Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pope Benedict Roundup!


Some news and trivia that might have been missed on the final days of Pope Benedict's Pontificate.

  • Benedict’s Finale with Beethoven: A “Heroic” Moment, by Msgr. Daniel B. Gallagher. Pope Benedict’s pontificate comes to a fitting musical conclusion with a performance of Beethoven’s magnificent Eroica Symphony. Catholic World Report 02/19/13.

  • The last appointments before the departure, by Sandro Magister (Chiesa, 2/26/13). From Gänswein to Balestrero, passing through the IOR. An analysis of the appointments decided by Benedict XVI in the final phase of his pontificate. Not all of them were obligatory. Will they be a hindrance or a help to the future pope?

  • Notice of Danger: A Church with Two Popes, by Sandro Magister. (Chiesa 03/09/13). The imminent conclave will elect the new pontiff. But it will not dismiss the uncertainties about the role of the so-called "pope emeritus." A great canonist reveals the risks of this title. And of other ambiguities that surround it.

  • When Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down from office Feb. 28, his wardrobe changed -- right down to the ring on his finger.

  • Twilight of a Pontificate: An Eyewitness Report The Rev. Dr. Athanasius McVay relays his eyewitness report of Benedict's final audiences and last days.

  • Benedict XVI Honored by Eastern Orthodox Hierarchs, by Christopher B. Warner. Catholic World Report 03/04/13. Another look at the Constantinople-Rome schism and a way forward for reconciliation.

  • Old pope, new pope have a chat, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 03/19/13:
    Pope Francis today made a phone call to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, after his inaugural Mass to wish him well on his saint's name day -- the feast of St. Joseph. The given name of Pope Benedict XVI, of course, is Joseph Ratzinger. (In addition, Ratzinger's parents were named Joseph and Mary.)

    A brief Vatican statement on the phone call appears below.

    "This afternoon, shortly after 5:00 pm, Pope Francis called the pope emeritus Benedict XVI by phone to give him warm wishes on the occasion of his saint’s name day, St. Joseph, and to once again express his gratitude and that of the church for his service. The conversation was ample and cordial. The pope emeritus has followed with intense participation the events of these days, in particular this morning’s celebration, and assured his successor of his continued closeness in prayer."

Pope Benedict is the first pope ever to watch coverage of the election of his successor.


  • Winter 2010 Issue of Communio: International Catholic Review features a symposium on Caritas in Veritate, the third encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, with a number of articles generously made available online.

  • The “Martyrdom” of Pope Benedict XVI, by Alberto Carosa. Catholic World Report Don Nicola Bux, one of Benedict’s close collaborators, on the deeper meaning of the papal resignation. 03/10/13.

  • The Ratzinger Legacy, by Ross Douthat. New York Times 03/3/13:
    It was the work of Ratzinger’s subsequent career, first as John Paul II’s doctrinal policeman and then as his successor, to re-establish where Catholicism actually stood. This was mostly a project of reassertion: yes, the church still believes in the Resurrection, the Trinity and the Virgin birth. Yes, the church still opposes abortion, divorce, sex outside of marriage. Yes, the church still considers itself the one true faith. And yes — this above all, for a man whose chief gifts were intellectual — the church believes that its doctrines are compatible with reason, scholarship and science.

    It was understandable that this project made Ratzinger many enemies. It turned him into a traitor to his class, since it involved disciplining theologians who had been colleagues, peers and rivals. It disappointed or wounded the many Catholics who couldn’t reconcile the church’s teachings with their post-sexual-revolution lives. And it obviously did not solve the broad cultural challenges facing institutional Christianity in the West.

    But it did stabilize Catholicism, especially in America, to an extent that was far from inevitable 40 years ago.

  • Benedict XVI Put Liturgy Front and Center, by Trent Beattie. National Catholic Register 03/20/13. The pope emeritus’ words and deeds regarding the Mass led the faithful closer to God.

  • David Schütz, (Sentire Cum Ecclesia) on why Lutherans can thank God for the Papacy of Benedict XVI:
    From my point of view, as a “Lutheran in communion with the Bishop of Rome”, Benedict XVI will always stand out as unique among all the popes of history as the only one who really read, knew, and understood Martin Luther.

  • Benedict Face to Face with Islam, Andrew Doran revisits the Pope's Regensburg address and the implications of "dehellenization". First Things "On the Square" 04/20/13.

  • Amy Welborn: "a short reflection on the explosion of reactions to Pope Francis" Charlotte Was Both 03/18/13:
    I’m startled by the number of people who are under the impression that Pope Benedict neglected to mention Jesus Christ, mercy or the poor during his pontificate. Who don’t understand the substantial reforms Pope Benedict undertook over the past few years. So for example: Pope Francis mentioned the danger of the Church becoming seen as just another NGO, to wide acclaim – from some of the same quarters who have looked askance at Pope Benedict making exactly the same points – and putting them into action ...

    For me, it comes down to this. Both of these Popes were and are pastors. Both have given their lives for us, for Christ. We can – and should be open to being – taught by both. All I’m saying is that – as Pope Francis himself has acknowledged in his own words these past few days – Pope Benedict was all about Christ. He spent 8 years as your Pope, “proposing Jesus Christ” through his words and actions – even his red shoes. If Pope Francis’ actions so far preach Christ more clearly to you then so be it. Christ is who is important, and we are a Church of great diversity for a reason. But what has been so bizarre and even saddening over the past few days is a tone and implication that Benedict was somehow about something else besides Jesus Christ.

Further reflections on the pontificate and legacy of Pope Benedict XVI.

Forthcoming Books

Reason: Open to God A Reason Open to God: On Universities, Education, and Culture Catholic University of America Press (July 2013)

With clarity and wisdom, Pope Benedict XVI sets out his vision for Catholic higher education in this first and only collection of his major addresses on the topic.
  • What is the mission and identity of a Catholic university?
  • What are the responsibilities of administrators, teachers, and students in Catholic institutes of higher learning?
  • Where does the central theme of "love of God and others" fit into academia?

The pope's most important statements on the nature of the university and its cultural and educative tasks are brought together in this volume. Featured are the various speeches he has given to university audiences since his pontificate began. Also included are select addresses on education and culture, themes that go to the heart of the mission of the university, and that possess a value for society as a whole. Throughout these addresses, the pope presents 2,000 years of lived tradition with a striking freshness. His response to the contemporary challenges in Catholic higher education will have an enduring historical impact.

Reason: Open to God A School of Prayer: The Saints Show us How to Pray

Ignatius Press (March 2013)

Prayer is essential to the life of faith. In this superb book, based on Pope Benedict's weekly teaching, he examines the foundational principles of the life of prayer. Believers of various backgrounds and experience in prayer-from beginners to spiritually advanced-will be enriched by this spiritual masterpiece.

Benedict begins considering what we can learn from the examples of prayer found in a wide range of cultures and eras. Next, he turns to the Bible's teaching about prayer, beginning with Abraham and moving though Moses, the prophets, the Psalms to the example of Jesus. With Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict considers not only the Lord's teaching about prayer, but also his example of how to pray, including the Our Father, his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, and prayers on the Cross. The prayers of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the early Church are also explored. Benedict also draws on insights from spiritual masters, the saints, and the Church's liturgy. He challenges readers to live their relationships with God "even more intensely, as it were, at a 'school of prayer'."

Although Benedict provides a sweeping survey of great figures of prayer, his discussion centers on Jesus Christ and even invokes him in the study of prayer. "It is in fact in Jesus," writes Benedict, "that man becomes able to approach God in the depth and intimacy of the relationship of fatherhood and sonship. Together with the first disciples, let us now turn with humble trust to the Teacher and ask him: 'Lord, teach us to pray' (Lk 11:1)."