenzo Calvelli of the newspaper L’Arena di Verona met recently with Heinz-Joachim Fischer,
Vatican correspondent for the Frankfuerter Allgemeinze Zeitung, at a hotel in Peschiera,
northeast Italy. The meeting brought to light some private facts about Pope Benedict XVI
by Fischer, who has been friends with the Pope since he first interviewed him when he was
a professor in Regensburg.

As a friend, Fischer has not revealed much of this “private side” of Ratzinger, the way
he has reported on the public Ratzinger. It is a surprising attitude in a world where
the hunger for a scoop is so widespread. But a long conversation with Fischer about
the man who became Pope evoked (the picture of) a man of simplicity and strength,
“a man of spirit rather than of communications”.

”Sure, he must have felt the weight of having been chosen to be the universal pastor
of the Church,” says Fischer, “but probably much less than others would have, insofar as
he is already used to life in the Curia.”

Fischer recalls that his friendship with Ratzinger goes back to 1976. “I worked in Frankfurt,
where I was in charge of news regarding the Catholic Church. I interviewed him the first time
in Regensburg, where he explained his theological positions to me, also explaining very simply
some passages of the Bible. After a few months, he was named Archbishop of Munich, but
certainly not because of any of my articles.” Fischer says that at the time, it was thought
Ratzinger was close to being named Bishop of Regensburg.

“Then after a few more weeks, he was elevated to the rank of cardinal, along with Monsignor
Benelli (and 3 others) by Pope Paul VI. Eventually, his career brought him to being Prefect
of the CDF. But our friendship continued even at a distance. Then I was assigned to Rome
as Vatican correspondent for FAZ. Since that time, we would meet at my house several times
a year, talk to each other freely, talk about Munich.

“Sometimes, he would play the piano, sometimes, he would just sit on the divan,
petting our little dog. We shared such evenings at ease, during which I was able to appreciate
his big heart, his ability to empathize with the desires of simple people. Along with about
10 other friends, we celebrated his birthdays. And always what emerged was his personality
as a humble pastor. Certainly not the Grand Inquisitor as my fellow journalists labelled him.

“He and John Paul II esteemed each other and mutually allowed each other his own space.
I don’t think he ever had any intention to imitate Wojtyla, or even try to.”

“When he was elected Pope on April 19, I was happy, but at the same time, I was a bit worried
because I had earlier signed a contract with a German publishing firm to write a book about
the new Pope (whoever he would be). As it turned out, I already had practically all the material
I needed (to write about Ratzinger), so I was able to finish my book within two weeks.”

The book has sold 30,000 copies in Germany so far and is on a second printing. It has now been
translated into English and Spanish.

(L'Arena di Verona, 7 gennaio 2006)
00Saturday, January 7, 2006 4:29 PM

salamat Teresa B!
00Saturday, January 7, 2006 6:20 PM
Benefan just posted an excellent article on "Music for the Spirit" in ODDS AND ENDS, about
a concert series of that name that starts in Pittsburgh next week with a performance of Haydn's
"The Creation" by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gerald Levine (who had conducted
several concerts at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II). I'm posting here an excerpt from
the article that has to do with Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI gave the pre-concert talk this summer when Levine performed the
(Beethoven) "Missa solemnis" in Cologne Cathedral in Germany for European television.

The Pope "spoke at great length of music, and liturgical music in the spiritual development
of mankind particularly centered on the 'Missa solemnis,'" the conductor says. "The Beethoven
is not in essence liturgical, because it's too long, but it is the quintessence of music
and spirit together."

Levine says that three days after the concert, he received a call from the Vatican conveying
the Pope's request for a DVD of the Cologne concert. Shortly thereafter, Pope Benedict awarded
Levine the silver star of the Order of St. Gregory, which recognizes special service
to the church. Levine already had been made Knight Commander of the order (by JPII).

Pope Benedict is truly devoted to music and plays it himself, Levine says. "Cardinal Meisner,
archbishop of Cologne, told me that every time he's in the new pope's apartment, there's a
different Beethoven piano sonata opened to be played. He begins or ends his day by playing
Beethoven." NB: Beethoven or Mozart?


TO MORIAH - Thank you, too. I'm glad you like the articles.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 07/01/2006 18.21]

00Saturday, January 7, 2006 9:23 PM
More about reconstruction of papal apartments

The apartment, about 10 rooms in all, underwent a three-month renovation this fall. Electrical wiring was replaced, new pipes were installed, the kitchen was refurbished and a custom-fitted private library was put in place. It was "Extreme Makeover: Vatican Edition." And while the pope didn't whoop or jump up and down at the unveiling, he made it clear he was pleased with the results.I like our Papa has different express of his choy than whooping and jumping up and down [SM=g27823]

"I can only admire the things you've done, like these beautiful floors," he told the more than 200 architects, engineers and workers involved in the remodeling project. "I really like my new library, with that antique ceiling. For me it's like being surrounded by friends, now that there are books on the shelf," he said.

The floors were the original 16th-century marble slabs and inlay, restored to their original luster.The library solved the problem of where to put the pope's 20,000 books, which he did not want to leave in storage somewhere.Probably the floors are awesome and similar as we know from Castel Gandolfo and papal official audience rooms. But can you imagine 20,000 books? Wow, this is almost municipal library.

Details of the remodeling were considered secret, but they emerged in the sideways fashion typical of the Vatican. When Bruno Bartoloni, a veteran Vatican correspondent for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, went to have his hair cut recently, he found himself seated next to a talkative member of the restoration team. The renovation, the workman related, was long overdue. The architects said they were surprised at the poor state of the apartment.For one thing, the electrical system was not up to code. Some rooms still used old 125-volt electrical outlets, which were phased out years ago in Italy in favor of 220 volts. The water pipes were encrusted with rust and lime, and the heating system was approximate at best.Above the false ceiling, workers discovered big drums placed strategically to catch the leaks from the roof; some were nearly full of water.

The makeover included renovation of the medical studio, which is said to include emergency surgery and dentistry equipment. The papal bedroom, situated at the corner of the building, was completely redone, and most of the rooms were freshly wallpapered. The new kitchen was reportedly outfitted by a German company, with state-of-the-art ovens, ranges and other appliances.
Those who frequented the papal apartment under Pope John Paul II have no doubt that the place needed an overhaul. Polish film director Krzysztof Zanussi, a friend of the late pope, once said he was astonished at the gloominess of the place, with its outmoded furnishings and lack of lighting. "Everything was in semidarkness, somber and without inspiration. The chairs were like the ones my aunt had in the suburbs of Warsaw," Zanussi said. "It was not a place that made one feel good."

The papal apartment wraps around two sides of the Apostolic Palace and is accessed by a doorway that opens onto a historic loggia decorated with frescoes. The layout includes a vestibule, the library, a small studio for the papal secretary and the pope's private studio, from which he blesses the crowd every Sunday. The other rooms include the pope's bedroom, the medical studio, his private chapel, a small living room, a dining room and kitchen.In the late 1930s, the huge attic above the apartment was remodeled to make a series of mini-apartments that open to the inner courtyard. They house members of the pope's household staff, and one is said to have been refitted as a guest quarters for Pope Benedict's brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

The fact that workmen finished the pope's apartment in only three months impressed everyone in Rome, where even small-scale renovations seem to take forever.
"I had a small house built for me in Germany once," the pope told the workmen. "I'm convinced that anywhere else this project would have taken a year or perhaps longer."From a German pope to his Italian makeover team, it was a high compliment.
That's true. [SM=g27828]
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