Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pope Benedict Roundup!

  • Pope Francis thanks his predecessor for his Jesus of Nazareth Trilogy, and awards the Ratzinger Prize for Theology Vatican Information Service. 10/27/13:
    “I thank you, and am happy to meet with you, especially as a sign of our recognition and of our great affection for Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. I would like to share with you a reflection, which comes to me spontaneously when I think of the truly unique gift that he has given the Church in his books on Jesus of Nazareth”.

    “I recall that when the first volume came out, some people said: what is this? A Pope doesn't write books on theology, he writes encyclicals! … Certainly, Pope Benedict had considered this problem, but also in this case, as always, he followed the voice of the Lord in his enlightened conscience. With these books, he did not offer teaching in the strict sense of the word, and he did not produce an academic study. He gave a gift to the Church, and to all humanity, of what was most precious to him: his knowledge of Jesus, the fruit of years and years of study, of prayer, of theological investigation, and he made it available in the most accessible form”.

    He continued, “No one can measure the good he has done by means of this gift; only the Lord knows! But we all have a certain perception of this, having listened to so many people who, thanks to these books on Jesus of Nazareth, have nurtured and deepened their faith, or have indeed drawn close to Christ for the first time, as adults, bringing the demands of reason alongside their search for the face of God”.

    “At the same time, the work of Benedict XVI has stimulated a new era of study of the Gospels, between history and Christology, and our Symposium, for which I congratulate the organisers and speakers, forms a part of this”.

    The Ratzinger Prize, granted by the Vatican Foundation, was awarded to Rev. Richard Burridge, Anglican minister and deacon of King's College, London, and to the German theologian Christian Schaller, layperson, lecturer in dogmatic theology and vice director of the Benedict XVI Institute in Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing critical editions of Joseph Ratzinger's full works.

  • New Book Details Benedict XVI’s Love for Nature, Ecology National Catholic Register 10/25/13:
    For an Ecology of Man, a new book collecting Benedict XVI’s speeches on ecology and humanity’s relationship with nature, reveals his love and concern for nature and animals, according to the emeritus pope’s once-private secretary.

    “In the book, Benedict writes that man, if he is to have a heart for peace, must have an awareness of the connection between natural ecology and human ecology,” Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, who is now Pope Francis’ private secretary, told Vatican Radio in an Oct. 19 interview.

    “There emerges an inseparable link between peace for creation and peace among men,” he added.

    Msgr. Xuereb presented For an Ecology of Man,” newly published in Italian by the Vatican Publishing House, at the seventh annual meeting of the publisher’s cultural association in the northern Italian city of Pordenone.

  • Archbishop Ganswein talks about serving two popes Catholic News Service 10/22/13:
    The Italian newspaper reporter also asked Archbishop Ganswein, who lives with retired Pope Benedict and has been his personal secretary since 2003, what it is like to continue in that role while also serving the reigning pope as head of the papal household, organizing the pope's daily meetings and audiences.

    "It's a challenge," he replied. "Every once in a while I'd like to ask advice from my predecessor, but I don't have one because no one has ever held this double position."

    "Nevertheless, with a bit of common sense, I do my best. I put into practice Pope Francis' words: Never close yourself off and don't be afraid," he said. In the end, whether he is helping Pope Francis or retired Pope Benedict, "my service is for the Lord and the church," he said.

    The 86-year-old retired pope "is well," Archbishop Ganswein said. "He prays, reads, listens to music, dedicates himself to his correspondence, which is a lot, and receives visitors. Every day we walk together in the woods behind the monastery (where they live), reciting the rosary."

  • “Benedict XVI was very surprised by Gotti Tedeschi’s ousting”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 10/22/13:
    Pope Benedict XVI was clearly in the dark about the clamorous ousting of the former president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. The circumstances surround his dismissal and the way this took place were a first in the history of the Holy See. Attempts were made to besmirch his personal and professional reputation, as mentioned in the list of reasons the Vatican bank’s (IOR) board gave for Gotti Tedeschi’s dismissal. The document was signed by Carl Anderson, chairman of the board of the Knights of Columbus.

    Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and Benedict XVI’s secretary, confirmed this in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, published in today’s issue. “I remember that moment well. It was 24 May. It was the same day Benedict XVI’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested. Contrary to what many people think, there is no link between the two events. It was just an unfortunate and diabolical coincidence.”

  • Evangelical theologian lauds "Christocentric legacy" of Benedict XVI, by Carl Olson. Catholic World Report 10/14/13:
    Although he might not be well known outside of certain theological circles, Dr. Hans Boersma is one of the finer young Evangelical theologians writing today. He is the J.I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College, one of the best Evangelical schools in Canada, and he is the author of some books that engage deeply and thoughtfully with Catholic theology, notably Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental Ontology: A Return to Mystery. As his bio on the Regent website states, Boersma's "main theological interests are Catholic thought, the church fathers, and spiritual interpretation of Scripture." (And in the words of a snide reviewer, he is "A Roman Catholic in evangelical clothing".)

    In the September/October 2013 edition of Books & Culture: A Christian Review, in an article titled, "The Real Presence of Hope & Love" (subscription required for full article), Boersma praises the "Christocentric legacy" of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and touches on how it should help fruitful ecumenical conversation between Catholics and Evangelicals. He notes that far too many discussions of theology begin with premises about "conversative" and "liberal," which often derail matters before anything of substance is actually discussed. "With regard to Benedict," writes Boersma, "what stands out is not his alleged 'conservatism' but his focus on Christ in matters both theological and moral. That is what will render him relevant for many years to come." ... [Read more]

  • Pope Benedict challenges atheist, says he never hid abuse cases, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. In a letter to an atheist Italian mathematician, retired Pope Benedict XVI defended his own handling of allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and politely criticized the logician's total reliance on scientific facts for meaning. [See also: Pope-emeritus exchanges letters with noted atheist philosopher Vatican Radio 9/24/13].

  • Married priests: Ratzinger makes an exception, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 9/14/13. It was Benedict XVI who opened up the possibility for Anglo-Catholic Ordinariates to admit married men to the priesthood in the future.

  • New light is shed on Pope Benedict’s 9/11 memorial prayer, by Carol Glatz:
    VATICAN CITY — When Pope Benedict XVI visited ground zero in 2008, he knelt alone and prayed inside the cement-walled crater where the World Trade Center Towers once stood.

    As a sign of bringing light and hope to the dark memory of 9/11, the pope was going to light a large beeswax candle adorned with his papal coat of arms.

    That simple symbolic act, however, required lots of preparation and a few excruciating seconds of uncertainty.

    (Via Deacon Greg Kandra).

  • Benedict XVI, Francis’ asset La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 9/2/13. Jorge Bergoglio sees the Pope Emeritus as an asset. “It’s like having your grandfather in the house, a wise grandfather,” Francis had said on the flight back from Rio de Janeiro last 29 July.

  • Pope Emeritus's Unexpected Homily on Humility, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 9/4/13. Although the full text has yet to appear, Benedict XVI’s homily during Mass for his former students on Sunday is one of wisdom and truth. Essentially a treatise on humility, his words come as a welcome surprise, especially as the world wasn’t expecting to see or hear from the Pope Emeritus after his retirement.

  • “Benedict XVI cured my cancer" La Stampa 9/3/13. 19 year old American, Peter Srisch, claims he was cured from a tumour after meeting Ratzinger and receiving his blessing a year ago.

Books About Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity Pope Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity by Marc D. Guerra.
Routledge, October 2013.

In Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity, distinguished scholars from North America and Europe examine Pope Benedict XVI’s searching reflections on the challenges and prospects facing modern Western society. For more than five decades, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI has made the subject of the continued health and vitality of Western civilization a focal point of his reflections. From his early (1968) Introduction to Christianity to his later (2005) Values in a Time of Upheaval, the Pope has argued that the preservation of the social, political, scientific, and spiritual way of life that characterizes modern Western societies hinges upon our rediscovery of the unique roots and distinctive nature of Western civilization.

Focusing on Pope Benedict XVI’s nuanced account as to why the modern West cannot currently afford to forget or neglect its premodern Hellenic and Christian roots, this book will interest religious and nonreligious people who are concerned about the future of democracy and religion in contemporary Western societies.

This book was based on a special issue of Perspectives on Political Science.

Marc D. Guerra is associate professor and director of graduate programs in theology at Ave Maria University. He is the author of Christians as Political Animals (ISI Books, 2010) and editor of Reason, Revelation, and Human Affairs; Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome; and The Science of Modern Virtue: Essays on Descartes, Darwin, and Locke.

And on a humorous note