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

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  • benevolens
    00 3/25/2007 12:42 PM
    Re: VATICAN STAMPS FOR THE POPE'S 80TH BIRTHDAY

    Scritto da: TERESA BENEDETTA 23/03/2007 1.27
    Thanks to Paparatzifan...



    Did you notice the photos used are all by our photo-hero Spaziani? As far as I know the first time a non-Vatican photographer has been awarded this honour. Well done, Stefano! [SM=g27811]
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    maryjos
    Post: 885
    Registered in: 11/27/2005
    Senior User
    00 3/25/2007 2:17 PM
    Found it!

    Here is the only photo I could find of the portrait, with the artist . Looking for a better one!

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    TERESA BENEDETTA
    Post: 51
    Registered in: 8/28/2005
    Junior User
    00 3/26/2007 1:52 AM
    Thanks for finding the photo, Mary. I didn't think the artist was going to 'show' it before he has formally presented it to the Pope himself.

    I must say, though, that comparing this portrait to the ones he has previously done of other personalities, I am very disappointed. He has not captured Benedict's characteristic look at all - and compared to the near-photographic faithfulness of his portraits of Cardinal Hume, the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, this one falls far short!

    Not that I think portraits should be 'photographic', but there's nothing wrong either with capturing a subject as he really looks, and then highlighting the characteristic, mood, character, etc. that the artist wishes to convey in particular. This one does not even resemble any of the thousands of pictures we have seen of Ratzi.
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    TERESA BENEDETTA
    Post: 52
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    00 3/26/2007 2:13 AM
    8OTH-BIRTHDAY PREPS
    From an APCOM item on Lella's blog:


    Vatican employes will receive a bonus of 500 Euros and the day off on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI's 80th birthday, according to an internal circular from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State. They will get another day off on April 19, second annviersary of teh Pope's election.

    In 2005, the employes received a double bonus as well as a pay raise to mark Benedict's accession to the papacy and to honor the late John Paul II.

    On April 15, a Sunday, the Pope will celebrate Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, on the eve of his birthday.

    On April 16 itself, he will be honored at a Vatican concert by a leading German orchestra.

    The magazine 30 GIORNI is coming out with a special issue containing reminiscences by various Cardinals of the Curia about the Pope.

    In Germany, members of the Ratzinger Schuelerkreise, the Pope's former doctoral students, said they plan to come out with the book "Creation and Evolution" based on discussions at ther last seminar held in Castel Gandolfo last September.

    But no parties, apparently. Ireland's President Mary McAleese, wishing the Pope advance birthday greetings last Friday, reportedly remarked to him, "I imagine there will be many parties." And the Pope replied, "Ah-ah!"

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

    Someone at the Vatican should think up some
    special surprise for him!

    I hope someone thinks to give him a teddy bear!
    For 'a man who has everything' - even if not
    material wealth, but when you are the Pope, this
    has no meaning - one can only think of whimsical
    tokens to show him how much he is loved. He almost
    certainly will want 'substantial' gifts to be given
    to charity instead.


    Cardinal Ratzinger feted by his staff at CDF on his 70th birthday (VXX).


    Oh, and I hope the media will finally note
    that he is simply and remarkably the
    best-looking 80-year-old man in the history
    of the world! And the most brilliant and
    productive by far!

    [Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 26/03/2007 2.49]

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    loriRMFC
    Post: 69
    Registered in: 11/24/2005
    Junior User
    00 3/26/2007 3:15 AM
    Interesting to hear that the staff will get bonuses, I never knew they did that. I agree Teresa, he can probably get anything, though I don't see him asking for outrageous things. He'll probably favor stuff that people took the time to pick out and that are personal.

    By the way, I don't think the Pope saying "Ah-ah!" means there wont be be any parties [SM=g27828] I'll bet he gets a cake too, hope they suprise him. Didn't someone give him a piano shaped cake last yr. ?
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    benefan
    Post: 9
    Registered in: 11/23/2005
    Junior User
    00 3/26/2007 6:26 AM

    @Teresa: "Oh, and I hope the media will finally note that he is simply and remarkably the best-looking 80-year-old man in the history of the world! And the most brilliant and productive by far!"


    Teresa, you are always so objective, restrained, and unbiased when talking about Papa.





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    TERESA BENEDETTA
    Post: 6,731
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    00 3/26/2007 5:25 PM
    TRIVIAL PURSUIT
    Benefan - I really tried hard, believe me! But I think no one will dispute that I made an objective statement - also restrained, compared to what I could have said - if not unbiased, obviously!

    Seriously, though, let's look at the historical record. We elicited the fact once before that Verdi composed the music for Falstaff when he was 82... Let's say - even if they are apples and oranges - that we could point to Deus caritas est as the analog, on the part of B16. But then there's all those homilies and messages and the Exhortation and Jesus of Nazareth- so just going with the Verdi analogy, it's as if Verdi had written two other major operas in the same year, not to mention an almost daily stream of songs and sonatas or concerti, and many of the better ones, improvised not composed!

    Insofar as looks, I know Verdi aged well, but I don't think I've seen a picture of him at age 82. And there's always the redoubtable Cary Grant as the previous benchmark for octogenarian gorgeousness, as I mentioned once before.

    All of this is, of course, trivial pursuit, but aren't we lucky we have a great and saintly Pope who is also a genuine pin-up idol?

    [Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 26/03/2007 17.27]

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    TERESA BENEDETTA
    Post: 6,733
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    00 3/26/2007 6:55 PM
    FOR PHILATELISTS AND ALL BENADDICTS


    SPECIAL VATICAN POSTMARK
    ON BENEDICT'S 80TH BIRTHDAY



    The Vatican Post Office will use a special postmark
    on April 16 to mark the 80th birthday of the Holy Father.

    In addition to carrying Benedict XVI's papal coat of arms,
    it also says "BENEDICTVS XVI VITAE LXXX EXPLET ANNVM"
    ('Benedict XVI completes 80 years of life' is the literal translation).

    Thr Vatican Post Office will also put on sale first-day issue
    souvenir envelops with a picture of the Pope on the left side,
    one of the 0.60 Euro stamps issued last March 16 [pictures
    in previous stories] to mark the birthday, and the postmark.
    Price - 2.50 Euro (4.00 Euro, including a protector-display holder).

    This may be acquired by
    telephone 06/69883406
    or by Fax: 06/69885378

    Send required amount, including cost of postage,
    by money order to:
    POSTE VATICANE
    Governatorato
    00120 Vatican City

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

    Maybe if you call by phone,
    they may take a credit card payment.
    Just got this item from PETRUS,
    so I haven't tried calling the number yet.
    And wouldn't you know it?
    This Post Office has no e-mail???
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    TERESA BENEDETTA
    Post: 6,743
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    00 3/27/2007 6:55 AM
    BAD KUENG KEEPS TURNING UP-#2
    Checking out other stories tonight on National Catholic Register got me on to the Catholic Online site and this item from Canada about Father Kueng's recent visit there, about which I posted a story on March 15. This one's dated March 20, has a different angle, and reads far less belligerent.


    Canadian Catholic News:
    Controversial theologian claims right
    to be in pope’s ‘loyal opposition

    By Deborah Gyapong
    3/20/2007
    Canadian Catholic News
    (www.cathnews.net/)


    OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – Swiss-born theologian Father Hans Küng said he has a “right to be in His Holiness’ loyal opposition,” representing thousands of liberal-leaning Catholics who remain disappointed the Second Vatican Council renewal did not go far enough.

    Often a scathing critic of the papacy and church doctrine, Father Küng has softened somewhat since his Sept. 2005 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Many see the meeting as a gesture of reconciliation, on both sides.

    “There are two ways to be a Catholic, aren’t there?” Father Küng said in an interview here March 15 while promoting the publication of the French edition of part one of his memoirs entitled My Struggle for Freedom, which he jokingly described as “conflict studies.”

    “I think he went one way, I went another way, but we are both Catholics,” he said. “I am not a lone wolf. He knows that, that I am representative of another part of the church.”

    Father Küng first got in trouble with the Catholic hierarchy with the publication of a 1971 book questioning papal infallibility. Eight years later, Father Küng was stripped of his license to teach as a Roman Catholic theologian, though he remained a Catholic priest and continued to teach at the prestigious University of Tübingen in Germany. He opposes the church’s teaching on birth control, women priests and celibacy. He objects to any monarchical exercise of power by the hierarchy.

    Father Küng, however, sees an “essential difference” between the present pontificate and the previous one.

    For 27 years, Father Küng tried to get an answer from Pope John Paul II to his many requests to meet. He sent the pope his Christian apologetic Does God Exist? shortly after his election in 1978. “I never got any answer from him,” he said.

    Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s election, he wrote him requesting a meeting.

    “I was not interested in an audience in the ordinary sense but in a real conversation,” he said. He wrote that despite their disagreements, “We have still as Christians very much in common.”

    He wrote that he was not interested in getting ecclesiastical approval of his teaching, “because I am recognized as a Catholic theologian throughout the whole world,” nor did he consider it fruitful to go over the areas over which they disagreed.

    “It would be useless to come back to all the questions which divide us, let’s talk about a few others, what we have in common,” Father Küng said he wrote the pope.

    In Sept. 2005, Benedict invited Father Küng to dinner at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo; a move that surprised those, who, in the words of Vatican specialist John Allen Jr., expected the “giant flushing sound” of dissidents being swept out of the church after Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s election.

    In the pope’s private study and dining room, they spent four hours together in a relaxed, warm discussion. “It was without any stress, without any clash,” Father Küng said. “I found him freer and again more as I had him in mind from his younger years in Tübingen. He did not make a dogmatic impression.”

    When Father Küng and Cardinal Ratzinger were both relatively young priests, they acted as theological advisors during the Second Vatican Council, both committed to renewal in the Catholic Church.

    After the council ended, Father Küng was instrumental in drawing Cardinal Ratzinger to the University of Tübingen in 1966. In his memoir, Father Küng notes his colleagues found it impressive he had invited “his strongest rival” to the faculty.

    Father Küng writes he is aware that Cardinal Ratzinger is “more rooted in the neoscholastic tradition” and “attaches more importance to the authority of the church fathers” than he does.

    “What is more important to me is that we are both like-minded over the significance of the Second Vatican Council: in the direction of the renewal of theology and the church and ecumenical understanding. Freedom in the church is fundamental to this.”

    The student uprisings in 1968 that saw Marxist students take over classes, often with the threat of violence hanging in the air, proved a turning point. Cardinal Ratzinger, troubled by the totalitarian impulse to put faith at the service of ideology, left Tübingen for Regensburg. In Father Küng’s memoir, he said the student revolt “evidently had a permanent shock effect on Ratzinger.”

    “To the present day, Ratzinger has shown phobias about all movements ‘from below;’ whether these are student chaplaincies, groups of priests, movements of church people, the Iglesia popular or liberation theology,” Father Küng writes.

    According to John Allen Jr.’s book Pope Benedict XVI: A biography of Joseph Ratzinger, the pontiff recalled it differently. Allen quotes him saying the events at Tübingen showed him “an instrumentalization by ideologies that were tyrannical, brutal and cruel. That experience made it clear to me that the abuse of the faith had to be resisted precisely if one wanted to uphold the will of the council. ... I did see how real tyranny was exercised, even in brutal forms. Anyone who wanted to remain a progressive in this context had to give up his integrity.”

    Father Ratzinger went on to become an archbishop, then a cardinal, then cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Father Küng, however, felt his call to integrity taking him in another direction.

    Father Küng told a gathering of academics at St. Paul University here March 15 the meeting with the pope reestablished “the personal relationship we used to have.” The meeting focused on three areas of agreement between the two men.

    Prior to the meeting, he had sent Benedict his soon-to-be published The Beginning of All Things, a book that looks at the beginning of the cosmos, the beginning of the universe and the beginning of the human being. He said the pope was delighted to receive it, and agreed with Father Küng’s call for a new dialog between the Christian faith and the sciences.

    Father Küng and the pope also agreed on the need to “go against this clash of civilizations with the dialog of religions I advocated already for a very long time.” Father Küng is especially concerned about dialogue with the Muslim world. His concerns were prescient, given the violent reaction to the pope’s speech in Regensburg last year.

    Finally, they agreed on the need for a global ethic which would be supported by people of different churches, religions, believers and non-believers.

    Father Küng’s extensive study of world religions, including books on Christianity, Judaism and Islam, led to his discovery of ethical standards they held in common. [But what a silly statement for this writer to make! One does not have to 'study' the major religions to know what ethical standards they have in common - they're all based on natural law, basic truths that appear to be self-evident to human nature.]

    He said variations of the Golden Rule are found in all religions. He also found four ethical demands: not to kill, not to steal, not to lie, and not to use sexuality in the wrong way. “Every human being has to be treated as human, not in an inhuman or bestial way.”

    Now retired from Tübingen, he is president of the Global Ethic foundation, (www.globalethic.org), and won the support of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, among others.

    Despite this global ethic, Father Küng recognizes “there are different religions which cannot just be unified.”

    “I do not believe in the unity of religions. I do not believe in one religion. It would be illusionary to think we could construct one unique religion,” he said.

    Meanwhile, however, he remains steadfast in his faith. “If I am asked as a person ‘what is for you, the way, the truth and the life?’ then I answer ‘Jesus Christ’ and that remains for me my deep conviction of faith which I kept in all these dialogues,” he said. "I think there was never some ambiguity in that.”

    Father Küng separates the private and personal dimension from the external, when he is sitting around the table with Jews, Muslims, Hindus and members of other religions.

    “If I ask my Jewish friend what is for you the way, the truth and the life, he will tell me the Torah. The Muslim will tell me the Koran. I think we need to take seriously at the same time, these two dimensions, the internal dimension of every human being. I have to acknowledge that my Jewish friend is honest.”
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    benefan
    Post: 13
    Registered in: 11/23/2005
    Junior User
    00 3/28/2007 1:09 AM

    Vatican releases DVDs detailing Pope John Paul II, papal transition

    By Carol Glatz
    Catholic News Service

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican released a complete catalog of DVDs documenting the life and death of Pope John Paul II, the papal transition of 2005 and the Second Vatican Council, as well as what goes on behind Vatican City's walls.

    To mark the second anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul and the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican television center presented a full-color, two-page catalog showcasing the seven DVD collections for sale.

    Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said at a March 27 press conference that the collection is unique "because CTV (Vatican television center) cameramen can get close to the pope" and capture images and events that other television crews cannot.

    For example, the hour-long documentary, "Benedict XVI: The Keys of the Kingdom," starts out giving the viewer a ride in the backseat of the popemobile.
    The camera peers over Pope John Paul's shoulder and shows crowds waving to him as the pope is driven home from Rome's Gemelli hospital a few weeks before his death April 2, 2005.

    Viewers also are given privileged peeks of the Sistine Chapel where voting for the new pope took place, workers erecting the smoke stack that would tell the world with a puff of white smoke that a pope had been elected, and the cardinals' living quarters during the papal transition.

    Accompanied by detailed and colorful commentary, there is also footage of the newly elected Pope Benedict walking up to the closed red curtain moments before he was presented to the world from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.
    There is also footage of the joyous celebrations the new pope encountered on the streets when he returned to his old apartment to greet neighbors and friends.

    The seven DVDs produced by the Vatican television center currently on-sale to the public are:

    -- "Benedict XVI: The Keys of the Kingdom," which documents the papal transition in 2005.

    -- "John Paul II: The Pope Who Made History," which offers a chronological view of the late pope's life in a five-disc collection.

    -- "John Paul II: His Life, His Pontificate," which condenses his life and papacy onto one disc.

    -- "John Paul II: This Is My Story," which features the late pope narrating the most significant events of his life.

    -- "John Paul II: Seasons of the Apostle," which follows the pope's bold initiatives and courageous mission that never waned over the years even during his illness.

    -- "The Vatican: Behind the Scenes of the World's Smallest Kingdom," which shows the day-to-day life behind the city's walls.

    -- "The II Vatican Council" showing special archived footage and interviews with religious leaders explaining the council's reforms.

    The multilingual DVDs are available online at: www.hdhcommunications.com (the official distributor of the Vatican DVDs), www.amazon.com and www.ebay.it.

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    TERESA BENEDETTA
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    00 3/28/2007 1:12 AM
    HOW TO SAY NO TO THE POPE
    From the report in DIE TAGESPOST about the opening of the Cologne exhibit on Benedict XVI, these tidbits from Cardinal Meisner, one of the cardinals we know who can address the Pope by his given name Joseph and use the second-person informal with him (Du, for you in German, instead of the formal Sie].

    Meisner recalled at the opening that during the preparations for the Pope's visit to Cologne, the Pope told him that he would be perfectly at home if he was given the priest's guest room in the Archbishop's Palace.

    Meisner, backed by the security people, protested: "Oh no, that won't do at all! Too dangerous, Joseph. You're Pope now, You can no longer do as you please."

    Likewise, the Pope had to clear it with security when he wanted a special visit to the tombs of Cardinals Frings and Hoeffner inside Cologne Cathedral.

    Meisner said he hoped that the exhibit, entitled "BENEDICT XVI: A Pope from Germany", would serve s a reminder to Gemans: "QWe must not forget to be behind our Pope all the time, just as the Poles were for their beloved John Pul II, for whom they promised to pray until 'their knees wore out hollows in the stones'."

    Meisner later said that personally, he found the panel about the Pope's visit to Auschwitz last year as the most moving element in the exhibit. "It was a difficult mission that he carried out very well."

    The reporter asked Meisner what he wishes Benedict on his birthday. "That he should continue to be joyful - in three senses: cheerful, devout, trusting."

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

    Consider the paradox: "You are Pope now. You can no longer do as you please."

    [Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 28/03/2007 9.10]

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    benefan
    Post: 20
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    00 3/28/2007 1:53 AM

    Official CD for papal visit to Brazil goes gold


    Sao Paulo, Mar 27, 2007 / 12:47 pm (CNA).- The official CD for Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to Brazil, which includes the official song for the visit, has gone gold in the country, with more than 75,000 copies sold so far.

    Entitled, “Benedict, Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord,” the CD was released on March 25 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, where Pope Benedict will inaugurate the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council in May.

    The album was produced by the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida and Codimuc Records. The Bishops’ Conference of Brazil selected the music. “It’s a high-quality work of art that expresses the affection of the Brazilian people in welcoming the Pope,” said the album’s artistic producer, Father Josafa Moraes.

    The official song for the visit was composed by Brother Luiz Turra and was chosen from fifteen different submissions. “The music is easy to learn and we hope that the Pope, who is a pianist, likes it as much as John Paul II liked the songs that we composed for him during his second visit to Brazil,” said Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno of Aparecida.

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    @Andrea M.@
    Post: 978
    Registered in: 5/14/2006
    Senior User
    00 3/28/2007 8:50 AM
    Cardinal Meisner on the Pope

    Consider the paradox: "You are Pope now. You can no longer do as you please."



    Yes, but in a way this is true. There are always security concerns involved nowadays.

    While in other fields, he now can do as he pleases, if you like.

    Andrea

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    TERESA BENEDETTA
    Post: 6,765
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    00 3/28/2007 2:53 PM
    BIRTHDAY CARD FOR THE POPE
    From an item in PETRUS today:

    The magazine FAMIGLIA CRISTIANA is making it easy for its readers to send a personal greeting to the Pope on his 80th birthday.

    The issue that is on sale this week has a tear-off birthday card with the picture of the Pope, pre-addressed to him
    HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
    Palazzo Apostolico
    00120 Citta del Vaticano



    The magazine explains to the reader: "This is a simple way to greet the Pope on his birthday. In the space provided, we can write a thought about him or remember something he has said that sticks in our mind."

    It goes on: "Perhaps the best thought we can extend to our Pope as he marks his 80th birthday is to thank him for having placed 'the question of God' in the heart of the world and of our modern culture and to say that no one can escape this question."

    [Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 31/03/2007 1.24]

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    benefan
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    00 3/29/2007 7:03 AM

    Pope's native town to open Benedict XVI museum

    Mar. 28, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn, where Pope Benedict XVI was born, will open a museum on the Pontiff's 80th birthday in the home where Joseph Ratzinger was born.

    The modest home, renovated to serve as a museum with exhibits illustrating the Pope's life, will open on April 16. Marktl am Inn has experienced a boom in tourism since the election of its native son as Roman Pontiff; the museum is designed as the focal point of interest for visitors coming to learn more about the Pontiff's background.
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    benefan
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    00 3/30/2007 5:58 AM

    Pope to view new film based on Resurrection story

    Rome, Mar. 29, 2007 (CWNews.com) - A film based on the story of the Resurrection will be privately screened for Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday, April 1. The movie will be shown on Italian state television on April 2-3.

    The film The Investigation relates the story of the disappearance of Christ's body, from the perspective of a Roman official who is summoned to investigate events there. The official, Tito Valerio Tauro, is given a secret mission by the Emperor Tiberius: to discover the truth behind the claims that a poor Jewish teacher rose from the dead after having been executed.

    The film, produced by Rai Uno, was previewed last Friday at a Roman residence of the Opus Dei lay movement, and received with great enthusiasm. It is scheduled to debut in theaters in Spain on April 4, and later in 500 theaters in the US, where it is being distributed by Fox.

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    TERESA BENEDETTA
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    00 3/31/2007 3:40 AM
    FOR PHILATESLISTS AND BENADDICTS 2
    Here are the first-day cover and the stamp sets issued by the Vatican Post Office
    for the Pope's 80th bithday:



    [Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 31/03/2007 3.41]

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    TERESA BENEDETTA
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    00 3/31/2007 2:09 PM
    AVVENIRE'S BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE
    Today's issue advertises that the newspaper's issue
    on Sunday, April 15, will carry with it a special
    magazine tribute to the Pope,
    BENEDICT XV: The 80 years of a Pope who conquers.
    More than 100 pages, in color, it will be sold
    at a surcharge of 2 Euro above the newspaper price.


    [Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 31/03/2007 14.10]

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    TERESA BENEDETTA
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    00 3/31/2007 3:14 PM
    A PALM SUNDAY STORY
    Tomorrow, more than 3000 woven palm branches, called parmureli in Italian, will be given out to the faithful who will be attending Palm Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Square. The largest of all will be given to the Holy Father who will carry it in the procession for the Blessing of the Palms preceding the Mass.

    Here is a translation of a PETRUS story about this:



    The story behind
    the Palm Sunday 'palms'
    at the Vatican

    By Angela Ambrogetti


    The Parmureli for the Vatican are prepared yearly by the Centro Studi e Ricerche per le Palme of Sanremo and the cooperative Il Cammino from that city on the Italian Riviera, with the sponsorship of Foundation for Cultural Assets and Artistic Activites of the Church and the participation of the municipal governments of Sanremo (City of Flowers) and nearby Bordighera (City of Palms).

    The Parmureli are an ancient tradtion. After being blessed tomorrow, they will be distributed to the faithful.

    The custom of decorating churches with palms and carrying palm branches to raise at the solemn moment of Benediction during Palm Sunday Mass goes back to the earliest practices of Christianity.

    Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem six days before His Passion. That entry was welcomed by a crowd of simple folk and children who celebrated His passage by waving palm and olive branches as a sign of joy and peace.

    The palms from the Riviera of Flowers became a protagonist in the Roman celebrations of Palm Sunday thanks to an interesting story that involved a sailor from San Remo, Captain Bresca.

    He was present in St. Peter's Square on that day in 1586 when, at the intiative of Pope Sixtus V, ancient Rome's most famous obelisk was raised on the spot where it still graces the Square today. This Egyptian obelisk had been brought to Rome in 39 AD by the emperor Caligula.

    It was a difficult task to raise it: the obelisk is 26 meters high and weights 350 tons. To set it up, 90 laborers, 140 horses and 44 winches were required.

    On the day it was raised, Sept. 10, the Pope decreed that anyone who dared say a word while the delicate operation was going on would be condemned to death.

    Then, at one point, the obelisk appeared to be in danger of falling - the ropes which were supporting it and connected to the winches appeared to be giving way. Captain Bresca, without thinking twice, shouted out "Wet the ropes!"

    His practical sensible advice was immediately carried out by the Vatican engineers in charge of the project. Drenching the ropes prevented overheating (because of friction during winding or unwinding from the winches) and the raising of the obelisk was successfully completed. And Capt. Bresca had prevented what could have been the loss of many lives if the ropes had given way and the obelisk had dropped.

    Of course, the Pope did not punish Capt. Bresca. Instead, he rewarded him by assigning to him and his descendants the honor of providing the Parmureli for Palm Sunday celebrations at the Vatican.

    From then on, the cities of San Remo and Bordighera have been linked to the Palm Sunday tradition of Rome.

    In the days when the Parmureli were transported to Rome by sea, the Ligurian ship carrying them, upon reaching the mouth of teh Tiber River to proceed to Rome, would raise a Parmorelo on its main mast. It gave the ship precedence over every other vessel navigating the Tiber at that time so that it could proceed to Rome without delay.

    [Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 31/03/2007 15.56]

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    TERESA BENEDETTA
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    00 4/1/2007 5:10 PM
    HE COULD NOT KNOW HE HAD JUST INTERVIEWED A FUTURE POPE!
    While waiting to have access to the full text of the interview-article with Cardinal Bertone in this weekend's Le Figaro Magazine, I thought it would be nice to resurrect - I seem to remember having once translated it - this introduction written by Jean Sevilla, the writer who interviews Bertone, about an interview he, Sevilla, had with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the fall of 2001. The interview was republished by Figaro magazine in its April 23, 2005, issue - right after the cardinal was elected Pope - for which I thank Beatrice, from whose website, beatriceweb.eu, I have taken it.

    I hope to be able to post a translation of the full interview eventually in IN HIS OWN WORDS. And I have chosen to post this here, rather than in ENCOUNTERS...

    Here is a translation:


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    Prefect of the Cognregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 to the death of John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger rarely gives interviews. [Not that rarely, actually!] When he received a represenative from the media, it was always to say words which had been fully thought out, because as one of the premier personalities of the Catholic hierarchy, he would involve the Church in anything he says.

    The exclusive interview which he gave Figaro magazine - it appeared in our issue of November 17, 2001, and we reproduce substantial excerpts from it here - today take on even greater value.

    It was a few weeks after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The world lived in anguish and the rumor of war. But in Rome, a mild afternoon sun lightened the atmosphere. {The interview took place on October 29, 2001.]

    An hour face to face with the all-powerful Cardinal Ratzinger: any journalist who has had this experience will probably recall nevertheless the simplicity of the interviewee, the courtesy of his welcome, his smile, the depth of the look he gives you from those clear eyes, and the calm tones of a voice expressing itself in perfect French with the singing accents of southern Germany.

    His personality emanated a fascinating mix of human kindness and great intellect. At the end of the interview, this journalist, who had no way of knowing he had just interviewed a future Pope, came out of the Vatican with a profound sense of peace....

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    Isn't it beautiful? In a few words, Sevilla manages to convey to us such a vivid living portrait of the man that even if one had never watched an interview with Cardinal Ratzinger on video before (fortunately, we have seen quite a few), it is almost as if one had actually watched the interview...And I don't think it's simply Benaddiction getting the better of me!

    One cannot say DEO GRATIAS enough for the existence of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, and for the privilege of being alive in his time.