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

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00Thursday, March 2, 2006 4:18 PM

Men never ask for directions!

00Friday, March 3, 2006 9:31 PM
Vatican Radio employees present pope with specially loaded iPod nano

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A group of Vatican Radio employees gave Pope Benedict XVI a brand new iPod nano loaded with special Vatican Radio programming and classical music.

To honor the pope's first visit to the radio's broadcasting headquarters, the radio's technical staff decided the pencil-thin, state-of-the-art audio player would make the perfect gift.

Now that Vatican Radio offers podcasts in eight different languages, the pope has the technological capability to plug in and import the radio's audio files.

Pope Benedict visited the programming and broadcasting hub of "the pope's radio" March 3 to mark the station's 75th anniversary.

Hundreds of radio journalists, sound engineers and support staff lined the radio's hallways to greet the pope and present him with gifts, mostly special in-house productions such as CDs and books on the church, religion and the pope.

"We don't have a huge gift to give to the pope, but we do have small signs of our work" to give him, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Radio's general director, told Catholic News Service.

Though the white iPod nano is tiny, it still made an impression on the pope. When the head of the radio's technical and computer support department, Mauro Milita, identified himself and handed the pope the boxed iPod, the pope was said to have replied, "Computer technology is the future."

The pope's new 2-gigabyte digital audio player already was loaded with a sampling of the radio's programming in English, Italian and German and musical compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederic Chopin, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky and Igor Stravinsky. The stainless steel back was engraved with the words "To His Holiness, Benedict XVI" in Italian.

Once the pope, who is also a pianist, gets the hang of the device's trademark click wheel, he will be able to listen to a special 20-minute feature produced by the radio's English program that highlights Mozart's life and music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his birth.

The iPod also contains an English-language radio drama on the life of St. Thomas a Becket and a 10-minute feature on the creation of Vatican Radio, with original sound clips of the inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi, and Vatican Radio's founder, Pope Pius XI.

The pope also can relive the historical papal transition of April 2005. On the player, the radio's German program included a mix of news and interviews done during the death of Pope John Paul II, the conclave and the election of Pope Benedict.

With his new iPod, the pope can access the radio's daily podcasts, as well as download music and audio books from the Internet.
00Saturday, March 4, 2006 7:12 AM

In the absence of a picture (so far) showing Papa with his new I-Pod (I-Pope?), I like these pictures of Papa's visit to Radio Vatican
to illustrate the post above.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 04/03/2006 14.43]

00Sunday, March 5, 2006 1:24 PM
hehehe..I-Pope..Papa is now tech savvy *imagines him using his pod*
00Tuesday, March 7, 2006 4:46 PM
Our Italian sisters were all exercised yesterday about the furor in the Italian press over a planned audience with the Pope of some Italian politicians about 10 days before the country's general elections on April 9. Anti-Catholic and secularist Italian politicos, namely the left, were strident about denouncing said audience as a blatant political move by the Pope coming so close to an election.

What the news reports failed to make clear - they assume everybody has the background - is that the Pope will be meeting a group of at least 300 people representing some 65 political parties in Western Europe which have a Christian democratic background, who happen to be having their annual meeting in Rome this year.

And that if the audience will have the Italian Premier Berlusconi in it (the April 9 elections will decide whether his center-right coalition stays in power or not), it also has other leaders like Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. And that this was not an audience recently planned but something that was apparently requested and known months ago when the parties decided their next meeting would be in Rome.

But politicians everywhere are most stupidly petty and childish when they think they have any bit of political advantage to gain by exploiting an event or a statement, even if it means they have to misrepresent - which they often do - whatever it is they are objecting to.

The Italian politicians who are now venting their political frustrations on the Pope are the same ones - secularists - who trumpet all the time that the Church is outmoded and nobody listens to the Pope. Now, all of a sudden, they are claiming that his meeting with some of their colleagues will give these (center-right) leaders an "unfair" political advntage 10 days into the election, because it will be seen by the electorate as
a papal endorsement.

It is all blatant hypocrisy and grandstanding by the secularists, who are also demeaning their own electorate by implying that their votes would be unduly influenced by a "papal endorsement" rather than by the merits of the candidates and what they stand for.

As this meaningless political firestorm is raging about the Pope, he is, of course, in spiritual retreat for Lent this whole week. Too bad there is no equivalent of a 'spiritual retreat' for diehard secularists.
00Wednesday, March 8, 2006 1:01 AM
Secularists' reaction
You're right in the above post, Teresa. I've seen some of the fracas on RAI-news. But really it's so obvious what inspires the indignation that even the electorate can see through it, I think.
00Wednesday, March 8, 2006 7:19 AM
The boom in religious book sales continues in Italy. Now for the first time, the mediTations for the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome on Good Friday will be on sale before the event.

A story in Avvenire today says the move was inspired by two main factors: requests from Italian parish priests and the record sales of Pope Benedict’s first encyclical.

In Italy alone, 1,265,000 copies of the book edition of the encyclical have been sold, and another 1 million in Spain [surprise, surprise!], while reprints are being ordered in every place in the world where the encyclical has gone on sale. Even the Latin edition was sold out in Italy.

“This has never happened before,” said Mons. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV), the Vatican publishing house, which marks its 80th anniversary this year. In the wake of this best-selling phenomenon (on top of the number of books by John Paul II, and the 100,000 copies so far sold of the Italian edition of Benedict’s speeches in Cologne, "God’s Revolution"), it was decided to publish ahead the text of the traditional Good Friday Via Crucis in Rome so the faithful can better partifcipate in the solemn rite.

The booklet may be reserved in bookstores or with LEV starting March 20 and will be available in bookstores starting April 11, three days before the event.

The Pope this year entrusted the preparation of the meditations to Mons. Angelo Comastri, his Vicar-general in Vatican City and Arch-priest coadjutor of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was Cardinal Ratzinger, of course, who prepared the Via Crucis meditations of 2005, at the behest of John Paul II. Those meditations have become probably the most quoted Via Crucis meditations in the Church’s history.

Don Claudio Rossi, director-general of LEV, said there were mounting requests from Italian paraish priests who wrote, “We would like our parishioners to be able to pray together with the Pope. Would it be possible to have the text available ahead of time? So, since we succeeded quite well in the distribution of Deus caritas est, we thought we should try. The office of Pontitifical Celebrations gave its approval, and so we went ahead.”

It is unprecedented. In the past, the authors of the Pope’s Way of the Cross at the Colosseum were made known a few weeks before Holy Week (among them, the poet Mario Luzi, the orthodoz theologian Olivier Clement, the patriarch Karekin I, in recent years). The text would be distributed to the media in the morning of Good Friday, and only days afterweards would the book version be sent to major bookstores.

“Last year,” Mons. Scotti said, “the meditations written by then Cardinal Ratzinger made such a great impact that the copies were sold out within hours of arriving in the bookstores. We had three reprints of 28,000 copies. And this year, we started getting requests early for the printed version of Via Crucis 2006."

Mons. Scotti referred to a sentence from the Pope’s first encyclical that says, “The time has come to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and increasing secularism of many Christians.” He believes that the Italian parish priests have taken that to heart and so they wish to unite themselves and their congregations with the Pope in prayer during thw world’s most famous Way of the Cross observance.

The book will be illustrated by stations from a Bavarian Way of the Cross. The cover will show a Deposition from the Cross, with the Virgin Mary pierced with sorrow. “The author,” said Mons. Scopetti,” has given his meditations a Marian imprint."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 08/03/2006 16.23]

00Wednesday, March 8, 2006 4:18 PM
As you know, Sandro Magister keeps an Italian-language blog called "Settimo Cielo" blog.espressonline.it/weblog/stories.php?topic=03/04/09...
in which he usually reports "little" items and observations that do not - as yet - merit his full treatment. In the past few days, he has filed two such items that appear to presage internal changes in the Vatican.

Yesterday, 3/7/06, it was on musical chairs, literally, and he titles the blog "Musical earthquake at St. Peter's", to the effect that there’s a new Choir Master at St. Peter’s Basilica -Claudio dall’Albero who is not a priest. He replaces Mons. Pablo Colino Paulis, a 72-year-old Spaniard, and the appointment was made by Mons. Tarciso Cola, the canon in charge of the Basilica’s liturgical music.

Magister says “Coliino had installed in the Basilica of St. Peter’s a bizarre musical regime. He welcomed choirs from around the world, of widely varying quality, often poor, and made them sing at the Masses…."

Dall’Albero, he says, would be a return to the musical tradition of the Roman School. In 1980 he founded the professional choir “I Cantori di San Carlo,” specializing in the polyphonic repertory of the 16th century and Italian baroque. He was a student of Domenico Bartolucci, last director for life of the Sistine Chapel and a great interpreter of Palestrina and liturgical music.

Dall’Albero teaches choral music and direction at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, a post previously occupied by Bartolucci. He is choir master at the Basilica of Sts Ambrose and Charles on the Corso, where he was best known for how he presented Gregorian chant. Dall’Albero begins his new duties at St. Peter’s Basilica this Lent.

On March 1, Magister’s blog noted that on February 25, without much ado, the Vatican Press Office announced this: “ The Reverend Monsignors Pier Enrico Stefanetti, Stefano Sanchirico and Diego Giovanni Ravelli have been named Pontifical ceremonial masters (Cerimonieri Pontifici).”

This increases the number of ‘cerimonieri pontefici’ by 40%, Magister notes. “From 7, including their 'Master' Piero Marini, there are now 10 of them. Too many. It is easy to bet there will be a pruning soon. It will be interesting to see whether it will start from the top.”

Hmmm...Marini's "reassignment" has been speculated on by Vaticanistas since Benedict became Pope. Will it happen?
00Wednesday, March 8, 2006 7:51 PM

"We don't have a huge gift to give to the pope, but we do have small signs of our work" to give him, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Radio's general director, told Catholic News Service.

But it's a wonderful gift, I'm sure Papa appreciates it! He gets so many paintings, sculptures etc. - this is something totally different. And I'd love to have one too. [SM=g27812]
00Thursday, March 9, 2006 2:30 AM
....I am happy to hear that a pupil of Maestro Bartolucci is taking over the direction of the choral singing at St Peter's! Funny how the wheel turns..... Bartolucci, also known in the RCC as the Palestrina of the 20th century, was the director of the Sistine Chapel Choir - therefore the Pope's own choir master. He was dinamic and brilliant but was asked to leave/was sacked in John Paul II's reign, to the utmost shock of many world famous musicians, whose petitions (think of Ricardo Muti's)had no effect.

Why did this unprecedented thing happen to someone who had been appointed for life? Many thought it was because he didn't bend backwards at all to accomodate liturgo-pop musical styles in his work for John Paul II. So "they" (but who? John Paul himself? who in the Vatican?)got rid of him. The only Curia cardinal who opened his mouth to support Bartolucci and what he stood for, was Joseph Ratzinger, who also told him: "Resista, maestro, resista!"

I had an interview with Bartolucci in 1989 in Rome. He reminded me of the pictures of Franz Liszt when he was Abbe Liszt in Rome! Bartolucci was also larger than life. At rehearsals with the Sistine Chapel Choir which I attended, and after a concert in the Cathedral of Loreto, I witnessed the extreme veneration and respect showered on him. The director of the Santa Caecilia Choir told me Monsignor Bartolucci was "the Pope of music".
That such a musician could lose his job was an ominous sign with regard to the road taken in liturgical music after Vatican II.

Bartolucci must be amused to now see his pupil at least in St Peter's, if not in the Sistine Chapel....

I may be quite wrong, but I see Benedict's hand or, at least, his suggestions in this new appointment. The Pope sets the tone
in the Church. The previous great Pope - bless his wonderful soul - was known to have a somewhat "tin ear". [SM=g27823] [SM=x40791]
00Thursday, March 9, 2006 2:41 AM
DEAR MAG6NIDEUM - How wonderful to have all that first-hand information from you! I like that anecdote about Ratzi telling Bartolucci, "Resista, maestro, resista!" Thank you for this illuminating contribution.

I don't doubt that the Pope himself had something to do with this important change-over at St. Peter's Basilica. It doesn't matter now who was responsible for the seeming 'laxity' in the standards of liturgical music at the Vatican at some point in the previous Papacy. At least, now, something has been done to correct it.

P.S. For Forum members who may not know it, our Mag6nideum had a distinguished career as a choir director in South Africa at the University of Stellenbosch - in the course of which she travelled with her choir to many places for competitions and performances - before her much too early retirement! Not too long ago, she wrote Sandro Magister a letter commenting about liturgical music, a letter that he used in full on his blog Settimo Cielo. She also published a lengthy article about Church music recently for a newspaper in South Africa.
00Thursday, March 9, 2006 4:48 AM

Thanks for the inside story. I agree that Benedict, with his great knowledge of music and appreciation for the best in traditional liturgical music, probably had a lot to do with this appointment. In his writings, Benedict has much to say about how music in the liturgy should be inspirational and reverent, leading the listener above himself towards unity with the creator. He patiently put up with the popular music of the World Youth Day events but anything at St. Peter's he is going to want to be the very best example of music for the liturgy. I am eager to hear some samples.

00Thursday, March 9, 2006 1:20 PM
Pope loves his iPod
The Pope likes to unwind by listening to his iPod.
Pope Benedict XVI was given an iPod Nano as a present by staff at Vatican Radio. Officials have loaded it with religious music, plus pieces by Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin.

He has been spotted around the Vatican using his iPod and distinctive white earphones. According to The Sun a spokesman said: "He is very pleased with the iPod. The Holy Father likes to unwind listening to it and is of the opinion that this sort of technology is the future."

The Queen, President Bush and Tony Blair all own an iPod.

I found the link on blog of AmericanPapist...
00Thursday, March 9, 2006 3:44 PM
I find the mental image of Papa walking around the Vatican plugged into his I-Pod very endearing! I hope they included Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in it - I read somewhere Georg Ratzinger saying his brother loves that particularly (it is sublimely beautiful, but then one can say that of almost anything by Mozart).

Anyway...Thanks to Beatrice in the French section for reminding us that in addition to March 19, when Papa celebrates his birth-name patron's Feast (St. Joseph), two days later, he will also be marking his papal-name patron's feast. March 21 is the anniversary of St. Benedict's death.

An item from the French service of Zenit says that in greeting participants of a historical procession on "The Land of St. Benedict" last Sunday, the Pope had referred to March 21 as "our common feast day."

St. Benedict's liturgical feast is on July 11, which is celebrated in Europe. Along with Saints Cyril and Methodus, Saints Brigitte of Sweden, Catherine of Siena, and Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta) of Germany, Benedict is one of the patron saints of Europe.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 09/03/2006 15.47]

00Thursday, March 9, 2006 4:07 PM

Pope Benedict will greet the spring more or less confined to the Vatican, but a busy time follows shortly. Four trips abroad are on the program (Poland in May, Spain in July, Germany in September and Turkey in November).

But first, he will have a few excursions in and around Rome:
March 26 - He visits the Roman parish of the Meriful Father (church constructed for the Jubilee Year 2000).

April 19 - The Pope will resume a practice by John Paul II, before he became gravely ill, to spend Easter outside Rome. Easter this year is also the Pope's 79th birthday, and he is expcetd to go to Castel Gandolfo after he gives his Urbi et Orbi blessing at St. Peter's.

April 21 - He will be at the Parco della Musica auditorium (a new modern landmark designed by Renzo Piano) for a concert in his honor by the City of Rome.

May 1- He will be at the Marian shrine of the Sanctuary of Divine Love (also a new church inaugurated by Pope John Paul II in 1999) to start of the Marian month of May with the rosary.

In May, he will also be visiting the Shrine of the "Holy Face" at Manopello in northeast Italy.

When he returns from his trip to Valencia, Spain, the Pope will also begin his summer vacation. Latest word is that he may return to Val D'Aosta after all But best to wait for the official announcement.

00Friday, March 10, 2006 5:55 AM
Under a 2-column head reading "Pope grooves with new I-Pod,"
the New York Post today, March 9, ran a very authentic-looking composite color picture of the Pope (smiling impishly and looking beautiful as ever!) - 6-1/2" x 4-3/4" - wearing the white earbuds and holding the I-Pod in his clasped hands, to illustrate the story that Papa is enjoying his new gadget.

"Guess you could call him the iPope," it begins, and goes on to quote a Vatican spokesman who said "He is very pleased with the iPod...He likes to unwind listening to it."

Nothing else in the story, except the writer's rather corny "contemporary suggestions" for some pop songs that could go on it, i.e., any title that sounds "religious" like "Lady Madonna" by the Beatles or "Say a Little Prayer" by Dionne Warwick.

Except for the fact that Papa is wearing a mozzetta and his ceremonial stole, the composite is so good I would have thought it was the real thing. The fine-print photo credit identifies it as a Post composite, of course.

I scanned it but I continue to be technologically challenged by the mechanics of posting through ImageShack or similar photo hosts, so I hope someone out there has the photo and can share it.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 10/03/2006 6.54]

00Friday, March 10, 2006 6:49 AM
On the other hand, it seems unlikely that Papa would be trying out his new iPod during this week of the Lenten retreat at the Vatican! Here's a translation of a story from the Italian press about how that goes -
What’s it like during the Lenten retreat at the Vatican?

Some 80 persons, including heads of the Vatican dicasteries and secretaries in the Vatican offices, join the Pope in the spiritual exercises which began Sunday afternoon a the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

In the weeklong retreat, they will be listening to 22 lectures in all from the Archbishop Emeritus of Venice, Cardinal Marco Ce, on the theme” Walking to Easter with Jesus, guided by the evangelist Mark”.

The Pope himself is completely isolated from the other participants during the retreat. There is a room to the right of the altar from which Cardinal Ce preaches. From the nave of the chapel, one can only see a prie-Dieu, near the open door of the room - which the Pope uses once a day, during the Eucharistic Adoration that follows the last of 3 lectures for the day. It is assumed that during the lectures, the Pope would be seated just behind the prie-Dieu, but out of sight.

Vatican sources say that the Pope has also imposed on himself during the week a regimen of austerity and silence. All his official activities have been suspended for the week.

The daily routine for the spiritual exercises is: Lauds at 9 followed by the first lecture, then the Thirds at 10:15 preceding the second lecture. The third meditation of the day begins at 17:00, followed by Vespers, Adoration and the final blessing.

All the other participants are seated in the nave. Some participants, because they must carry out some work-related tasks, are not able to stay for all of the meditations. But the Pope reportedly meditates some more after his evening meal, praying until Complines, before going to bed.

Cardinal Ce’s catechesis speaks of the need to “wake up from a Christianity that is tired and that has lost its forward drive,” and to do this, he will cite a sentence written by then- Cardinal Ratzinger in the invitation card he issued to invite the members of the Curia to the last Lenten spiritual exercises attended by John Paul II: “Let us arise and follow Christ, the true light, the true life.”

00Friday, March 10, 2006 9:43 AM
Surprising news from Tagesspiegel, a German online newspaper, today, 3/10/06. Here is a translation of the first part of the story.
The Pope is coming to Berlin
By Claudia Keller

It seems as if Pope Benedict XVI will be coming to Berlin soon. Kardinal Karl Lehmann, chairman of the German Bishops Conference, counts on a visit by the Pope to eastern Germany and Berlin taking place "in the foreseeable future."

Lehmann said yesterday that Alberto Gasbarri, the Pope's travel coordinator, will be visiting Berlin next week.

A visit from the Pope would be a major event for Berlin Catholics. Already, the World Youth DAy in Cologne was for many participants a sort of "high", a six-day exceptional experience. Some 2500 youths from Berlin went to Cologne for that event.

What has remained from that enthusiasm? If one asks about in the Archdiocese of Berlin one learns that whoever was in Cologne came back changed, and have since become more intense in their faith or more engaged in social action....
[The rest of the story gives examples of the activities that the WYD veterans have been doing, and nothing more about the possible Papal trip...So, as it is 3:30 in the morning, I will not do the rest of the translation now]
00Friday, March 10, 2006 1:36 PM
Theresa, thank you very much for finding and translating these articles. [SM=g27811]
00Friday, March 10, 2006 6:55 PM
Papa and the retreat
You'll think I'm crazy, but I'm so happy to hear that this retreat also includes silence for the Pope!!! Now his overworked vocal chords can get some well-deserved rest.
00Saturday, March 11, 2006 9:00 PM
Yes, I am glad the Pope had a week's "rest", but he plunged right back into a full schedule after the last meditation and conclusion of the spiritual exercises this morning!

He held four audiences - first, with the Captains-Regent of San Marino; then with Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals; then with the participants to a conference on the 40th anniversary of the Vatican-II document "Ad Gentes" organized by the Congregation for Evangelization; and finally, with Cardinal Marco Ce, emeritus Patriarch of Venice, who preached the just-concluded Spiritual Exercises for the Pope and the Curia.

That was before lunch. In the early evening, he took part in the Marian Vigil with university students, with satellite links to ten cities in Europe and Africa.

My thanks to Sylvie in the French section for the link to
For those who read French, it is an amazing site dedicated to the Eucharist - and the practical ways in which we can all promote devotion to it - but which encompasses much reporting about the Church and the Pope, as well as relevant documents on the topics that it discusses.

From a quick runthrough of the site, I gather it was set up on 4/19/05 by a man (he describes himself as a gardener) who lives in the south of France, 45 kms from Lourdes, who says he had been reading up for years on the Eucharist and the subject of service to the Church in general, before he decided that he would do his apostolate by setting up an Internet site on the Eucharist. Initially, his immediate goal was to recruit more lay people to do the many little ancillary services necessary to Church work, including serving as altar boys. His modesty is disarming, and so rare today! And yet, his site, beautifully maintained by him and his wife, a church organist, has grown into what it is today, and I can only salute him. If anyone is aware of a similar site in English, please let us know!

Sylvie's particular reference was to an online homily written by a Dominican priest from Canada who audaciously entitles it "Reading of the gospel according to Benedict XVI".

Father Jacques Sylvestre, O.P., has decided that each Sunday of Lent, he will reflect on a section of the Pope's encyclical Deus caritas est, and he has posted the first one. I will post an English translation as soon as I can.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 11/03/2006 21.01]

00Sunday, March 12, 2006 4:57 PM
I am using this enlargement by Nessuna from the FOTOGALERIA of the Spanish-Portuguese section to make up for the "lost" picture
in the previous post about the Pope getting an iPod from Vatican Radio employees. Note that there are three images of the Pope in this photo!

00Tuesday, March 14, 2006 2:45 AM
From her blog

"There are many striking things about Benedict. What always interests and affects me the most is what seems to be his deep understanding of life in the world and his almost effortless ability to bring the Scriptures and the tradition to bear on that life, effectively and powerfully. When he spoke in his opening homily as Pope about the "deserts" of contemporary life...and here. There's no abstraction, distant from the realities of human life. He weaves it all together, showing us, time after time, what this thing we call "faith" is, truly."

00Wednesday, March 15, 2006 4:10 PM
Thanks to Beatrice in the French section, here is an update on the Encyclical sales from Salon Beige, a French Catholic blog, signed by Michel Janva. In translation -

Deus caritas est is a great success in French bookstores. In mid-February, it went from #20 to #4 in the overall best-seller list in France.

In Italy, the official publication by the Vatican publishing house had sold 1.5 million copies a month after it first came out. The newspaper Messaggero on March 9 reported the encyclical was the #2 best-seller in Italy. Repubblica said that in the week of 2/27-3/5, the encyclical was the #1 best-selling pocketbook. The Corriere della Sera of March 12 said the encyclical was #20 in the list of best-selling “reflective” books. And Stampa said that from 2/25-3/5, the encyclical was #10 in the overall classification of current best-sellers.

In Spain, at least half a million copies have been sold. Five publishing houses there say that their first printing sold out almost immediately and they have been reprinting at the rate of 15,000 copies weekly.

The international John Paul II bookstore of the Vatican publishing house, located in St. Peter’s Square, sold some 25,000 copies in the first 4 weeks alone. The store carries it in 8 languages – some 58% of sales have been in the Italian edition; the rest, in order of popularity, are in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Latin.

Of course, this does not take into account the copies of the encyclical downloaded from the Internet.

People have a thirst for the truth!
00Friday, March 17, 2006 4:58 PM
VATICAN CITY(AP) A new book by Pope John Paul II's longtime personal physician recounts the pontiff's final days and minutes, saying doctors realized on a few hours before his death that further medical intervention would have been fruitless.

John Paul died April 2 at 9:37 p.m. after slipping into a coma two hours earlier, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti writes in his book "Let me go." The title refers to the pope's final words "Let me go to the house of the Father," which he uttered in Polish at about 3:30 p.m. that afternoon.

The Vatican has released a detailed, official report on the pontiff's final weeks and minutes, and Buzzonetti's report on the final hours dovetails with that report. Excerpts of the book were being published in Thursday editions of the Catholic news magazine Famiglia Cristiania.

Buzzonetti details a time of intense prayer in the pontiff's private apartment, with John Paul surrounded by Polish prelates and nuns and his medical team as his health deteriorated precipitously starting on April 1.

By the afternoon of April 2, "the doctors realized that the end was imminent and any new aggressive therapeutic measure would have been useless," Buzzonetti writes.

John Paul's death certificate says he suffered heart and kidney failure brought on by a urinary tract infection.

00Monday, March 20, 2006 2:36 PM
Benedict XVI, baptized Joseph Ratzinger, received many forms of congratulations for the feast
of St. Joseph, his namesake.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano congratulated the Pope in print on the front page
of its 3/19/06 issue.
www.vatican.va/news_services/or/or_quo/066q01.pdf [To see and print full front-page in PDF]

The daily ran a large colored photograph (above) of the Pope, with "San Giuseppe 2006"
above it, and "Auguri, Padre Santo" below. ['Santo Padre' is the traditional phrase for
"Holy Father" in the sense of Pope, whereas 'Padre santo' translates into the generic sense
of 'sainted or holy father'

Before the Workers' Mass celebrated by the Pope yesterday at St. Peter's, Bishop Arrigo Miglio,
president of the Italian episcopal Commission for Social Problems and Work, Justice and Peace,
also congratulated the Pope on his name day, on behalf of some 20 labor associations
who were represented.

The Pope responded to these congratulations in his homily with "heartfelt gratitude."

The Holy Father appeared later at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with some
50,000 gathered in St. Peter's Square (his largest audience so far this winter). He began
with the words: "Dear brothers and sisters! Today, March 19, is the solemnity of St. Joseph …"

His words were interrupted by the applause of the faithful, some of whom were holding banners
that read: "Auguri, Joseph!" Smiling, the Holy Father said "thank you" several times.

Since the March 19 observance of St. Joseph's feast coincided with the third Sunday of Lent,
the solemnity is celebrated liturgically today, March 20.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 21/03/2006 0.39]

00Monday, March 20, 2006 6:13 PM
As reported earlier in another thread, AlesSandra Borghese has been busy promoting her new book
"Sete di Dio" (Thirst for God). She was interviewed recently by ZENIT which reports it in its German
service. The whole interview is actually interesting because she not only talks about the book
but also what Pope John Paul II meant to her. In this excerpt, she talks about Pope Benedict.
Here is a translation

The line “Pope Benedict XVI is the Thomas Aquinas of our day” has been attributed to you.
Is that right
Yes, Pope Benedict XVI means very much to me. Through my work as a journalist, I had occasion
to see him often when he was a cardinal. I also had many opportunities for more informal
meetings with him. I have once underscored it, and I say it here again: I consider
Pope Benedict XVI the Thomas Aquinas of our time.

At the same time, he is also a man who is very endearing and sensible, and can genuinely be
close to other persons. I know him as a man with a great sense of humor, who loves life. After
he was elected Pope, I must tell you that as a Catholic, I felt more secure, I felt myself protected.

Whoever wants to get to know this Pope should read his encyclical Deus caritas est
and get into it profoundly. If you can read between the lines, you can find in a few words
the priest, the cardinal and the Pope. Whoever takes the words of this encyclical to heart
is directed back to the center of the faith. With this encyclical, the Holy Father
has set forth the core of the Christian faith: God is love. That is a passionate invitation
that says, Come back to the center.

I'll translate the whole interview later and post it in PEOPLE AROUND THE POPE.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 20/03/2006 23.54]

00Monday, March 20, 2006 11:48 PM
A couple of Ratzi anecdotes are recounted today in the main forum....

Have you ever wondered how much our dear Ratzi picks up of popular culture?

I am reminded of Mick Jagger’s very sweet recollection of an encounter with Ratzi
inside Regensburg Cathedral in 1982. [I posted the translation of the item in the RFC,
and to my surprise, not a single person reacted!...I will re-post it below.]

Now here’s another anecdote about Ratzi and yet another legend of pop culture.

The answer is ‘blowin’ in the wind’

Bib Dylan, who performed before John Paul II on the occasion of the 23rd Eucharistic Congress
in Bologna in 1997, has expressed a wish to meet the new Pope. While no definite arrangements
are known, it is said that Benedict has remarked to his aides that he would very much like
to hear Dylan in person sing “Blowing in the Wind.”

Ratzi’s zebra joke

Mons. Maggiolini, the bishop of Como, was asked “What kind of person is Papa Ratzinger?”.

He replied by recounting a joke he was told by the Cardinal when they worked together
in the committee tasked with preparing the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

“Do you know the difference between a horse and a zebra?," Ratzi asked. "Nothing, really
except that the zebra was created by a committee, and every member wanted to paint in
his own stripe!"

Mick meets Ratzi - as posted in October in the RFC:

Some time in June 2005, Jagger said in an interview with the English magazine The Spectator,
"It is not true that the Pope hates rock music!"

How does he know? He tells of having met the Cardinal in Regensburg during the world tour
of the Rolling Stones in 1982. It was a day off between performances, and "I was looking
for a quiet place where I could meditate in peace."

So he took a long walk from his hotel, over the stone bridge that crosses the city and
came to the cathedral. He entered and sat down with his thoughts.

"After a while, a priest came up to me and we started to talk of ordinary things -
the city, life. He had recognized me and said he thought rock music was a double-bladed
weapon - that it could save young lives or ruin them. He urged me to reflect on my capacity
to influence young people
. Then he hugged me, but before leaving, he told me his name
was Joseph Ratzinger."
For the life of me, I do not know why that little story never got wider publicity.
If true - and why should Jagger invent it? - it shows us yet another facet of our beloved Benedict.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 20/03/2006 23.51]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 21/03/2006 1.05]

00Tuesday, March 21, 2006 12:46 AM
I wonder what the Vaticanistas will make of this interview given by Mons. Marini to affaritaliani.it.
He makes it quite clear he has no use for the old Mass, and yet, he implies that he has a satisfactory
'modus vivendi' with Benedict the liturgist. Blogger and Marini fan Rocco Palma would see this as yet
another sign that Marini will stay on where he is (Rocco's already calling him Cardinal!)...Let's see.


Archbishop Piero Marini, currently papal master of liturgical ceremonies, had interesting comments to make
in an interview with affaritaliani.

On the Lefebvrists: Their ‘schism’ can be resolved, he says, “provided they totally accept Vatican-II
and its teachings…. Otherwise not.”

On the post Vatican-II liturgy: “We have been using the new liturgy for 40 years now. The faithful
of every age group have adapted to it, from the old people to the young ones, who are now the majority.
But the Lefebvrists won’t adapt. Why not? ..To go beyond Vatican-II liturgy is to go beyond
the Church!”

Marini was secretary to Anniable Bugnini, the priest who was tasked during Vatican-II with
reforming the Roman Missal. He has been Papal master of ceremonies for more than 20 years.
“Every Pope is different. John Paul II was more liberal; we had an implicit agreement – because
he was a man of prayer not a man of liturgy.”

He recounts a curious episode: “Several years ago, we visited a diocese. At the end, when we were about
to get into the car, we could not find the Pope. It turns out he had stayed behind to pray in the
sacristy, leaning against a sink.”

He speaks with satisfaction about Benedict XVI: “One must be more careful with him
because he is an expert at liturgy. But he makes me happy because he always
acknowledges the work that is done and we talk about it.”

He adds: “Lately we have been reviewing the papal ceremonies. I send him my notes
and he returns them to me with his signature on what he approves. Otherwise,
he makes suggestions, he corrects, he adds details.”

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 21/03/2006 17.36]

00Tuesday, March 21, 2006 4:57 PM
It cannot be other than providential that our Pope's two name-days (the Italians have a specific word, onomastico,
for a person's name-day - the feast day of the main saint whose name they carry) fall within two days of each other -
March 19 for Saint Joseph, patron of his birth name, and March 21 for St. Benedict, patron of his papal name.

Cardinal Paul Poupard celebrated the Mass to mark the feast of St. Benedict at the Abbey of Montecassino today.
Here is a translation of the first part of Zenit's Italian report

MONTECASSINO, 21 March 2006 (ZENIT.org).- St. Benedict, whose feast is celebrated today,
exemplified the evangelic ideal expressed in the Beatitudes, Cardinal Poupard said today.
The cardinal is the president of both the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Inter-religious Dialog.

In his homily at the Eucharistic Celebration of the Solemnity of St. Benedict, Patron of Europe,
held at the Abbey of Montecassino, the Cardinal said the saint had lived and fulfilled "the new Law
of Christ, received in a spirit that was authentically Christian...(namely) the law of love, which touches
the heart of man to make him worthy of the friendship of his Creator."

The "secret" of St, Benedict, who founded the Benedictine Order, is contained, Poupard said,
in the famous words from the Rule he promulgated: “Nihil amori Christi praeponere" – Do not put
anything before the love of Christ.

"it is a rule which our Holy Father often cites," Poupard says, and must touch the heart of each of us,
every Christian, and I would say, every citizen of Europe."

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 22/03/2006 16.14]

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