- Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, elder brother of Pope Benedict XVI, was recently hospitalized for heart trouble. He has since been released, but Amy Welborn posted this endearing photo of the two brothers visiting in the hospital. As she tells her eldest sons: "you know, there will come a time when all you'll have is each other." Update: Here is a recent photo of Georg, attending a mass celebrated by the Pope during the Assumption festival in the small church of Castelgandolfo village, outside Rome August 15 (YahooNews). Quick recovery!
- The Pope Opens Up to the Priests of a Small Mountain Diocese Sandro Magister on "Pope Benedict XVI's surprising question and answer session with the priests of Aosta. On the West‘s weariness of God, Christianity in Africa, parishes without priests, communion for divorced and remarried persons . . ." www.Chiesa July 29, 2005:
On how to bring those who are far away back to the Church, like the birds on the mustard tree:
"Only moral values and strong convictions, together with sacrifice, offer the possibility to live and build up the world. […] It is only love that permits us to live, and love is also suffering. […] Here too, naturally, we need to have patience, but this is also an active patience in the sense that it shows people: you need this. And even if they do not convert immediately, at least they draw near to the circle of those in the Church who have this interior strength. The Church has always recognized this group of persons who are strong inside, who really carry the strength of the faith, and the persons who almost latch onto these others and let themselves be carried along and participate in that way. I think of the Lord's parable about the tiny mustard seed, which then becomes a tree large enough for the birds of the sky to nest in it. And I would say that these birds could be interpreted as the persons who have not yet converted, but have at least perched upon the tree that is the Church.”
- Benedict XVI's Top 15 "Words" Used during his first 100 Days a unique compilation of "some of the most striking 'words,' as Benedict XVI likes to call the formulation of his thoughts, articulated during the first 100 days of his pontificate." Zenit. July 27, 2005.
- On Benedict XVI's 100 Days, Interview with Marco Tosatti of La Stampa and author of the Italian The Dictionary of Pope Ratzinger: Guide to the Pontificate. July 27, 2005.
- Benedict XVI and liturgical reform, by Dom Alcuin Reid. AD 2000 Vol 18 No 5 (June 2005), p. 9. The author of The Organic Development of the Liturgy and editor of the anthology Looking again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger (papers from a conference held at the Abbey of Notre-Dame at Fontgombault from July 22-24 2001), on the prospects for liturgical "reform of the reform" in the pontificate of Benedict XVI:
has, certainly, complained that "after the Council, in the place of the Liturgy as the fruit of organic development came fabricated liturgy" a "banal on-the-spot product." And he has stated categorically in God in the World and elsewhere that proscriptions against the traditional Mass should be lifted. So there is little doubt that we shall see freedom granted to the traditional Latin Mass. But we shall not see its forcible re- imposition, nor the reversal of the reforms of Paul VI.
What we may well experience, however, are the first steps along the path of the "reform of the liturgical reform" about which Cardinal Ratzinger has spoken for many years. Traditionalists need not fear, as the Cardinal made perfectly clear in 2001 that he means by this not the modernising of the traditional Missal (though he is in favour of its enrichment), but getting back to "a faithful ecclesial celebration of the Liturgy" everywhere. What will that mean in practice? . . .
- One of the interesting things I've noticed is the mention given to our new Pope by politically-oriented bloggers outside the realm of "St. Blog's Parish". Lexington Green from the excellent blog Chicago Boys -- who reads a lot of books -- gives this appraisal of God and the World:
I started it in the Fall, before I had any idea he'd be Pope. This is the third in a series of interviews with Cardinal Ratzinger. The fact that he is able to answer with this sort of clarity and modesty when speaking off the cuff is interesting, and shows the depth of his scholarship (and wisdom) and his style of thinking, which is at once traditional and yet aware of the modern world and its challenges. For a person who is supposedly a hard-headed proponent of orthodoxy, he is much more open to discussion and even "thinking out loud" than one might expect. Ratzinger is a man who comes off as sound on dogmatic theology, and moral theology, without being "dogmatic" in any simplistic sort of way. Of course, anyone either within or without the Church who is hoping for some basic change in long-standing theological or moral principles will find little cheer. Finally, Ratzinger seems to be a more practical and dour man than his predecessor. John Paul II was a man of preternatural cheer rooted in a deep personal prayer and an all-embracing sense of the Divine, mystical dimension of life and the world. This led him to make optimistic pronouncements which were cheering to the faithful, but also seemed at odds with the empirical facts. Ratzinger is not of that sort of mind. I expect a more focused and practical and disciplined approach -- a more German approach -- to the papacy from Ratzinger. I loved John Paul II and I miss him. But Joseph Ratzinger is a tough and brilliant man and I have great hope that he will serve the Church and humanity very well in whatever time he is granted as Pope. I pray for the Pope every day.
- Pope Benedict on the "springtime of the Church" - from the 2000 interview w. EWTN's Raymond Arroyo:
. . . And my idea is that really the springtime of the Church will not say that we will have in a near time buses of conversions, that all peoples of the world will be converted to Catholicism. This is not the way of God. The essential things in history begin always with the small, more convinced communities. So, the Church begins with the 12 Apostles. And even the Church of St. Paul diffused in the Mediterranean are little communities, but this community in itself is the future of the world, because we have the truth and the force of conviction. So, I think also today it should be an error to think now or in 10 years with the new springtime, all people will be Catholic. This is not our future, nor our expectation. But we will have really convinced communities with élan of the faith, no? This is springtime — a new life in very convinced persons with joy of the faith.As posted by Rod Dreher to Amy Welborn's post discussing the same topic: "Big Tent" v. "Remnant."
Raymond: But, smaller numbers? In the macro?
Cardinal: Smaller numbers, I think. But from these small numbers we will have a radiation of joy in the world. And so, it’s an attraction, as it was in the old Church. Even when Constantine made Christianity the public religion, there were a small number of percentage at this time; but it was clear, this is the future. So we can live in the future, just give us a way in a different future. And so, I would say, if we have young people really with the joy of the faith and this radiation of this joy of the faith, this will show to the world, "Even if I cannot share it, even if I cannot convert it at this moment, here is the way to live for tomorrow."
- Maggie (In Nomine Domine) posts a quote from Ratzinger's Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith (Ignatius, April 2005) along with some reflections on belief and certainty.
- St. Blog's Parish is offered a brief glimpse of Pope Benedict's first encyclical via his blog Musum Pontificalis. I must say, it's a worthy subject. [Note to the gullible: it's a parody].