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

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00Sunday, January 15, 2006 5:24 AM

what time of night and what route he takes, chances are the street won't be so empty next time the dark-colored car drives up to the front door. Hopefully, the crowd will be friends, not foes. I can't believe he'd be doing CDF work there, especially late at night. That is way too far-fetched a theory.

Maryjos, we need you in Rome to clear up this mystery. I'm sure it wouldn't take much persuasion to get you to lurk outside Papa's apartment and find out what he's up to. Or, do you think he might be having clandestine meetings with the Sisters in the Italian branch of our forum? Teresa, can you check with Sister Ratzigirl where she's been on the nights in question?
00Sunday, January 15, 2006 10:26 AM

Scritto da: Wulfrune 13/01/2006 17.46
Hmmm, well, yes....

But nevertheless, since Ratzi wasn't mobbed during his time at the CDF and in fact lived with an unfair reputation (remember Ratzigirl's negative feeling when she first saw him?), for me it is a surprise that he's become so popular - a very pleasant surprise.


I had the same fears, Wulfrune, but obviously the press is not as powerful as they probably think. People are not silly and like to build their own opinion. So, we are not the only ones who love him. It's indeed a nice surprise and I have no right to be jealous. [SM=x40795]

Thank you for that Pope-webside [SM=g27811]
00Sunday, January 15, 2006 10:29 AM
Papa Website
Oh, I just realise that Pope John XXIII is missing on that list. [SM=g27831]
00Sunday, January 15, 2006 7:33 PM
Here is a translation of an item Ratzigirl posted today from the Italian press. Please do not
go into conniptions - a little weight loss may be good for Papa

The Pope has lost some weight, according to people in the Curia and others who have seen
him daily or have been following him daily through photographs and TV. Nothing to worry
about, they hasten to add.

Although Joseph Ratzinger’s health was not always optimal in the past, as Pope he is followed
very closely by the papal physician Prof. Buzzonetti, who is also with him every time the Pope
leaves the Vatican.

Almost everyone agrees that Benedict’s weight loss is a result of his daily workload which
includes activities that were not routine for him before he became Pope. He has kept all
public and private appointments that have been scheduled for him.

He has been firm and determined as ever, arousing polemics with his recent statements in his
homilies, discourses and meessages from persistent ‘progessives” within the Church and
liberal lay circles.

For instance, his message for World Peace Day on January 1 denounced practically all
the "negative" protagonists in the world today in unusually blunt words. He did not spare
the United Nations, with its inability to act decisively on many international tragedies,
and he urged reforms that will enable the UN to cope better with international emergencies
like earthquakes and major floods.

He did not spare words with any of the world powers, great and small, nor against ethnic and
religious fundamentalists, and raised a new alarm over the specter of nuclear bombs which
threaten all of humanity.

But Ratzinger must think, above all, of the Catholic Church which he leads, and from his
recent actions, it is clear that he has remained faithful to traditional positions....
00Sunday, January 15, 2006 7:47 PM
"The Pope has lost some weight..."

Actually, he looked like he had gained a bit over Christmas. The Vatican should post daily facts about him on its website for his beloved fans: daily weight, temperature, meals, schedule, etc.

"...he is followed very closely by the papal physician Prof. Buzzonetti, who is also with him every time the Pope leaves the Vatican."

Does that include his nighttime excursions to his old apartment?

What IS he doing there? I'm still waiting for a response to my previous post on this subject from Maryjos and the Italian Sisters of the whatever it is their order is called. I know that if I lived in Rome, I would find out what he is doing, even if I ended up in jail over it. [SM=x40795]
00Sunday, January 15, 2006 8:11 PM

Scritto da: benefan 15/01/2006 19.47
"The Pope has lost some weight..."

Actually, he looked like he had gained a bit over Christmas. The Vatican should post daily facts about him on its website for his beloved fans: daily weight, temperature, meals, schedule, etc.

"...he is followed very closely by the papal physician Prof. Buzzonetti, who is also with him every time the Pope leaves the Vatican."

Does that include his nighttime excursions to his old apartment?

What IS he doing there? I'm still waiting for a response to my previous post on this subject from Maryjos and the Italian Sisters of the whatever it is their order is called. I know that if I lived in Rome, I would find out what he is doing, even if I ended up in jail over it. [SM=x40795]


we should get a daily newsletter about everything he does.

If I lived in Rome......I had been taken to jail months ago....you know there's a policecar outside his appartment night and day, probably looking for people like you and me. [SM=g27835]

Today at the angelus I thought that Papa had lost weight but it suited him well.

Still it would be nice to know the exact time when Papa leaves the vatican to visit his old flat...just in case I might go back to Rome.....I won't need a hotel room. [SM=x40790]
00Sunday, January 15, 2006 8:26 PM

The news media say that Papa leaves the Vatican around 9 pm and is driven in a dark-colored car (with no Vatican markings on it) to his apartment so if you wear dark-colored clothes (perhaps a nun costume) and lurk near his apartment from approximately 8:45 till 10 pm nightly, you might see him. If the police ask what you are doing, you could say you are from Ratzigirl's order of Sisters on a pilgrimage to the pope's old neighborhood to pray for him. Of course, once he arrives, you will have to move swiftly to get to the front door before he does. I would suggest jogging for a few weeks before heading to Rome. Unfortunately, now that the media have spread the word that Papa has been making these visits, you might find a lot of others lurking on the street with you.
00Sunday, January 15, 2006 8:39 PM

Where can I download that beautiful vision in green that you use on your posts?

I think I like him best in green, or purple, or red, or white, or the cardinal's cassock, or . . .

00Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:15 PM
Private audience on the street
….outside Piazza della Citta Leonina #1? [SM=g27828]

Hmmmm….. Sounds tempting, indeed. But there will be crowds of people queuing up by now, I guess……
Maybe Papa keeps cats?????? Anyway, good for him!!! I like the idea that he can sneak out of the “house” occasionally, to visit his old apartment or have a cup of coffee at a cafe.
00Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:32 PM
From the Italian press -

I wasn’t created for that!”

Here’s an item that somehow relates to the “Year of Two Popes” article. It’s the original report
in the Italian press of a controversial interview given by Cardinal Ratzinger to the German
magazine Bunte in 2003, during which he expressed concern about the Pope’s health.
[Thanks to Ratzigirl for the reprint]

It was reported later that the Prefect of the CDF was “rebuked” by Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwicz,
John Paul’s private secretary, for having made the remarks.

“The Pope is very sick. We should pray for him,“ Ratzinger is quoted as saying.

“Do you think the Pope is doing too much?” he was asked. “Most probably he is,” he answers.

But he said he was in no position to determine the Pope’s schedule. “That’s the responsibility
of others.”

In the interview, Ratzinger was asked about the next Pope. He answered it was possible that
the next Pope could be African. Asked to comment on speculation that he could be the
next Pope, he answered: “Oh my God, no! I wasn’t created for that

The magazine also quoted Ratzinger’s private secretary, Mons. Georg Gaenswein, saying about
John Paul: “He can no longer walk by himself, but for the faithful, he is heroic. The fact
that he continues to work despite his ailment makes him even more credible (as a spiritual leader).”

(At the time of the interview, Pope John Paul II was scheduled to preside at the canonization of
three saints, including the Italian Daniele Camboni, in ceremonies at St. Peter’s Square
on October 6).

Gaenswein said he did not think John Paul would stop travelling. “When he stops doing
that, then God will take him,” he said.

Has Benedict been “taking off” more than we know?

Shortly after the story that he has been seen visiting his old digs next to the Vatican at night
and staying in for a couple of hours, now comes an item in Famiglia Cristiana, Italy’s most
circulated Catholic magazine, saying that some time in the summer, while he was at Castel
Gandolfo, the Pope had a “brief vacation” in Ticino, the Alpine region north of Milan (between
Val d’Aosta and the Alto-Adige, the two other Italian Alps regions). Both Lago Maggiore and
Lago Lugano are in the southern part of Ticino.

Ratzigirl reports this in the main forum, but she has no other details.

Is it possible that the Pope can go so far from Rome without being reported, and for
more than a day?

It is possible he may have decided to take brother Georg, who was with him in
Castel Gandolfo, on a brief vacation in the mountains, as they have always done in previous
summers, since Georg was unable to come to Les Combes earlier.

But completely under the radar? Wow! If he did indeed pull this off, then God be praised.
Joseph Ratzinger aka Benedict XVI has more than just his handkerchief up that sleeve of his!

[Photo courtesy of Sylvie, who like Beatrice, finds it sweet that B16 keeps his hanky "the way Grandma did"!]

More old friends

Benedict XVI, preeminent resident of the region south of Rome called Castelli Romani (to which
Castel Gandolfo belongs), chatted with the mayor of Frascati, among others, during his New Year’s
meeting with the administrators of Rome, Lazio province and its towns and cities, two days ago.

According to Franco Posa, whose town lends its name to one of Italy’s famous wines, the Pope
asked him about the Catholic Community of Integration with headquarters at Villa Cavalletti
in Grottaferrata. The community
occupies several hectares of land between Frascati and Grottaferrata.

The community, which includes associations of lay apostolate and clergy, came to the attention
of Joseph Ratzinger in 1978 when he
was Archbishop of Munich-Freising. One of its founders, the theologian Ludwig Wemmer, who lectures
at Villa Cavalletti, was one of Ratzinger’s students in Regensburg. Wemmer’s sister, Rissi
Wintermayr, now runs the community, along with Don Alessandro Perego.

Over the years, Cardinal Ratzinger kept up his contacts with the community. From his visits,
Regine Gauger, a cook, remembers fondly the cardinal’s passion for Bavarian desserts, particularly
Bavarian strudel with vanilla sauce, which she prepared for him.

Menu for Ratzinger

Roberto Proscio, restaurant owner of Valmontone, spoke to the news agency adnkronos about
his friendship with the Pope, who as CDF Prefect, often visited the restaurant where Proscio was
manager for dinner. It dates back to Ratzinger’s early years in Rome, when he would come in with
his sister.

Proscio looks on as Ratzi signs his guest book; on the right, photo of a blessing ("May God bless
this house and its inhabitants") written by Ratzi and signed by him and Cardinal Bertone

Proscio moved back to his hometown six years ago and opened his own restaurant on the highway
between Valmontone and Genazzano. The Pope asked about him earlier this week when he met
the mayor of Valmontone at the Vatican.

Proscio was very pleased to learn about the Pope’s interest and now hopes to be able to meet him
in private audience with his family. “If we are granted an audience, I will bring him one of
his favorite desserts.”

He recalls that Ratzinger usually ordered a light meal – a hot soup and cold cuts. But he did not
get to know Ratzinger’s real tastes in food not until he moved to Valmontone. “He came to us
several times, usually with the people who work with him, and I had occasion to serve him
a variety of dishes. He tasted everything that was suggested, never left anything on his plate,
and drank orange juice with everything.

“I know he doesn’t drink wine,” Proscio says, “but the next time I see him I will offer him
a toast with Italian spumante (the sparkling wine the cardinals used to toast him the night of
his election), but I will also offer a Bavarian equivalent.”

Proscio remembers a meal he served him in Valmontone: “After a visit to the Sanctuary of
the Madonna in Genazzano, he stopped here for a meal with a busload of pilgrims . I served him
homemade pasta with a sauce of gorgonzola (Italian blue cheese) and arugula, rigatoni with
bacon sauce, beef Wellington in a crust stuffed with ham and pate, and strudel for dessert.”

He says the cardinal was an enthusiast both of “prima piatti” (“first dish”, usually pasta, in
an Italian restaurant) as well as desserts.

“He willingly tried my strudel, but he liked to order the Bavarian version and other sweets.
I always pampered him.”

He was supposed to meet the Pope at Christmastime but his appointment was postponed.
Now that the Pope has sent him his best wishes through his town mayor, Proscio also intends to
invite him back to his restaurant.

Pope at the Creche

Now, we have an explanation for those 2 different photos of Papa kneeling before the Creche
in St. Peter’s Square on New Year’s Eve.

He did not proceed to the Creche on foot from the Basilica immediately after the Te Deum.
He shed his liturgical vestments and went back to the Papal apartments to get an overcoat
to wear out in the cold. By then, it had started to rain, so Giorgio also needed an umbrella
for the Pope.

They came up to the Creche in a car. The Pope was welcomed by Cardinal Edmund Szoka,
governor of Vatican city, and by a Swiss Guard band that had been playing Christmas carols
for a crowd that had gathered despite the rain. After greeting the pilgrims, the Pope knelt on
a prie-Dieu at the foot of the Creche to say a prayer. Afterwards, he went up to the
structure itself and knelt again in front of the Infant’s Cradle. He was also photographed
next to the larger-than-life statues of Mary and Joseph.

Before going back to his quarters, the Pope’s car drove alongside the police barriers
so he could greet the rest of the crowd, who greeted him with long applause and chants of
“Viva il Papa” .

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 15/01/2006 23.34]

00Monday, January 16, 2006 1:48 AM
I thinking leans toward that perhaps he still has material in his old study that he hasn't had time to review until after his election to the papacy and that's why he has Don Georg accompanying him on these nighttime clandistine trips. For whatever reason, he can't have those materials moved out of his old apartment into the papal apartments and he alone knows what he needs to go over, so he is taking little trips there and spending time sifting through what perhaps he doesn't want anyone else looking at (except GG), since it's his private materials/files/whatever.

Anyway, that's my take on the mini-"mystery". [SM=g27833]
00Monday, January 16, 2006 2:55 AM

I agree with Imladris. After living for 24 years in one place, a person accumulates a lot of stuff and, in Papa's case, that probably means a lot of papers and magazines as well as his 20,000 books. He is probably just going through it on different occasions to see what to discard and what to move to his new apartment. I am sure that is a chore he would rather do himself so nothing he really wants gets pitched out by an aide. Also, it sounds (from his talk recently to the craftsmen who renovated the papal apartments) that his books were only recently moved to his new place so he may have visited the old apartment to organize them for that move.

Regarding the supposed one or two-day trip to the Italian Alps while at Castel Gandolfo, I would be surprised if he did that so soon after staying for 3 weeks at Les Combes. Also, his brother had to get a pacemaker almost as soon as he visited so I doubt Big Georg would want to try it out in the rarefied air of the mountains. I'm a bit skeptical about the likelihood of that trip.
00Monday, January 16, 2006 4:21 AM
From the Italian press, thanks to Ratzigirl -
A visit with nuns and
dinners at Clemens's

ANSA, the Italian news agency, reports that in the last days of December, Papa Ratzinger
paid an afternoon visit to a nuns’ institute near the Vatican. This was a completely private
visit, unlike his visit to the Shrine of Mentorella in October, when at least one "journalist",
Don Jarek Cielecki, director of the Vatican Information Services, was with the Pope’s party.

His workload has not kept Benedict from three diversions: his piano, his daily walks in the
Vatican Gardens, and occasional dinners with friends at the apartment of his former
private secretary, Mons. Joseph Clemens, in the Palazzo Sant’Uffizio.

Even during the cold and rainy days of December, reports ANSA, the Pope – protected by an
umbrella, a raincoat and his black beret – did not fail to make his usual 60-90 minutes daily
walk through the Vatican Gardens. His routine is set: After a mid-afternoon nap, he goes for
his walk, usually with Georg Gaenswein, sometimes with his assistant secretary, Monsignor
“Mietek” Mokrzycki, a Pole from the Ukraine who served John Paul II in the same capacity.

ANSA appears to confirm a story about the occasional dinners held at Monsignor Clemens’s
apartment first reported in a gossip column (with the slant that Mons. Gaenswein supposedly
is not present at these dinners). Mons. Clemens was Cardinal Ratzinger’s private secretary
for 20 years, until he was promoted to secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The dinners are said to be “pleasant interludes when the Pope can be with old friends,
or sometimes, an occasion for him to meet persons who wish to see him outside Papal
protocol". Clemens has the advantage of knowing the Pope well enough to understand
instantly, in a social occasion, what he wants and his current state of mind.


The next big thing for the Pope is the release of his first encyclical. This will be presented
at a news conference on or before January 21 with the presence of the curial discasteries
involved with the encyclical. Expected to be there are Archbishop William Levada,
the Pope’s successor as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and
Mons. Joseph Cordes, the German arcbishop who is the head of the Pontifical Council
Cor Unum, which administers Papal charities.

Cor Unum has organized a conference on charity to be held in Rome on January 23-24,
attended by the presidents of all the bishops conferences around the world, as well as
representatives of religious charitable organizations and lay Catholic charities.

Two special lay guests are the American economist James Wolfensohn, former president of
the World Bank and currently special envoy of the United Nations to Palestine, and Italian
film and opera director Liliana Cavani.

The conference program includes a Mass at St. Peter’s to be celebrated by the Pope.

A million copies of the encyclical will be distributed with the January 25 issue of the magazine
Famiglia Cristiana.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 16/01/2006 4.24]

00Monday, January 16, 2006 7:00 AM
I've never heard about Papa is visiting his former apartment but I think it's really nice. Maybe he is just sorting out his books or papers but he lived there for nearly 24 years and I think this apartment holds a lot of memories for him. It's a nice imagination that Papa comes back sometimes just maybe to wallow in memories.
It also makes me happy reading about Papa's visit with the nuns and his dinners with Josef Clemens. Surely he enjoys those activities and I hope he can do so more often.
00Monday, January 16, 2006 1:32 PM

Scritto da: .Imladris. 16/01/2006 1.48
I thinking leans toward that perhaps he still has material in his old study that he hasn't had time to review until after his election to the papacy and that's why he has Don Georg accompanying him on these nighttime clandistine trips. For whatever reason, he can't have those materials moved out of his old apartment into the papal apartments and he alone knows what he needs to go over, so he is taking little trips there and spending time sifting through what perhaps he doesn't want anyone else looking at (except GG), since it's his private materials/files/whatever.

Anyway, that's my take on the mini-"mystery". [SM=g27833]

My dream is, that Papa keeps his apartment. Why take everything with him? If there are 20.000 books, probably all in good order, why can't they stay where they are? The flat would also be nice for friends that visit him and who can't stay at the Apostolic Palace. And this apartment is so full of memories (and has no ears.....) It would be wonderful if Papa could keep it for regular visitis.
00Monday, January 16, 2006 9:43 PM

"The dinners are said to be “pleasant interludes when the Pope can be with old friends,
or sometimes, an occasion for him to meet persons who wish to see him outside Papal

I wonder who the lucky people are who get to attend these dinners. Do any of our Italian friends know?
00Tuesday, January 17, 2006 11:36 PM
When you have a chance, visit this site:
which is running a poll to find out what it is that has struck you most
about the first months of Papa Ratzinger.
"I primi mesi di Papa ratzinger: mi colpisce per..."
(The first months of Papa Ratzinger struck me because...)

The results as of today (they started it a few days ago) were
as follows
(this gives me a chance to translate what the choices are - and I have also
numbered them so that you can decide which one you will vote for before
going to the site, so it will be easier when you get there:

1) La sua fedeltà al sacro deposito della fede8.15% 26)
[His loyalty to the sacred deposit of the Faith]

2) Lo spessore teologico del suo Magistero21.32%(68)
[The theological weight of his teachings]

3) La sua opera per una liturgia con meno abusi5.96%(19)
[His efforts for less abuses of the liturgy]

4) I suoi punti fermi sui temi ecumenici1.88% (6)
[His firm stand on ecumenical themes]

5) Il continuo richiamo alla Vergine Maria 2.19% (7)
[His consistent invocation of the Virgin Mary]

6) La cura nella formazione di sacerdoti e religiosi1.25% (4)
[His concerns about the training of priests and religious]

7) Il carisma che ha sulle masse 2.19% (7)
[The charisma which he has with the masses]

8) La denuncia dei pericoli odierni per la fede10.34% (33)
[The denunciation of present-day dangers for the faith]

9) La sua lotta contro il relativismo 19.12% (61)
[His constant battle against relativism]

10) La costante difesa della famiglia tradizionale 3.45% (11)
[His constant defense of the traditional family]

11) Il suo stile mite e dolcissimo 24.14% (77)
[His gentle and sweet manner]

12) Aver focalizzato la pastorale sulla missionarietà 3.45%(11)
[Having focused the ministry on missionary work]

Voti Totali: 319
For those who are not familiar with the site, it was set up in March 2004 by a group called
Amici di Joseph Ratzinger (Friends of Joseph Ratzinger), also listed as J. Ratzinger's Fan Club,
web site Ratzinger.it. Its main purpose is to provide documentation of Ratzinger's
published articles and interviews, either in original Italian version or in Italian translation,
and is an invaluable resource for those who can read Italian

00Thursday, January 19, 2006 8:22 PM
An item posted by Ratzigirl in the main forum - in translation.

An “ever-smiling and loquacious” Pope Benedict XVI gave a 40-minute private audience
today to Guenther Oettingen, president of Baden-Wurttemberg, the German state
in which both Tuebingen and Rottweil (which apparently gave its name to the dog
breed) are located. He said he was happy to receive from the delegation the
greetings and wishes of the people of that state.

Oettingen used those two adjectives to describe the Pope in what he also called a
“most cordial” visit.

He said the Pope said of his years in Tuebingen: “I remember those times – they were
very important.”

Oettingen replied: “But they were also years of suffering for you. I remember the
student movements then and the difficulties you must have had.”

But the Pope apparently preferred to dwell on happy memories: “I have
so many memories of your region, and I remember its cities were well, their
traditions, and the wine!”

On Rottweil, he said: “It has always been a beautiful city for me, a city of dreams.”

Oettingen presented the Pope with an engraving of the Aula Magna (Great Hall) of
the University of Tuebingen, where Joseph Ratzinger taught for two years, as well as
a book of piano scores.

00Saturday, January 21, 2006 12:19 AM
Make of this what you will, but Vaticanista Andrea Tornielli writes at the end
of a brief rehash item on the encyclical in Il Giornale today that
- "The text of
the encylical was being corrected up to three days ago. The last changes to
the concluding paragraph were sent in at the start of the week. Reason for the
delay - besides the tensions among the German-language translators - were
the long list of observations (for possible changes, presumably) proposed by
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."

Methinks it is more idle Vatican intrigue!

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 21/01/2006 0.41]

00Saturday, January 21, 2006 12:31 AM
OH dear, The curia is always spreading rumours just to make the Pontifice's life harder than it is !
Papa Ratzi must put those people on his places! But it is not so easy , because he once belonged to the same Curia....Poor Papino [SM=g27834]

[Modificato da @Nessuna@ 21/01/2006 0.32]

00Saturday, January 21, 2006 1:06 AM
The Congregation
of the Doctrine of the Faith has a say in Papa's first encyclical??? It sounds totally incongruous to me...
00Saturday, January 21, 2006 5:39 AM
Dear Mag6nideum - As I understand it, it is SOP for an encyclical to be sent first to all the major Curial Congregations for review and comment before it is finalized. The CDF is especially important because the Pope, whoever he is, cannot write anything that could possibly be ambiguous, equivocal or subject to misinterpretation, doctrinally or theologically.

Papa was vetting Papal statements for almost 25 years, so I cannot imagine that he would not himself have guarded against
any such "faults". I do see it likely that some theologian-consultants of the CDF (it works with a pool of such consultants that are not necessarily on staff - the entire work force of the CDF consisted of 30-40 people under Ratzi) could well have sent the Pope a list of their comments, observations and suggestions for possible changes, but this would have been at the start of the review process, not towards the end.

But all this is idle speculation. It's just too bad that the Vaticanistas often feel constrained to make news where there is none, and that even someone I admire like Sandro Magister is capable of putting out an article like the one he did on "those who oppose Ratzinger."

I read your comments in the RFC forum about that, and your disillusionment - but don't make more of it than what it really is. If you read the article dispassionately and think about it, you will see what an artificial construction it is, a house of cards.

Do we really think that our "vecchio volpone" ("old wolf" as the Italian girls like to call Papa sometimes when he is photographed with an amused, knowing or perhaps even cunning, look) is not aware that the Vatican is awash in intrigue, that he does not know who are against him and what they are doing to try and undermine him, and that he will allow them to sabotage his work?

Let us pray that God helps him to overcome all these petty and counter-productive interests that get in his way, which is the way of Christ.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 21/01/2006 17.51]

00Saturday, January 21, 2006 6:09 AM
One of the earliest comments to the Pope's preview of his first encyclical came from
a surprising source

”Every Pope follows his own course to express the beauty of communicating the faith.”
This is how the Franciscans of the Sacred Convent of Assisi welcomed with pleasure
the announcement by Benedict XVI of the date of publication of his first encyclical,
according to the Italian news agency, Apcom.

“Even his choice of theme was beautiful. St. Francis called love the Supreme Good,“
said Father Vincenzo Coli, custodian of the Sacred Convent, to Apcom.

"It is beautiful to rediscover the epicentre of Christinaity. It is a very beautiful,
important and significant theme. In a society where everything becomes ‘instrumentalized’,
to rediscover the road of love is a step to reorient our way,"
Father Coli said.
00Saturday, January 21, 2006 5:46 PM
Re: CDF, Vatican speculations
Hallo dear Teresa,
Thanks for the explanation about popes' encyclicals. I know nothing about these things yet and was just naïve enough to think "Who can teach Papa anything especially after his long time with the CDF??" mag6's blind loyalty to her hero!
But, it makes perfect sense of course to ensure that everything said by the Pope in this respect should be "above board": and no one is perfect. Most authors have some "critics" / redactors read their work before publication. So, it is a healthy thing, I presume.
You always give me a balanced and informed new view on things. THANKS. Especially your objective reading and analysis of the Magister-article has blown away my Joan of Arc-inclinations. [SM=x40799] [SM=g27823]
00Saturday, January 21, 2006 6:05 PM
If you haven't already discovered it, check out the Roamin' Roman on her blogspot http://roamingroman.blogspot.com/
for always interesting comments about the Pope and the Church, and for a continuing travelog - with excellent pictures -by a traveler after my own heart, who maximizes every moment she has abroad to see and learn as much as she can. She is a young American student who is in Rome for a year of theological studies, and here is one of her typical reports:

Well, we got a surprise this morning for our Early Christian Worship class... we didn't talk much about early Christian worship, because somehow our professor had been able to arrange for Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor and founder of "Inside the Vatican" magazine, to come and speak with us!

Needless to say we didn't mind too much that we weren't going to be discussing the differences between Ambrose and Cyril of Jerusalem's writings on baptism after all.

Dr. Moynihan talked to us at length about his personal history here in Rome, and his experiences here and in the States throughout the past 20+ years. Very interesting! One story that was very intersting was his overview of the events surrounding his doctoral dissertation research in 1984. He did his doctorate on the influence of Joachim of Fiore on the Franciscan order - apparently a "cardinal in Rome" had written a book in which aspects of this was discussed, and so Moynihan read it as part of his research. Well, one day he met the cardinal, and told him that he had read his book, and the cardinal responded, "you are the only one in Rome who has!" That cardinal was none other than our current pontiff, then Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith!

Dr. Moynihan also mentioned briefly something about the spiritual life of Benedict XVI, that he said "no one has written on yet." He said that before being elected pope, Ratzinger was not in the habit of praying the Rosary every day. That changed following his election as Peter's successor - he said to his secretary, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, that they needed to begin. So, regularly now the two of them say the Rosary together! I sure hope that Dr. Moynihan does speak about this more himself in a future issue of Inside the Vatican - it may seem like a small observation, but I think it is a beautiful sign that points to the far broader and deeper spiritual picture of this pontificate. May Our Lady of the Rosary continue to lead our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, and in turn the flock that he has been charged to shepherd, ever closer to her Son!
Be sure to check out her earlier postings, because she also does not miss a chance to go to St. Peter's when the Pope is presiding at a ceremony, and has the pictures to prove it.

And to Mag6nideum - I am glad what I wrote was helpful. Thank you!

00Sunday, January 22, 2006 5:49 PM
Ratzigirl posted this item today, apparently from a circular of the city of Rome:

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the invitation extended by Mayor Walter Veltroni to attend a concert in his honor to be held on April 21, on the anniversary of the foundation of the city of Rome.

The concert will be held at the Auditorium of Rome, with a program chosen by the Superintendent of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Professor Bruno Cagli. It will be a Mozart program, featuring soprano Edita Gruberova and the Chorus and Orchestra of Santa Cecilia directed by Vladimir Jurowski.

The program includes the Kyrie in B minor, K.341; Ave Verum; the final chorus from "The Magic Flute"; the overture to "The Marriage of Figaro;" the overture to "Abduction from the Seraglio" and "Martern aller Arten", an aria from the same opera.

"A visit from the Pope is a great honor for the city," Veltroni said, "(especially since) it falls on the anniversary of the foundation of Rome, and it will take place in the Auditorium of Rome, a place of extraordinary artistic and cultural value, as
a contemporary piece of architecture which is representative of
growth and change in the capital city."


00Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:13 AM
Maklara posted these photos in a discussion about the Pope's pectoral crosses on the Georg Gaenswein thread in the RFC, with the information that this is the cross that Pope Benedict XVI gives to the bishops when they make their ad limina visits to the Vatican.

So dear Maklara, I hope you do not mind that I am posting them here, too, not just for the record, but because the very idea of giving a pectoral cross to each bishop is beautiful, as is the cross itself. Is there an explanation for the images on the cross? Except for the central image of the Crucifixion, I cannot identify the other images.

00Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:23 AM

Giorgio's in the kitchen with Papa!
(Unfortunately, this was the only picture with the article).

Here is a brief item from the German tabloid BILD on 1/29/06 that I have not seen elsewhere and is quite surprising. It is by veteran Vatican reporter Andreas English, who has written a biography of Benedict. Here is a translation -


There was Sekt (German champagne)to celebrate the day. Some Italian companies had donated new kitchen equipment to the Pope, and to thank them, the Pope held a big kitchen party.

Much hustle and bustle on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace. The donors were asked to bring their families with them. The Pope’s private secretary Georg Gaenswein undertook to provide the sweets. For the first time, there were children playing in the area of the Papal apartments which is the domain of the lay sisters, including the new kitchen.

The sisters are particularly happy about the overall renovation of the Papal apartments, because with the overhaul of the antiquated electrical system, for one, they can now use appliances like coffeemakers, microwave ovens and dishwashing machines. Before the overhaul, it was unsafe to plug in any appliance!

The sisters who took care of John Paul II had done all their cooking on gas ranges and a gas-fed oven - sometimes for up to 200 guests! And in the absence of a proper exhaust hood for smoke and kitchen smells, it was said that a smell of lard always hung in the air and the kitchen vapors threatened the ceiling frescoes in the papal apartments.

And so, with the Bavarian Pope, modernity has come to the Papal apartments.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 31/01/2006 5.26]

00Tuesday, January 31, 2006 1:17 PM
papal decoration and papal gift again
our cardinal wears the papal gift cross...see the picture. The second man is president of Charles University with St. Gregor decoration which he received on 9 Janurary 2006 from Papa for reformation of theological studies (St.Gregor decoration is among highers decorations given by pope to lay people)

One bishop wrote about the gift that pectoral (called the cross wearing on breast-pectore)is leonical or constantinal ... and they received with cross booklet with explanation of biblical places dealing with sacrifice - Jacob Ladder, Sacrifice of Abraham and the middle Sacrifice of Christ.

Papa gives to each cross manual how to use it and what the cross is about. [SM=g27828]

[Modificato da Maklara 31/01/2006 13.20]

00Wednesday, February 1, 2006 1:59 AM
Thanks a lot for the explanation and added information, Maklara. One can see a lot of thought went into the gift of the pectoral cross. I wonder if John Paul II did the same thing.
Perhaps giving the visiting bishops a pectoral cross is something of a Papal tradition?
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