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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI Roundup!

  • In this picture released by the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI meets with Terri Schiavo's parents, Roy Schindler, right, and Mary Schindler presenting him with pictures of their daughter at the weekly general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 18, 2005. -

  • Pope Benedict at 30 Days, by Roger A. McCaffrey (The American Spectator May 19, 2005):

    As Benedict emerged from the balcony of St. Peter's, stricken liberal clerics were actually seen by friends of this writer turning on their heels and shaking their heads in disbelief.

    Meantime, jubilant conservative bigwigs like Rev. Richard John Neuhaus and George Weigel celebrated that same night at Armando's Ristorante on the Via Plauto, just down the street from Ratzinger's old Vatican apartment. The new Pope had dined there himself the week before. Armando and his wife jested with their famous customer that he would be elected. "If I am," he jested back in fine German style, "I won't ever be able to come here again."

  • Joseph Marshall (A Straight Shot of Politics) takes on an "unbelievably vitriolic, intellectually dishonest and rumor-mongering" article by Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of "progressive" Jewish magazine Tikkun, pertaining to an interview Ratzinger gave to a French periodical in which he speculated why Catholics might be attracted to Buddhism or the Hindu view of reincarnation.

    Lerner regurgitates the popular rumor that "in 1997 Ratzinger called Buddhism an 'autoerotic spirituality' that offers 'transcendence without imposing concrete religious obligations.'" Examining the text of the original interview, Joseph Marshall reveals the rumor for the overblown and malicious libel that it is. The fact that he is himself a Buddhist and describes himself "of the liberal political persuasion" will remove any suspicion of partiality toward the Holy Father.

  • "My Cousin, The Pope" - an interview with Mrs Erika Kopp, cousin of Pope Benedict XVI who migrated to Australia from Germany in 1955. (Via Feminine-Genius).

  • The Pope and the Monsignor Ignatius Insight interviews Monsignor Michael R. Schmitz from Germany. "German, born and educated, [Schmmitz] now serves as the U.S. Provincial Superior of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest . . . a new order of priests devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass."

  • What could possibly bring together the new Pope, Lance Armstrong, Hermann Hesse, astrophysics, and the little German town of Tubingen? -- Chris Brauer knows. Points for, um, originality.

  • Pope Benedict Without His Beloved Piano as Movers Struggle to Fit It Into His New Quarters - Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) - 29 April 2005:

    Pope Benedict XVI, a fan of Mozart and Bach, is still without his piano as movers have been unable to fit it through the windows of his papal apartment, it was reported Wednesday [April 27]. . . .

    Ratzinger, who apparently uses the piano to relax at times of stress, reportedly used to irk his neighbours by playing Mozart, Bach and Palestrina a little too loudly, according to German weekly Der Spiegel.

    Via Catholic Light. (The pope's memoirs, Milestones, has photographs of the Holy Father playing on his beloved piano).

  • Benedict XVI As Known by Co-worker Zenit interview with Father Augustine Di Noia. May 15, 2005:

    . . . he's a person of real dedication, discipline, focus and has that academic element in the sense of man who thinks and writes a lot, but is willing to share his knowledge with anyone who's willing to listen or talk with him as he's quite the conversationalist too."

    Benedict XVI has even sacrificed many of his personal interests to work entirely for the Church and faith, said Father Di Noia.

    "There is a willingness to make sacrifices in the sense that, naturally I presume, he would have been perfectly happy doing what he was doing before -- that is as archbishop of Munich, living in Germany and serving the Church there -- when John Paul II sent for him to come to the Roman Curia," he said.

    Laughing, he added: "I suppose every Catholic, every religious or priest is trained to say 'yes' first, and think about the consequences later.

    "This was the case with him -- Peter called and he came, leaving behind his life in Germany, family, friends and culture for more than 22 years. And now, of course, he will never permanently return again."

  • A Papal Foreword, by John M. Haas. The American Spectator May 16, 2005. The story behind Cardinal Ratzinger's introduction to the new edition of Romano Guardini's The Lord. (Via Amy Welborn).

  • Ratzinger on Europe, by James V. Schall, S.J. Homiletic & Pastoral Review January 2005. Fr Schall takes a look at Ratzinger's discourse Europe: Its Spiritual Foundation: Yesterday, Today and in the Future, given May 13, 2004, to the Italian Senate at the invitation of Italian philosopher and Senate Head Marcello Pera:

    More and more, people are recognizing that Europe has a problem with its own soul. Recently, the Jesuit General, Peter Hans Kolvenbach was asked about the relation of a possible new European constitution and Christianity (September 25, 2003). He replied, "As the Holy Father has said, either Europe is Christian or there is no Europe. I feel that this statement is irrefutable. If the Christian meaning that has inspired European art, literature and philosophy were suppressed, we would be left with empty hands." Clearly, Josef Ratzinger's remarks at the Italian Senate confirm this estimate . . ."

  • Does this look like 'God's Rottweiler' to you? -- Pope Benedict XVI wears flower necklaces donated by pilgrims and faithful at the end of a special audience, in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Monday, May 16, 2005. The special audience was given for those people who attended last Saturday's beatification ceremony of Mother Marianne Cope and Mother Ascension Nicol Goni. (AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti).

  • In an spontaneous speech to the clergy of Rome on May 13, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Benedict heard testimonies and entertained questions, and affirmed his commitment to the "particular responsibility" the Church has towards other continents, specifically Africa, Latin America, and Asia:

    Africa is a continent that has enormous potential and the enormous generosity of the people, with an impressive, living faith. But we must confess that Europe exported not only faith in Christ, but also all of the vices of the Old Continent.

    It exported the sense of corruption, it exported the violence that is currently devastating Africa. And we must acknowledge our responsibility so that the exportation of the faith, an answer to the intimate hope of every human being, is stronger than the exportation of the vices of Europe. This seems to me a great responsibility.

    and his commitment to spreading the gospel:

    Romano Guardini correctly said 70 years ago that the essence of Christianity is not an idea but a Person. Great theologians have tried to describe the essential ideas that make up Christianity. But in the end, the Christianity that they constructed was not convincing, because Christianity is in the first place an Event, a Person. And thus in the Person we discover the richness of what is contained. This is important.

    And here I think we also find an answer to a difficulty often voiced today regarding the missionary nature of the Church. From many comes the temptation to think this way regarding others: "But why do we not leave them in peace? They have their authenticity, their truth. We have ours. And so, let us live together in harmony, leaving all persons as they are, so that they search out their authenticity in the best way."

    But how can one's personal authenticity be discovered if in reality, in the depth of our hearts, there is the expectation of Jesus, and the genuine authenticity of each person is found exactly in communion with Christ and not without Christ? Said in another way: If we have found the Lord and if he is the light and joy of our lives, are we sure that for someone else who has not found Christ he is not lacking something essential and that it is our duty to offer him this essential reality?

    We then leave what will transpire to the direction of the Holy Spirit and the freedom of each person. But if we are convinced and we have experienced the fact that without Christ life is incomplete, is missing a reality, the fundamental reality, we must also be convinced that we do harm to no one if we show them Christ and we offer them in this way too the possibility to discover their true authenticity, the joy of having discovered life.

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