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

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00Thursday, February 2, 2006 2:44 AM
Here is a translation of a fragment from an article written by Alessandra Borghese about WYD and the Pope. Ratzigirl posted this fragment today, but I have been asking about the full article since I first read that she was planning to write it after she had supposedly seen the Pope at Les Combes for an article about his vacation that I still have not tracked down).

It was what I wanted. But I was not at all sure that I would succeed in making His Holiness laugh! On the return flight from Cologne to Rome, I had the chance to sit beside the Pope for a few minutes.

After those days that had been so demanding and full of significance, I thought I would break the ice with a joke. So, after the ritual greetings, I said, a bit ironically: “ Holiness, during these days in Germany, you managed to change the attitude of your countrymen so much that now they want to bring the Vatican to Berlin.”

First, he looked at me with surprise, then with amusement, and finally broke into hearty laughter.

In fact, those who are familiar with Ratzinger are very much aware that this great theologian, who is now showing his great gifts as a pastor as well, is a man with a rich sense of humor. He has written: “Humor is one of the ingredients to achieve serenity. In many moments of our existence, we can observe how God motivates us to take life with a sense of lightness, to see its happy aspects, to come down from the pedestal and not to lose our sense of the comic.”
00Thursday, February 2, 2006 3:08 AM

Teresa, I do hope you can find the two Borghese articles. Alessandra has had the unique opportunity to get access to Papa when others can't and she writes some nice human interest stories from those encounters. I would love to read the rest of the article above and definitely the one about Les Combes since I haven't seen anything yet on Papa's comments about what he did on his summer vacation.
00Thursday, February 2, 2006 2:34 PM
Yippiih, what a funny girl she is, my dearest A. [SM=g27812] [SM=g27812]
I would like to be a Voodoo-Priest, have my little doll and some needles and pick it into the doll, hahaha, what a lot of fun A. will get ! [SM=g27811]
And her girlfriend G. too. [SM=g27811]
00Friday, February 3, 2006 4:26 AM

It wouldn't be nice to stick pins in an Alessandra voodoo doll. [SM=x40796] She can't help it because she is rich, is a princess, has a job where she can talk to Papa, and gets to sit next to him on a plane or visit him on his vacation. Besides, I already checked. All the voodoo dolls in New Orleans got washed out to sea during Hurricane Katrina. We will just have to exercise charity toward Alessandra and her friend, Gloria.

Deus caritas est. Benedictus cuddly est.

[Modificato da benefan 03/02/2006 6.26]

00Friday, February 3, 2006 5:58 AM
According to the Italian newspaper Il Foglio

Angelo Gugel, who stayed on as valet to Pope BenEdict XVI after the death of the Pope he served for two decades, has finally retired. His replacement is Paolo Gabriele – called Paoletto in the Apostolic Palace – who for years was in charge of a so-called ‘secret antechamber’ in the official wing of the
Apostolic Palace. However, as he has three young sons, he will spend less time with the Pope than did Gugel.

Apparently, however, Birgit Wansing, who was Ratzi’s secretary at the CDF, and who is reportedly a Schoenstatt sister, is now coordinating the household staff composed of the four Memores Domini lay sisters, Carmela, Loredana, Cristina and Emanuela.

The report confirms that Ingrid Stampa continues to play an important part in the Pope’s entourage but this time as an “official” in the Secretariat of State.

The Pope’s meal companions continue to be his two secretaries – Georg Gaenswein and Mietek Makryzski – and brother Georg when he is visiting.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/02/2006 6.04]

00Friday, February 3, 2006 6:25 AM

1. How can someone with a young family be available to Papa first thing in the morning, last thing at night, at Castel Gandolfo, and on foreign trips? Seems like an impossible situation.

2. Has Birgit moved into the Apostolic Palace?

3. Isn't Ingrid also a Schoenstatt Sister? I've read that in a zillion articles.

4. What kind of "official" is Ingrid now?

5. How reliable is Il Foglio?

I know. Nothing like being a pest.

00Friday, February 3, 2006 8:41 AM

1. Re Paoletto - He is not a widower, so I imagine his wife still has the primary responsibility for raising the kids. Probably Papa lets him off at 5 p.m. as he really does not need a valet to help him undress for bed. He needs a valet in the daytime.
2. Birgit very likely lives in the Papal apartments along with the Memores sisters. John Paul's household nuns did.
3. I have read many other stories specifically denying that Ingid is a Schoenstatt nun, although she may belong to the movement.
4. We probably won't get any job description of Ingrid at the Secretariat of State. I'm sure if the reporter had anything more definite, he would have said so - or maybe, he is being discreet - but there would be a valid reason why he does not report more than he does.
5. "Il Foglio" is a serious newspaper with excellent coverage of the Vatican. It recently published the long analytical article posted in NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT about "The Pope Who Knows Which Fish to Angle For." Its Vaticanista Pier Luigi Rodari, source of the story on the papal household changes, was the very first one who reported - correctly, back in September - on the title and general content of the Pope's encyclical.

In any case, my attitude to any behind-the-scenes stories at the Vatican is: here's a story, here's the source. One is not called on to believe anything 100%.
00Friday, February 3, 2006 8:55 AM
I had set aside a small item from the Italian press about the unprecedented way the encyclical has been selling - e.g., a Rome bookseller said that he sold hundreds on the first day he had the Vatican edition in Italian out compared to maybe 3-5 that he sold of the previous Pope's encyclicals - but I overwrote it when I pasted on a longer article to translate on my Word worksheet. So I am picking up a summary prepared by Alejandro Bermudez who writes the Catholic Outsider Blog-

Many wondered why a publisher of cheap popular books in Italy like Edizioni Cantagalli* decided to get the rights to make a massive edition of Pope Benedict’s “Deus Caritas est.”

But it seems you can’t beat Cantagalli when it comes to business: according to a buyer’s report, the Pontiff’s not-so-easy-to-read encyclical is being snapped up by buyers across Italy.

Booksellers only in Rome are reporting sales of 3,000 copies a day in different languages, mostly in Italian -of course,- Spanish and English.

Even prominent Italians, like former Christian Democrat president Francesco Cossiga have been buying up copies by the bulk.

Fr. Gino Belleri, Director of the well-known Leoniana bookshop in front of the Vatican - a humming place for Vatican gossip,- revealed that Mr. Cossiga “decided to get a stock of them to be able to give them to friends”.

The Libreria Editrice Vaticana (the official Vatican Publisher) is so confident about the sales that it has released the official Latin edition today (Feb. 1).


(Left) Hardcover edition (7 Euros); (right) paperback edition (1.5 Euros) -
These are being sold in Italian supermarkets and kiosks in train stations and airports,
besides bookstores. Famiglia Cristiana distributed the paperback edition with
its January 31 issue, in an edition of 1 million, compared to its usual run of 600,000.

The free paperback edition distributed by Osservatore Romano with its issue of January 26.

Korazym.org reports that none of the printed copies carry copyright notices.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/02/2006 9.11]

00Friday, February 3, 2006 4:01 PM
Most pertinent P.S. to the above - from Catherine Smibert at ZENIT:

Benedict XVI's first encyclical has sold a record 500,000* copies since its release just last week. Why?

Perhaps it is curiosity or maybe it is the fact the theme is so identifiable. Whatever it is, there's something to be said about the element of surprise surrounding the subject of "Deus Caritas Est."

During a visit to Rome, Samuel Gregg put the Pope's choice of topic into perspective for me by going back to the Holy Father's childhood. Gregg, an adjunct professor at the Lateran University, is the director of research at the Michigan-based Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.

"Benedict XVI grew up in his very young, formative years under a totalitarian, pagan regime," Gregg observed. "We have to understand that National Socialism had no place for love, except for love of the state."

Gregg pointed out that many of the Nazi theorists at the time saw love as a sign of weakness.

"The idea of hate was actually elevated into a kind of principle, in the sense that the German people were the master race, which meant treating non-Germans as if they were subhuman," he said. "The idea that all people deserved to be loved was completely foreign to this ideology."

Gregg added: "Growing up in this society where love was not just trivialized but made out to be evil and somehow dehumanizing, may have contributed to Benedict XVI wanting to rehabilitate the idea of Christian love in the modern world."

That's in addition to the 1 million copies distributed by Famiglia Cristiana for a nominal fee and the various language versions released directly with the weekly editions of Osservatore Romano in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian.
00Saturday, February 4, 2006 1:55 AM
In the 2/4/06 issue of the TABLET (which according to Wulfrune, MaryJos calls the "poison pill" - they're both British, so they should know), Robert Mickens recounts what purports to have gone on the behind-the-scenes at the Vatican, resulting in the delayed publication of THE ENCYCLICAL. Here, from www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi-bin/register.cgi/tablet-01140 is what he wrote...

Labour of love
By Robert Mickens

Few papal documents have been awaited with as great anticipation as Benedict XVI’s recent “ode to love”. But the fluent finished text that was launched on to the world was being revised and changed up to three days before it was on the presses.

The Holy See press office was packed. All seats were taken, reporters stood along the side and back walls of the room as two Vatican archbishops and a Roman Curia cardinal officially unveiled Pope Benedict XVI’s much-anticipated first encyclical. As the veteran Vaticanist in that 25 January crowd pointed out, it had been “a very, very long time” since a press conference on a papal document had caused so much commotion.

The encyclical was long in its gestation. Work on it started at some point in 2004, in the last months of the life of the increasingly incapacitated Pope John Paul II. Yet while the document’s genesis is closely linked to the sure-to-be-canonised late pope it bears the emerging (and surprising) pastoral style of Pope Benedict XVI. What we have in Ratzinger-the-Pope’s “ode to love”, as some commentators have dubbed Deus Caritas Est, is a text unpredictably more positive and encouraging than some of the more pessimistic writings that flowed from Ratzinger-the-Cardinal’s doctrinal pen.

It was John Paul II’s document-spawning coterie in the Roman Curia that originally chose Christian charity for the theme of what was planned to be his fifteenth encyclical. The fact that the Polish Pope – then 84 years old – was so enfeebled that he could no longer write much more than his signature or speak for more than a few minutes at a time was evidently not an obstacle to his authoring another document. The Vatican (and many reporters who cover it) have long perpetuated the legend that the Pope actually writes his own documents and speeches. But this ruse was again exposed most recently by the guileless Cardinal Georges Cottier OP – the former theologian of the papal household – who admitted in an interview with Catholic News Service that Pope John Paul did not write all the texts issued in his name. It was clear that he was certainly unable to do so in the last years of his pontificate.

That is why in late 2004 or early 2005 the future encyclical’s writing project was given over to the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, the Vatican office that Paul VI created in 1971 to oversee the Pope’s charitable activities and coordinate the universal Church’s work in the field of “human promotion”. The bureau is also mandated to “promote the catechesis of Charity and stimulate the faithful to give witness” to it, something the encyclical eloquently expounds upon, especially in the second section. That section of Deus Caritas Est – Vatican sources have told The Tablet – was written by Archbishop Paul Cordes, a German prelate and who is currently Cor Unum’s president as well as being a close friend of Pope Benedict. The archbishop began drafting the papal text while Pope John Paul was still alive. But when he died last April, it looked as if the Cordes manuscript which very nearly became John Paul’s last encyclical had died with him.

Instead, in what has become a noticeable pattern, Pope Benedict again made sure that yet another of his beloved predecessor’s “works in progress” would not be precipitously abandoned. Thus, he rescued Archbishop Cordes’ labours from the incinerator and decided to use the draft as part of his own first encyclical. Even though sources say that the Cordes text was first “shot down”, it was later refined and allowed the archbishop to emerge “vindicated” – not to everyone’s pleasure, however.

Deus Caritas Est might have been conceived in the last months of John Paul II’s reign, but its style and content – especially in the first section – are decidedly not in the Wojtylan mould. First, the encyclical is clearly addressed to a limited audience: “the bishops, priests and deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful”. This may mean all Christians, since there is no specific mention of the Catholic Church or those in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

But it should be noted that it is not addressed to “all men and women of good will”, as were the first encyclicals of both Paul VI and John Paul II. The Blessed John XXIII was the first pope in history to address an encyclical to all humankind when he wrote Pacem in Terris in 1963, and this has since been the norm for all but the most “specifically inter-ecclesial” encyclicals, such as on the Sacraments or the nature of the Church.

By not issuing his first encyclical to all people of good will, Pope Benedict seems to have signalled that his priority as Supreme Pontiff will be to speak principally to members of his Church. This would be a noted shift from a predecessor who devoted much of his energy to addressing more general concerns not exclusively related to the core truths of Christian faith. Indeed, most of the arguments in the new encyclical are predicated on the express belief in the divinity and saving works of Jesus Christ. It is not a document that non-believers will easily subscribe to.

And yet Pope Benedict, in the section that sources say he personally wrote (Part I and the beginning of Part II), quotes mostly non-Christian writers. In the 11 or so footnotes attached to this section of the encyclical, the Pope cites Plato, Descartes, Nietzsche, Virgil and Aristotle. Some Vatican officials were evidently not pleased that he rested his arguments on this “pantheon of pagan authors” and employed only a few Christian luminaries, such as St Gregory the Great and St Augustine.

In a further and refreshing break from his predecessor’s style, Pope Benedict never once quotes himself. However, in the second part of the encyclical – that attributed to Archbishop Cordes’ ghostwriting – ecclesiastical sources, including the words of “my great predecessor John Paul II”, are credited in the remaining 25 footnotes.

The first “final draft” of the text – back in November – was signed by the Pope and pre-dated for 8 December. Speculation was rife at that time that the text would be released for Christmas. However, a source close to the developments told The Tablet that the encyclical, which was already considered completed, then underwent at least three or four total revisions. Evidently, there was a major problem with translations, handled by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

The completed encyclical was originally written in the Pope’s and Archbishop Cordes’ native German. It was then translated into Italian, some say by the Pope’s long-time special aide, Ingrid Stampa. But an Italian monsignor who saw the text claimed that the first translation was almost “unintelligible”. An English-speaking official confirmed that. “My Italian colleagues said it was legnoso – wooden.” he said. At that point the Italian translation had to be re-worked because senior State officials were insistent that it – and not the original German – be the basis for the official Latin edition. This latter text is thus a translation of a translation. (If you read it in English, you are reading a translation of an Italian version of the original German, rather than a translation of the Latin official text.)

The Italian adage “tradutore traditore” – basically that the translator is a traitor – perhaps explains why the text had to be revised several times in order fully to get the Pope’s words and intentions right.

But evidently there were also a number of questions raised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). “They sent observations or concerns over in a document about the size of a telephone book,” another official said. “Up until about three days before the encyclical was sent to the printers they were re-doing things, like adding introductions and conclusions,” one of the translators said.

Pope Benedict broke with custom by speaking publicly about the encyclical in the days prior to its actual release. Not only was he able to put his own “spin” on the most important points he was hoping to make in the document, but he also saved Cor Unum from the embarrassment of holding a pre-scheduled international conference that was planned on the understanding that the text would have already been made public. One source opined that officials in the Secretariat of State had deliberately helped delay the encyclical’s release in order to prevent Cor Unum from being the agency by which the text would be launched or at least showcased.

Plans were then set for Archbishop Cordes and the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop William Levada, to unveil Deus Caritas Est to journalists at the Holy See press office. It is believed that high-ranking Italians in the Vatican were displeased that a German and an American would be launching the new Pope’s first encyclical, so they lobbied to get one of their compatriots on the panel as well. That perhaps explains why Cardinal Renato Martino, the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was thus a late addition to the press conference. But his presentation focused more on the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which was published in 2004, rather than on the newly released encyclical.

Rocco Palmo, an American Church commentator, suggested ironically that the Pope had issued his document on Christian charity “as segments of his flock continue in their quest to tear each other to shreds”. The segment in the Roman Curia might remember the old saying, “Charity begins at home”.

A mix of cattiness and some far-fetched conclusions.

If the main delay had been due to translation problems, why would it have undergone "three or four total revisions" after the Pope considered it was done? Translation problems do not cause total revision, much less three or four. And "total revisi0n(s)" of something written by Joseph Ratzinger, whose intellectual output has been consistently described as "druckreif" (ready for printing), since his university lecturing days, even when he is extemporizing???

Seriously, how can even the most nitpicking doctrinal reviewer at the CDF manage to put together a telephone-book's worth of suggested revisions to a 70-page document (to use the highest number that has been used to refer to it - although I would still point out that the German version prints out on 8-1/2" x 11" paper as 25 pages of text and 2 of bibliography, and the English version to 25 pages text plus 2 of bibliography)? Nitpicking the work of the former CDF Prefect no less???

And if it is true what Mickens says about the Secretariat of State, how absurd to consider an Italian translation of the German original to be the basis for the "official" Latin version of the encyclical! I had assumed that the German would have been translated into Latin first, but it should still have been the basis for the other translations! And even if I am not a native German speaker, I find the German text straightforward and unequivocal as far as its exposition, and appropriately eloquent or lyrical, passionate or dispassionate, as the text requires. And German is too precise a language for a translator to mistake the tone and intention of the words!

And this statement: “Up until about three days before the encyclical was sent to the printers they were re-doing things, like adding introductions and conclusions” - attributed to one of the translators. This is such an absurd claim I am amazed it is even quoted! How can one "add introductions and conclusions" three days before going to press to a document that is remarkable for its fluidity and for its model exposition? Those qualities do not take shape three days before going to press. And just think what that statement says by implication about Benedict's thought processes!!!

As for the press conference to "introduce" the encyclical, our Italian sisters on this forum are of the consensus that it was a disaster - none of the three main "presentors" were up to the level of the text they were introducing, Monsignor Martino sounded like he had not read the encyclical himself, Archbishop Levada had too many language problems with Italian, and Archbishop Cordes appeared to have his own agenda. I am surprised none of the Anglophone writers went to town on these points - but then, the encyclical was just too powerful and rich that the journalists needed all their attention to absorb it and get it right (which, for the most part, they did, HALLELUJAH!)

I am very surprised at the statement Mickens makes that the encyclical "is not a document that non-believers will easily subscribe to." On the contrary, what it has to say about all forms of love in general and the practice of charity and the concepts of social justice and the separate roles of Church and State, are so universal that you do not have to be a believer to subscribe to them. I am waiting to read any reactions from atheists, Muslims and members of the Asian religions, but who will argue against love and the gentle exhortations to put it into practice in our lives, from the personal and individual level, to our relations with everybody else and with God? (Well, maybe the atheists will draw the line at love of God, or God's love for his creatures!)

And why Benedict chose not to address his encyclical to "all men and women of good will" is probably another example of his modesty. He is speaking as the head of the Catholic Church, an encyclical is intended to be for the members of the Church primarily, and "men and women of good will" will read it anyway if (or perhaps more appropriately, because) it interests them.

Lastly, I am almost offended by the implication that Benedict simply proceeded to complete an encyclical that had already been started for John Paul II. He did much more than that: he took what would have been just another document on
Christian charity - in its most literal sense as a form of philanthropy (which literally means "love for man") - and transmuted it into a wonderfully flowing exposition that goes from a philosophical rethinking of the nature of love in all its forms, to a statement of principles that should guide us all in the actual practice of love.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 04/02/2006 4.19]

00Saturday, February 4, 2006 8:30 PM
Notre Dame's Observer Online carried this item on 2/2/06
I remember reading a news item shortly after the April Conclave in which Notre Dame's legendary ex-President, Father Hesburgh, recalled that some time in the 70s, Notre Dame had offered Professor Joseph Ratzinger a chair in Theology at Notre Dame, but the German theologian politely declined, saying he did not think his English was good enough. (I wonder if any other American institution had the same prescience about Ratzi). Papa may have thought about that long-ago invitation in the incident recounted below.
Notre Dame connects with Church in Rome
Pope greets Jenkins, Trustees at Vatican

By Maddie Hanna

Media Credit: Claire Kelley/The Observer
Pope Benedict XVI speaks to Father Jenkins
during his Wednesday Public Audience in the Paul VI Auditorium in the Vatican

ROME - When Pope Benedict XVI began to descend the white marble steps of the Vatican auditorium after his public papal address Wednesday morning, he needed no introduction to the man directly in front of him.

The Holy Father took University President Father John Jenkins' right hand with his own, placed his left hand on top of Jenkins' hand and said, "You're from Notre Dame," Jenkins recalled Wednesday afternoon.

When Jenkins responded yes, the pope said simply, "A great Catholic university."

"I asked him, 'Keep us in your prayers,'" Jenkins said.

The conversation lasted about 30 seconds and ended with Jenkins kissing the pope's ring. Pope Benedict XVI then spoke with Holy Cross Superior General Father Hugh Cleary and Trustee Father Carl Ebey, who also kissed the pope's ring, in turn.

"I told the Holy Father I was a trustee of the University of Notre Dame. He said it was a great university," Ebey said Wednesday afternoon. "I told him the superior general gave a copy of his encyclical ["Deus Caritas Est" or "God is Love," released Jan. 25] to members of the Board of Trustees."

Ebey said Benedict XVI took his time speaking with members of the Notre Dame delegation as he left the stage after the address.

"What you saw there … was prayerful, respectful," Ebey said. "He focuses on you. He looks at you and talks to you … He knew who Father Jenkins was and greeted him."

Ebey said 48 Notre Dame trustees, officers and their spouses attended the papal address, with the rest of the group in Rome unable to attend due to concurrent Board of Trustees meetings.

Thousands of visitors from around the world flooded the Vatican auditorium Wednesday morning, lining up in St. Peter's Square hours before the address was scheduled to begin. Benedict XVI speaks to a general audience each Wednesday and appears from his study window overlooking St. Peter's Square on Sundays, said Thaddeus Jones, a Vatican official in the Pontifical Council for Social Communication and 1989 Notre Dame alumnus.

He gives "much fewer" private audiences than Pope John Paul II, Jones said, due to personal reasons.

"It could be a matter of the priorities he wants to give," Jones said. "You can't do everything … He's his own man. He has his own style and personality."

The address Wednesday was an explication of Psalm 145, which begins "I will extol you, my God and king; I will bless your name forever."

The pope gave his commentary in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Polish. Before each translation, a different cardinal welcomed the speakers of the particular language, each time mentioning the specific groups in attendance and drawing raucous applause, flag waving and even synchronized chants.

When the English-speaking cardinal announced "The Board of Trustees and Officers from Notre Dame, Ind.," the Notre Dame delegates - positioned at the front and slightly left of dead-center of the audience - leapt to their feet and cheered.

Jenkins clapped and waved to Benedict XVI, his forward gaze unwavering.

The pope then commented on the Psalm in English, discussing "the spirit of the heart of this progressively growing celebration of God's majesty."

"Far from being indifferent to humanity, he wishes to establish with us a kingdom of harmony and peace," Benedict XVI said. "Indeed, he is slow to anger and abounding in love."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 04/02/2006 20.31]

00Saturday, February 4, 2006 9:54 PM
The Bitter Pill!
Yes, Teresa, the Tablet.....and the very name Robert Mickens make me see red [SM=g27826]
Why can't they just leave it all alone? I suppose they have to write something to keep this publication going. But a good review of Deus Caritas Est wouldn't have gone amiss. Apparently there IS a good one from Aidan Nichols in The Catholic Herald, which I have yet to pick up.
You only have to read the first few lines to know that it's pure Ratzinger. I don't believe it was started in 2004 or even that it was an idea of John Paul's [though - it could have been. Give him his due, he was a prolific writer of encyclicals and would not have allowed his infirmity to stop him considering a fifteenth, bless him]. It's even possible that he discussed the idea with our Papa, but why bother with all this conjecture? Why not just accept the beautiful encyclical as it is? Papa loved and admired John Paul and worked tirelessly for him, especially near the end [and he didn't do it because he had ambition], but he's his own man: this encyclical is HIS baby all right!
They will keep harking back to Papa's days at the CDF and especially to "Dominus Jesus", a document from the CDF, which had to be written. Someone has to clarify the doctrine of the Catholic Faith and the Magisterium.
Tablet readers think they are the elite intellectuals of the Catholic Church, the forward-thinkers who like the fact that the church benches have been moved so that they are at an angle to the altar - so much less formal. Hey - what are they going to use the space for? Dancing? I'd not be surprised.
Even after nearly a year they cannot accept that, as Pope, Joseph Ratzinger has been freed to be himself. They are troubled people; we should feel sorry for them.
The article about Notre Dame: I think Papa would have settled to teaching at any university, anywhere, if he'd wanted to. By 1971 he had settled at Regensburg and was helping to build up the reputation of that new university; he had his own house at Pentling and he was near to his brother. Personally, if I had lived in such a beautiful part of Germany and had his brains [SM=x40794] I would never have considered going to the USA. No disrespects to Notre Dame or to the USA, don't think that. It's just that I was trying to put myself in his shoes - which were not red at that time, still black loafers! [SM=g27824]

Gott ist Liebe!
Love - Mary x [SM=g27811]
00Saturday, February 4, 2006 10:54 PM
From Pier Luigi Rodari in Il Tempo, 2/2/06 -

One thing is sure; Joseph Ratzinger cannot stand the heat. Even if his health has stood up well so far to the heavy responsibility that Providence has imposed on him, he is aware that prolonged exposure to opPressive heat can be bad for his health. So those around him are already planning where he will be spending the summer months to spare him unnecessary physical stress.

He is expected to spend August at Castel Gandolfo as he did last year. In the relative coolness of the Alban hills near Rome, he can rest, study and receive selected visitors. But July is still a question. He very likely will not go back to Les Combes in Val D’Aosta where he spent two weeks last year.

He may go farther east, to the Italian Alps in Alto Adige near the Austrian border, where he used to spend summer vacations with his brother in Bressanone. Or he may go to Rocca di Mezzo in the mountains of Abruzzo, not far from L’Aquila, and less than 200 miles east of Rome. It is where Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi usually vacations, as well as Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

The speculation about Rocca di Mezzo comes from the reported renovation for possible Papal occupancy of a 400-square-meter villa owned by the Roman Curia. The summer months will fall between foreign trips scheduled for the Pope. At the start of July, he will be travelling to Valencia, Spain, for the World Meeting of Families, and then visit his native Bavaria in September.

00Saturday, February 4, 2006 10:57 PM
Tablet not quite so bitter this week!
Hello again! I've just been reading the thread about the encyclical on the RFC forum. Chris gives a link to the Tablet's editorial and it's very fair in its assessment of Deus Caritas Est......so I take back some of what I said about its bitterness!
Buona notte a tutte amice!
Past my bedtime - a detailed re-reading of the encyclical awaits me tomorrow! [SM=x40797]
Love - Mary x [SM=g27811]
00Saturday, February 4, 2006 11:06 PM
Papa's summer holiday
Teresa - this is interesting. I wonder why Papa will not go back to Les Combes. The air there must be very cool and pleasant. Also, didn't he go there because it's secure? Mention was made of the place where he spent many holidays, the Pustertal [Val Pusteria], which is bi-lingual Italian and German. His mother came from that area. I'd like him to go back there, because he loved it so, if he can be somewhere secure. I don't like the idea of somewhere so close to Rome, even if it is in the hills; it's not any farther north. He should go to the Alps, for the clear, fresh air.
Any more thoughts or reports on this?
Love - Mary x [SM=g27811]
I just want Papa to be safe, happy and healthy.....and, of course, only I would be able to look after him properly! [SM=g27816]
00Saturday, February 4, 2006 11:22 PM
Dear MaryJos- We carried the surprising Tablet editorial on 1/27/06 (with comments by myself and Wulfrune) in the NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT thread- but that must have been around the time your PC was out of commission, and we did post a flurry of items about the encyclical shortly after it came out.

As for the vacation-spot story, I wouldn't think any more about it until the Vatican announces something. I simply posted it for the record, in case it turns out that Rodari has it right.
00Saturday, February 4, 2006 11:40 PM

Teresa, I would not be surprised if Maryjos is halfway to her travel agent's as we speak getting a list of possible flights and accommodations to all the potential papal vacation spots you just mentioned in your post. Frankly, I would do the same if we could narrow down the choices a bit. If you see anything at all on this subject during your usual perusal of Italian blogs and papers, let us know.

Maryjos, I'm sure you could do a great job of taking care of Papa but about 300 other women (from this forum alone) would probably insist they could do better or, at least, just as well. The competition is getting fierce. I can think of no other subject that could cause an instant war than debating who could best take care of Papa. Why, Simone wanted to use voodoo on Princess Alessandra just because she sat next to Papa on a plane for a few minutes (not that I blame her). Imagine what kind of inflamed passions would arise if somebody actually got to spend 20 or 30 minutes with him.
00Sunday, February 5, 2006 12:27 AM
I’ve had a chance to quickly read through the articles in Alessandra Borghese’s website – some by her, some about her – and the first thing I want to share is her account of Cardinal Ratzinger’s quick trip to the Benedictine monastery in Subiaco on April 1, the eve of John Paul’s death.

It is in the article she wrote for GENTE magazine which was published with the title “Diary of a Princess at the Vatican”, in which she recounts her emotions about John Paul II and what she did on April 1 and the days that followed immediately. As this was published in a special issue in April 2005, I am surprised that Paul Elie – remember him? Of the infamous “Year of Two Popes” hatchet job? – did not even reference this eyewitness account, as opposed to the vicious speculations he peddled, of what Cardinal Ratzinger did on April 1.

The writer starts by recounting how she got a phone call from a French journalist at 10 a.m. on April 1 to tell her the Pope had died but that the Vatican would not be announcing it till 12:30.

Without stopping to check it out, she rushed to St. Peter’s Square with her friend Gloria T&T, and did not find anything unusual, but they did not dare to ask. They stayed by the obelisk to pray the rosary, then they saw the head of the Order of Malta who was also praying the rosary, with tears in his eyes, and they joined him in prayer…

But then Monsignor Camaldo, one of the inner-circle prelates at the Vatican, passed by (coming from the Apostolic Palace) and before she could ask him for news, he said, “The Pope is resting well.” Still, they waited until the 12:30 press conference at which the Vatican denied the false stories that the Pope had died.

She then felt it was all right to keep a previous appointment to be part of a TV special program at TG-1, then later in the day, to proceed to Subiaco, where she had also been scheduled to go. She takes up the story...

I arrived at the monastery of St. Scholastica at 18:30. A few minutes afterwards, Cardinal Ratzinger arrived with his secretary Don Georg and his faithful chauffeur Alfredo. It was raining and quite cold – at least 10 degrees colder than it was in Rome. We ate at the refectory. Shortly afterwards, the cardinal was awarded the St. Benedict Prize [reason for this visit].

Before delivering a 45-minute address on Europe, the dangers of relativism, and the need to place Christ back into the center of our lives, Ratzinger showed us his human side: "This morning,” the great theologian told us, “I was called to see the Holy Father. He was calm and lucid; we spoke in German." The faithful friend of John Paul II, his defender par excellence, told us that the Pope knew he was dying.

The austere stillness of the monastery was broken every now and then by the ringing of Don Georg’s cell phone. I tried to read from his facial expression how grave was the news coming from Rome. But the news was not good, and so, in the middle of the night, the cardinal returned to Rome instead of staying overnight in Subiaco as planned….


And by the way, the fragment translated earlier, about what she said to the Pope when she sat with him briefly on the flight from Cologne to Rome, was not part of a larger article but was published as is, in a regular "featurette" called "Aplomb Vaticano" that she has in the Style section of Corriere della Sera's weekly magazine.

Her post-Cologne article was called "B16 wins the hearts of the Papa-Boys" [Papa-Boys is the Italian colloquialism for young enthusiasts of Catholicism, who had originally been inspired by John-Paul II].

And no, there is no post Les Combes article. She did write one about the Pope's encounter with the children called "B16, Papa to all children".

I will post translations as soon as I can.

Her major article on Ratzi was the one in GENTE's special issue of May 5, 2005, where she recounts how she came to meet him first.
I translated that and posted it in the RFC some time in October or November. The issue is also remarkable for being illustrated by the stunning photographs taken in 1997 at the CDF by photographer Gianni Giansanti, which fortunately, have been posted before in the main forum. You can check out the article to see which photos these are.

P.S. TO SIMONE, MARYJOS AND EVERYONE - I still say the objects of my envy are Carmela, Loredana, Cristina and Emanuela, who serve Papa's most direct personal needs, and God bless them all...

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 05/02/2006 0.31]

00Sunday, February 5, 2006 1:06 AM
Teresa, thanks for the translation and I have to agree with you about the four Sisters in the Apostolic Palace. They have the best of all worlds to be able to spend a lot of informal time with Papa and probably discuss any number of topics with him and listen to him play the piano and pray with him, etc. They are his new family and I am sure he enjoys their company, especially if he insists on eating meals with them daily. They have a much better situation than just sitting for a couple of minutes on a plane next to him or talking to him in a formal interview for a news article. Lucky, lucky ladies!!!

00Sunday, February 5, 2006 2:31 PM
benefan, hihihi [SM=x40791]
Voodoo will be used only on female VIPs, NEVER on Ingrid, Birgit, Carmela, Loredana, Cristina and Emanuela, and NEVER on one of you beloved sisters, whatever she does (provided that she gives a very, very detailed report of what she did) [SM=g27811]

[SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800]

00Sunday, February 5, 2006 2:34 PM
I did think.......
Yes, Benefan, Nan, Jil and other dear friends - I had no sooner switched off my computer last night than I thought it was selfish of me to think that only I could look after Papa. We should be transmogrified into those sisters who are closest to him - I agree.
Here's the first site I've just found about this new place where Papa is supposed to be spending his holiday. Looks quite a high altitude [snow in winter, I see], so it may be cool enough for him. As it's Sunday, benefan, I haven't been able to get to the travel agent.....I'm still working out the Bavarian possibilities for September, so this news about Papa's July holiday destination has discombobulated me completely [SM=g27837]
I really must find out how to disguise myself as Alessandra Borghese - is she the latest obstacle to our progress? [SM=g27825]
Teresa - I'd missed all that other news you mentioned. I haven't been able to catch up with anything except a mad dash to grab all the photos before they change into frogs again!
Hey - call me thick - but how did Alessandra manage to be in the entourage when our Cardinal went to Subiaco? What has she got that we haven't got; I bet we are all tons more beautiful [SM=g27821]
Buona Domenica!!!!!!
Un abbraccio di - Mary x [SM=g27811]
00Sunday, February 5, 2006 3:33 PM
Rocca di Mezzo again.....
I think this hotel should suit our purposes, girls!
Now, I really must stop messing about and read the encyclical again.
Oh - benefan - Benedictus cuddly est - I love that! [SM=g27816] [SM=x40795] I'll second it!
Love to all - Mary x [SM=g27811]
00Sunday, February 5, 2006 4:08 PM
I couldn't resist......

It does look tranquil there.....aaahhhhh......Papa may be all right.
Love and Peace - Mary x [SM=g27811]
Does it have our approval, girls? [SM=g27823]

[Modificato da maryjos 05/02/2006 16.09]

00Sunday, February 5, 2006 8:58 PM
Here is a translation of the news item in the Italian press that first stirred up the speculation about Rocca di Mezzo:

It appears the Vatican has presented the town council of Rocca di Mezzo in the Abruzzo region with a plan to renovate a small two-story villa surrounded by a park, which was donated by Bishop Vittorio di Paola who comes from the place. The villa has been used in the past by Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

The plan reportedly calls for doubling the space from 400 square meters to 800, in order to accommodate Papal quarters to consist of a study, bed and bath, and a private chapel. The Pope’s household staff will also be accommodated.

Rocca di Mezzo is a ski resort in the winter. It also has important medieval ruins dating to the 14th century.
Our Simone offered a possible explanation today - in the German section of the RFC - of why the Pope may choose not to go to the Alps this summer: His brother Georg was unable to join him in Les Combes last year because it was felt the altitude would not be good for him. Presumably, Rocca di Mezzo is not so high, and he can then join the Pope earlier instead of waiting till the Pope is in Castel Gandolfo?

P.S. Nice hypothesis, but I checked altitudes, and if the online sources are right, Introd (Les Combes) is at 880 m. above sea level, while Rocca di Mezzo is at 1320!

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 06/02/2006 16.49]

00Monday, February 6, 2006 4:54 PM
This news item picked up today from Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops conference:

The pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI are in “absolute continuity” in terms of communication. This was one of the themes discussed by Vatican Press Office director Joaquin Navarro-Valls on receiving yesterday in Turin the National Prize handed yearly to the outstanding journalist representing a press office.

He said: “ The basic themes remain the same ones. The Church does not change its teachings every minute, though it can change emphasis and priorities.”

He added that people now recognize that Benedict XVI has the ability to speak of difficult themes and make himself understood to all through what Navarro-Valls calls “a ministry* of intelligence.”
[*in the sense of pastorship]

Speaking about the responsibility of media, he said: “We must transmit facts, the truth – only that way can we make credible the institution that we represent.”

Navarro-Valls also said, “Behind this prize stands the memory, the presence, of that great human personality who was John Paul II.”
00Monday, February 6, 2006 5:04 PM
Thanks to Beatrice in the French section for citing this editorial on Papa's recent encyclical in chretiente.com, an excellent Catholic site in French. It was signed by D. Florent, president of the Reseau Chretiente (Christanity Network) which runs the site. Here is a translation -

At a time when we see the near-fascistic rise of homosexual totalitarianism, amidst the explosions caused by terrorist bombs, amidst the generalised cowardice of the elites, Pope Benedict XVI has sent us the most beautiful of love letters, a letter that tells us of the love that God is…

I invite you to click here to discover the magnificent encyclical of Pope Benedict. [The link is to the Vatican website]

Entitled DEUS CARITAS EST, it plunges us into the heart of Christian love, into the very sense itself of the word Christian.

Having become used to the pleasant writings of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, how gratifying to find that he has employed such writing for the first time in an encyclical. Benedict XVI has behind him years of reflection, of theorizing, and most of all, of teaching.

This encyclical, originally written in German, is a treasure which deserves several readings.

Printed versions will bring profits for many publishing houses which are not even quite Catholic, but read it on line on the Vatican site.

Shall we thank the Lord one day for the graces we have received since the election of this Pope?

00Monday, February 6, 2006 7:36 PM
From Curt Jester at www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/ -

From Yesterday at Mass after my pastor gave a homily on the readings he then went on to read from parts of the Pope's encyclical Deus Caritas Est and also preached on the subject. He mentioned the fact that a Pope's first encyclical is often seen and used as a roadmap for a pontificate.

Now I have heard this before and I think it is true as far as it goes, but these first encyclicals also go much further than this. Deus Caritas Est is not just a roadmap for Pope Benedict's XVI's pontificate, but it is in fact a roadmap for all of us.

As St. Therese said "0 Jesus, my Love, my vocation, at last I have found it ... my vocation is Love!" This encyclical is a call to remind us of the dual and synchronous vocation of love of God and neighbor for all of us.
00Tuesday, February 7, 2006 2:32 PM
From amazon.com -

The following information comes with the entry:

Pope Benedict XVI joins the President of the Italian Senate to offer a provocative critique of the spiritual, cultural, and political crisis afflicting the West.

On May 12, 2004, Pope Benedict XVI--then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger--addressed the Italian Senate on the state of the West; the very same day, Joseph Pera, President of the Italian Senate, spoke before the Lateran College of the Papal University. Together they called upon the West to confront the spiritual, cultural, and political malaise that have afflicted it in the earliest years of the 21st century.

In the months that ensued, before Cardinal Ratzinger's election to the papacy, they developed their ideas into the eloquent dialogue that is "Without Roots" -- a book that quickly became an Italian bestseller and is even more timely today than ever.

With Europe shaken by the war in Iraq, terrorism, security, Israel, relations with the U.S., immigration, and the rejection of the EU constitution in both France and the Netherlands, the issue of European identity has profound implications for the rest of the world.

Bringing together their unique vantage points as leaders of Church and State, Pope Benedict XVI and Pera challenge us to imagine what can be the future of a civilization that has abandoned its history for a relativist secularism. They call on the West to embrace a spiritual rather than political renewal-and to accept the moral beliefs that alone can help us to make sense of changes in technology, economics, and society.

About the Authors:
Pope Benedict XVI was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the late Pope John Paul II, and has long been regarded as one of the most profound Catholic theological and spiritual writers of our times. His numerous books include God and the World, Introduction to Christianity, Salt of the Earth, and The Spirit of Liturgy.

Marcello Pera was formerly a professor of the philosophy of science at the University of Pisa and has become President of the Italian Senate. He lives in Italy.

Michael F. Moore is the official translator of the Italian Mission to the United Nations and is also the new chairman of the Translation Committee of the PEN America Center.
00Wednesday, February 8, 2006 11:09 PM
Alejandro Bermudez at www.catholicnewsagency.com/blog/
reports today that around the time Ratzi was given the St. Benedict Prize in Subiaco, he was working on a book about St. Benedict and the way he evangelized Europe by means of evangelizing its culture.

He continues:

"That is precisely the book Joaquin Navarro Valls spoke about when he said that Pope Benedict was “working on a book, not on his first encyclical,” during the Pontiff’s vacations at Val D’Aosta, in Northern Italy.

Well, the book, which analyzes the rule of St. Benedict, the relationship between work, freedom and obedience, is ready to come out soon…"
00Thursday, February 9, 2006 1:28 AM
Even if you do not read Spanish, check out the 16-page supplement on Papa's first encyclical which the Spanish paper LA RAZON put out on January 26. It is beautifully prepared, and there are a number of articles at the end which are worth translating. I have just been listing the translations I need to do from the wealth of material that Nessuna has been able to post in the Spanish section....But first, look through all 16 pages of the LA RAZON supplement...

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