- March 12 will mark the debut of a new television series combining the words of Pope Benedict XVI with the Church's traditional sacred art and music - Catholic News Agency reports:
“Sunday with Benedict XVI,” broadcast on the Italian bishops' TV 2000 network, will draw upon six years of the Pope's homilies, Angelus commentaries, and Gospel reflections, supplemented by portions of his writings and the works of the Church Fathers.
The regular Saturday evening program will incorporate selections that are based on the Mass readings for every Sunday of the liturgical year, taken from the audio and video archives of Pope Benedict's pontificate.
- The Catholic News Agency also reports that "Pope Benedict XVI will participate in a first-ever question and answer session that will be televised Italy on Good Friday":
The program is one of several new initiatives aimed at bringing the image and words of the Pope into households around the world.How quickly we forget. In 2005, Catholic News Agency published the transcript of the actual "first ever" televised interview with Pope Benedict XVI, with Polish State Television (TVP) on October 16.
On March 13, Italy's national RaiUno Television station will officially launch promotions for a program to be aired on the anniversary of Jesus' death—Good Friday.
The special is set to begin at 2:10 p.m. so that it is playing at 3:00 p.m., when Jesus is traditionally believed to have taken his last breath. The show will feature the Pope, who will answer three questions posed by viewers.
People will be able to write to RaiUno's “In His Image” ("A Sua Immagine") program with suggestions for the three questions. All will focus on the life of Jesus.
- With early-bird registration still running through this month, more than 16,500 youth and 60 bishops are signed up for World Youth Day in Madrid this August. (Zenit News Agency March 4, 2011).
- On March 2, the Roman Catholic Federal Pakistani Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated by a Radical Muslim group in Islamabad. Pope Benedict XVI remembered Bhatti in his March 6th Angelus:
"I ask the Lord Jesus that the moving sacrifice of the life of the Pakistani minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, will awaken in people's consciences courage and a commitment to safeguarding the religious freedom of all men and women and, in that way, promote their equal dignity."According to Catholic News Service, Bhatti was the second Pakistani official to be assassinated for opposing the anti-blasphemy laws. Salman Taseer, a Muslim and governor of Punjab province, was killed Jan. 4.
- "God Created Men and Women for Resurrection and Life" - Here is Benedict XVI annual Lenten message, which was released today with a theme from Colossians: "You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him." The message offers a reflection for each of the Sunday Gospel readings of the liturgical season. (Zenit News. February 22, 2011).
- The Schoenstatt Movement is preparing for Benedict XVI's visit to his home country of Germany in September with a campaign to show support for the Pope (Zenit News, February 16, 2011):
Members are organizing a crusade of love and support of the Pontiff called "Postcard Action," gathering prayers for the upcoming event.
Some 30,000 postcards have already been distributed for the campaign, which the faithful are encouraged to send to the Pope with their personal messages. Another 20,000 cards have been printed for distribution.
The main objective is to be "totally open to him [Benedict XVI] and to the message he wants to bring us," said Father Michael Marmann, who belongs to the circle of former students of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, during the official launching of this initiative.
- Benedict XVI will enjoy the sites and sounds of Venice as many visitors before him -- on a gondola ride through the canals of the ancient city., reports Zenit News (February 15, 2011). "The Pontiff will do so on May 8, as part of his pastoral visit to the northern Italian cities of Aquileia, Venice and Mestre, whose program was published today by the Holy See."
- A third volume of Pope Benedict's work, Jesus of Nazareth, is to be expected, says Edward Pentin (National Catholic Register:
Benedict had hoped the Jesus of Nazareth project was something he would complete once he had retired as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. After he had reached the age of 75 — the usual retirement age for bishops — he asked Pope John Paul II if he could be relieved of his duties so that he could focus on the book. John Paul said No, preferring to have him by his side until the end of his pontificate.
Yet, despite his heavy schedule as John Paul II’s successor, Benedict has said he has used his free time to make progress with the book. He decided to publish it in instalments as “I do not know how much more time or strength I am still to be given.”
The Holy Father works meticulously, writing in long hand rather than using a computer, and drawing on a large variety of books in his much cherished library.
Last summer, papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi revealed that the Pope was writing the third volume of Jesus of Nazareth. The third and final volume will seek to shed light on the story of Jesus’ childhood from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
- Fr. John Zuhlsdorf on Pope Benedict XVI and Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week (March 4, 2011):
In my look at this book, I mentioned that Pope’s can’t simply say what they think, or what they are thinking through. People like Joseph Ratzinger continue to think about things. Their thought evolves. The Holy Father is not afraid to show to the world how his thoughts have changed over the years, how he has learned, how his faith has sought understanding (cf. St. Anselm, Proslogion). This continuous, relentless pursuit of deeper understanding, and the eager use of the relentless pursuit recounted by other scholars, even of an different faith, shows that in his life, whether as priest, or professor or Pope of Rome, he has tried to live authentically what he encapsulated as the motto of his episcopal coat-of arms: Cooperatores veritatis… co-workers of the Truth (cf. 3 John 8).(Bookmark our previous post for an ongoing compilation of news, reviews and commentary on the second volume of Jesus of Nazareth).
That motto has been in front of my eyes for a long time, since he wrote it on a photo I have framed and hung in a hallway I walk by through the time. I used to meet the former Cardinal in another hallway, some years ago, not daily, but very often. I had many conversations with the man and he was always not only happy to answer questions, but always to hear and seriously consider other opinions and points of view. One of these exchanges lead to the topic of my thesis on St. Augustine.
Benedict XVI is a coworker of the Truth.
- In anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI's forthcoming visit to his homeland, more than two hundred German theologians issued a manifesto, "The Church in 2011: A Necessary Departure". Here is papal biographer George Weigel on "The Chutzpa of the German Theologians" ("The Catholic Difference" March 2, 2011):
The manifesto itself does not identify the destination for which the Church is to depart, but the terminus ad quem seems reasonably clear from a careful reading of the document: Catholicism is to transform itself into another liberal Protestant sect by conceding virtually every point at issue between classic Christianity and the ambient culture of the post-modern West.
It is, perhaps, no surprise to find German Catholic theologians publicly supporting the ordination of married men and women to the ministerial priesthood (overtly), same-sex "marriage" (slyly), and full communion within the Church for those in irregular marriages (subtly but unmistakably). These causes have been espoused for years. German theologians dissented en masse from the 1993 teaching of Veritatis Splendor on the nature of moral acts and from the 1994 teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on the Church's inability to admit women to Holy Orders. What was particularly striking about this new manifesto was its attempt to address serious problems with tried-and-failed solutions. That bespeaks a remarkable lack of intellectual creativity and historical sense.
- Benedict XVI's Call to "Intellectual Charity": Will Catholic Universities Respond?, by Kevin M. Clarke. (Zenit News, February 11, 2010):
During his apostolic visit to the United States, Benedict XVI issued a strong call to the heads of Catholic institutions in America. In his diagnosis of the crises facing Catholic religious education in America, the Pope made it abundantly clear that failing to orient the whole curriculum toward Christ, and indeed the whole life of the university, "weakens Catholic identity" and "inevitably leads to confusion." He spoke compassionately, kindly; he spoke with authority.
His words certainly will be reexamined this fall by America's Catholic colleges and universities as they question the place of Catholic mission and identity on their campuses this year. What is worth noting here is how well these two words -- "intellectual charity" -- encapsulate the fullness of the Pontiff's teaching on the nature of Catholic education, especially considering charity's intrinsic link with truth in the Holy Father's magisterium. ...
- Diagnosing the 'implosion' of Benedict's Vatican, by John Allen Jr. (National Catholic Reporter February 28, 2011):
Perhaps the most telling index of the severity of the various PR and managerial catastrophes which have beset the papacy of Benedict XVI is that there’s now a budding literary genre attempting to explain them. It’s also a measure of the reduced global profile of the papacy these days that, to date, the Italians basically have a monopoly on it.
- CDF - SSPX: Does Anyone Care?, by Dr. Philip Blosser. (Musings of a Pertinacious Papist March 1, 2011):
The question is not meant to be obnoxious, though doubtless some will read it that way. This response would be understandable, given the minute profile cut by the tiny fraternity largely written off as 'renegade' since the laetae sententiae excommunications of the late Abp Lefebvre and his illicit ordinations of four bishops in 1988, even after these excommunications were lifted for the surviving four in 2009. SSPX clerics lack proper faculties and continue to operate under suspension. ...
The most common sentiment in the secular media toward the fraternity, since SSPX Bp. Richard Williamson's denial of the historicity of the Nazi holocaust, has been contemptuous dismissal. Most mainstream Catholics, if they have an opinion at all, seem to wonder how anybody who loves the Church could possibly have a problem with the Second Vatican Council and persist in stubborn schism. That's the sort of language one hears.
The upshot is this: almost nobody seems to really care about this small, inconsequential group of traditionalists or the talks they are having with representatives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican -- almost nobody, that is, but the Holy Father.