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

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TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, February 3, 2008 7:05 PM
BENEDICT XVI 'LACKS CONFIDENCE' FOR A TV INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH???

I lifted this from an interview given by Cardinal James Foley in St. Louis, Missouri, earlier this week (posted in NOTABLES), and I was rather taken aback by the statements I underlined below:



What are the differences between John Paul and Benedict in terms of how they worked with media?
John Paul was a more dramatic figure, and given to dramatic gestures, which the present Holy Father is not.

But the present Holy Father is very open to the media. He's very kind, gentle, and he has given interviews before he has gone to specific countries. He did for the Polish media before he went to Poland. He did for the German media before he went to Cologne for World Youth Day.

So, it would be nice if he'd do that for the American media, too, but I don't know. He doesn't feel as secure in English. He speaks English very well, but I guess he just lacks confidence. He's a professor, so he like to get things right. …


My comments:

First, I think that the Holy Father understands full well the importance of reaching a broader cross-section of the American people through a pre-visit interview carried on one or more of the American TV networks - who are probably already working out arrangements for something like that.

Second, Cardinal Foley probably spoke too colloquially in the statement "I guess he just lacks confidence", which is an odd statement to make about Benedict XVI!

As Cardinal Ratzinger, he had no hesitation sitting down for a one-hour interview in English with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo back in 2000 - and he has handled news conferences in his previous visits to the USA as a cardinal.

Let us pray the Holy Father will agree to a pre-visit TV interview with American TV as he did with German media before his trip to Bavaria.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, February 7, 2008 7:02 PM
THE RETURN OF THE ROMAN CHASUBLE

At thenewliturgicalmovement.blogspot.com/
one contributor posted several video-caps
of the Ash Wednesday rites on the Aventine yesterday
with the headline

The Return of the Roman Chasuble to Papal Liturgies
posted by Gregor Kollmorgen

This is one of the sceeenshots he posted to make his point:


One of the pictures shows the classic 'shield-shaped' back of the cope
that the Pope wore for the penitential procession to Santa Sabina:



Whereupon, NLM's chief blogger Shawn Tribe added the following very informative post:



Following up Gregor's images, I thought I would share a couple of more images from today's papal Mass with a little historical comparison.



The style of the chasuble seems to fit the guidelines issued by St. Charles Borromeo, with the sleeves not being as long as the full flowing form, but not as short as the more typical baroque form of the Roman chasuble. What the Pope was wearing today is very much akin to what we have seen St. Ignatius or Loyola or St. Philip Neri pictured in (above).




Other features of the Mass:
"Benedictine" altar arrangement.
7th candle.
Cardinal Deacons.




I have not yet seen an article identifying the two Cardinal Deacons,
and I will post the names as soon as I get them.


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

Some time in 2005, I discovered the blog DAPPLED THINGS by Fr. Jim Tucker, who was posting, among other things, very authoritative information on liturgical matters, including Church vestments. And I remember e-mailing him after he did a post on 'Roman chasubles', also called 'fiddleback chasubles' - the classic chasuble form used before the poncho-like chasubles of the Novus Ordo.

So I went back today to his files to get these two pictures - one of JP-II in a rare picture of him as Pope wearing a Roman chasuble (as well as a vestment called the 'fanon', the striped cloth around his shoulder, which he used a number of times, but which we have yet to see Pope Benedict use), and the other of Cardinal Ratzinger on one of the occasions when he celebrated the Tridentine Mass and, of course, wore the Roman chasuble that goes with it.




Here is the link to Fr. Jim's archives with photos and information about liturgical vestments.
dappledphotos.blogspot.com/

Fr. Jim stopped his main blog last December, but said he would carry on with the photoblog part of it.

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


I know MaryJos has opened a thread on CHURCH VESTMENTS, and I will post this on that thread as well, but I will continue to post 'news' items on Papal liturgical innovations here.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, February 8, 2008 12:26 PM
PRAYERS AND WHITE ROSES DAILY FOR THE POPE

A special devotion for the Pope
by Benedictine nuns at the Vatican

Translated from
the 2/8/08 issue of



The prioress of the Benedictine monastery Mater Ecclesiae in the Vatican, Mother Sofia Chicchetti, says that the devotion consists above all of prayers.

But the devotion is also expressed with flowers and 'fruits of the earth' from the work of the cloistered nuns themselves - a special touch in the daily routine of a community with the specific task of providing spiritual support for the ministry of the Roman Pontiff.

When they are not praying, the 'labora' part of the Benedictine rule 'ora et labora' is to cultivate 'the Pope's garden' with rose bushes that bear white flowers particularly enjoyed by the Holy Father for their intense perfume, Mother Sofia said an an interview with L'Osservatore Romano.


The Mater Ecclesaie was established by John Paul II in 1994. What led to this?
Our cloistered community has a very specific purpose: to support the Pope daily in his apostolic care for the whole Church through prayer, offerings and sacrifice. John Paul II also wanted it to be international, with the nuns coming from various parts of the world, and that every five years, the nuns who constitute it must come from a different order.


What is the reason for this?
John Paul II did not want any particular order to be favored, and to have the orders take turns also shows the richness, diversity and true catholicity of the Church.


Talk about your community now.
We have been here three years - a Filipina, an American from Colorado, two French women, and three Italians. Our ideal as Benedictines is 'ora et labora'. The first and real work is prayer.

The Mass is the center of our day, with the Office of Divine Hours, which is all done in Gregorian chant, then personal prayer, and a lectio divina, which nourishes us int eh Word of God, as well as the works of the saints and the Fathers of the Church.

In between, we carry on prayer through work, because prayer continues even in physical and mental exertions.


What work do you do?
Anything that can be done in cloisters. One of us does translation work, because she is a linguist. One sister specializes in painting on parchment. Two are expert in embroidery - and they do really beautiful work, making miters and chasubles for bishops, sometimes for the Pope himself. One sister is a computer specialist, while two are in charge of what we call 'the Pope's garden', in which we raise vegetables for the Pope and for our own use. And of course, the white roses.


What's a typical day like?
We get up at 4:40 and pray the Divine Office, the Mass and a lectio divina until 9:15. From 9:15-12, each one goes about her respective tasks in silence, cultivating a personal relationship with the Lord by praying and 'ruminating' - as St. Benedict put it - ot he Word of God in silent meditation.

Then we have lunch followed by a free hour when each one may choose to take a break, read or walk int he gardens. Then we resume liturgical prayer with Nones followed by two more hours of work. There is also an hour for study - Latin, Gregorian chant, and Italian for those who must learn Italian because Italian is the official language at the Vatican.

Then Vespers, followed by an hour of recreation in which we all get together and one not only can speak, but should speak out. We talk about our activities, about personal experiences, about things we have read.

Then supper, and keeping the kitchen and refectory in order, and finally at 9 p.m., Complines, the last liturgical prayer of the day. Then comes the 'great silence' until the following day - not just silence of words, but of all activity.


Who celebrates Mass for you?
Our chaplains take turns: Mons. Caccia from the Secretariat of State and the two secretaries of the Deputy Secretary, Mons. Rudelli and Mons. Erbi.

Twice, we had the grace and privilege of having Benedict XVI himself say the Mass - the first time on July 12, 2005, and then again on March 21, 2006. These were occasions of feasting and joy. He could not do it in 2007, but he invited us to come to the church of the Governatorate for a prayer meeting at which he presided, and for which he gave us permission top come out of cloister.


Besides the vegetable garden, do you have other offerings for the Holy Father?
Yes, the white roses that are named after John Paul II, and which we know the Holy Father enjoys having. We have one other task which we do with great love and industry: we are in charge of his white garments, as we did with John Paul II.


What do you do in particular to support the Petrine ministry?
In general, all our prayers - personal and communal - are offered for the Pope, his intentions, his ministry and the needs of the Church and the faithful.

In particular, in the prayers for the faithful, we offer a specific prayer for the Pope and at the end of Mass and Vespers, we recite the Oremus pro Pontifice. We also recite the rosary together for his intentions. On Sundays, we listen to the Angelus and pray along. On Thursdays and Sundays, we have Eucharistic Adoration which we offer specifically for the Holy Father and his intentions. On Thursdays, we also pray for one of the intentions most dear to him - for the priests and religious, and vocations to the consecrated life.


Has the Pope asked you for any particular prayer intentions?
Yes. When he came here the first time, he asked us with great humility and paternal confidence, to pray for him because, in his words, "The Cross of the Papacy is often heavy, and I cannot carry it by myself. I need the support and the prayers of the whole Church, but in particular, those of consecrated people, and even more particularly the cloistered orders and you who have this specific mission." He asked us to pray for him and all who work with him.

The second time, he also asked us to pray in particular for Europe - he spoke to us about St. Benedict - and he said we should pray that Europe may rediscover and relive its Christian roots.


L'Osservatore Romano - 8 febbraio 2008
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, February 16, 2008 3:16 PM
COMING SOON TO U.S. BOOKSTORES




Joseph and Chico
A Cat Tells the Life of Pope Benedict XVI

Author: Jeanne Perego
Illustrated by Donata Dal Molin Casagrande
Available February 25, 2008
www.ignatius.com/ViewProduct.aspx?SID=1&Product_ID=3268&...


The blurb from Ignatius Insight:

In this beautifully illustrated book for children, Chico the cat describes the life of his "best friend", Pope Benedict, in this authorised biography of the Pope for young people approved by the Vatican.

"Dear Children, here you will find a biography that is different than others because it is told by a cat and it is not every day a cat can consider the Holy Father his friend and sit down to write his life story," the Pope's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, says in the foreword.

The Pope is known for his fondness of animals, especially cats, and Joseph and Chico is narrated by Chico, a real cat who took up with the Pope in his native Germany long before he became the Pope. Chico tells the story of the life of "my best friend" from his birth in Germany in 1927, through his days as a young man, priest, bishop and cardinal.

With a colorful and sometimes amusing language, the author makes this funny cat tell us about the life of the young Joseph all the way up to his election as Pontiff on April 19, 2005.

It recounts the Nazi era in Germany when the Pope was a teenager, calling the war years "one of the most dramatic and shameful times in the history of man".

Later when he became Cardinal Ratzinger, Chico recounts how each time when the Cardinal returned to Germany from Rome for a vacation, the cat would run into his house and sit on his lap as he played the piano.

The lavish color illustrations throughout make this a wonderful gift book and a cherished keepsake.

Sample images from Joseph and Chico:




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

This was my whimsy on Valentine's Day (I posted it in the SECTION SUMMARY earlier):



Pepperl Ratzinger, 1932, and Pope Benedict, Feb. 2008


benefan
00Saturday, February 16, 2008 7:00 PM
Thanks for the book info, Teresa.

"Joseph and Chico" is about my speed. I've been waiting for it to come out in English. But what's with the drawings of Papa's hair? I realize it is just a cartoon but it doesn't resemble him at all.


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

Quite right about the drawings! I noticed it myself but then, the book is already in print in some 30 languages. Someone really should have caught that before the original book even went to print. The extreme left hair parting is so characteristic of Joseph Ratzinger, that a midline part is 'unacceptable'. But as long as kids get to read about his life, that's more important. It would have been nice, though, if the book also included a couple of actual photos of the boy Pepperl.



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, February 17, 2008 5:41 PM
STEP BY STEP, BENEDICT IS CORRECTING LITURGICAL LAPSES

At www.thenewliturgicalmovement.blogspot.com/
they take note of the changes evident in the Redemptoris Mater
chapel of the Apostolic Palace with regard to the altar.
The post was by Gregor Kollmorgen.


Advent 2006 - Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa preaching.



Lent 2007 - Spiritual exercises. Cardinal Biffi, retreat master.



Please note: the altar is setup for ad orientem celebration
of the sacred liturgy. Six traditional candlesticks dress
The altar, and yes, there is a tabernacle in the centre on
the altar as well.


Lent 2008 - Spiritual exercise. Cardinal VanHoye, retreat master.



A further step has been taken: the Cross, which had remained
off-centre last year, has now returned to its traditional
place in the centre of the altar.




loriRMFC
00Tuesday, February 19, 2008 2:14 AM
Wax figure of Pope Benedict XVI in Madame Tussauds Museum


Passers-by look at the wax figure of Pope Benedict XVI in the Madame Tussauds Museum in Amsterdam February 18, 2008. The figure of Pope Benedict XVI, the first to be made of the reigning Pope, was made at the Tussauds Studios in London over a period of three months. The figure was created on the basis of research material and with the knowledge of the Vatican. At the end of April the figure will be transported to its definitive destination, the Berlin branch of Madame Tussauds which has yet to open.






SOURCE: news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Papacy-and-Vatican/ss/events/wl/033002pope/im:/080218/ids_photos_wl/r4178935436.jpg#/080218/ids_photos_wl/r49972...

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

Thanks for posting these, Lori.

I had been hoping the Yahoo photo service would come up with better pictures than these 3, because something is very off with the photos - either the figures themselves are off-scale, or they look topheavy because of the weird angle from which all three pictures are shot! But it looks like the wax sculptors may have done OK with the face - at least it doesn't look much botched from these photos. I certainly hope they have the face right, if not the expression!

I find most faces on the Mme. Tussaud figures I have seen generally always 'off' somehow, like factory-defective clones, usually slight that you can't tell exactly what's off, but the slight defects add up and the whole thing just doesn't come together properly! I had been dreading what Tussaud's would come up with for B16 - because the first wax figure that came up shortly after the Conclave was one in Madrid which was absolutely dreadful!

TERESA



maryjos
00Tuesday, February 19, 2008 6:33 PM
Joseph and Chico
I did mention this earlier and posted a photo of the cover: if anyone in the UK wants to buy the book in English it will be available on March 1st from the Catholic Truth Society [and presumably from other outlets such as Amazon.UK]. The cover is different from the original Italian one.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Yuck! Madame Tussaud's! It's spooky and I'd never go near the place myself. As for Benedict XVI - I'd rather have the real thing!!!!!!
[SM=x40793] [SM=g27836] [SM=x40793] [SM=g27836] [SM=x40793] [SM=g27836]
benefan
00Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:26 AM
Waxworks

Okay, his head is too long and his neck is too wide. His upper body seems properly proportioned but from the waist down, he is too short, unless the camera is being held at some weird angle. From what I can see, his face looks fairly realistic but I agree with Mary. I prefer the real thing.


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

But surely neither of you can seriously think anyone on this forum would prefer an icky wax figure in any way, shape or form compared to THE REAL THING???? Or even to just photographs of the actual him? Now you see why personally, I was just going to pretend that Yahoo hadn't posted the photos at all, but since Lori did, I had to comment...

TERESA





TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:45 PM
SHOES FOR THE 'FISHERMAN'




VATICAN CITY, Feb. 20 (PETRUS) - Representatives of the shoe industry of Vigevano, known as Italy's shoemaking capital, presented Pope Benedict XVI today with three pairs of red shoes, after the General Audience at Aula Paolo VI.

A delegation from Vigevano came to recall the Pope's visit to their city in April last year, the first one by a Pope since the Middle Ages.

The shoemakers explained to the Pope how these particular shoes were custom-made for him and the kind of leather that was used.

The presentation was meant to highlight a pledge by Italian cobblers to produce 15,000 pairs of shoes for distribution by Catholic charities.

During the Pope's visit to Vigevano, the shoemakers donated 10,000 pairs of shoes for the Pope's charities.

Vigevano is considered Italy's shoe-making capital.


Traditional shoemaker Adriano Stefanelli of Novara presented the Poe personally with the shoes he handcrafted for him.

Stefanelli also handcrafted shoes for John Paul II, including the white slippers below.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, February 23, 2008 5:32 PM
Icon of Cuban patroness
blessed by Pope Benedict
on display in North Carolina church

By Ben McNeely
Independent Tribune (NC)
February 23, 2008





KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina - A framed print stands at the front of the sanctuary of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Kannapolis.

It is of a woman looking down on three men in a rowboat. It is a print - an icon - of Mary, Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba.

In July, Pope Benedict XVI blessed prints of a painting of Mary, Our Lady of Charity, and sent the prints out to parishes in the world. Three of these prints, under the care of the Knights of Columbus, are making the rounds to Catholic churches in North Carolina. The first print landed in Kannapolis.

Father Al Riquelme, pastor of Saint Joseph’s, said this was a blessing to the church and the parish.

“This particular image is to remind us of charity,” Riquelme said. “All the Popes have shown devotion to Our Lady of Charity.”

Our Lady of Charity is the patron saint of Cuba. The story, originating in Cuba in the 1600s, involves three men in a rowboat looking for salt to preserve meat for the copper miners.

A storm came up and the men took shelter on an island. The next morning, the men found a statue of the Virgin Mary, washed up on the shore.

A plaque on the statue read, “I am the Virgin of Charity.” The story spread throughout Cuba and was instrumental in converting the population to Catholicism. Pope Benedict XVI [???] named Our Lady of Charity the patron saint of Cuba.

“She is there to remind us of the great acts of charity that God has given us,” Riquelme said.

The icon will be at the church throughout the month of March and is available for parishioners to come and pray before it. Riquelme said the church is planning a special mass to celebrate the blessing of the icon.

“We believe this is very special for us and for Kannapolis,” Riquelme said. “It is very intriguing that she is here.”


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, February 25, 2008 2:17 AM



With WYD-SYD 2008 coming up, here's a reminder about GENERATION BENEDIKT - if only because they have such a beautiful banner!


Arose from World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne

Generation Benedict, a network of young adults from all over the world, emanated from World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne.

The representatives of Generation Benedict are young adults who align their life with the Catholic faith and who are ready to avow and explain their faith and convictions in public.

Generation Benedict is a worldwide operating network. It represents in media those millions of young adults who want to express at the World Youth Days as well as in social life their positive, supporting attitude towards Pope Benedict XVI. and towards the Roman Catholic Church.

These young adults are like all young people in search of answers to the questions of personal and social life, while looking up to the right authorities.

One of these authorities is the Roman Catholic Church, and Generation Benedict aims to make its teachings more accessible to other people.

The Holy Father is our center of reference, and indeed, Generation Benedict modeled itself after the inspiration provided by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

The core representatives - from Germany, France, Italy, USA and Mexico – reflect the internationality and universality of the Catholic Church.

Generation Benedict would like to channel the focus of discussion about the Church and its role to the worldwide Catholic Church, not merely to the German Church and its problems.

Therefore Generation Benedict strives to establish the network in countries all over the world according to their need and specific standards.

We welcome you to join Generation Benedict and contact us if you would like to be provided with more information.

rothweiler@generation-benedikt.de



GENERATION BENEDIKT:
Young people's questions about life -
Answers in the spirit of the Pope
144 pp., 2007.

The blurb reads:

Young people have burning questions about the basic truths of life and about interpersonal relationships.

What will become of me? What occupation should I choose? What is prayer? Does God care about our individual problems? How can I 'realize' God in daily life? Do I need the Church? How can I find love? How can I be myself?

Answers were formulated based on Pope Benedict's thoughts and writings, and after he read them, he decided to honor us by writing a personal foreword to the book.
loriRMFC
00Wednesday, February 27, 2008 2:42 AM
GENERATION BENEDICT

A nice article Teresa, thanks for posting. Unfortunately it looks like they only have a german website up so far. I typed in generationbenedict.com and was taken to the german site. I'm curious about this group. Anyways I found this bit about the creation of Generation Benedict:


Last year, after World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, one young man decided to carry on the message of World Youth Day and the significance of the meeting of Catholic Youth from around the world.
Many Catholic Youth feel disenfranchised at times because they feel the Catholic Church is represented in the media by older priests, and so Nathanael Liminski created a group to represent the Catholic Youth in America.

This group has also written a book called Generation Benedict, which was put together in question and answer form. Each group member was asked to submit questions that pertained to the issues that young Catholics face everyday. The questions were then sent to the Vatican and answered by theologians from Church doctrine, the Catechism, and the teachings of the Pope.

When this was brought before the Pope for approval, he was thrilled and is now writing the forward to the book. One of the major publishing houses in Germany has agreed to publish it and the book will be coming out in April.

This group, Generation Benedict is dedicated to representing the Catholic Youth throughout the world within the media. There are 12 young people who make up Generation Benedict: 5 Germans, 2 French, 3 Italians, 2 Americans, and 1 Mexican Youth.

One of the Americans is Suzanne Fagan, a senior at UD. She got involved with this project by talking with her friend Nathanael, who was living with her family while working in DC.

Suzanne was asked to appear on the EWTN show, Life on the Rock, last week to discuss the book and the newly formed organization. This was the first time she had fully met the other group members.

Suzanne said she had a wonderful time and that she enjoyed seeing the studio and how the media operated. You will be able to view this airing of Life on the Rock in the Spring about when the book will be published. Generation Benedict will soon have a website up in English, generationbenedict.com, so make sure to visit and if interested join and help this young movement progress.




Source: media.www.udallasnews.com/media/storage/paper743/news/2006/11/01/News/Generation.Benedict-25060...
loriRMFC
00Wednesday, February 27, 2008 3:06 AM
Preparing for the Pope

On Amy Welborn's blog she has a post where she has invited people to respond to some questions about Pope Benedict. I decided to post a couple responses here and if you're interested, you can click the link & see the rest. But first, the questions:


1. How has the papacy of Pope Benedict (or even, thinking more broadly, his work and writings as Ratzinger) affected you? What have you learned from him? Has anything about this papacy affected any kind of change in your understanding or experience of faith?

2. Have you changed your mind about Pope Benedict in any way over the past few years?

3. What do you think are the most striking elements of his papacy so far?

4. What is your prayer for Pope Benedict?



And now, the responses:


Maureen said:

How has the papacy of Pope Benedict (or even, thinking more broadly, his work and writings as Ratzinger) affected you? What have you learned from him? Has anything about this papacy affected any kind of change in your understanding or experience of faith?

I agree that he’s a great teacher through his writings and speeches: gentle, methodical, and a marvelous synthesist of what you already know with what you need to find out. But he’s also a great teacher through what he does. He moves slowly, but nothing stops him. He listens to objections, and points people to what will help them find what they seek. He is always dignified, but never uncaring or phoning it in. He does not spare himself, but is generous to everyone else. You don’t even have to agree with the man to enjoy his sheer clarity and breadth of thought. (That’s the source of his powers of persuasion, not any cheap rhetorical trick. Not something you see much from public figures.)

Through both kinds of teaching, I have become not just more knowledgeable about my faith, but more grounded in it. I know better who I am, and have a clearer idea of what God is calling me to do and to be. Obviously this was not all the Pope’s doing. But he has made it very clear that he is there to “support the brethren”, and to help the flock entrusted to him along the road to holiness and eternal life.

None of this is to dismiss the late Pope John-Paul II. But his gifts and his aims were different, and were perhaps more about administering the Universal Church than ministering to the individual members of that church. Or me, anyway. [SM=g27828]

Have you changed your mind about Pope Benedict in any way over the past few years?

He’s even smarter than I thought. [SM=g27828] Seriously, though, I always bought into the whole Panzerkardinal thing because I never heard anything else. A couple years before JPII died, I started to hear that he was really somebody I should be reading, and was surprised to find how nifty his teaching was, even in little blog snippets. Then he became Pope, which made it much easier to find his books at the bookstore. [SM=g27828]

What is your prayer for Pope Benedict?

That he remains our teaching Pope for a long time. I know it’s a selfish prayer, but I want him here on earth for a while yet. Also, that people will listen to him instead of ranting.

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Cathleen said:

I’m not much given to letting my heart rule my head–my kids say that I approach everything in life like it’s a geometry proof–but there is something about Pope Benedict that stirs a strong, heartfelt affection that I can’t really explain. “Devotion” is probably too strong a word, but “admiration” doesn’t seem quite strong enough. I can’t point to any concrete examples of WHY I feel this way….I love his writing and admire much of what he’s done, of course, but I admired John Paul II for those reasons, too, and didn’t have this added affection for JPII that I have for Benedict.

I often wondered what it was about the person of Jesus that made the apostles drop everything and follow him. I finally decided that it was his combination of kindness and strength that so attracted the apostles, as it continues to attract us. I think that Pope Benedict–in his very quiet, humble way–also genuinely radiates strength and kindness, courage and humility. An imperfect Vicar of Christ, of course, but a powerful and inspiring one, nonetheless. He seems a true servant of God.

I live in the northernmost part of the Archdiocese of NY. I’m a 49-year-old cradle Catholic, raised in Boston by Irish and French Canadian parents. I’ve been a daily mass-goer for about six years, but hadn’t darkened the door of any church for most of my adult life prior to that.

I really, REALLY hope to go see him. Our small parish will only have 16 tickets, given out in pairs of 2…the chances of me getting any are slim to none, since they’re already earmarked for fat-cat Catholics that are in tight with our pastor (snarky, I know, but true). I filled out the volunteer form on the Archdiocese of NY’s website, hoping maybe I can attend one of the events as a volunteer. If anyone out there has any advice or an “in” with the ticket- giver-outers I’d appreciate any help you can offer…:-)

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Jeff Culbreath said:

As someone who was converted through the traditional liturgy, and has spent his entire Catholic life (8 years) attending what we now call the “Extraordinary Form”, the pontificate of Benedict XVI has been the answer to so many prayers. He has done more than liberate the Tridentine Mass: he has liberated this traditionalist from the prison of constant suspicion of, and defensiveness against, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

He has enabled me to imagine a day when the term “traditional Catholic” is truly obsolete, when we can just be Catholics again. He has, I believe, already improved relations between traditionalists and other Catholics, many of whom already find themselves working together, in charity, with few impediments.

Changes, when they come, are easier to accept from a Church that reveres rather than despises her past, and Benedict’s pontificate has a deep love and respect for our Catholic heritage. Under a regime of novelty every change is suspect, every word from Rome must be scrutinized for what it is rejecting, ignoring, or hiding. But the regime of novelty has come to an end, and we can trust again.

Pope Benedict XVI has also focused on the Church, on Catholics, in a way that his predecessor did not. In many ways the papacy of JP-II seemed to be a papacy for the world: Benedict’s papacy is a papacy for Catholics (but still without neglecting the world).

I don’t mean to disparage the memory of John Paul II, who inspired so many. He was a great pope with a great heart. But for the first time ever, as a Catholic, I personally do not feel like an orphan any longer. I have a Pope. I can trust him and follow him and take my place as a true son of the Church. I am truly home.

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Tim said:


Let’s put it this way: I’m not a Roman Catholic, but he’s really got me leaning heavily towards converting. This man is the genuine article. Brilliant, but as far as I can tell, humble. A true shepherd in every sense of the word. I didn’t know anything about him when he was elected, so I didn’t have any preconceived notions. A teacher extraordinaire.

My prayer for him: Many, many more years.

- Tim

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Allison said:

I came back to the church near the death of Pope John Paul II, and I was heavily influenced to come back by the Pope JPII’s phenomenological writings. Those writings taught me about Christianity and Catholicism. They convinced me that Catholicism was more than liberation theology; that a true pro-life stance as right, that sex outside of marriage was wrong, that all of the other major ethical and moral positions of the Church were right.

But Benedict’s writings have taught me about Christ, something I never learned elsewhere. Ratzinger’s work in Jesus of Nazareth, and his opening writings to Be Not Afraid spoke directly to me, and my own needs from God, and from Christ, someone who I never felt a relationship to before hearing about him from Benedict. The wednesday audiences and homilies have taught me more about how to read and understand Scripture than I learned anywhere else. I am finally able to start to put the truth of Christ into my mind logically and emotionally, instead of feeling he is really Other.

His Regensburg speech is, I think, the shining speech/document of this century, and I think will be remembered as pointing the way this millenium. Faith AND reason have never been more clearly explained as being twin pillars than with Benedict.

My prayer for him is to live a long, long, long life. I do not care if he saves Europe from Islam or not, geographically speaking. He is saving us all nonetheless.

I’m 35, baptized as an infant, but raised by two pre Vatican catholic-turned-atheist/agnostics. Catholic school educated from 1-12 but that was a mishmash of libertion theology and postmodern morality, and I recoiled from it. I had never felt any grace, or experienced any faith until 2004, and returned to the Church in 04, to be confirmed, have my marriage validated, and then shortly thereafter, my infant son baptized.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Janice said:

I had read Joseph Ratzinger’s writings before he was elected Pope, so I was very happy when he was elected.

I agree with what Jeff wrote. I’m not a “traditionalist” Catholic, but Pope Benedict’s reverence for traditional liturgy and the Catholic tradition is reconstituting the Church and in time all Catholics will be united under a beautiful liturgy. Pope Benedict has reminded us that Catholicism is a liturgical faith and it behooves us to care for the liturgy and celebrate it with reverence. He also promotes what I call a “liturgical catechesis,” because everything is always grounded in our celebration of the Eucharist, in prayer, and in lectio divina, the ways in which we truly know Jesus Christ.

I also thought Jeff’s remark about Benedict focusing more on Catholics was right on the money. It was my impression that Catholics were in danger of losing, not only their doctrinal identity, but their historical and traditional identity and Benedict has revitalized all three. Frankly, I regard this as just as important as the fight against secularism, since Catholicism has nothing to present to secularism if it doesn’t have a secure identity. I hope it will also result in the end of things like “charismatic” Catholics” and “evangelical Catholics,” because these are not grounded in the Catholic tradition. The impetus for this will come out of the reformed liturgy and the increasing interest in the derestricted TLM.

I, too, wish the Pope health and many years. He’s truly “my Pope” and I hope he’s that for many others. His focus on prayer, his humility, the way he extends himself to do as much as he can for Catholics and the Church is truly an inspiration to me. I usually brush off references to the “Holy Spirit” or “spirit-filled,” because they reek of evangelicalism, but when he was elected I thought this truly was the action of the Holy Spirit. We are truly blessed.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Rose said:


Let me count the ways:

Benedict is a profound and thoroughly modern thinker. The most important (and sometimes I think the only one) voice of reason and faith in an age given over to value-free technology, value-free science, complete reliance on praxis.

He is a truly great communicator. Profound thought communicated in clear simple, limpid language. The Regensberg speech was brilliant, so is Spe Salvi.

He is a passionate pastor. His letter to the Chinese Catholics surprised me but after a time, I began to realize how truly brilliant this man is; it is a masterpiece, showing how he loves his whole flock. His various meetings with priests and religious….his love for them absolutely shines through. His frequent exhortations for Catholics to
take care of Christians in the Middle East.

He is a visionary. Summorum Pontificum, and some of its themes. Those who simply see a return to traditionalism IN SP are one step behind; His Holiness intends to take the Church forward firmly grounded in its Tradition, but forward nonetheless. He is also aware of what the Church needs so desparately after 40 years in the wilderness: recognition of her own identity and confidence in it.

He is a true father. He focuses on Catholics, he knows what his children need. He feeds his flock. He has begun the renewal (and I am not talking only about SP- it is in many areas, liturgy, the intellectual life of the Church, catechesis, help for various groups among us- in the Middle East, for example.)

How do I feel about this pontificate? I feel safe and secure in the Church under Pope Benedict. I feel I am fed true spiritual food, not stones. I feel he is truly my Holy Father.

What do I wish? Specifically, that the Catholic media and the Catholic hierarchy in the US would take up his message and spread it more effectively. I suspect many of them do not have the intellectual heft required, but some of them do.
Generally, that the Holy Father will have many more years (say, 10?) to continue the “renewal” he has started, to strengthen what remains, in the tumultuous decades to come.

Finally, my stats: middle aged cradle Catholic, revert to the faith, mother, professional, avid reader of anything by Benedict and the Church Fathers. Starved most of the time in my day to day local Church life but am hanging in there.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

SOURCE: amywelborn.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/preparing-for-the-pope/

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, March 1, 2008 11:06 PM
THE POPE OF CONTINUITY

I can't match the photographs better because I have yet to see a full-length photo of the Holy Father at the Rosary vigil today, but he wore two different stoles to officiate at two different ceremonies today - and both of them looked 'old', i.e. belonging to his predecessors.


At the Consistory this morning:


At the Rosary Vigil:
benedetto.fan
00Monday, March 3, 2008 7:14 PM
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, March 6, 2008 9:36 AM
'Effetto Benedetto'
presented in Rome

Translated from
the Italian service of




To appreciate the full profundity of Benedict XVI's teachings is impossible without re-reading the texts of his discourses. This is the premise that led to the book Effetto Benedetto which was presented Tuesday afternoon, March 4, at the headquarters of the Unione Cattolica Stampa Italiana (UCSI), the Italian Catholic press union.



The book is not a historical account of this Pontificate's early years nor a compendium of Benedict's Magisterium. The book is structured as a glossary which cites the words of the Holy Father on 40 topics.

Some are words that recur in his discourses and others are on the great issues. For instance, Judaism, ecumenism, youth, Islam, peace.

But why and how was this editorial initiative undertaken? The book's compilers, Paolo Fucili and Leonardo Possati, both journalists with SAT 2000 (the TV channel of the Italian bishops conference), were interviewed by Luca Collodi:


FUCILI: It was born out of the desire to make the Pope's words known, even with our modest means. That is why we adopted a formula based onm 40 key words that Benedict uses often even when speaking about aspects of the faith, like friendship, beauty, truth. They include the big themes of the Pope's agenda, but also his personal interests like music. In a way, the book reports what the Pope has said and done in the three years of his Poontificate so far, what his ideas are on these different topics.

POSSATI: I would add that this is a Pope who as a scholar, as a priest and as Pope, has a greatness of thought and ideas which is truly rare in our day. Perhaps, especially when he was elected and at the start of his Pontificate, it was thought that he would not be easily understood by the faithful, by simple folk, by the majority of Catholics.

Instead, he is someone who speaks and writes very simply - and that is certainly a quality and characteristic of truly great intellectuals.

This glossary serves this purpose: to give the general public the possibility of looking up what he has said about these specific key words.


Let us talk about communications. Paolo Fucili was in charge of this part. He writes: "Pope Benedict is a media enigma. He does not possess any of the qualities or defects that guarantee media popularity these days, and yet he is a crowd-drawer."

FUCILI: Let me say right away that the sentence is not mine, but it certainly summarizes the Pope's communication skill. He knows how to make himself understood. Perhaps we will never see him ever beat time on the arm of his cahir to respond to a crowd chanting his name as we often saw with John Paul II. But he certainly knows how to open a breach in his listeners.


Friendship and love are two characteristics which also help to convey a message effectively to the public. Do this help the Pope?

POSSATI: Definitely. One of the first things one noticed about him was that in his first address to the faithful as Pope, he used the phrase 'cari amici' (dear friends) a lot. Very unusual for a Pope.

And of course, he devoted his first encyclical to the idea of love, in all its forms, the love which is also the center and the foundation of Christian life, as well as the bearer of the Christian experience, which is an explosion of love, in Benedict's description.

And part of that love is friendship itself. Indeed, Benedict often speaks of friendship with Christ.



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, March 6, 2008 8:02 PM
California rabbi meets the pope
By Sophia Fischer
The Acorn

www.theacorn.com/
March 6, 2008


The Acorn serves the city of Agoura Hills and its nieghboring upscale communities in the Malibu judicial district of Caifornia.




Shaking hands with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in January was very moving for Rabbi Stewart Vogel, spiritual leader of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills.

Vogel was in Rome with an interfaith group of Catholic, Muslim, Protestant and Jewish religious leaders from Southern California. The 27 clergy members on the weeklong trip met with Vatican officials before continuing on to Israel.

Vogel was seated in the front row of a huge auditorium of about 10,000 people waiting for the Pope's appearance. Upon meeting the Pope, Vogel presented him with a book written by a Temple Aliyah congregant.

"The Pope was very gracious and kind," Vogel said. "It was a powerful experience."

The meeting was a reflection of the trip's goal to build upon and improve interfaith relations among participating clergy, something Vogel considers essential.

"You need to have a relationship so that you can foster a better understanding of community needs and how to help each other," he said.

Vogel's temple is next to St. Bernardine of Siena Catholic Church and School on Valley Circle Drive. Vogel has spoken at the church, and St. Bernardine's Father Robert McNamara speaks at the temple.

Children from Aliyah have toured the church to learn about Catholicism, and children from St. Bernardine's have attended the synagogue's Passover Seder.

Community is a word that Vogel lives by within his congregation of 900 families and beyond. His focus is to encourage people to care about one another. Having worked with a variety of local Jewish institutions, Vogel sees the greater Los Angeles Jewish community as one large group.

"Temple Aliyah's philosophy is one of partnership, and that means you share the journey," Vogel said.

That outlook earned him the "Rabbi of the Year" award in 2000 from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and the Mickey Weiss Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, now known as American Jewish University, in 2005.

Not bad for someone who didn't know he wanted to be a rabbi until he was almost done with college.

"If you were to ask my high school friends if I'd become a rabbi, they wouldn't believe it," Vogel said. In fact, upon hearing that Vogel wanted to become a rabbi, his grandmother said, "What kind of business is that for a Jewish boy?"

After his first visit to Israel as a student on a Los Angeles Hebrew High School program, Vogel became observant.

"There's a reason why so many people are influenced by visiting Israel. It translates the intellectual into the spiritual, incorporating everything you've learned," Vogel said. "It's one of those experiences where you wake up and go, 'I'm Jewish,' and it means something."

While majoring in business at Cal State Northridge, Vogel spent his junior year in Israel at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem then changed his major to Jewish studies. Soon after he began teaching at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino.

Vogel earned teaching credentials from the University of Judaism and a master's degree in Jewish education and ordination in 1988 from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, then did a rabbinic internship at Temple Israel, a conservative temple in White Plains, N.Y.

When his wife, Rodi, became pregnant with their first child, the couple decided to return to California to be near family. The Vogels have four children- Talya, 19; Elie, 18; Ari, 14; and Avi, 12.

Vogel spent five years as an assistant rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom before becoming the rabbi of Temple Aliyah in 1993.

Vogel serves as president of the Southern California Board of Rabbis, on the Rabbinical Assembly's executive committee and on the West Hills Hospital board of trustees. He is a former commission chair of the Conservative Rabbis in North America, served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly of the Pacific Southwest region and helped create the West Valley Rabbinic Task Force.

He is also the co-author, with syndicated radio psychologist Dr. Laura Schlessinger, of the national best seller The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life.

Vogel believes the biggest challenge confronting the Jewish people is how to make Judaism relevant to the unaffiliated. Today there is competition for people's hearts and minds, Vogel says, so synagogues must help people find a connection, be it spiritual, social or intellectual.

"You can't make people come to Judaism out of guilt or obligation," Vogel said. "We work hard to make a huge synagogue seem small and to make people feel part of it."


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, March 7, 2008 2:36 PM
The Vatican through an ambassador's eye:
Accompanying the U.S. envoy to the Holy See

By Elizabeth Lev


ROME, MARCH 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Art historians secretly dream of going back in time to see artistic masterpieces in their original environment, rather than as museum pieces. In their wildest flights of fancy, they fantasize about being part of that world.

Last Friday, this art historian lived that dream when I accompanied my mother, Mary Ann Glendon, as she presented her credentials to Benedict XVI as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

As we donned our black mantillas at the embassy residence, we were already entering into a different criterion of beauty and worth. Covered head to toe in long skirts and jackets, all I saw were the radiantly happy faces of my mother, sisters and daughters.

Draped in black lace, I thought of the tabernacle and the chalice swathed in exquisite cloth to indicate the preciousness of what was concealed from view. Furthermore, the precariously perched veils made one stand taller and conferred a stately dignity to our New England stride.

Two gentlemen of the papal court arrived at the embassy in a row of cars for the ambassador and her family; they ranked as princes not only for their long-established bloodlines, but also for their charm and kindness. The ease with which they engaged the various members of the family in conversation was only the beginning of our warm welcome to the Holy See.

The gentlemen regaled us with a story of how one diplomat brought 28 members of his family to the credentials ceremony including a number of small children. The children were particularly rambunctious it seems, running and climbing around the reception rooms while the Pope and the gentlemen laughed.

We were grateful for the comforting tale, feeling pretty certain that none of us would try to swing from a chandelier.

The cavalcade passed through the Square packed with tourists, pilgrims and the busy, everyday life around St. Peter’s. We then drove into the tranquility of the gardens enjoying the peaceful scenery, before winding through tightly knit towers and walls, dropping back in time as we reached the oldest parts of the Vatican palaces.

In the luminous courtyard of St. Damasus, we came to a halt in front of an impressive array of Swiss Guards in ceremonial uniforms complete with the bright red-plumed helmets. They presented their arms in greeting before ushering us into two wood-paneled elevators -- an appreciated modern concession for some very impractical shoes -- which whisked us to the floor of the papal receiving rooms.

We passed through the Sala Clementina, the high-vaulted hall gleaming with colored marbles and angels bearing the coat-of-arms of Clement VIII cavorting overhead. These rooms were familiar since I had had the good fortune of a group meeting with Pope John Paul II within these walls.

A long chamber followed, with red seats along the walls culminating in a raised dais. This chamber serves for consistories and "ad limina" visits. Gradually the rooms got smaller as we moved into the more intimate reception areas.

Smaller paintings adorned these walls: a strikingly realistic image of Christ in blessing by Dürer sat next to El Greco’s evocative vision of Christ in meditation.

Every now and then exotic objects added an unexpected note to the simple, sober décor. A rococo porcelain clock with pastel festoons carried the well-wishes of an Austrian emperor, while delicate Chinese vases framed a window overlooking the square. A Byzantine illuminated manuscript reflected the faith of the East while an enormous gold crucifix set in a hunk of amethyst and malachite testified to the extravagant generosity of the Russian Tsars.

Treasures from the most far-flung corners of the world easily found a place in the elegant setting of the papal apartments.

The last room was a throne room of sorts, complete with a raised throne in red damask silk. Here Ambassador Glendon left us to enter the Benedict XVI’s study alone for a few minutes of private conversation with the Holy Father.

The walls on either side of the throne boasted two life-size paintings of St. Peter and St. Paul. Fra Bartolomeo, a Dominican painter of the High Renaissance, executed the panel of St. Paul, while St. Peter was the work of Raphael.

The two monumental figures, reminded me of where I was and who I was going to see. The weighty form of these saints drove home the fact that almost 2,000 years that have passed since Peter and Paul died, here in this city, becoming the foundation of the church in Rome.

In these masterpieces, Raphael and his collaborator enhanced their symbolic message through color.

Paul’s robe glowed a deep red while Peter’s shone in brilliant orange, the colors of flame.

Like flint and steel, the two apostles ignited the Christianization of Rome, still burning brightly today. The man we were about to meet was the keeper of that flame.

The door to the Pope’s study opened and we entered in single file. I expected to see Benedict XVI on a raised dais in the middle of the room. Wrong. The Holy Father was standing next to the door, looking like a delighted host eager to greet long-awaited guests.

I had read about papal affability in the jocular exchanges between Popes and artists, not to mention the countless stories from the reign of John Paul II, but to see that friendliness in person was still surprising. No distant aura of aloofness, no chilly sanctimoniousness, but a sincere smile and frank interest in each person presented to him.

With our heads in the clouds and broad smiles creasing our faces, we posed for photos and received rosaries and blessings from Benedict VI. I thought the day had hit its zenith, but again, I was wrong.

As we filed back out into the loggia, four Swiss Guards took places around the new ambassador. With their halberds raised, they formed a protective curtain around her.

The stately procession made its way down the stairs to the colorful halls of the Sala Reggia and Sala Ducale, until we reached the Royal Stairs, the dramatic descent from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's Basilica and Square.

After 10 years of visiting the Basilica almost daily, I saw it with different eyes.

Turning into the bronze portals, we saw the immense nave of St. Peter’s stretched out before us; the ambassador’s cortege was tracing the same route as the papal procession for Mass.

The size of the Basilica amazes all visitors, but for the Pope, the vast and awe-inspiring space contained within its walls must be a striking reminder of his responsibilities as the successor of St. Peter.

Along the nave, Jesus’ words to St. Peter shimmer in gold mosaic, while in the apse, written in both Latin and Greek, is Christ’s charge to feed his 1.1 billion sheep and lambs around the world.

More than just a great Catholic clubhouse, the basilica underscores the tremendous duty of the universal pastor.

The role and responsibility of the new ambassador grew clearer as well; to nurture longstanding associations and forge new bonds of fellowship between our young country and the venerable See of Peter.

But these burdens are not shouldered alone. The ambassador’s tour of the basilica stopped at three points; first, in front of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament where a red velvet kneeler awaited her. The curtains were drawn back and Eucharist shone out from the altar between Bernini’s two graceful angels kneeling in adoration.

After the ambassador had a few moments with Christ, we walked to the altar of the Madonna of Perpetual Succor.

There, at the first altar to be completed in the new St. Peter’s, the ambassador knelt where countless saints had asked and received assistance from the Blessed Virgin in their endeavors for the Church.

Finally, we arrived at the heart of the basilica, the “Confession” containing St. Peter’s tomb. The ambassador knelt one last time, a stone’s throw from the site where St. Peter was martyred, before this rock upon which the Church was built.

While the ambassador prayed before Peter’s tomb, light played through Michelangelo’s dome hovering above her, illuminating the images of saints and angels in mosaic. I may be biased, but I think it's going to be a good year.

* * *

Elizabeth Lev teaches Christian art and architecture at Duquesne University’s Italian campus. She can be reached at lizlev@zenit.org.


what a great article, and what a grand surprise to learn Ms. Lev is Ambassador Glendon's daughter!



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, March 8, 2008 8:12 AM

Hosting the Pope's 2008 Summer Vacation, July 28-Aug.11



THE HOMECOMING OF 'DON' RATZINGER
by Paolo Valente
Translated from
the 3/7/08 issue of



The seminary of Bressanone. For this, above all, it will be a homecoming for Pope Benedict XVI. But in Alto Adige, Joseph Ratzinger has always felt at home for other reasons.

First of all, let us not forget that he has Alpine roots in the South Tyrol.

Born and raised in Bavaria - just beyond the Italian Alps - is maternal grandparents were natives of our valley. And the other aspect that makes the place more like home to him is that German is spoken here, as well as Italian.

And so, once again, Alto Adige has occasion to rediscover its calling as a meeting point between the Teutonic world and the Latin, between North and South. And we know that the communication between different identities (cultural, religious, etc) is among the issues most dear to this Pope.

He will certainly have much to iscuss about this with his old friend, Bishop Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone. There is no doubt Papa Ratzinger has high regard for him.

Only a few weeks ago, he named Bishop Egger to be the secretary for the Bishops Synod to be held at the Vatican in October on "The Word of God in the life and mission of the Church".

It is a theme that joins together the respective charisms of Ratzinger and Egger - the latter dedicated to Bible study, and the former to defining and preserving the identity of the Church, first as bishop, then as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now, as the Successor of Peter.

The two ex-professors will have much to say to each other. Especially since the diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone (Bozen-Brixen) serves as the trans-Alpine gateway to Italy for the 'ferments' from the Germanic world (Austria and Germany).

"Just before the Conclave (of 2005) began," Mons. Egger once said, "Cardinal Ratzinger underscored how important it was that the faith keep its identity clear and unmistakable in a secularized world which is marked so much by weak thinking, and that the ecumenical and inter-religious dialog can, in act, proceed more expeditiously if both parties to dialog are clear about their respective identities."

'Identity and dialog' is, in fact, one of the cardinal factors chosen byy Bishop Egger to confront realities in a diocese that needs unity while recognizing each other's differences.

But there is one other particular memory that Pope Benedict will always have of Bressanone. And that is the visit unexpectedly paid to him in 1977, while he was on his first summer vacation there, by the man who would become Pope John Paul I the following year.

He has narrated this before:

During the summer vacation of 1977, in August, I was staying at the diocesan seminary of Bressanone, and Cardinal Albino Luciani came to visit me.

Alto Adige is part of the Triveneto ecclesiastical region, and he - a man of exquisite kindness - felt that, as Patriarch of Venice, it was almost a duty for him to visit a young colleague [who had just been created a cardinal in May] who happened to be in the area.

I felt unworthy of such a visit. But on that occasion, I could admire his geat simplicity, as well as his great culture. He told me that he knew these places quite well, because as a child, he came with his mother on pilgrimage to the shrine at Pietralba, a monastery located at a thousand meters altitude (2200 feet), which is much visited by the faithful of the Triveneto region.

Luciani had so many beautiful memories of Alto Adige, and so he was happy to make this trip to Bressanone.



And speaking of what Papa Ratzinger has in common with our region, how can we not mention St. Corbinian's bear? St. Corbinian (6th-7th century), considered a founder of the diocese of Freising (which, with Munich, was Cardinal Ratzinger's diocese from 1977-1981) had stayed in the area of Merano for some time, and it was there he was first buried.

Legend has it that one day, Corbinian had to go to Rome and so, he had to cross the Alps. But a bear attacked and tore his mule to pieces, so the bishop ordered the bear, as punishment, to carry his luggage and accompany him all the way to Rome.

Ratzinger, recounting this legend in his autobiography, said he identified more with the bear rather than the bishop. In fact, Corbinian's bear features prominently in his coat of arms.

Ratzinger, in fact, concludes that autobiography [which ends with his consecration as Archbishop of Munich and Freisging] with these words:

It is said of Corbinian that, once in Rome, he again released the bear to its freedom. The llegend is not concerned about whether it went up into the Abruzzi or returned to the Alps.

In the meantime, I have carried my load to Rome and have now been wandering the streets of the Eternal City for a long time.

I do not know when I will be released, but one thing I do know: that the exclamation* applies to me, too: "I have become your donkey, and in just this way, I am with you".

*[The cardinal explains earlier that St. Augustine addressed these words to God, in his reflection on verses 22-23 of Psalm 72[73], where he saw the figure of the draft animal mentioned by the psalmist as an image of himself under the burden of episcopal work. "He had chosen the life of a scholar", Ratzinger wrote, but God had chosen to make him into a 'draft animal' - a good sturdy ox to pull God's cart in this world."

- From MILESTONES, 1998, USA
(first published 1977 in Italian as
La mia vita: Ricordi (1927-1977)][/DIM]

"I do not know when I will be released," Ratzinger wrote in 1997. Now he knows: he will never be 'set free'.

But at least he will have a fortnight of tranquility amid our mountains. Perhap during that time, even bears will be left in peace.

Alto Adige, 7 marzo 2008


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, March 8, 2008 8:12 AM

Hosting the Pope's 2008 Summer Vacation, July 28-Aug.11



Cardinal Ratzinger visiting a Malteser hospital in the South Tyrol during his last vacation in Bressanone
in August 2004, his tenth summer vacation there since 1977.
.




THE HOMECOMING OF 'DON' RATZINGER
by Paolo Valente
Translated from
the 3/7/08 issue of



The seminary of Bressanone. For this, above all, it will be a homecoming for Pope Benedict XVI. But in Alto Adige, Joseph Ratzinger has always felt at home for other reasons.

First of all, let us not forget that he has Alpine roots in the South Tyrol.

Born and raised in Bavaria - just beyond the Italian Alps - is maternal grandparents were natives of our valley. And the other aspect that makes the place more like home to him is that German is spoken here, as well as Italian.

And so, once again, Alto Adige has occasion to rediscover its calling as a meeting point between the Teutonic world and the Latin, between North and South. And we know that the communication between different identities (cultural, religious, etc) is among the issues most dear to this Pope.

He will certainly have much to iscuss about this with his old friend, Bishop Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone. There is no doubt Papa Ratzinger has high regard for him.

Only a few weeks ago, he named Bishop Egger to be the secretary for the Bishops Synod to be held at the Vatican in October on "The Word of God in the life and mission of the Church".

It is a theme that joins together the respective charisms of Ratzinger and Egger - the latter dedicated to Bible study, and the former to defining and preserving the identity of the Church, first as bishop, then as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now, as the Successor of Peter.

The two ex-professors will have much to say to each other. Especially since the diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone (Bozen-Brixen) serves as the trans-Alpine gateway to Italy for the 'ferments' from the Germanic world (Austria and Germany).

"Just before the Conclave (of 2005) began," Mons. Egger once said, "Cardinal Ratzinger underscored how important it was that the faith keep its identity clear and unmistakable in a secularized world which is marked so much by weak thinking, and that the ecumenical and inter-religious dialog can, in act, proceed more expeditiously if both parties to dialog are clear about their respective identities."

'Identity and dialog' is, in fact, one of the cardinal factors chosen byy Bishop Egger to confront realities in a diocese that needs unity while recognizing each other's differences.

But there is one other particular memory that Pope Benedict will always have of Bressanone. And that is the visit unexpectedly paid to him in 1977, while he was on his first summer vacation there, by the man who would become Pope John Paul I the following year.

He has narrated this before:

During the summer vacation of 1977, in August, I was staying at the diocesan seminary of Bressanone, and Cardinal Albino Luciani came to visit me.

Alto Adige is part of the Triveneto ecclesiastical region, and he - a man of exquisite kindness - felt that, as Patriarch of Venice, it was almost a duty for him to visit a young colleague [who had just been created a cardinal in May] who happened to be in the area.

I felt unworthy of such a visit. But on that occasion, I could admire his geat simplicity, as well as his great culture. He told me that he knew these places quite well, because as a child, he came with his mother on pilgrimage to the shrine at Pietralba, a monastery located at a thousand meters altitude (2200 feet), which is much visited by the faithful of the Triveneto region.

Luciani had so many beautiful memories of Alto Adige, and so he was happy to make this trip to Bressanone.

And speaking of what Papa Ratzinger has in common with our region, how can we not mention St. Corbinian's bear? St. Corbinian (6th-7th century), considered a founder of the diocese of Freising (which, with Munich, was Cardinal Ratzinger's diocese from 1977-1981) had stayed in the area of Merano for some time, and it was there he was first buried.

Legend has it that one day, Corbinian had to go to Rome and so, he had to cross the Alps. But a bear attacked and tore his mule to pieces, so the bishop ordered the bear, as punishment, to carry his luggage and accompany him all the way to Rome.

Ratzinger, recounting this legend in his autobiography, said he identified more with the bear rather than the bishop. In fact, Corbinian's bear features prominently in his coat of arms.

Ratzinger, in fact, concludes that autobiography [which ends with his consecration as Archbishop of Munich and Freisging] with these words:

It is said of Corbinian that, once in Rome, he again released the bear to its freedom. The llegend is not concerned about whether it went up into the Abruzzi or returned to the Alps.

In the meantime, I have carried my load to Rome and have now been wandering the streets of the Eternal City for a long time.

I do not know when I will be released, but one thing I do know: that the exclamation* applies to me, too: "I have become your donkey, and in just this way, I am with you".

*[The cardinal explains earlier that St. Augustine addressed these words to God, in his reflection on verses 22-23 of Psalm 72[73], where he saw the figure of the draft animal mentioned by the psalmist as an image of himself under the burden of episcopal work. "He had chosen the life of a scholar", Ratzinger wrote, but God had chosen to make him into a 'draft animal' - a good sturdy ox to pull God's cart in this world."

- From MILESTONES, 1998, USA
(first published 1977 in Italian as
La mia vita: Ricordi (1927-1977)][/

"I do not know when I will be released," Ratzinger wrote in 1997. Now he knows: he will never be 'set free'.

But at least he will have a fortnight of tranquility amid our mountains. Perhap during that time, even bears will be left in peace.

'Alto Adige', 7 marzo 2008



The cardinal and his brother Georg in the South Tyrol, August 2004.


Another feature from the Alto Adige mini-special on the Pope's coming visit is written by Francesco del Mas, the reporter who provided us with a daily chronicle of what the Pope did during his summer vacation last year in Lorenzago di Cadore:


Piano-playing and prayer
By FRANCESCO DAL MAS


Already last year, Pope Benedict indicated a nostalgia for his vacations in Bressanone and visits to nearby Pusteria when one day, during his vacation in Lorenzago di Cadore, a helicopter was on alert to fly him to Alto Adige. Which would have been a short flight north.

In October 2004, when he came to Belluno to visit the Papa Luciani Center there, he expressed his wondrous admiration for the Dolomite region, particulary its many mountain lakes.

And last summer in Lorenzago, he kept saying, "It is so beautiful here. It's a Paradise!", as he walked the level, easy-on-the-feet paths at the foot of Mt. Cridola and the gentle wooded slopes of the Cadore valley.

He would go out in the early evening around 6 p.m. and spend up to an hour on brief excursions in the surrounding area. Long enough to pray the rosary while taking a walk.

No real excursions, though, such as those made by Papa Wojtyla when he was younger and fit - and certainly no mountain climbing, as John Paul did on Mt. Petralba.

His security provided him with a rather wide radius to be undisturbed. And so, those he met were not the usual curiosity-seekers but people out on a walk themselves - grandmothers or parents with children, mushroom gatherers, young hikers or mountain-bikers., other vacationers.

But with those he met this way, it was he himself who would stop and chat with them, simply and affably, if briefly.

In Lorenzago, Papa Ratzinger spent three weeks living in monastic cimplicity in a vacation chalet on the estate of Mirabello castle. Prayer and study in the mornings after early-morning Mass and breakfast. A walk in the adjoining castle park, with benches where he could stop and sit with a book if he wanted to. Then back to the house for lunch, a brief siesta, and then, a 'session' at the piano (there certainly will be one at the Bishop's Apartment which he will occupy at the Bressanone seminary).

Around 6 p.m., without fail, the rosary, prayed with his secretary during a walk at a destination that was usually a Marian shrine or a church, not more than 4-5 kilometers away from Mirabello. Some of them, he took more than once. His farthest excursion was to Danta di Cadore at 1400 meters (3080 feet) altitude.

Apparently, he can no longer tolerate high altitudes for extended periods. This could be the reason why this year, he chose Bressanone, which is less elvated than Lorenzago, and much less than Les Combes in Val D'Aosta, where he spent his first two summer vacations as Pope.

One thing sure: discretion is something the Pope will appreciate during his visit this time to Alto Adige.

Alto Adige, 7 marzo 2008

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, March 8, 2008 5:55 PM
MICHELLE'S HOLIDAY 'MIRACLE'

Gabriella has just informed me of a letter she got from Michele, about some wonderful holiday surprises she had in connection with the beloved Ratzinger brothers.

Shortly before Christmas, Michele and her husband were back in Regensburg and on their last day there, they were given an appointment to see Mons. Georg once again.

She asked him to autograph the book written about him last year, and also brought along a little gift for the Holy Father - a calendar Michele had made using pictures taken in Lorenzago last summer and a watercolor she made of the Plan dei Buoi - a famous plateau in he Dolomites which John Paul II often visited when in Lorenzago, but which Benedict had not visited.

To her great delight and surprise, shortly after the New Year she received a note from Mons. Gaenswein thanking her for the gift, along with the Pope's Christmas card, SIGNED BY HIM.

She thinks the kind Frau Heindl must have made sure the calendar was in Mons. Georg's bags when he left for the Vatican, and thus was instrumental in her little holiday 'miracle'.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, March 8, 2008 6:36 PM
RECALLING 'THE RATZINGER REPORT' - AND ITS AFTERMATH


Hosting the Pope's 2008 Summer Vacation, July 28-Aug.11


The Holy Father's decision to return to Bressanone for his fourth summer vacation as Pope has brought back many stories about his ten previous vacations there as a cardinal.

Surely, the two most often told stories are Cardinal Albino Luciani's visit to him at the seminary in Bressanone in 1977, the year before the then-Patriarch of Venice would become Pope John Paul I; and the fact that the seminary in Bressanone was where Vittorio Messori interviewed him in 1984 for what was to become the international best-seller The Ratzinger Report (English edition of RAPPORTO SULLA FEDE).

Here then, to refresh our memory, is the piece that Messori wrote for Corriere della Sera on April 19, 2005, the day Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope. This translation was originally posted in ENCOUNTERS WITH THE FUTURE POPE in April 2006, under the title 'THE RATZINGER HE KNEW'.



IL MIO RATZINGER
By Vittorio Messori



The Cardinal and the journalist in 1984.


I think you will forgive me for what I am feeling. I write in the heat of the moment (TV and all telephones off) shortly after learning that I am now, not only co-author of a book with the deceased Pope, but also with the Pope who has just been elected!

It all seems too huge and challenging for someone who has long abandoned Milan to live in peace along Lake Garda, who goes to Rome rarely and even rarely to the Vatican, whose interest lies not in church news but in writing about the history of the Church and in biblical exegesis.

But, however strange, it has happened so. I was invited to lunch at Castel Gandolfo, where I discovered that John Paul II had read my books (starting with the first one, Hypothesis on Jesus, which he wished translated to Polish), and then came the unexpected question, which put me in crisis and made me hesitate first rather than exult.

“Why don’t you ask me some questions?” And that was how the book Crossing the threshold of hope came to be, about which I am gripped by emotion when I think that the Pope’s answers – the only content that matters in that book – were all written by hand in Polish at night, after his exhausting days!

I had finally agreed to the project after discovering that one of the reasons Papa Wojtyla was ready to repose his trust in me (“Do what you think,” he had said when I asked him if he had any specific instructions to give me) was that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had told him he was pleased with the work we had done together.

It was the summer of 1984. Ratzinger, who at the time had been cardinal for less than three years, was named by John Paul II in 1981 to be the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as the former Holy Office had been renamed to use the theologically correct term for its function.

Ratzinger interested me a lot. The faith, orthodoxy, seemed in danger because of the post-conciliar tribulations in the Church, but Ratzinger as a young theologian had played a role at the start of that tempest as an adviser to the progressive wing of the German episcopate.

The Ratzingers, the Kuengs, the Schillebeeckx and other Germans, Dutch and French theologians had founded Concilium, the magazine that published the most radical arguments because they were “scientific”, based on studies in depth, not just sloganeering.

But a few years later, here was Ratzinger, who was not only a cardinal by now, but also installed as chief in the Roman palace that had been that of the Grand Inquisitors.

“I didn’t change, they did,” he answered, when among my first questions, I asked him about his apparent return to tradition. He explained that he realized how the theology which he had championed in Vatican-II – instead of deepening faith by highlighting the aspects that were most in tune with the times – was being used instead to preach rupture and discontinuity, to present Vatican-II, not as the 21st ecumenical council of the Church, but as a new beginning which called for wiping the slate clean of everything that had gone before.

While in the case of Papa Wojtyla, the book project was his initiative, it wasn’t so with Ratzinger. It was me, who through mutual friends, first made the request and subsequently dared to ask for it personally myself.

His staff smiled indulgently and thought I was being fanciful. They were well aware that the Holy Office has been characterized through the centuries by the most rigorous secrecy (in fact, it was Ratzinger who made it possible for the first time to open its once inaccessible archives to scholars and researchers). But an interview,- indeed, a book! - based on questions to the Prefect of the Faith! Was I serious?

And yet, the improbable happened. A few days before the mid-August vacation break in 1984, I parked my car at the beautiful seminary in Bressanone which, in the summers, offered an inexpensive, unpretentious vacation place for priests and Catholic families.

Among the vacationers that year was a priest with intense features, who had aristocratic manners, despite his petit-bourgeois origins, with prematurely white hair, slightly built, wearing modest clergyman outfit, without any particular insignias of office. The Cardinal had been spending his summer vacations here in recent years.

Of his vacation that year, he had decided – and I still don’t know what hade him do it – to give me three days for my project. We saw each other in the morning and talked till lunch in front of a tape recorder. The good Tyrolean nuns served us rustic dishes for lunch. Then, after a brief rest, we sat down again in front of the tape recorder. The next two nights, we also met again after dinner to make any necessary changes and clarifications.

From those conversations came the book Rapporto sulla Fede [first published early 1985] which became an attention-getting bestseller in 20 languages. (In the USA, where there are a lot of traditional Catholics, the paperback edition was available in supermarkets.)

However, it provoked such strong reaction, pro and anti, within the Church itself that the year it was published has been designated in most textbooks as the end of the post-Conciliar chaotic phase.*

Before saying anything about his thinking, I wish to speak first about Ratzinger the man.

Legend – as well as, unfortunately, the ideological hate of many in some clerical circles – has made him into the Panzer-Kardinal, an inhuman fanatic of orthodoxy, a true heir of the Grand Inquisitors. But the real Ratzinger – not the mythical one – is among the most gentle, understanding, cordial, even downright shy men I have ever known.

I can say of him what I said recently to a tribunal investigating the cause for beatification of Mons. Alvaro de Portillo, who had been St. Josemaria Escriva Balaguer’s first successor as head of Opus Dei.

“He is a priest with whom, after hours of conversation, I wished to put down my notebook and pen, and just open myself to him, perhaps even confess to him.” I did not confess to Ratzinger, but I would have been glad to if I had the chance.

He is certainly an austere man. At mid-afternoon the nuns at Bressanone would bring us a tray with chocolate and tea and the excellent cookies and cakes they made. But it was only I who partook of the snacks with pleasure. For His Eminence, only a glass of water, which he sipped from once in a while. But, significantly, unlike too many moral fanatics, he kept the austerity to himself and did not expect others to follow.

Years later, I would confirm this in one of our conversations. Recalling the days in Bressanone, I told him, with a smile, that I did sacrifice a little for him then, by not smoking during the hours we were together.

I saw he was genuinely consternated: “But why didn’t you tell me? It would not have bothered me at all. Even if I don’t smoke, I like the odor of tobacco.” It probably was not true but I appreciated his concern to put his interlocutor at ease.

He is also a man with a good sense of humor, always ready to smile. I remember being with him at table one night, after he had received a prize. He asked me to tell him what jokes were circulating about him in the parishes. I relayed quite a few to him, and he was truly amused.

For the rest, one must ask what is left of the black legend about the Grand Inquisitor - after one draws up an accounting of his 24 years as Prefect of the CDF and discovers that the most extreme measure he ever took against a theologian (that which unleased a river of invective on him) was to invite Leonardo Boff to his office for coffee and questions, and deciding afterwards to ask him to desist for one year from saying anything about liberation theology, no interviews, no press statements, no demonstrations!

Dutiful rumblings emanated from the Palazzo Sant’Ufficio during the Ratzinger years but no lightning bolts followed, and the reputed underground dungeons of the Palace have never been put to use for anyone!

The truth is that, out of his love for the Church, Joseph Ratzinger made a great sacrifice, giving up his true vocation as a scholar of theology and as a professor who could divide his time between his studies and work with young people.

He has always been uneasy about having to intervene critically in the work of some of his colleagues. Whenever he did, it was because it was his duty, it was the hard task assigned to this “laborer called to work in the vineyard of the Lord,” as he described himself in his first words as Pope.

And why Benedict XVI instead of John Paul III, as might have been expected, if only out of loyalty, affection, and his brotherly ties to his predecessor?

For the reason Paul VI named Benedict of Norcia Patron of Europe (to whom Wojtyla added Cyril and Methodus to represent the oriental churches) – a name to recall to us the Christian roots of Europe which the Constitution of the European Union does not wish to even acknowledge.

Rapporto sulla Fede came out in 1985, just four years before the Berlin Wall would come down. And yet vast sectors of the Church were still enthralled with the idea of communism which many had discovered with a passion rather late.

Everything in that book provoked the indignation of anyone who called himself “progressive’ (but who would instead end up outside the historical mainstream). Everything, but above all else, the definition that Ratzinger gave of Marxism: “Not the hope but the shame of our time.”

But the book was not, as many claim, “the manifesto for restoration”. It was simply a reaffirmation of the faith as it always was, a preview of what would be affirmed in the New Catechism.

I don’t have the time nor the space left to predict anything about the Papacy of Benedict XVI (it still feels strange to think of my dear, good 'don Joseph' this way! ).



But there is one thing in which I don’t think I can be mistaken: a rapid, drastic intervention in order to restore stability and sacredness to the liturgy.

In any case, the Holy Spirit knows His business. He will know how best to inspire the new Shepherd of the flock.


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

THE UNEXPECTED AND WIDE-RANGING EFFECTS
OF 'THE RATZINGER REPORT'



*On his website www.et-et.it/
the biographical section, contains an account of the aftermath of THE RATZINGER REPORT. From a distance of more than 20 years, one looks back, amazed, at the uncommon passions that the book aroused.



This was really a major issue, far beyond the mere fact that the interviews for the book took place in Bressanone, but it is a good occasion to recall it. Here is a translation -



In the autumn of 1985, a world Synod of Bishops opened at the Vatican to commemorate the 20 years since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council.

To the unusually great throng of reporters who came from every continent to report on the Synod - many drawn by the burning controversy raised by the book - the Vatican spokesman had to announce immediately and publicly that the bishops were not there to discuss the book!

In the book, Cardinal Ratzinger had denounced with such clarity the dangers and difficulties faced by the Churchand had condemned in clearcut terms thelogies like the so-called 'liberation theology' that the reaction from progressivist clerical circles was so virulent as not to be limited to insults and verbal aggressions in a myriad articles, pamphlets and TV interviews.

"Indeed," Messori recalls of that time, "at a certain point I had to leave Milan for some time, without informing anyone of my wherabouts, to stay at a convent in the countryside where I had friends. I had been getting all these threats - almost always anonymous, but occasionally signed with their full name by priests and religious who were wildly furious - saying I would pay dearly for the 'sin' not only of having interviewed the Grand Inquisitor but for not having contradicted him indignantly when he demolished the theories of those who saw in the post-Conciliar era nothing but a new beginning for the Church."

"The threats of physical aggression came noty only by mail or fax but even with repeated telephone calls, even at night. That is why I had to leave all that behind and enter into 'clandestinity'...

"In fact, one theologian denounced me before an ecclesiastic tribunal, in the name of canon law, for 'disturbing the tranquillity of the Church', on the ground that I had reported without comment the thoughts of the Pope's doctrinal right arm... He claimed that the book was not really Ratzinger, but Ratzinger according to Messori, and manipulated by him.

At the time, the cardinal had to reiterate officially that he had reviewed and approved the text before it was published - something he had already made clear when the book was first presented at the Vatican.

"I must say that I still get letters thanking me for the book, saying that it gave new confidence to those who feared that they would have to resign themselves to the liquidation of the Catholic faith as it had been since the Church was born."

While we are at it, it is very instructive to reread what George Weigel wrote about that 1985 Synod - and its revaluation of Vatican-II - in his biography of John Paul II, Witness to Hope, pp. 502-505.

I will reproduce here the most pertinent paragraphs, starting with the role that Cardinal Ratzinger played with respect to that Synod:





A CALL FOR AFFIRMATION: THE EXTRAORDINARY SYNOD OF 1985

Holding an Extraordinary Synod on the 20th anniversary of Vatican II to relive the Council experience and review its implementation had been John Paul's 'personal idea', according to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, himself a major figure in the Synod drama.

The Council was, in Karol Wojtyla's settled view, a regat giftof teh Holy Spirit to the Church that demanded both celebration and deepened reflection. Among other things, that deepened reflection required the entire Church to divest itself of the 'liberal/conseervative' political interpretation of VAtican II and to think about the Council as a religious event in which the chief protagonist was the Holy Spirit.

Shortly after the Extraordinary Synod opened on November 24, 1965, Cardinal Godfreed Daneels of Belgium complained at a press confernce that "This is not a Synod about a book, it is a Synod about a Council!"

The book in questionw as Cardinal Ratzinger's review of the post-conciliar state of the Church, a lengthy interview with the Italian journalist Vittorio Messori which had been published in early 1985 under the provocative title The Ratzinger Report.

Danneels was right, of course, and Ratzinger would have been the first to admit it. Years later, Ratzingeer said that "it was true and important for Cardinal Danneels to say that we had this Synod about the Council as fathers of the Church, and not to discuss a book", because Il Rapporto, as it was known all over Rome, was 'not the point of departure for the Synod."

There was a sense in which Ratzinger was being too moest, however. Il Rapporto was neither the cause nor the substance of the Synod. But Ratzinger's book had given permission, to to speak, for the Synod to debate two questions that had only been discussed quietly in the two decades since Vatican II.

Had there been serious misinterpretations of the Council,? Were these misinterpretations impeding the Church's reception of Vatican II's teaching, especially on the Church's distinctive nature as a 'communion'?


By putting these questions openly on the table, Il Rapporto was a major factor ins etting the intellectual framework in which the Synod's deliberations were conducted and its recommmendations framed....

A careful reading of the Extraordinary Synod's Final Report suggested that, with varying degrees of conviction and enthusiasm, the Synod members agreed that there had been misinterpretations of the Council adn that it was necessary to reread Vatican II....

The Extraordinary Synod had a few surprises, among whichw as n iversion of roles.

The progressives at the Synod were the party of the status quo. "Why does there have to be a change?" one prominent progressive - himself a creator of the liberal/conservative taxonomy of Vaticna II - complained. "What's wrong with the way thigns have been going?"

The progressives mopst inclined to complain about "Roem' and the RomanCuria were also the most vocal defenders of the new curias that had developed in the national conferences of bishops....

The inversion of roles was most pronounced in reaction to a proposal from Cardinal Bernard Law of Bostonm adopted in the Final Report, that a world catechism or 'compendium of all Catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals'' be prepared.

The progressive party, failing to see its relevance to modernity, dismissed the idea as impossibly old-fashioned. Nishop James Malone, president of the US Bishops Conference, when asked about it, told a reporter, "Don't worry about that - ypu won't live long enough to see it completed."

Bishop Malone turned out to be dramatically wrong. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992, became an international best-seller...

John Paul II saw the Synod, as he had seen Vatican II, as a preparation for the Church's entrance into the third millenium of Christian history. ..There was a real question in many christian communites as to whether Christians could, after 2000 years, 'give an ccount' of their hope - as they were enjoined to do in the New Testament (1 Pt 3,15)...

The Catechism was a clear statement that Catholicism thought it possible to account for its beliefs and practices in a coherent, comprehensive and accessible way. it could 'given an account' of teh hope that possessed and animated it. It could make a ptroposal tto the men and women of this age...

Although the ringing affirmation of the Church's evangelical mission at the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 did not end the divisions in Catholicism by any means, it did mark the end of a period in Catholic history.

The Council that had taken the gamble of not providing authoritative keys to its interpretation ahd been given an authoritative interpretation by the Synod. That process could now continue through further Synod assemblies and the papal exhortations that complete an ordinary Synod's work.

Certain interpretations of the letter and 'spirit' of VAticna II had been tacitly but decisively declared out-of-bounds. Teh temptation to self-secularization had been identified, which was the first step toward combatting it. At least some of the mythology about 'liberals' and 'conservatives' had been dispelled. That was accomplishment enough for two weeks' work.


- From WITNESS TO HOPE, pp. 502-505
By George Weigel, New York, 1999

One way to look at this Extraordinary Synod - whose main conclusions the progressive dissidents have continued to ignore - is that it is literally book-ended by two works associated with Cardinal Ratzinger - The Ratzinger Report before it, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, of which he was the chief editor as prefect of the CDF, after it.

Joseph Ratzinger's stewardship fo the CDF was truly a continuing and outstanding reaffirmation-cum-defense of the faith over almost a quarrter-century.




maryjos
00Sunday, March 9, 2008 12:16 AM
Plan of Campaign!
I despaired of ever being able to get to Lorenzago - at my age and with a fear of hitching a lift!

So......how does this ageing groupie get to Bressanone? Start: England.
Mode of transport: Aeroplane, train, bus......packhorse.....

Answers on a postcard please!!!!
! [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824]
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, March 9, 2008 8:02 AM

Hosting the Pope's 2008 Summer Vacation, July 28-Aug.11



Did you know about the cat Milly?
by Georg Von Metz Schiano
Translated from
the 3/8/08 issue of



BRESSANONE - The people of this city are of two minds about the Pope's visit. On the one hand, they would like him to have the most peasceful and restful holiday possible. But on the other hand, they would also like to avail in every way of this great opportunity to get as close to him as they can and make him feel their affection.

They are still trying to figure out what exactly will be happening here from July 28 to Aguugust 11.

Right now, the only known facts are that the Seminario Maggiore will be at the complete disposal of the Pope and his staff, although the Pope himself will occupy only the three-room 'bishop's apartment' - which is really 'minimalist', consisting of a bedroom, a study, and a bathroom.

Rooms will be assigned to the nine members of the Pontifical 'family' - his valet, four housekeepers, two private secretaries, and two close-in security men. The only other residents for those two weeks will be Seminary Rector Ivo Muser and his housekeeper-nun.

There are two 'reunions' that will be special for Pope Benedict - his brother, Mons. Georg Ratzinger, who was with him on his previous vacations here - will be coming down from Regensburg to join him.

And then there's Milly, the black seminary cat, to whom the cardinal always gave some time during the day when he visited in the past.

The residents of Bressanone are sure that the Pope chose to vacation here this year because he has fond memories of his previous vacations, when he did enjoy peace and tranquility - even when he was Prefect of the CDF and widely considered to be the #2 man in the Vatican after the Pope.

Of course, he can no longer take his solitary walks through the streets of the city, nor show up in the early morning at the Cathedral to greet his friend, the sacristan Albert Lercher, nor join the local faithful on Sunday afternoons when they gather at their parish church to say the Rosary.

This time, he will have a security perimeter around him. Both the Seminario Maggiore and the Accademia Cusano next to it will be 'isolated' from the rest of the historic center of the city.

The Pope's security men from the Vatican will be lodged at the adjoining Accademia Cusano. Since it is August, there will be no regular activity at the Seminary, its attached Philosophical-Theological college, and the Accademia Cusana.

Jacob Kompatscher, president of the German-speaking parochial council, said, "Of course, we want to leave the Holy Father in peace, more than anything. But we are hoping that maybe we can call on him just to give him our greetings, as we don't have to tell him anything about us - he knows our situation quite well."



'Alto Adige', 8 marzo 2008


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

SOME BACKGROUND INFO ON THE PLACE:




Bressanone is the third largest city in the Italian region called Trentino-Alto Adige/Suedtirol (South Tyrol) - a mixed German-Italian region, much of which has only been part of Italy since 1919.

Before then, Alto Adige was known as the South Tyrol and was part of Austria. At the end of World War I, Austria ceded South Tyrol to the Italians, and, in a bid to make the new territory instantly Italian, Mussolini turned the name on its head, naming it after the upper reaches of the Adige River (called Etsch in German), which bisects the region. The formal name of the region in German is still South Tyrol. (In Alto Adige, most place names have an Italian name and a German name).

To add to the confusion, the region is also referred to as Bolzano-Bressanone/Bozen-Brixen, after the two major cities of the Alto-Adige. It is also the name of the Diocese.

Bolzano/Bozen is the capital of Alto Adige province, while Trento is the capital of Trentino province. Trento is, of course, the Trent of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) which gave rise to the Counter-Reformation. Its Latin name is Tridentum, for the three hills that surround the city like three teeth; the Latin name gave rise to the adjective-form 'tridentine'.

After the 'repartition' to Italy, many Tyroleans opted for resettlement in Germany, but others stayed and have clung tenaciously to their language, culture and traditions. Even now, one of the first things you'll notice about Alto Adige is its German character.

Gothic onion-domed churches dot the landscape of vineyards and forests, street signs are in German, and there's sauerkraut and strudel on the menu.

By contrast Trentino, the southern province of the region, is 98 percent Italian-speaking, and the food and architecture are more Mediterranean than Alpine.

Both provinces enjoy semi-autonomy from central government, along with one of the highest standards of living in Italy, a consequence of special grants and aid they receive from Rome - intended to defuse the ethnic tension that has existed ever since enforced union took place.

Tourism, farming and wine production are the mainstays of the economy, and there are plenty of good, reasonably cheap guesthouses and agritourism places in the mountains and vineyards.

Although the region's resorts can be lethargic, the landscape, dominated by the stark and jagged Dolomites, is among the most beautiful in the country. Circling the spiked towers of rock that characterize the range, a network of trails follows the ridges, varying in length from a day's walk to a two-week trek; the long-distance trails, called alte vie , can be picked up from the small resorts.

The chief towns of Trento and Bolzano are the transport hubs for the region. Trento gives access to most of the western Dolomites: the Pale di San Martino, a cluster of enormous peaks encircling the high, rocky plain above San Martino di Castrozza; the Catinaccio (or Rosengarten) range between the Val di Fassa and Bolzano; the Gruppo di Sella, with its vie ferrate; and the glacier-topped Marmolada .

Still in the western Dolomites, but with easier access from Bolzano,
are the Alpe di Siusi, a magical plateau of grass and wetland, high above the valley. The alpe are enclosed by the peaks of Sasso Lungo (or Langkofel) and Sciliar (or Schlern); to the north is the quieter Odle (or Geisler Gruppe). Even further to the west, on the other side of Trento, are the Dolomiti di Brenta, a collection of wild peaks above the meadows of Valle Rendena.

The eastern Dolomites start on the opposite side of the Adige Valley, past Passo di Campolongo and Corvara, with activity focusing on Cortina d'Ampezzo, self-styled "Queen of the Dolomite resorts" - which is actually just across the regional border in the Veneto.


BRESSANONE/BRIXEN



Elevation: 560 m (1837 ft)
Area: 85 square kiometers
Population: About 19,000

Brixen is an old town, founded in 901, and the artistic and cultural capital of the valley of the Isarco River, even though it is a small town by any standard.. It is located at the confluence of the Isarco and Rienz rivers, 40 km north of Bolzano and 45 km south of the Brenner Pass, on the Italy-Austrian border. It is surrounded at east by Plose and Monte Telegrafo (2,504 m), at west by Cima Cane and Monte Pascolo (2,439 m).

The majority of the population speaks German as first language. The remainder of the inhabitants speak Italian and Ladin as first languages, with percentages of 27% and 1%, respectively.
In Italian, the residents are called brissinesi; in German, Brixner.

Brixen is especially known as a major skiing resort (the Plose). Other activities include hydroelectric power, wool, orchards and vineyards.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, March 10, 2008 11:33 AM
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, March 10, 2008 12:44 PM

Hosting the Pope's 2008 Summer Vacation, July 28-Aug.11


The Pope's links
to Alto Adige

Translated from
the 3/8/08 issue of






BOLZANO - Papa Joseph has multiple links to the Alto Adige/South Tyrol, personal as well as familial.

In 2005, a local historian in Bavaria found definitive proof that the Pope's grandmother and great grandmother were South Tyrolean, like his mother, who, however, migrated to Bavaria with her parents while still an infant, back in 1884.

And of course, that may well be the reason why Joseph Ratzinger and his siblings started vacationing in this region since 1977.

In 2005, Johann Nussbaum confirmed, by researching local municipal documents in the region, that the Pope's maternal grandmother, Maria Peintner, was borh in Rasa, in the commune of Naz Sciaves on June 19, 1955.

It had always been said she was born in the Rio Pusteria area, and indeed, as a cardinal, the future Pope has visited there at least twice, even going to the cemetery to pray at the graves of his ancestors. Visits that were made during his summer vacations in Bressanone.

Acccording to Ivo Muser, rector of the Seminario Maggiore where the Pope will be staying - he was a summer lodger when he was a cardinal -"Papa Ratzinger is an old acquaintance, as far as this city is concerned."

"He first came to Bressanone in 1967 - he was a professor at Tuebingn then - to give a lecture on the priesthood to seminarians of the German-speaking area. But when he became Archbishop of Munich in 1977, he established a 'routine' of spending two weeks here once every three years, usually between the end of July and mid-August.
The last time he was HEre was 2004, the year before became Pope. The first few years, he was accompanied by both his brother and sister (who died in 1991)."

The cardinal made good use of his vacations, making excursions through the region. He has visited Monte Maria, Castel Tirolo, and many other localities, usually to visit churches, shrines and convents, but also to enjoy the natural beauty of the Tyrol.



Muser adds, "But he liked best to stay in thE seminary, in its library. For ten summers, he did work there, researching and writing a lot. He started the first chapters of JESUS OF NAZARETH here, in 2004. And of course, it was at the seminary, in 1984, that he was interviewed by Vittorio Messori for what became Rapporto sulla Fede."

Bishop Egger recalls: "Even with his studying and writing, he also enjoyed meeting the local people and earning their affection. He was always discreet. He didn't seek people out, but he did not avoid them either. People became used to seeeing him hwer and there. At tjhe Lake in Nemes, or visiting a shrine or an old chapel in the outlying areas."

'Alto Adige', 7 marzo 2008


RATZINGER'S ROOTS
IN THE SOUTH TYROL


Last year, when the Holy Father was in Lorenzago, I was wondering whether he would visit his ancestral hometown in Rio Pusteria. It turns out, of cours, that he did not, but there was some 'hometown news' - in that a band from Muehlbach in Bavaria came to pay tribute to the Pope during one of the Angelus Sundays. In it, I posted some information from the Nussbaum research referred to in the above article, from a German article about it that Palma e-mailed me earlier last year.

Muehlbach is a small village in the commune of Kiefersfelden in the Bavarian Alps, where on January 8, 1884, according to the civil registry, Maria Tauber, resident of the homonymous Rio di Pusteria/Muehlbach in the Alto Adige/South Tyrol, gave birth to a baby also named Maria. She was baptized on February 25, 1884 in the village of Oberaudorf. Her father is listed as Anton Peintner who is buried in the cemetery of Rio Pusteria. Maria Peintern would become the mother of Joseph Ratzinger junior, now our Pope.





Nussbaum turned up with a picture of the house where Joseph's mother was born as it looked at the time she was born (above, left), and the house as it looks today (above, right).

And here is what I found out about Rio di Pusteria/Muehlbach at the time. Rio di Pusteria is near the Italian-Austrian border. The German Muehlbach in Kiefersfelden is farther north, in the Bavarian Alps.

This is a link to a route graphic
showing train connections to Rio di Pusteria/Muehlbach.

root.riskommunal.net/riskommunal/objektlink.asp?obj=218428613&gnr=936&s...

Here is the secondary banner in the Rio di Pusteria site (the site which tells you everything you want to know if you had any business to do with the municipality, but no general information, alas!) - the other places mentioned are its villages
.



The other interesting thing is that the hometown newspaper of Rio di Pusteria is in German, the Muehlbacher Marktblatt.
And Tauber/Peintner, the Pope's maternal grandparent surnames are very German, obviously.


19th-century postcards from Muehlbach/Rio di Pusteria:




Muehlbach/Rio di Pusteria today:


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:45 PM
Washington's Woman at the Vatican
By JEFF ISRAELY/ROME
TIME Magazine
Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2008



I posted this item in NOTABLES first, but Ambassador Glendon says a lot about Pope Benedict, so Im posting it on a Benedict thread as well....And Israely's own 'presentation' of the Holy Father in this article is actually positive, in contrast to his series of snarky items in the past.



Ambassador Glendon presented ehr credentials to the Hoy Father on Feb. 29.


You never know what to expect when Karl Rove calls. But when the phone rang for Mary Ann Glendon last summer, Rove, still President Bush's top adviser at the time, had a holy mission for her: Ambassador to the Vatican.

Now, having just landed in Rome, one of the biggest tasks of that mission is already on her desk: coordinating Benedict XVI's first papal visit next month to the United States.

"It's a great moment to arrive here," Glendon says of her assignment to the Holy See. "[The trip] will be interesting... Be prepared to be surprised."

Moving from a Harvard Law School lecture hall to the U.S. Embassy at the Vatican might seem to require a major leap of faith. But Glendon, considered one of the top American Catholic thinkers of her generation, has long been at home along the banks of both the Charles and Tiber Rivers.

Officially installed on Feb. 29 as the new American Ambassador to the Holy See, she is a longtime Harvard Law professor, author and international expert on human rights and legal theory.

But her resume also includes stints as a visiting lecturer at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome and three years as the President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the first woman to hold such a prestigious academic post at the Vatican.

President Bush's choice of the 69-year-old registered independent as his top envoy at Catholic Church headquarters — following a pair of prominent Republican fundraisers in the post — is a clear nod to the cerebral leanings of the man in charge of the Holy See.

Pope Benedict XVI's nearly three-year reign has been marked by his intellectual explorations and probing writings about how a timeless faith intersects with contemporary life.

During an exclusive interview with TIME, at her embassy office overlooking Rome's ancient Circus Maximus, Glendon said she hopes to offer lucid analysis for Foggy Bottom about just how the deep thoughts of the "Professor Pontiff" might influence public policy.

One example was Benedict's provocative 2006 discourse about religion and violence in Regensberg, Germany, which initially angered many Muslims, but has also helped recast the worldwide "Clash of Civilizations" debate.

"One of his central preoccupations has always been about reconciling faith and reason," Glendon said of the Pope. "He wants to know how religions can come to terms with the enlightenment."

However, Glendon's first major piece of business requires the nuts-and-bolts diplomacy. On April 15, Benedict sets off on his first papal trip to the United States, a six-day visit to Washington D.C. and New York City that will include stops at the White House, Ground Zero, the United Nations and an open-air mass at Yankee Stadium.

While arranging the itinerary will be complex enough, there is also the matter of dealing with the Pontiff's philosophical fascination with America.

Glendon said the Pope is "intrigued" by the U.S. model for managing the Church-State divide, which contrasts with the contemporary European tendency to avoid public professions of faith.

"We are a nation that has traditionally valued the role of faith in sustaining the democratic experiment," she said. "Culture comes before politics... and religion is at the heart of culture."

Though the Vatican was staunchly opposed to the war in Iraq, Glendon arrives largely after the fact, as both sides are focused on rebuilding the fractured country. She says that the German Pope and American President, who visited the Vatican last year, "seem to have formed a good friendly relationship."

Herself the author of books on family law, comparative legal traditions and Eleanor Roosevelt, Glendon says that like many Catholic academics she's long followed the writings of the man formerly known as Professor Ratzinger.

"He speaks frankly to the deep-seated needs and desires of modern and postmodern men and women," she says. "He's not afraid of confronting the questions that people ask themselves in the middle of the night."


Staunchly pro-life, Glendon was the first woman to lead a Vatican delegation to a major U.N. conference after Pope John Paul II appointed her head of the Vatican delegation to the 1995 U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing. The Church's stance on reproductive policy has been criticized for its absolute ban on condoms, even in its missionary work with AIDS victims.

The mother of three insists that she's a committed feminist, "If you let me define the term." She says she is focused on issues that are "of particular interest to women and that wouldn't be heard if women didn't draw attention to them."

She says that two of her biggest concerns are finding solutions for working mothers and worldwide poverty, which "has a feminine face."

"Feminism, like everything, has a history and goes through stages. What's foremost on minds of not only young women, but also men, is how to have a satisfying work life without sacrificing family life," she said. "Feminism will take a new form. It will be different, but we don't know how because there's no road map from previous generations."

Glendon says that Rove's call last summer was a "total surprise" but she didn't even need a moment to mull the offer of the ambassadorship.

"Why sure, I'd love to do that!," she recalled, with a hearty laugh, her instant response to Rove. Becoming the leading American government representative at the Vatican has required Glendon to give up her post at the Pontifical academy. She denied there was any conflict of interest in having served the Vatican in the past.

"Like others I have done volunteer work for the Church, mine has been as an academic," Glendon said. "I understand my role. I took my oath." And, we can safely assume, she's said her prayers too.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, March 11, 2008 10:23 PM



Rescuing the palms
in the Vatican Gardens






VATICAN CITY, Mar. 11 (Translated from PETRUS) - The palm trees in the Vatican Gardens will undergo expert evaluation and check-up on March 17 by horticulturists from the Il Cammino cooperative and the Center of Study and Rsearch on Palms of Sanremo and Bordighera.

A news release says the Ligurian experts will "assess the condition of the ancient and valuable species of palm trees in the Vatican Gardens to rule out, in the first place, the presence of
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (a red fungus that has been decimating palm trees in the Mediterranean countries)."

The experts hope to identify the plants at risk and install individual tree monitors with radio signals that will enable telemonitoring of any eventual appearance and development of the plant disease. Early identification would allow the scientists to intervene with chemical treatment.

The initiative was taken through the Foundation for Artistic Assets and ACtivities of the Church, as part of the annual Easter homage to the Pope by the Itaian Riviera resort cities of San Remo and Bordighera, which are also the flower-producing capitals of Italy.



This Palm Sunday, the cities will present the Holy Father with a 3-meter-high composition of palm fronds called 'palmureli', in which the fronds are woven together without using any metallic fasteners.

The tradition goes back to 1586, when Pope Sixtus V honored a sea captain from San Remo for a heroic rescue in St. Peter's Square.

It happened at the elevation of the obelisk on St. Peeter's Square, during which there was a decree that no one was to speak while it was being raised. Captain Bresca violated it by crying out "Wet the ropes!" when he noticed that one of the pulley ropes supporting the heavy obelisk was about to break from the heat of friction.

Buckets of water were poured to cool the 'system', and the elevation was completed without further trouble. If the rope had broken, hundreds would have risked being crushed to death.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, March 15, 2008 1:43 PM
Pontifical medal for
Lebanese foundation
Arab News, 3/15/08

Arab News is a Saudi-based newspaper published in English.





VATICAN, 15 March 2008 — Leila El Solh, vice chairman of Alwaleed Bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation in Beirut, was awarded the Pontifical Medal by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Wednesday, according to a press release.

The medal was in recognition of the achievements and efforts made by the foundation, chaired by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, to encourage tolerance between different religious faiths and social groups in Lebanon and promote religious dialogue.

Moreover, the medal acknowledged the foundation’s philanthropic activities and support to those in need regardless of their background and creed.

Leila said that the foundation serves as the address for every Lebanese citizen committed to his land, roots, and devoted to his country, free of religious or regional affiliations.

The foundation was set up on July 19, 2003, and its headquarters overlooks Riad El Solh Square. In a very short time, the foundation has managed to reach many of the areas in Lebanon in need of humanitarian support for development projects and to fight poverty.

The foundation has become a pillar of support for educational, health and social organizations throughout Lebanon, and has built an advanced network with other sectors and public entities in the country

Leila was the first woman in Lebanese history to hold a Cabinet position when she was appointed minister of industry in 2004. She is the youngest daughter of the late Prime Minister Riad El Solh.

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

The event obviously took place after the General Audience on Wednesday. Not only do we hardly ever get to see on TV the Pope's one-on-one contact with the people he meets after these aduiences. We also do not get to hear what happens unless the story and/or picture is released by the individuals or groups concerned.

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