And -- this being Holy Week in the life of the Church -- National Catholic Register's Edward Pentin takes a look at Pope Benedict XVI's events and Masses leading up to Easter.
In Other News
- 02/07/12 - “Benedict XVI is expected to deliver the Apostolic Exhortation of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, held in October 2011, next September in Lebanon.” - This is according to a statement by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Mgr. Fouad Twal, who was quoted by SIR. Benedict XVI had been invited to Lebanon by the President of the Lebanese Council, Najib Mikati, who was received in audience on 28 November 2011. (La Stampa "The Vatican Insider")
- 02/24/12 - The Pope will soon have his “own” Twitter account, which he will use to communicate with people, about the Sunday Angelus prayer and his most important speeches (La Stampa "The Vatican Insider"):
It must be stressed that these messages will not be written by the Pope himself but the content will need to receive his approval before it is posted.(The Pope's account is currently being used to distribute the Pope's thoughts on Lent -- check it out here).
Fr. Lombardi clarified that: “Benedict XVI is not on Twitter yet,” but confirmed that “the decision to open a Twitter account to spread his ideas has been taken, but the methods for doing this are still being evaluated.”
- 03/10/12 - Vatican ridicules report of plot to kill the pope, by John Allen Jr. (National Catholic Reporter):
In response to a report today about a secret letter from a former high-ranking Vatican cardinal warning of a plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI within the year, a Vatican spokesperson today said it consists of “ravings which in no way should be taken seriously,” and is “so incredible as to defy comment.”
The report, carried by the Italian paper Il Fatto Quotidiano, is based on a letter allegedly penned by Colombian Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, 82, who served from 1996 to 2006 as the Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy.
In the letter, which carries the date of Dec. 30, 2011, Castrillón supposedly relays information provided by Cardinal Paolo Romeo of Palermo in Sicily, regarding a plot to kill Benedict XVI within twelve months. The letter also speculates that Benedict's successor would be Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan. ... [More].
- 03/29/12 - After this journey, the rumour about the Pope’s resignation is silenced (La Stampa "The Vatican Insider"):
“I am old but can still do my job”. The pope uttered these words during the meeting with Fidel in front of the cameras and this statement will put to rest the rumours which have been spreading for months about his possible resignation when he turns 85 (which will be soon) or at the end of the Year of The Faith in 2013. But the truth is that he means to carry on despite old age.
- According to Dawn Eden, author of My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints (due May 2012), Benedict’s ‘theology of saints’ offers a way to spiritual healing for abuse victims (Catholic News Agency, 2/21/12):
Pope Benedict, speaking of how the Church should address the suffering caused by clergy abuse, emphasizes the need to promote “hope born of God’s love and fidelity”; such hope brings us “the vision of a world reconciled and renewed in Christ Jesus, our Savior.” To make that vision present, he often draws from the saints’ experiences, most powerfully in his encyclical Spe Salvi, “Saved in Hope,” where he writes, “The saints were able to make the great journey of human existence in the way that Christ had done before them, because they were brimming with great hope.”
- From Zenit, an interview with Michael Roy, the secretary general of Caritas Internationalis -- "The Pope's Charity" (3/27/12). Caritas Internationalis (CI) embraces 162 national Caritas, which in turn coordinate the diocesan Caritas, thus reaching parishes and institutions at the local level. In this interview the secretary general of Caritas Internationalis explains the work of the organization.
- "The Pope Is One of Us" - Fr. Franesco Indelicato, a pries of the Parish of Saint John the Baptist of La Salle, at Torrino, in the southern periphery of Rome, reflects on the recent visitation by the Holy Father.
- Benedict XVI and the Irrelevance of “Relevance”, by Dr. Samuel Gregg. (Crisis Magazine, 3/8/12) -- responding to the assertions that the Holy Catholic Church is losing its geopolitical "relevance", as recently marked by the Irish government's 2011 decision to close its embassy to the Holy See
. . . Indeed, many of Benedict’s writings are charged with content which shatters the post-Enlightenment half-truths about the nature of freedom, equality, and progress that sharply constrict modern Western political thinking. But Benedict’s entire life as a priest, theologian, bishop, senior curial official and pope also reflects his core conviction that the Church’s primary focus is not first-and-foremost “the world,” let alone politics.
Rather, Benedict’s view has always been that the Church’s main responsibility is to come to know better — and then make known — the Person of Jesus Christ. Why? Because like any orthodox Christian, he believes that herein is found the summit and fullness of Truth and meaning for every human being. Moreover, Benedict insists the only way we can fully comprehend Christ is through His Church – the ecclesia of the saints, living and dead.
In the publishing world ...
On March 1st, Ignatius Press published the English edition of Georg Ratzinger's My Brother, the Pope. From the publisher:
It wasn't always the case that Msgr. Georg Ratzinger lived in the shadow of his younger brother, Joseph. Georg was an accomplished musician, who for over 30 years directed the Regensburger Domspatzchor, the world-famous boys choir of the Regensburg cathedral. Brother Joseph was a brilliant young professor, but mostly known in German academic circles.
Now Georg writes about the close friendship that has united these two brothers for more than 80 years. This book is a unique window on an extraordinary family that lived through the difficult period of National Socialism in Germany. Those interested in knowing more about the early life of Benedict XVI will not be disappointed. They will also learn of the admirable character and inspiring example of the parents, and see how the Catholic faith can shape not just a family, but an entire culture-in this case, that of Bavaria.
Georg's reminiscences are detailed, intimate, and warm. And while they begin with the earliest years of the Ratzinger family, they continue right up to the present day.
- The Ratzinger Family Secret, by Rogert Rauhut. (National Catholic Register March 16, 2012). Interview with German journalist Michael Hesemann on his series of interviews with the Pope's brother.
- A Family Lesson From the Ratzingers: Micael Hesemann Speaks of Compiling Georg's Testimony in "My Brother, The Pope" (Zenit, February 27, 2012). Speaking with Monsignor Georg Ratzinger revealed to Michael Hesemann two critical convictions: There is a family secret that explains something of the impressive trajectory lived by the two Ratzinger sons; and divine providence laid the foundations for Joseph's path to the See of Peter before he was even born.
- Excerpt From My Brother the Pope: "Of Course, He Was Still the Same Old Joseph, and He Still Is Today" (Zenit, February 24, 2012).