April 16th marks Benedict XVI's 87th birthday -- the first he will celebrate as Pope Emeritus at the Vatican. Rome Reports has the story on Benedict's "unforgettable birthdays", past and present:
- The “hidden” Pope’s first step towards normality, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 02/24/14. The scene where Benedict XVI entered St. Peter’s Basilica to attend the Consistory ceremony and the look of surprise on the cardinals’ faces will be remembered throughout history.
- “Ratzinger removed his zucchetto and asked for a simple seat” Interview with Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, on the Pope Emeritus' appearance at the consistory:
Your Eminence, what was it like seeing the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI among you? “It was a moving and emotional moment, also because he wanted a simple seat next to the cardinals and there was no way he was going to change his mind. The dean, Angelo Sodano told me he had “fought” to get Benedict XVI a suitable seat, as was only natural. But he lost the “battle”: Benedict XVI already had an understanding with Pope Francis that he was going to sit in a corner. And he did sit in a corner, at the front, but in a corner.”
What was your reaction when you met him?
“All cardinals immediately approached him to greet him and it was amusing to see them pushing each other like young boys to get to Benedict XVI. This was another expression of love towards the Pope Emeritus.”
When Bergoglio went to greet him Ratzinger removed his zucchetto: what was the significance of this gesture?
“It was a sign of respect and humility. In Spanish the “zucchetto” is called “solideo”, meaning “only to God”: it is therefore only taken off for God or his representative. This was also a very moving scene.”
How was Ratzinger?
“He was in good form, he looked rested, at peace and friendly and open as always: he asked everyone how they were, in the same gentle and simple way he always does.”
- An Interview with Archbishop Georg Gaenswein (Part I) | Part II The Spanish magazine 'Palabra' carried an exclusive and extensive interview with Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, prefect of the Papal Household and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s personal secretary. With Palabra’s permission, Zenit republishes the interview in which he talks about his passions and his work, and his very “special” occupation. He recalls the moments of Benedict XVI’s resignation a year ago, and the fruits that have emerged from it for the whole Church.
- Retired Pope Benedict Critiqued Pope Francis' Interview, Aide Says Associated Press:
The man who serves two popes has revealed that retired Pope Benedict XVI wrote four pages of critique and commentary on Pope Francis's landmark interview in which he blasted the church's obsession with "small-minded" rules. ...
Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, Benedict's personal secretary and head of Francis' papal household, told German broadcaster ZDF that Francis had solicited Benedict's input on the interview, which was published in September in 16 Jesuit journals around the globe and helped define Francis' agenda.
Francis received a draft of the interview to vet before publication, but it's unclear whether Benedict saw that draft or the published text. As a result, it's unclear if any of Benedict's suggestions impacted the final version
- Benedict XVI Pays Tribute to Blessed John Paul II in New Interview Zenit. 03/07/14. Zenit publishes extracts of a recent interview Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gave to ZENIT’s Wlodzimierz Redzioch in which he pays tribute to soon-to-be-canonized Pope John Paul II.
The complete interview appears in a book just published in Italian entitled Beside John Paul II - Friends and Collaborators Speak (Ares 2014). The interview, one of 21 with the late Pontiff’s close friends and associates, runs to 12 pages in total. It is entitled: “It Became Ever More Clear to Me that John Paul II Was a Saint”.
- The “Green Pope” and a Human Ecology, by William L. Patenaude. Catholic World Report 04/22/14:
It’s a joy to happen upon an old friend, to again hear his style of speaking and his way of engaging the world. When the old friend is Benedict XVI, however, things quickly move beyond the sentimental. So it goes with The Garden of God: Toward a Human Ecology (The Catholic University of America Press, 2014), a helpful compilation of Benedict XVI’s many, many statements about preserving life on earth.
Given that discussions of ecology polarize a great many along worldly ideological fault lines, one of the benefits of The Garden of God lies in remembering how Benedict XVI, like his predecessor, normalized the topic and maintained it within Catholic orthodoxy. Like no other, he taught us how the Christian creed speaks to an array of social and physical sciences that are concerned with relationships, life, and shared futures. ...
- The Pope's Third Embodiment, by Sandro Magister. Chiesa. 04/07/14:
ROME, April 7, 2014 – The more the months go by, the more Benedict XVI's resignation of the papacy manifests its exceptional novelty.
Other popes before him had resigned: the last was Gregory XII, in 1415. But Joseph Ratzinger was the first to want to be called "pope emeritus" and to continue to wear the white robe "within the precincts of Saint Peter," bewildering the canonists and bringing fears of the installation of a diarchy of two popes at the summit of the Church:
Of course, Ratzinger no longer has the powers of pontiff of the universal Church: he stripped himself of them by exercising for the last time and in the highest degree precisely his powers as "vicarius Christi." But neither did he return to being what he was before he was pope. After these two "embodiments" he now has a third that has no precedent in the history of the Church. It is the new "embodiment," the new state of life that he sees as connected to the commitment "forever" taken on with the acceptance of his election as successor of Peter. ...
- Ratzinger, Habermas and Pera on Public Reason and Religion, by Peter J. Colosi. Lecture at University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain on June 4, 2013 to the Institute for Culture and Society, Religion and Civil Society Project.
- The “Basic Structure“ (Grundgestalt) of the Eucharistic Celebration According to Joseph Ratzinger, by Dr. Manfred Hauke. The New Liturgical Movement.
- Benedict XVI Remembered: "There is much to be thankful for" Zenit. 02/13/14. While his successor Pope Francis, elected less than two weeks after the resignation took effect, has become the center of the media’s attention, Pope Emeritus Benedict and his legacy has not been forgotten, even though he continues to be regularly misunderstood by the secular press.
- The Pope in the Attic: Benedict in the Time of Francis
, by Paul Elie. The Atlantic April 16, 2014:
It’s odd enough that there are two living popes. It’s odder still that they live in such proximity. But what’s most odd is that the two popes are these two popes, and that the one who spent a third of a century erecting a Catholic edifice of firm doctrine and strict prohibition now must look on at close range as the other cheerfully dismantles it in the service of a more open, flexible Church."(A note here -- that while the author, perhaps somewhat too cheerfully, indulges in the external variances and emphases between the two pontificates, Kasper's gloating criticism of the Pope Emeritus ("The red slippers: ridiculous, ridiculous! Now all of the cardinals are wearing simple crosses. These changes are irreversible"), the lamentations of Cardinal Burke ("These are difficult times for all of us in the Church right now"), culminating in the willful speculation that Francis' "who am I to judge?" will extend into a repeal of doctrine -- the moral prohibitions against homosexuality or women's ordination -- this has not happened under Francis' pontificate. Nor will it.
The Garden of God: Toward a Human Ecology
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells of the creation of the world and our dominion over it. But is this the whole storyfi The planet on which we live is ecologically fragile, and all people of good will have a respon- sibility to take care of this most precious gift. During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly drew attention to the environment, whether in terms of preserving it -- such as his address concerning Amazonia and his letter regarding the Arctic -- or distributing its vital resources -- such as water -- more equitably. What is more, during Benedict’s papacy, the Vatican became the first, and remains the only, carbon-neutral country in the world. This book gathers together the audiences, addresses, letters, and homilies of Benedict on a wide-ranging set of topics that deal with the world about us. The major themes and connections he explores are creation and the natural world; the environment, science, and technology; and hunger, poverty, and the earth’s resources. In these pages, Benedict insists that if we truly desire peace, we must be increasingly conscious of and nurture all of creation. Furthermore, he argues convincingly that as our love of God should cause us to protect the environment, so should our heightened sense of appreciation of the natural world draw us closer to God. Benedict speaks out against the spread of nuclear weapons, threats to biodiversity, and in favor of alternative energy. He urges sustainable development, equita- ble distribution of food and water, and an end to hunger. This book is a valuable resource for all those who seek to understand more fully the relationships among the environment, Catholic social teaching, and theology. Whether speaking to a vast crowd, meeting with a small group of scientists, or writing letters to world leaders, Benedict has shown a clear path towards a theologically cogent concern for the planet on which we live.