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

Full Version   Print   Search   Utenti   Join     Share : FacebookTwitter
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, ..., 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, [43], 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50
00Thursday, April 3, 2008 3:18 PM

You can parse "elegant" all you wish, but the point is: the word does not belong in the context of liturgical vestments. If you read biographies or studies of Popes such as Leo XIII, Pius XI, et al., you never see remarks like this.

Now I realize that we're in a different time and place, and the Pope is resurrecting old vestments in conjunction with the derestriction of the TLM. Still, there is appropriate language and inappropriate language.

I long for the days when fashion designers just didn't comment on the Holy Father at all. It always lowers the conversation.
00Thursday, April 3, 2008 6:04 PM
more elegance
The difference is - in this particular case certainly not overalls and suspenders [SM=g27822] but:

1.) a bavarian in leather pants who oozes rural, or maybe even not so rural, Bavaria from every pore of his body and happens to look wonderful and happy doing so

2.) a bavarian in leather pants who looks perfectly content and happy, not out of place, but also has a certain something about him that makes him stand out

3.) a bavarian in leather pants who was forced to wear those darn things from childhood on, but would rather be seen in a suit

Easy choice, I think.

Anyway, somehow, by chance, or by providence, he just happens to be an extraordinary person. In almost every respect.

The best part is: we're the lucky ones benefitting from it all so much!!

Another point: I prefer fashion designers commenting on elegance to so called, want-to-be experts who have not even the slightest idea of who he is, and what he is all about, spreading their unqualified nonsense all over the place!

[SM=x40796] [SM=x40796] [SM=x40796]

00Thursday, April 3, 2008 10:07 PM
Thanks a lot, cowgirl, but I think I know enough about Joseph Ratzinger to comment on him, even though I'm not a fashion designer.
00Thursday, April 3, 2008 10:16 PM
the press!!
I was talking about the press for heavens sake.. unqualified, nonsense spouting members of the press!!!!

Oh man!!!!

00Friday, April 4, 2008 9:24 AM
First, elegance is elegance, in whatever context or any way you 'parse' it. And I beg to disagree - yes, even a liturgical vestment can be elegant.

Second, fashion designers are human beings too, and Balestra was speaking as a Catholic who happens to be a fashion designer. How can that 'lower the conversation'?

00Friday, April 4, 2008 11:38 AM
GABRIELLA.JOSEPHINE, 28.03.2008 11:34:

In this lovely photo we can see my dear friend Michelle G.,
who lives near Stuttgart, during her second visit with
Monsignore Ratzinger, in Regensburg (December 2008)
while she asks him to sign the byografic book
"Der Bruder des Papstes".

(Photo by Siegfried H.,her husbend)

So, I've finally seen the photo - apparently it didn't work on the German section.
Thank you very much, Gabriella, what a very special moment this must have been for your friend.

00Friday, April 4, 2008 1:01 PM
GRAZIE A TE, CARA RICARDA!!!! [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800]
00Friday, April 11, 2008 12:24 AM

It was a festive presentation yesterday after the General Audience of the new book Benedictus: Servus servorum Dei(Benedict, Servant of the Servants of God), written by Giuseppe De Carli, bureau chief of RAI (Italian state TV) at the Vatican.

Shortly after the 2005 Conclave, De Carli published a book, Fare la verita nella carita (To seek the truth in charity), based on TV interviews he had done with Cardinal Ratzinger over the years.

The new book was a project of three publishing houses, with a lengthy foreword by Mons. Rino Fisichella, Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University and one of the prelates closely associated with Benedict from when he was Cardinal Ratzinger.

The book of 248 pages and 250 photographs is not only a biography of Joseph Ratzinger but also a synthesis of a great theologian's thought, a Summa ratzingeriana, a cathedral of thought that describes the intellectual trajectory of this teaching Pope.

De Carli was accompanied at the presentation by representatives of his three publishers.

In the book, De Carli uses a description by Benedict's former prefect of theological studies at the seminary, Mons. Alfred Laepple, who said "Pope Benedict is an intellectual with heart."

The RAI anchor, who wrote a book about Benedict shortly after the 2005 Conclave, told the Pope yesterday that he was 'nostri temporis stupor et miraculum' (a wonder and miracle of our time). And perhaps to no one's amazement, the Pope readily identified the quotation: "That is what Ulrich of Strasbourg said about his teacher Albertus Magnus."

They presentors expreessed their wishes for the success of the Pope's coming trip to the Untied States and advance greetings for his 81st birthday.

The Pope leafed through the book, and was observed to pause at the sections about "Culture and vocation" and "Faith and reason: Christ our contemporary". He also appeared to appreciate the section called 'Grand Tour of Bavaria' , an account of his visit to his homeladn in 2006 'from Marktl am Inn to Regensburg."

[The writer - no byline, unfortunately - then goes on to a brief review of the book:]

Benedict: A synthesis of tradition
and the post-modern

In the vast and detailed panorama of religious literature, and more particularly, publications dedicated to the Holy Father, the bok Benedictus: Servus Servorum Dei by the journalist Giuseppe De Carli stands out for its originality and propositive synthesis.

The preface has the prestigious signature of Mons. Rino Fisichella, Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical Lateran University, a world-renowned theologian and known to be closely associated with the present Pope.

The preface itself is a true and proper 'brief essay' which condenses teh two fudnamental elements of Joseph Ratzinger's thought: his analysis of the cultural phenomenon and the crisis of faith which, in growing measure, impact on Christianity; and the faith itself, the cardinal point and hermeneutic key to all of Ratzinger's theological output.

Faith, as Benedict XVI reminds us in his second encyclical Spe salvi, has been defined as "the substance of things hoped for; and the proof of things unseen."

To tell the story of Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI is not easy. And yet, it is a biography that does not need hagiography, because it is about an intelligent and lively child who said at five years old that her wanted to be a cardinal, found himself involved in the war, fought Nazism in his own way (writing protest verse in Greek hexameter), was encouraged by his superiors to maketheology his profession, had to say Yes when Pope Paul VI unexpectedly took him out of academe and made him Archibishop fo Munich and cardinal shortly thereafter, gave in likewise wehen John paul II wanted him in Rome as his doctrinal czar, and finally at 78, gave in yet again to his last and most demanding call from God, to be the Successor of Peter.

The book tells us that Benedict XVI may not have the screen-bursting presence of John Paul II, may not exhibit a devouring apostolic zeal and at his age, is unable to travel the way his predecessor did, but he gives us a lot to think about.

As a person, he presents a sense of spiritual lightness (in the sense of not being weighed down) and qualities that are both old-fashioned as well as contemporary. A Pope who is a perfect synthesis of tradition and the post-modern. He doesn't raise his voice, he dialgos; he does not inveigh, he murmurs; he does not impose but seeks to convince.

Against all predictions, he is a Pope for the media, in what he says and does, even while he manages to escape their fatal embrace completely.

The Pope of friendship with God, of love, of faith illumined by reason, of hope, is presented in this book by a journalist who has a way with words and a persuasive gallery of photographs that illustrate the life of a man and an intellectual who is leaving a profound mark on the life of the Catholic Church and mankind itself.

De Carli conceived the book as a sort of a single-edition magazine, a monograph about one man that opens up fields of reflection, plumbs the depths of apparently lateral issues, and ventures into unexplored terrain.

The book is also excellent as iconography, for the esthetic quality of the images chosen and for its documentary wealth.

It is, above all, the story of one man's happiness in a life destined to make him successor to the Prince of Apostles. And whether Benedict's joy can be contained and conveyed through a book is the awwesome challenge that faced both the author and his editors.

Il Cittadino, 10 aprile 2008


I will provide a translation of Mons. Fisichella's Foreword later. L'Osservatore omano has published substantial exerpts of it, but it is still lengthy.

00Thursday, April 24, 2008 11:11 PM

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

The diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone has opened a website on teh Pope's coming summer vacation in Bressanone.


The site is in Italian and German, but it also has photo galleries. To begin with, some previously unseen pictures of Ratzi in Bressanone in previous years, such as this one:

And here's a photograph of the Seminario Maggiore where the Holy Father will be staying, taken from its interior courtyard.

I'll post a translation later of the Corriere dell'Alto Adige items today about the Pope's vacation, and add more pictures.

00Friday, April 25, 2008 12:27 AM
and I don't just mean the photograph of the seminary with the rainbow blessing it in the sky!!!!!!!
So, is there any point in trying to get to Bressanone in July? In a way I think it would be an intrusion. I feel that Papa wants to go there partly so that he can have certainty of peace within the seminary and partly, of course, because it was his favourite holiday place prior to his election.
Heck, I didn't even know about tonight's concert in the Paul VI Hall until I looked at Yahoo News tonight, so getting there would have been impossible, even allowing for the fact that I didn't have a ticket - boo ,hoo!!!!!!
Wasn't it heartening to see Bruder Georg there with him! Everything back to normal, home again.......breathe a sigh of relief.
00Monday, April 28, 2008 5:09 AM
An interview with the author

Since this is not a book review, I decided that the most appropriate place to post this is here, rather than in the BOOKS thread.

Drawing on frequent visits to Germany and on previously untranslated texts, Brennan Pursell depicts Pope Benedict XVI as a native son of Bavaria whose intellect, and theological perspective, were shaped there.

Why do you think the Pope’s early life and his cultural background are often mischaracterized?
There are a number of reasons for this nasty tendency, none of them pleasant. First of all, in America today most people still immediately associate Germany with Nazism, World War II, and the Holocaust, or, if one is feeling charitable, with Martin Luther.

The weight of evil in Germany’s past is still a very real burden, as it ought to be, but people really should acknowledge that there is more to Germany than all that. Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, is no exception.

In his case the mischaracterization is even worse because of his two decades as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, commonly referred to as the living ancestor of the Inquisition, something which we in America automatically loathe.

What inspired you to write this particular perspective on the Pope?
Mainly the problem described above. Besides, through my own research and personal experience, I know there is more to Germany than its worst crimes against humanity. Also, Pope Benedict is a first-class, bona fide genius, and most people have no idea about how smart he is.

He is a world-class intellectual, and one who can talk to anybody and make himself understood. Too often we hear people saying that he seems cold or distant. He’s the opposite of that, actually.

Describe some of the ways in which Joseph Ratzinger’s Bavarian roots have impacted Pope Benedict’s papacy.
this is an interesting question, and it deserves a full answer, but to be brief I’ll say this: Benedict wants to shore up traditional Catholic prayer, worship, and teaching in his papacy. The faith of his youth, as it is today, is noble, beautiful, uplifting, respectable, and challenging.

He wants to strengthen its backbone against a prevailing culture that denigrates it as backward, stupid, and fundamentally suspect. Where he grew up, he got to know scores of simple, honest people who lived their faith without protest or reservation.

It had been 1000 years since a Bavarian Pope was elected. What was the response in Bavaria when Pope Benedict XVI was elected?
There was general rejoicing, putting it mildly, most of all by those who live their faith and love their Church, but also by those who felt they could share in the new acquired dignity in some way. One of the first newspaper headlines loudly proclaimed, “We are Pope!”

And even those Bavarians who readily gripe about the Catholic Church and the current Pope will often add with self-satisfied smile, “But he’s one of us.”

You reviewed dozens of interviews with people who know Joseph Ratzinger, from his childhood to the present day. How did these individuals describe the person who became the leader of the Catholic Church?
There is remarkable agreement across a wide array of persons, positions, and backgrounds. Almost everyone says that he is and has always been a disarmingly simple, gentle human being.

Even his most tireless critics will admit that he listens, readily and fully, to whoever is speaking to him. Then there is the brilliance of his mind. The stories would make your jaw drop.

What makes this biography most unique?
As far as I know, mine is the only biography written in English that relies predominantly on German sources, from the people who know him the best. Also, it is completely up to date, including a brief history of the pontificate until 2008, as well as summaries of his most important books.

It is written for the general reader; there is little or no theological jargon. If you are looking for one book to tell you about the man, the Pope, and the wealth of his teaching, this is it. I’m quite taken with the pictures, too.

Is there anything that surprised you in conducting your research?
The whole process of research and writing was both an education and an inspiration. It was like taking a private tutorial in Catholic theology, philosophy, and world history with one of the greatest minds of the last half-century.

At the same time, although Ratzinger once described himself as “a perfectly ordinary Christian,” he is still, in my mind, a great spiritual guide.

His words somehow deepened my faith, enriched my prayer life, and increased my understanding all at the same time. I can’t really explain it. And writing the book was a real pleasure. Even if not a single copy is sold, it was still more than worth it. Don’t smirk, I really mean it.

With Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States in April of 2008, you could not have chosen a more appropriate time to release this book. What should Americans know about the man who is spiritual father to millions?
This above all: all he cares about is that you come to know Christ. God is Love, the Love than can solve all your problems and relieve your cares and worries, the Love that gives your life meaning and purpose. Divine Love is the way, the truth, and the light.

All Benedict wants to convey to you and everybody else is the saving message that is Jesus Christ. I don’t think the Pope cares whether he dies tomorrow or fifteen years from now. He knows his life will be measured by the extent to which he brought God’s love to others.

What are some of your favorite anecdotes about Pope Benedict XVI?
Oh, there are dozens about how he delivers homilies and dictates letters, articles, and even whole books right off the top of his head, drawing on his elephantine memory, which is based on about seventy-five years of constant learning.

He speaks in finished paragraphs, thinks in chapters, and writes his books out by hand, usually in one, finished draft. That’s what many people have testified, and it is truly stunning.

What is it about Bavaria that captures your heart, enough that you continue to make frequent visits and lead annual pilgrimages throughout the region?

Good grief…everything: the landscape, churches, cities, and art museums, the fun, the food, and the beer. I’ve left out adjectives on purpose. It’s all world-class, so beautiful and wonderful. Even the public transportation system is extraordinary, to say nothing of the Autobahn.

For me there’s the family connection as well, but I also know no one who has spent time in Bavaria and regretted it. I love bringing along groups of students from DeSales University (where I teach European history) and watching their cultural and mental worlds expand. If you want to walk in the Pope’s footsteps, go to my website for information about the pilgrimage.

Have you ever met Pope Benedict XVI? What do you think he would think after reading Benedict of Bavaria?
I would love to, but he has about a billion souls to care for and probably several thousand VIPs waiting in line. I certainly don’t count as one of them. Should he ever get a chance to read my book, my hope is that he would nod to himself and say, “Good, that man has gotten it right.”

00Thursday, May 1, 2008 5:35 PM

NJ store gives out pieces
of carpet walked on by Pope

FLEMINGTON , N.J., May 1 (UPI) -- A New Jersey store owner says he is giving away sections of carpet walked on by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to New York's Yankee Stadium.

Ted Resnick, Flemington Department Store owner, supplied 20,000 square feet of carpet used for the pope's April 20 mass at Yankee Stadium and his April 19 trip to St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., Newhouse News Service reported.

Resnick said people from across the nation are asking for pieces of the carpet.

"There was one woman who wanted a piece for her son to kneel on when he got married," he said.

Part of the reason people are eager to get their hands on the carpet is that a papal visit to the United States is a rarity. Benedict's trip marked only the third such visit in history.


I'd go to Flemington to get a kneeler-size piece!

00Friday, May 2, 2008 9:03 PM
Vatican OK with Time magazine snub

VATICAN CITY, May 2 (UPI) -- A Vatican spokesman suggests that Pope Benedict XVI has no need to be on a Time magazine's list of influential people with Bruce Springsteen and Miley Cyrus.

Time's ranking of the 100 most influential people in the world includes two religious leaders, the Dalai Lama and the Patriarch of Constantinople. Along with the usual movers and shakers such as U.S. President George Bush, the list is larded with pop stars and athletes.

''I'm very happy that the Pope isn't on the list because they have used criteria that have absolutely nothing to do with the evaluation of the Pope's religious and moral authority,'' Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told the Italian news agency ANSA. ''It's difficult to draw comparisons and establish rankings with very different characteristics: there are actors, tennis players and so on."

Lombardi said that "the Pope's kind of authority and service" are different from those offered by George Clooney, Andre Agassi and Mariah Carey.


I wasn't aware TIME had come out with its new list, but I am not really surprised. Their lists are rather arbitrary, often confuse celebrity for influence, and even, sometimes, out of touch with reality.

Last year, they did not include President Bush at all - and no matter what you think of him, any sitting President of the United States is bound to be more influential in concrete ways on the entire planet than 10 Miley Cyruses and a dozen George Clooneys put together, or even all of the 99 other 'most influential' put together.

Whereas all the other 'celebrities' in whatever category may exert unfluence on opinions, say, about policy, only the President among them all is able to make policy into law and to carry out many other actions with direct as well as indirect repercussions around the globe by executive power alone. That the editors of TIME did not even realize how absurd their decision was is proof once again that prejudice often blinds common sense.

As for this year's list, I am positive that Patriarch Bartholomew, for one, must be embarassed by the fact that he is named to the list but not Pope Benedict XVI!

Still, TIME ought to be ashamed for so blatantly leaving off the Pope, who more than anyone else should automatically go to any list of the world's most influential people in our day.

In any case, not including the Pope was just as silly, or even sillier, than omitting Bush last year. TIME is being schizophrenic about Benedict - because it has just come off a generally positive presentation of him during the US visit, starting off with that pre-visit cover story. Now, all of a sudden he is far 'less' than what their own writers have been writing about him????

If influence were measured by TV coverage alone, what other single personality has merited the wall-to-wall coverage given to the Pope by American TV for six whole consecutive days? No single personality - not even OJ Simpson, just to mention the kind of of 'celebrity' America generally lavishes its attention on - has merited that degree of pervasive across-the-board coverage in the past 20 years I have lived in this country. Only the coverage of an actual presidential election or a huge natural disaster comes close.

When the Dalai Lama was given the Congressional Medal of Honor a few months ago, only the cable news channels saw fit to cover it - the networks simply devoted their measly newsbit on the evening newscast to the event. Which is a reflection of media's skewed choices, not on the Dalai Lama.

My outrage is not that the Pope is demeaned in any way by TIME's blatant omission, nor that inclusion in the list has any intrinsic value, least of all for him, but against the obtuse perversity and sheer stupidity of ignoring a fact that cannot be more obvious!

P.S. What makes it even more ridiculous is that in 2005, before he was elected Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger made it on that 'List of 100' - but not Pope John Paul II! (The list came out the week he was buried, so at the time they compiled it, they must have 'counted him out' simply because he was already gravely ill, a fallacious premise considering the unprecedented universal turnout and grief at his death!]

As Pope, B16 was in the list every single year thereafter, so his omission this year is even more questionable. If he had merited being on the list as a cardinal, are they saying he has become less influential now that he is Pope? Less influential now than he was in 2005, 2006 and 2007? Oh what a tangled web they weave, indeed, when they do set out to deceive....

00Monday, May 5, 2008 7:58 PM

'Time flies,' as our beloved Holy Fahter remarked unexpectedly when he addressed disabled children and their families in Yonkers last April 19....

40 years since Joseph Ratzinger's
'Introduction to Christianity'
first came out

VATICAN CITY, May 5 (Translated from SIR) - Forty years ago, Professor Joseph Ratzinger published a book based on the lectures he gave for a summer theology course at the University of Tuebingen.

It was the fateful year 1968. Since then, his Introduction to Christianity has been a perennial international best-seller and has been translated into more than 30 languages, including Chinese, Arabic, and just last year, Russian).

This book, which many consider to be Ratzinger's first masterpiece, will be the subject of an interdisciplinary conference to be held at the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum (Queen of Angels) in Rome on May 12-13, entitled "The voice of Christian faith: Joseph Ratzinger's 'Introduction to Christianity" - 40 years later".

The conference will be opened by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

The discussions on Monday, May 12, will revolve around the "The question of God and Christ as a fulcrum to introduce the Christian faith", and on Tuesday, May 13, "Reason can speak of God - indeed, it must speak of God if it does not wish to amputate itself".

The 1968 book is not only a primer on Christianity, used even in seminaries and theological faculties, but may also be seen as an excellent access to Benedict XVI's theological thinking. In it, the future Pope discusses all the guidelines, decisive questions and fundamental issues of the faith that continue to be the subject of his Magisterium.

00Tuesday, May 6, 2008 6:28 AM

The Vatican postmark during the Holy Father's visit
to the US/UN:

Stamp to be issued this month by the Vatican Post Office to commemorate the 60th anniversary
of the UN Declaration of Human Rights:

I find the design very striking, and the Holy Father's pose and profile are just perfect!

00Thursday, May 8, 2008 12:01 AM
The Shoes of the Fisherman
By Fr. Guy Selvester

OK gang we've done this before but let's go over it again.

First and foremost the Pope does NOT wear Prada. That was an inexpicable rumor started (probably by someone who wanted to give people another reason to dislike the Pope) and never denied by Prada. Why should they deny it? It generated lots and lots of buzz.

But, in fact, the truth is much more normal and boring. The Pope has his own shoemaker and that job has been in the same family for generations.

Since the end of the papal visit I have been inundated with questions about why the Pope wears red shoes. Simple answer: the Popes used to wear all red (which is why cardinals also wear red because they were allowed to dress like the Pope) until Pius V, a Dominican friar, was elected and chose to continue wearing his white Dominican habit.

From then on the Popes wore white but with certain items continuing to be red like the mozetta, the cape, the hat and...the SHOES.

What I want to know is why there is this sudden interest in the red papal shoes as if people are only just now realizing that they exist. Is this yet another thing that people think Pope Benedict has invented or revived?

Has no one ever noticed before that Popes wear red shoes? The answer that has been given to me is that, "Pope John Paul II preferred brown shoes". That is to say that he preferred brown shoes as the only kind he wore.


For cryin' out loud, gang, he was BURIED wearing red shoes! Now, let's be fair. There were times when Pope John Paul II did, in fact, wear shoes that were such a dark shade of maroon as to be be practically brown. I've even seen photos of him occasionally in black shoes. The shoes he wore most often seem to have been a deep red but they were, nevertheless, red. Most definitely red.

Where people got the idea that Pope Benedict was doing something new, or reviving something old, by wearing red shoes I still do not know.


Several weeks ago, I posted an item with pictures about the papal shoemaker Adriano Stefanelli. At that time, I was in a hurry for some reason and did not really get to post all the pictures I would have liked to...I've more time now, so here are some shoes Stefanneli made for both John Paul II and for Benedict XVI, from Stefanelli's site, www.adriano-stefanelli.it/


First, another picture of JP-II wearing red shoes, this time while on vacation...

Stefanelli shows some of the shoes he made for JP-II.
The pair on the extreme right are house shoes that the Pope gave to Patriarch Alexei-II of Moscow as a gift.


Stefanelli presenting shoes after a general audience.

The image on the extreme right shows the felt shoebags for the papal footwear.

Benedict strolls in the Vatican Gardens in Stefanellis.

Stefanelli lives and works in the northern Italian city of Novara (midway between Milan and Turin).

00Saturday, May 10, 2008 7:26 PM
Remaking the Pope's liturgical look
by Andrea Tornielli
Translated from
Il Giornale

May 10, 2008

This is one of the photos posted by Gregor Kollmorgen in the NLM post I 'quote' below,
but I've put it up here because it is appropriate to this story

In Genoa, where he grew up, they call him 'don Guidino', because he is tall and thin. In Rome, where he arrived last October after being chosen by Benedict XVI to be his Master of Pontifical Liturgical Ceremonies, he has earned respect for his courteous manner but also for faithfully putting into practice the liturgical ideas of Papa Ratzinger.

Mons. Guido Marini, class of 1965 (year he was ordained), succeeded Archbishop Piero Marini, who had been in charge of John Paul II's liturgical celebrations for more than 20 years, and through the first two and a half years of this Pontificate.

Don Guido's arrival - as someone who had been both ceremonial master and chancellor for two Archbishops of Genoa - could not have passed unobserved because of his restitution to current use of some traditional liturgical vestments and accessories for the Pope, many of them from previous Popes.

Benedict XVI has even replaced the modern staff used by both Paul VI and John Paul with a more traditional ferula (staff surmounted by a Cross, rather than the Crucifix) that was used by Blessed Pius IX. Indeed, some commentators during the Pope's recent US trip referred to the Pope's liturgical 'look' as 'vintage'.

We met with Mons. Guido at his Vatican office, which has one of the most beautiful views over St. Peter's Square - to ask him, above all, the reason for re-introducing even miters first used by Benedict's predecessors. For instance, last Christmas season, for three different occasions, he wore miters that had been made for Paul Vi, John XXIII and Benedict XV.

He answered: "The vestments that the Pope has adopted, like some particulars of liturgical celebration itself, are intended to underscore continuity between present liturgical practice and what characterized the Church in the past. The interpretative key of continuity is always the precise criterion for looking at the Church's passage in time, and this goes even for liturgy."

"Just as a Pope cites his predecessors in his documents to indicate the continuity of the Church Magisterium, he can do this in liturgical matters by using the liturgical vestments and sacred accessories of his predecessors, indicating the same continuity in liturgical practice.

"However, I wish to point out that the Pope does not always use old garments now. He more often wears vestments of contemporary design. What matters is not really oldness or newness, but rather beauty and dignity, which are important components of every liturgical celebration."

One other obvious change recently was that Pope Benedict XVI stopped using the silver pastoral staff originally designed for Paul VI, and now uses a larger staff first used by Pius IX.
"Obviously, what I said earlier about continuity goes for that too. In this case, however, there is also an element of practicality - Pius IX's ferula is lighter and easier for the Pope to handle. That is why he has decided to use it habitually, as he did throughout the trip in the United States." [Although it looks bigger than the old staff, it is probably lighter because it is hollow, not solid.]

On some occasions, as in the last consistory for new cardinals, even some old Papal thrones have been revived. Is that nostalgia for past temporal power?
Of course not! (Wide smile) These so-called thrones which are used for specific occasions are simply intended to highlight the fact that the liturgy is presided by the Holy Father.

Finally, since Mons. Guido took charge, it has been quite obvious that a Crucifix now occupies the center of the papal altar, as it was in the past. In this case too, he says the decision has nothing to do with nostalgia:

"The Cross at the center of the altar simply indicates the centrality of the Crucified Lord in the Eucharistic celebration, and becomes the precise orientation for the whole assembly during the liturgy - we don't look at each other, we look at Him who was born, died and resurrected for us, our Savior. Salvation comes from the Lord, he is the Orient, the rising sun towards whom we should all look, from whom we accept the gift of grace."

The telephone has been ringing continuously. Mostly it has to do with finalizing details of the liturgies which the Pope will celebrate in Savona and Genoa on May 17-18.

We ask him if being master of pontifical liturgies is a difficult job.

"It is demanding not only for the amount of work that must be done, but also because - and above all - for the responsibility that comes with it. I am very conscious of my responsibility to live up with total faithfulness to the task that the Holy Father has entrusted to me - very much aware that the liturgy that I am called on to serve and 'organize' is that of the Church and of the Pope."

The interview published in Il Giornale ends here, but Tornielli posts on his blog the parts that his editor failed to include:

For the baptisms at the Sistine Chapel last January, Benedict XVI celebrated the Mass with his back to the congregation, as before the Council, and that caused a lot of surprise...
On occasions when the Mass is said in this matter, it is of course not a question of the priest 'turning his back' on the people bur rather of orienting himself together with the faithful towards the Lord.

So one is not 'closing the door to the assembly' but rather opening it to them, leading them to the Lord. One can find specific circumstances everywhere in which, because of the artistic value of a sacred space and its particular beauty and harmony, it becomes propitious to celebrate at the old altar which, among other things, conserves the correct orientation for liturgical celebration.

All you have to do is go to St. Peter's every morning and see all the priests celebrating the post-Conciliar ordinary form of the Mass in the side chapels, which have traditional altars like the Sistine Chapel does.

Is Benedict XVI going to celebrate the traditional Mass, the use of which he liberalized with the Motu Proprio?
I do not know, and I am in no position to answer that. But I do believe that it is important to have a calm reading - ecclesial and not ideological - of the Holy Father's decision in that respect.

The liturgy of the Church, as in all the other aspects of its life, consists of continuity, or rather, development in continuity. This means that the Church continues along her historical journey without losing sight of its living tradition, without losing its roots. This could require, in some cases, the recovery of some precious and important elements that may have been mislaid, forgotten - or whose authentic significance became less luminous - over time.

I think the Motu proprio goes in that direction - to reaffirm with great clarity that in the liturgical life of the Church, there is continuity without rupture.


by Gregor Kollmorgen

May 9, 2008

Today the Holy Father celebrated in the Sala Clementina an ecumenical liturgy together with Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch of the (non-Catholic) Armenians. [It was the Mid-Day Office of the Liturgy of the Hours.]

This occasion saw - shortly before Eastertide ends - yet another beautiful old papal Easter stole, with medallions of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the monograms of Our Lord and Our Lady, and the coat of arms - possibly, I cannot clearly make it out - of Leo XIII. Also note the chairs. Apparently Eastern chant was sung.


Thanks to the NLM once again for doing this 'homework'. I wish the Vatican would release more pictures of the liturgical part of the Holy Father's encounters with ecumenical leaders. They rarely do - even when the services are held at the Redemptoris Mater chapel. NLM had to go to Felici for these photos. The Vatican photo releases on this liturgy were limited to the 'official' part of it - when the discourses were read.

00Saturday, May 10, 2008 11:59 PM
Joseph and Chico
Posted by Nathaniel Peters

on May 5, 2008, 11:41 AM

I’d heard that someone had written a children’s story about the pope’s life as told from a cat’s perspective. I thought it was a novel idea, and when a publicist asked if I’d like a copy, I said I’d take a look.

Joseph and Chico is by an Italian journalist living in Bavaria. You can tell that she’s not usually the author of children’s books, and there’s an excess of cutesy cat jokes for my taste.

But where else are you going to read about B16’s favorite Christmas teddy bear, or the time he fell into the fish pond and was rescued by his siblings?

The book is a great introduction to Joseph Ratzinger for children, and shows the humble background from which he came.

It also has an introduction from the pope’s private secretary, Fr. Georg Gänswein, who, among other things, summarizes the life and work of Benedict in four sentences:

“To begin with, I agree with the fact that the Holy Father is a special person, but it is above all because he is a real friend of Jesus. This is important! Here is the secret of his life: only by becoming a true friend of Jesus can we learn to open our hearts to the people we meet and to all the people of the world. . . . Precisely because he is filled with trust in Jesus, the Pope is not discouraged by difficulties and never gets tired of loving everyone.”

That much was clear when he came to America.

If you know any young children who’d like to get to know the pope better, Joseph and Chico might be a good way to make an introduction.

And 'Joseph and Chico' has its own website created by Ignatius Press:

00Monday, May 12, 2008 4:03 AM
2009 OR calendars:
One each dedicated to
John Paul II and Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY , May 11 (Translated from PETRUS) - L'Osservatore Romano has decided to put out two calendars in 2009: one with 13 photographs of Benedict XVI, and a second one with 13 photographs of John Payul II.

This follows the success of OR's first attempt - the 2008 calendar featuring photographs from Pope Benedict's 2007 summer vacation in Lorenzago del Cadore.

The Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, will print the calendars on glossy carton in a format that will allow individual photographs to be easily detached and framed.

The calendars will cost 5 euros each and will be on sale at the OR photo department as well as in newsstands around the Vatican.

00Monday, May 12, 2008 5:02 PM

Dollar coin to mark
Pope's Australian visit

By World Coin News
May 12, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI will make his first trip to Australia in July as part of the Catholic Church's World Youth Day 2008. The Perth Mint has issued a $1 commemorative coin to mark the occasion.

Sydney is this year's host city for the worldwide event, first held in Rome in 1986.

The 30mm, one-ounce coin is struck from aluminum bronze and features a color depiction of the Pope and a representation of the official "WYDSYD08" logo in color.

It bears Perth Mint's "P" mintmark and is inscribed with "World Youth Day" and "Sydney 2008" around the main design. The piece has a mintage of 500,000.

World Youth Day 2008 will be held July 15-20. The week-long activities culminate with a mass celebrated by the Pope on the last day, the actual World Youth Day. Organizers say the event will attract more than 125,000 international visitors.

For more details and ordering information for the commemorative coin, visit www.perthmint.com.au.

00Monday, May 12, 2008 8:24 PM

Reflections by Cardinal Castrillon

Translated from the
Italian service of

Forty years ago, a young professor at the University of Tuebingen, Joseph Ratzinger, wrote the book INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY, based on lectures he had given in the summer of 1968 on the foundations of the faith.

It has since become a classic textbook on Christianity and is now considered a gateway to the theological thinking of Pope Benedict XVI.

To mark the anniversary, a two-day conference opened today at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome to discuss the book and its relation to the Pope's Magisterium.

The conference was opened by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei which overseas Vatican liaison with traditionalist groups.

Alessandro Gisotti interviewed the Colombian Cardinal about the context in which the book, which has been a perennial international best-seller, was conceived and published.

CARDINAL CASTRILLON: What happened in the 1960s was one of the greatest - I would even say the greatest - cultural upheavals in modern history. Scientific development had changed the world, and everyone could now take part in the global forum through modern means of communication.

In that phase of historical transformation, Professor Ratzinger's book gave a clear indication of how to understand history in a wider context, to give man at that historical moment - with all its conflicting ideas and doubts - an opportunity to be introduced to Christianity by coming in contact with the person of Christ, not with abstract ideas. That was the great merit of the book.

One would say that after 40 years, the text is striking for its great relevance and actuality, and for being so close to the sensibility of the men of our time, of their questions about faith...
Because the answers he gives to the great questions that man has have constant value. Man continues to have the same questions, perhaps even more profound now. So it is very important to introduce them to a dialog with Christ, to a religion which is the encounter with a Person, not an idea. Man today, no less then in the 1960s or in St. Augustine's time, needs to discover the richness of an encounter with a God who became man, who entered history - and that is why it is possible to encounter him.

One can also see an extraordinary continuity between the importance that the theologian Ratzinger gave at the time to a faith that is a friend of reason...
Yes. the first time that I read the book in1 968, I saw very clearly that he was centered upon the idea of a relationship with God, a God-with-us, the relationship of man with God after the Incarnation. It is a theme that is always consistent and very vital in the Pope's thinking.

And the Holy Father continues to introduce us all to Christianity with new vigor...
That's true for all of us. So many times, we think we lead a religious life without a clear awareness that it means a personal encounter with Christ. The Holy Father has all the intellectual and emotional power - we see that in his encyclicals - to introduce man to knowledge of God, friendship with God, love of God.

00Monday, May 12, 2008 11:23 PM

Remember the Sapienza episode? Last January, the Vatican publishing house immediately came out with a 36-page booklet containing the lecture that the Pope never delivered as part of its booklet series on 'The Teachings of Benedict XVI'. It takes its title from a line in the Pope's lecture - "I do not come to impose the faith but to urge you to have the courage of truth".

Now, there is a book about the whole episode by an Italian historian who has written several books about the rise and fall of political parties and leaders in Italy and France, but who is also a senator in the Italian Parliament.

'The era of Catholic icons in politics
is over, but there are politicians
who stand for Christian principles'

by Chiara Sirianni
Translated from

May 12, 2008

Gaetano Quagliariello, a senator belonging to the PDL party [Popola della Liberta] and president of the Fondazione Magna Carta of Rome, has published a book called IL PAPA LAICO (The Secular Pope), subtitled 'the Sapienza case and Benedict XVI's lecture on truth'.

[The circumstances about that notorious episode are well-known, so I won't repeat the background here.]

Your book confronts a widespread phenomenon today which you call the 'secularist opposition'. Can you explain this?
Anti-clericalism is the only prejudice that is still allowed and culturally accepted to this day. An example of this sectarian culture is Micromega, the magazine of the secular left, when it published a book called "The obscurantist Pope - against women and against science", in which the debate over abortion and on the concept of human life is mixed up with Sapienza episode from January 2008.

[Micromega is the montly magazine edited by so-called philosopher Paolo Flores d'Arcais who seems to have decided to make a career out of denigrating Benedict XVI in any way he can think of. I have posted a couple of his anti-Benedict, anti-religion diatribes which are distinguished by their gross and embarassing illogic, a kind of maniacal thinking that is so self-righteous it is blind to its utter irrationality.]

What is the sense of such a cultural operation?
It seeks to pave the way for an alignment on the basis of prejudice, in which whoever does not agree with the Pope on abortion or on the use of embryonic stem cells must also, and perforce, consider that the treatment the Pope received from the dissenting La Sapienza professors was right and proper!

The problem is that secularism has become the reserve or alternative ideology today. The collapse of the great 20th-century ideologies left a great void which has been filled by those who are ideologically hostile to religion, and who confuse areas and problems which have their own specificity and cannot be lumped into an amorphous mass as Micromega tries to do.

You state that Italy is the only nation in the world where 'secular' means, in the common usage, 'non-believer', whereas in the rest of the world, it simply means the opposite of 'clerical' (in the religious sense). How would you define true secularity, in brief?
Secularity is simply being open to a critical approach to problems and not being infected by a priori positions.

[[Since the interviewer never asked a question about the Pope who is the subject of the book, I suppose Quagliarello's definition of secularity explains why he calls Benedict XVI 'the secular Pope' - in which secular means rational and open-minded.]

With respect to such a concept, the last chapter of your book is entitled 'Neither Guelph nor Ghibelline', and summarizes a series of articles and opinions which try to go beyond the perspective of a confrontation between a civilian Italy and a religious Italy. In your opinion, in terms of politics and ethical issues, what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God?
[Guelphs and Ghibellines are the papist and imperialist (Holy Roman Empire) ranks, respectively, who disputed temporal power in medieval Italy .]
There was a time when the relationship between the Church and politics was imposed as a rigid separation, and therefore to 'render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" had an 'integral' either-or interpretation.

I think that in this historical moment, we are passing from separation to distinction. There are evidently competences which absolutely belong to the State and likewise those that can only belong to the Church.

But it is also true that the Church should be allowed to make itself heard. The political agenda has changed. Things that are still called - improperly, I think - 'ethically sensitive issues' have become central issues. And these are the very issues that one might call 'consubstantial' with the teaching of the Church.

Therefore, I would say that the new relationship between Caesar and God must be established in which the voice of the Church can be heard fairly and equitably.

But this requires having the right politicians to speak for it.
I think Italy is now undergoing a process, recently initiated, in which some basic principles from the Judaeo-Christian tradition have become part of the policies of people who are in government, in an alignment that is independent of whether they are believers or non-believers, Catholics or not.

We are seeing the disappearance of Catholics for whom being Catholic was the main reason for their presence in politics. For instance, in this new Italian government [Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's, to whose center-right 'People of Freedom' party Quagliarello belongs], there are less figures whom one might consider 'Catholic symbols', but many more persons who naturally subscribe to those principles that in the past resulted only from Christian formation and culture. I think the generational change has also allowed this trend.

Which of the new ministers would you consider to have this kind of politico-cultural imprint?
Most definitely Angelino Alfano, Mariastella Gelmini, Raffaele Fitto, Maurizio Sacconi, and many others who think like them.

Tempi, 11 maggio 2008

00Tuesday, May 13, 2008 10:41 PM

Apropos the innovations in liturgical vestments for Pontifical events, there was an article in the UK ultra-liberal Catholc newspaper The Tablet in March 2008 that Father John Zuhlsdorf reprinted - and fisked - in his blog entry of March 8, 2008. For some reason, I missed both the particular blog and a reference to the Tablet article anywhere else.

Still, the points raised by the article continue to be very pertinent because the changes in liturgical practice being introduced gradually by the Holy Father obviously form part of a work in progress - what Father Z calls a 'brick by brick' restitution of the value of tradition in liturgy - Through, among other things, certain liturgical fine points that deserve to be preserved and manifested. Here is Father Z's March 8, 2008, blog entry on



By Father John Zuhlsdorf
March 8, 2008

A probable ghost writer of the book with Mons. Piero Marini’s name on it, A Challenging Reform, Fr. Keith Pecklers, SJ, has contributed a piece to the ultra-lefty The Tablet.

Vested with symbolism
By Keith F. Pecklers, SJ

With reports circulating that the Pope has commissioned a set of vestments based on those worn by the first Medici Pope, Leo X, a specialist in liturgy examines the significance of the sartorial choices of Benedict XVI, who is clearly keenly aware of the messages embedded in the garments’ use.

A couple of years ago, when I was invited by the Serbian Orthodox Church to deliver several lectures at its Theological Institute in Belgrade, I had the occasion to meet privately with a small group of Serbian Orthodox bishops.

During our discussion, one of the senior bishops who has been compared to Joseph Ratzinger both for his theological acumen and linguistic ability raised the subject of Pope Benedict’s return to the ancient form of the pallium: "You have no idea what that has meant for us in the Serbian Orthodox Church," he said.

"As that form of the pallium comes from the first millennium before the tragic rupture of 1054, we interpret this as a strong symbolic affirmation on the part of the Holy Father of his deep desire for the reunification of Christendom between East and West."

Like other elements within the liturgy, vesture is itself symbolic, and papal vesture, all the more so. Thus, the fact that Pope Benedict has shown a greater interest in what he wears than had his recent predecessors, raises questions not only about the particular style of vesture being donned, but also about the symbolic message that is communicated therein. [So far so good. I have been contending that Benedict XVI’s choice of vestments does in fact mean something, and it is part of his objective to shore up Catholic identity. Let’s see what Pecklers thinks.]

In his non-liturgical dress during papal audiences and processions, the Holy Father has restored use of the papal cape, or mozzetta, with its origins in the thirteenth century and last worn by Paul VI, made of red velvet, trimmed in ermine and lined with silk. He has also restored usage of the matching red velvet papal winter hat or camauro which has its origins in the twelfth century but was last worn by Pope John XXIII. [Peckler's phrasing is ambiguous: It is not the use of the mozzetta per se that he has revived - in its most familiar form, red satin, that even John Paul II always wore at non-liturgical state occasions- - but the velvet ermine-trimmed winter mozzetta that Peckler describes, as well as later, after this article was writte,n, the white mozzetta for Eastertide, which apparently John Paul II never wore, but which was worn up to Paul VI.]

Within the context of liturgical celebrations, Pope Benedict has presided in a cope of Pope Pius IX, worn the mitre of Pope Benedict XV (reigned 1914-22) (also used by Pope Pius XII in the Holy Year of 1950 and last worn by John Paul I at the Mass to inaugurate his pontificate), and a mitre of (Blessed) Pope Pius IX (pope 1846-78) worn for the opening of Vatican Council I.

Pope Benedict has also used the elaborately carved wooden [4] papal throne of Pope Leo XIII (pope 1878-1903). On Ash Wednesday, the Pope presided at the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill, wearing a chasuble which had been commissioned in the style of a vestment collection from the pontificate of the Borghese Pope Paul V (1605-21).

During the French Revolution many papal vestments had been burned in order to retrieve the gold woven into them. But two dalmatics remained from that collection of Paul V, and it was possible to reconstruct the pattern of the chasuble from the design of the dalmatics.

In recent weeks, reports surfaced that a set of 30 new vestments [for the entire cappella Papale retinue not just for the Pope] had been commissioned for Palm Sunday, which would have found the Pope presiding in a chasuble whose design came from the pontificate of Pope Leo X (1513-21) but bearing Benedict XVI’s coat of arms. It now appears, however, that those vestments will be reserved for another occasion, perhaps the Feast of Pentecost.

The fundamental question, of course, is what do all of these sartorial innovations actually mean? Conservative blogs are rejoicing that these changes give a clear signal that the Pope is bent on rescuing the worship of the Roman Catholic Church from those of the past 40 years who nearly destroyed it.

They point to the changes that have been registered since the appointment last October of Mgr Guido Marini as the new Papal Master of Ceremonies: the placement of the cross and six candles on the papal altar; the return to the use of cardinal deacons who function in the role as liturgical deacons during papal celebrations vested in dalmatics and mitres; a return to the use of lace albs and surplices; the Holy Father’s celebrating Mass in the Sistine Chapel on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord "ad orientem" – toward the east.

Critics of papal liturgies in the pontificate of Pope John Paul II lament the fact that the Pope was reduced to celebrating as if simply the bishop of any diocese – albeit on a grand scale – while the Bishop of Rome is really a monarch and thus, papal liturgical celebrations should better express this. [How calculated to sneak that completely unfounded bit! I might point that the originalTablet article is footnoted where convenient to cite Peckler's sourc,e but he has no footnote for this absurd, apparently fabricated claim!]

[Father Z's comment on the above: I think this may be unfair. I don’t recall seeing people in the blogosphere arguing that the Pope should have older things or specifically "papal" thing because he is also a monarch. I have certainly never argued that. As a matter of fact, I suggested that the Pope should celebrate a TLM as a regular pontifical Mass without trying to do all the old stuff requiring the papal court, etc.]

By contrast, in his motu proprio of 21 June 1968, "Pontificalia Insignia", Pope Paul VI sought to simplify and clarify the use of pontifical insignia for all prelates linked to the Roman Pontiff. [Taking Peckler at his word, it does not apply to the Pontiff himself!]

Conservative critics, then, see these changes in papal vesture as indicative of a wider papal liturgical reform under way. Perhaps they are correct, although the reality appears to be much more enigmatic and complex.

First, there is the personal style and taste of the Pope himself. Those who knew him well as Archbishop of Munich-Freising and then at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith attest to his extraordinary attention to detail and his impeccable taste – both personally and in his official liturgical functioning.

Like his brother Georg, Pope Benedict has a refined artistic sense which goes far beyond his talent as an accomplished pianist. His love of Gregorian chant, his nostalgia for the old liturgy – its artistic beauty and reverence – is clearly exhibited in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy and to a certain extent also in his motu proprio of last July, Summorum Pontificum, which granted permission for wider usage of the Tridentine Rite.

So the fact that we are seeing a return to the use of antique vestments and patterns or vestment styles of former centuries should not come as a complete surprise.

In the eleventh century when the chasuble came to be reserved for the celebration of Mass, it was ample and bell-shaped in its design. But by the thirteenth century it had become a more restricted garment so as to use less material and also be less cumbersome for the celebrant. That vestment’s style and measure was further reduced in the post-Tridentine period and especially in the eighteenth century, cutting off the sides of the chasuble and creating what came to be popularly called the "fiddle-back".

Thus, gradually, the Gothic penchant for the oval-shaped chasuble gave way to the less copious baroque vestment without sleeves which tended to be made with heavier, stiff brocades.

Clearly, Pope Benedict is well acquainted with the evolution of the chasuble and has particular reasons for choosing to adopt a liturgical style from one historical epoch as opposed to another. The vestments worn by the Pope on Ash Wednesday, along with the new set of vestments mentioned earlier, is a via media between the more ample Gothic chasuble of the medieval period and the more limited Roman chasuble in the latter part of the baroque period.

It is much longer than the "fiddle-back" chasuble in the front, and its sides reach almost to the elbows. However, the vestment is similar to that later Roman model in its stole which widens at the bottom, and also in its elaborate decoration.

The Pope’s choice to adopt this particular style can also be interpreted as a via media on a symbolic level – between proponents of the Tridentine Rite who associate the "fiddle-back" Roman chasuble as the only fitting garment for the celebration of Mass, and those who prefer the more ample Gothic style with its association with a style of worship closer to the new rite.

So there may be something more significant being communicated here on a symbolic level than a mere issue of liturgical style or taste, not unlike the strong symbolic message communicated by returning to a form of the pallium from the first millennium.

[Father Z's comment: I don’t think that most "proponents of the Tridentine Rite" see Roman style "fiddle-back" chasubles as the "only fitting garment" for Mass. That just isn’t right. There might be a slight preference in that direction, but I don’t find many people insisting on this point. They just want decent, beautiful vestments. However, the so-called "gothic" style, was indeed the darling, nearly the obsession, of some of the progressivists during and after the Liturgical Movement.]

To what extent are these liturgical changes being proposed by the Pope himself or by his new Papal Master of Ceremonies? I would suspect that it is a combination of the two. Clearly, given his strong liturgical tastes, if the Holy Father were not in agreement with what Mgr Marini had proposed, he would not grant his approval for the changes to be made.

The question, of course, is why return to one historical period and not another? Why, for example, choose styles and patterns from the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries rather than the older Gothic vestment styles of the medieval period? That remains an open question. Suffice it to say, however, that as this papacy proceeds we can expect further innovations in papal liturgical celebrations.


The rest of Father Z's comment on Peckler's article, outside the fisks included above:

Pecklers is really defending the old Piero Marini style. The real heroes for Fr. Pecklers are H.E. Piero Marini and Paul VI who issued Pontificalia insignia.

What is subtle here is Pecklers’s careful use of the rhetorical device accumulatio. Fr. Pecklers doesn’t say anything wrong. He doesn’t go over the top in criticizing the Pope. He is careful not to say anything too negative, but the slow accumulation of subtle comments leaves you with a final impression by the time you get to the end of the piece: this is really beyond the Pope’s personal taste ("He happens to lke baroque vestments."), it is about aestheticism.

Critics of this Pope and of Summorum Pontificum will try to smear the whole issue with a sublte suggestion that this trad stuff is all rather precious, maybe not even manly.

This was done, for example, by Fr. Mark Francis, in the same issue of The Tablet. Francis is also one of the three editors of the book that came out under Mons. Piero Marini’s name, with Pecklers himself and John Page.

Still, Pecklers does point out that there may be something going on with these liturgical choices. He raises the question, "why return to one historical period and not another"?

It may be because of the nature of the period Benedict seems to be going back to: the counter-reformation, a period of transition, a bridge between the medieval and modern times.

When Father Z took note of the vestments worn by the Pope and his retinue on Pentecost Sunday, he explained more of what he meant by the last statement above:

Again, a lesson through vestments

By Father John Zuhlsdorf
May 11, 2008

Papa was once again in 'taglio Filipino' vestments for the Holy Mass in the Basilica this morning.

What in Italian is called the "taglio filipino" is so named after St. Philip Neri, who is depicted in paintings in this type of vestments.

The third photo shows Benedict XVI first wearing this chasuble style last Ash Wednesday.

This is the style of vestment in use around the time of the Council of Trent, worn by figures such as St. Ignatius of Loyola.

It is emblematic of an age in the Church’s life, a period of Counter-Reformation, when there was an explosion of lay confraternities seeing to spiritual and corporal works of mercy at every level of society, simply and noble. It is a period of tremendous deepening of our understanding of the Blessed Sacrament and subsequent development of devotions, such as Exposition, Benediction, and increase in observance of 40 Hours, devotion to the Sacred Heart. This was an era of change in architecture, when the Roman baroque came into its own as an outward, concrete, plastic expression of the Church’s own self-understanding, her ecclesiology.

It was a time when the humanities were in harmony with theology.

This style of vestment is the first stage of development between the fuller "cloak" style chasuble of the Medieval period and the later Roman vestment, which is smaller and more squared in the back and front. for example, not only is the "Philip" style longer in front and back, and curved at the bottom, but it also comes farther down the shoulders than the modern Roman vestment.

Thus it is a concrete symbol of continuity between two great Catholic eras.

WDTPRS has asserted again and again that Papa Ratzinger is saying something through his vestments. He mixes them up a bit, but he keeps coming back to this important taglio filipino. Some will try to brush this off, or relegate his choice to a matter of mere personal taste.

I say that the very vestment is an icon of what Benedict is proposing: a hermeneutic of reform rather than of rupture. Benedict is signaling the great value of the period of the style vestment as well as the fact that it is a harmonious bridge between two fantastic periods of Catholicity. Benedict is healing the rupture that occurred in liturgy in many ways, with Summorum Pontificum, certainly, but also in the accoutrement of celebration, such as the placement of candles and the altar Cross.


I wrote the following as post-script comments to the tripping incident because two of the photographs taken right afterwards called attention to the vestments. The right photo below shows the full pattern of the Pope's chasuble in the style of St. Philip Neri, as Father Z identified it.

To which I then added this:

5/12/08 P.P.S

Is this the Medici-pattern vestment set?

I do believe that these are the vestments patterned after the Medici Pope Leo X's garments from the early 16th century that were supposed to have been commissioned for last Palm Sunday. But the Palm Sunday vestments turned out to be different, and so the speculation was that the Medicean vestments would debut on Pentecost instead.

The story at the time described the Medici heraldic emblem as "three rings with a diamond point that are concentric and inscribed within a two-lobed leaf" and that is what the circular motifs look like. Also, that the material was rose silk damask with gold thread (though it looks more red than rose). And does the coat of arms at the bottom of the chasuble resemble this Medici emblem?


P.P.P.S. Tridentinum, liturgist Pietro Siffi's workshop that specializes in 'artistic' liturgical vestments, has confirmed that the Pentecost vestments were indeed decorated with the heraldic emblems of Leo X, and as reported last March, the fabric was woven after a sample of the silk brocade used in Leo X's inaugural vestments found at the Church of the Annunziata in Florence.

However, Siffi says the coat of arms on the chasuble and dalmatics (prominent in this full view where the Pope and his acolytes are seen from the back) is not the Medici, but the Barberini emblem at the base of the Bernini baldachin, but with the Barberini coat of arms replaced by Benedict's - although for some reason, Tridentinum uses the tiara rather than the miter (which is an innovation in Benedict's coat of arms).

We'll probably find a better picture that will show us the detail on the coat of arms at the bottom of the chasuble and dalmatics. I find this liberty (replacing the miter with the tiara) out of place. It is not then Benedict's coat of arms, even if all the other elements are right.

Siffi explains that anticipation in an Italian newspaper of the Medici-inspired vestments 'created some problems and the use of these vestments was delayed'.

He says that the shape of both the Ash Wednesday and Petnecost chasubles are patterned after a chasuble of St. Charles Borromeo kept in a church in Bologna.

He has something to say about critics who would berate the Vatican for running up some hefty 'tailors' bills' by commissioning vestments. He says, in effect, that quality has a price.

But I think, others like me have argued before that the cost of all these cannot be considerably more than the cost of commissioned vestments in the Novus Ordo style that also make use of silk and brocade and gold thread, and involve elaborate embroidery work.

Through the centuries, the Church has kept expert craftsmen occupied, profitably employed and creatively engaged in manual production of all the fine lacework, embroidery and other specialized crafts involved in making altar accoutrements and liturgical vestments - in the same way that stonecutters, masons, builders, carpenters, woodworkers, sculptors, painters, etc. found creative and practical employment in building and adorning the edifices that have been one of Christianity's most lasting contributions to mankind's cultural patrimony.

There is nothing wrong with the Church continuing to provide such opportunities.

One of the anecdotes Imelda Marcos loved to share was how, on her first visit to the Apostolic Palace to see Pope Paul VI, she was very surprised to see a familiar face in one of the anterooms - one she had not seen since they were schoolchildren together before the Second World War, though like most children, one who had no particularly distinguished traits anyone was likely to remember her by.

"Rosa," she said, "what are you doing here?" And her former schoolmate said humbly, "I work here. I embroider things for the Holy Father's use in St. Peter's. But I heard you were coming, so I asked to be here."

When Mrs. Marcos recounted this to her surviving school friends, everyone had the same thought that she had: "What an immense privilege to be able to serve the Lord in this way!" [The other big lesson in it, of course, is that everyone, no matter how seemingly undistinguished, has something special to offer.]

After hearing that anecdote, I have always remembered to pray for the Rosas of the world when I see anything beautiful or well-done in church

Besides Pietro Siffi's www.tridentinum.com/
another specialist in artistic liturgical vestments is


Finally, this comment from a Dominican priest who reads Father Z:

...and let’s not forget that St Philip Neri is considered the Second Apostle of Rome, the Saint of Joy, and the scourge of all religiously pretentious churchmen! Sounds just a little like our current Holy Father, huh?
- Fr. Philip Neri, OP

00Tuesday, May 13, 2008 11:30 PM
Pope's Rosary recital
goes on sale in CD box set

Vatican City, May 13 (dpa) - A recording of Pope Benedict XVI reciting the Rosary in Latin is to go on sale as a four-CD box set, the Vatican announced Tuesday.

"It was born as an answer to listeners and from several Catholic radio stations," Vatican Radio director, Father Federico Lombardi, said explaining the initiative.

Benedict's predecessor, John Paul II, on several occasions recited the Rosary live on Vatican Radio, providing the faithful with "great consolation" while "facilitating their prayer and devotion" Lombardi said.

However, John Paul stopped the practice as his health grew frail, and while tape recordings of the late Pontiff's recitals exist, listeners were eager to hear versions of the Rosary by Benedict after his election as Pope in 2005, Lombardi said.

According to Lombardi, who is also the papal spokesman, Latin was chosen because it is "most easily understood for the Rosary" and the universal language of the Catholic Church.

The decision also appears to be in line with Benedict's attempts to revive the use of Latin since he began his pontificate.

The Pontiff last year eased restrictions for priests who wish to celebrate the Latin Mass and last week the Vatican launched a Latin version of its website.

The Rosary mostly consists of repetitions of the Hail Mary, a prayer in which the faithful ask Jesus's mother for her intercession with God, while focusing on different phases of the life of Mary and Jesus.

The CD box set will initially be available from the Vatican official bookshop on St Peter's Square at a cost of 15 euros (23 dollars).

00Wednesday, May 14, 2008 12:49 AM
The Pope's processional Cross

More information about this, after Mons. Guido Marini explained last week that Blessed Pius IX's cross is lighter for Pope Benedict than the silver staff that had been used by both Paul VI and John Paul II, and until recently, by Pope Benedict himself.

ROME, MAY 13, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: I noticed that the Holy Father is carrying a new processional cross. Can you tell us about that new cross and perhaps why the Holy Father made the decision to carry this new cross rather than the one that he has carried for the past several years -- the same one that Pope John Paul II carried? Are there norms and guidelines for what type of shepherd's staff the Holy Father can carry? -- B.D., Columbia City, Indiana

A: I too have noticed this new pastoral cross used by Benedict XVI. While I have no particular insights into the Holy Father's mind, I doubt that we need to try to dig out profound theological motives. The most probable reason is that he found this cross more to his taste than the other one.

The slightly abstract pastoral staff that John Paul II carried all over the world was first designed for Pope Paul VI, a connoisseur and promoter of modern sacred art. The Italian Pope established a modern arts gallery in the Vatican Museums and commissioned the huge Risen Christ bronze sculpture in the Paul VI audience hall.

Before the conciliar reform the use of a crosier or pastoral staff was almost unknown in papal liturgies.

This was because the practice of assigning the pastoral staff to a bishop did not originate in Rome but, probably, in Spain during the seventh century from whence it spread to the rest of Europe.

The popes never adopted the use of the crosier. Even today the new rite for installing a Pope foresees the imposition of the pallium and placing of the Fisherman's Ring, but not the handing over of the pastoral staff.

Among the reasons adduced for this omission during the Middle Ages was that it would be improper since the reception of the pastoral staff implied investiture on behalf of a superior whereas the popes received their power from God alone.

On some rare occasions, however, such as the opening of the Holy Door and the consecration of a church, the popes did use a staff surmounted by a cross and this custom was adopted after the liturgical reform which foresaw a much more frequent use of the pastoral staff in papal liturgies.

The cross that Benedict XVI has been using belonged originally to Pope Blessed Pius IX and is much lighter than it looks. This is another plus, considering Benedict XVI's age.

There is no particular law that would oblige the Holy Father to choose one design of cross over another, and it is entirely a question of pontifical artistic sensibility. [And comfort!]

00Thursday, May 15, 2008 6:16 AM
Pick a pope calendar
Posted on May 12, 2008
by Cindy Wooden

When I posted a translation of a brief PETRUS item about this two nights ago, I should have looked further, as CNS's Cindy Wooden also blogged about it and has the 'cover' photos for the two calendars, as well as more details. Here is her story:

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has just released its 2009 calendar. Well, actually, it’s just released two calendars for 2009.

One features what the newspaper calls “the most beautiful photographs of His Holiness Benedict XVI” – strolling while praying the rosary, kissing babies, kneeling in prayer – and the other, “the most beautiful photographs of John Paul II” — using his cape to play peek-a-boo with a little boy, praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, sitting in his chapel holding a crucifix a few days before he died.

The cover photo and 12 monthly photos in each calendar were taken by the photographers at L’Osservatore Romano, who also serve as the Vatican’s official photographers.

Unlike most things Vatican, the calendar is not multilingual. The months, the days of the week and the name of the saint honored each day are written only in Italian.

And, although the calendar is large (about 16 and a half inches by 12 inches), it follows the standard format for Italian wall calendars: there are no boxes for writing in birthdays or appointments, just the date, day of the week and feast running in a long column down the side.

The calendars cost 5 euros each (about $7.50) plus postage. They can be ordered by sending an e-mail to photo@ossrom.va and specifying which calendar you want to buy. If you do not include a credit card number and expiration date, the newspaper will send you the details for making the payment by way of an international bank transfer — an operation that usually costs much, much more than the price of the calendar.

Orders also can be faxed to L’Osservatore’s photo department, but must include credit card information. Dialing from North America, the fax number would be (011 39) 06 6988 4998.

00Thursday, May 15, 2008 8:44 PM
I've received an order form for the calendar from Osservatore Romano and I'll definitely send off for one at once.................. I didn't have to ask for it - I must be on their list of valued customers.

As for the Rosary CDs - lead me to them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm now going to inform my non-forum member pilgrimage friends!
00Thursday, May 15, 2008 9:33 PM

"...I didn't have to ask for it - I must be on their list of valued customers."

Mary, I suspect they have you on speed dial.

Let us know how the calendar looks when you get it. (Did I even need to say that?)

00Friday, May 16, 2008 12:15 AM
Should be this month
Benefan -the calendar is supposed to be available this month. I received - via snail mail, loaded with Citta del Vaticano stamps for our church collecting box!- no less than three forms! However, despite their apparent enthusiasm, I'm sure that Oss Rom will move slowly, just like the rest of the Vatican. I don't have to say that the one I am ordering is the Benedict calendar. Sorry, John Paul, I loved you dearly and still do, but......you just aren't Joseph Ratzinger!
00Friday, May 16, 2008 2:08 AM
Screams of Delight

I must say that I do love your gleeful delight over the many opportunities to experience Papino.  I agree with Benefan - speed dial at the very least ... ?express dial?

How does one GET an order form?  I should check out vatican.va?  I've never order from L'Osservatore R. before.  I tried emailing Rocco Palmo who will be in Rome for the June Pauline events and the imposition of the pallia for the new archbishops but no luck ... he does get behind in his emailing responses and I've noticed no new posts now for the second day. 

[SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]
Questa è la versione 'lo-fi' del Forum Per visualizzare la versione completa click here
Tutti gli orari sono GMT+01:00. Adesso sono le 12:56 AM.
Copyright © 2000-2021 FFZ srl - www.freeforumzone.com