Sunday, April 15, 2007

Benedict Roundup (January - Easter 2007)

As Catholic News Agency tells us, 2007 promises "a world of busyness" for Pope Benedict, with "ad limina" visits by bishops from four continents, including Italy, Ukraine, Slovakia, Portugal, Serbia, Kenya, Togo, Benin, Gabon, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Korea and Laos; a May visit to Brazil (his first across an ocean); a June visit to Assisi to the birthplace of St. Francis, and a prospective visit to address the United Nations General Assembly in September.

What follows is a (by no means comprehensive) roundup noting some of the significant events in the Holy Father's pontificate from January-2007 to the present. Apologies for not getting around to this sooner (I'd given up blogging for the most part during Lent).

Significant Events
  • January 4, 2007 - Pope: true joy comes from God’s love and is not that extolled in adverts (
    In his first visit outside the Vatican of 2007, Benedict XVI today went to a Caritas soup kitchen in the Colle Oppio neighbourhood not far from Termini station, described by the pope as a “symbol, somehow, of the Roman Caritas”. The soup kitchen of Colle Oppio is the first reception centre for homeless people set up in Rome. (Photos of Benedict XVI's visit to the Colle Oppio soup kitchen, courtesy of Argent by the Tiber; Vatican translation of Benedict XVI's address at the soup kitchen, courtesy of ZENIT):
    The Christmas message is simple: God came among us because he loves us and expects our love. God is love: not a sentimental love, but a love that became a total gift to the point of the sacrifice on the Cross, starting from his birth in the grotto in Bethlehem.

    The beautiful crib that you have chosen to set up in your Soup Kitchen and which I have just had the opportunity to admire, speaks to us of this real and divine love. In its simplicity, the crib tells us that love and poverty go together . . .

  • In mid-January, Stanislaw Wielgus, the newly-installed Bishop of Warsaw, caused an ecclesial scandal after revelations broke that he had collaborated with the Communist secret police in Poland. The news came as a bitter disappointment to Benedict, who accepted his subsequent resignation. (Source: Zenit News, Jan. 7, 2007).

    On February 12th, Benedict XVI expressed his closeness and fraternity to Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus in a letter he sent to the prelate after his resignation, in which he stated:

    In this last period I have shared in your sufferings and wish to assure you of my spiritual closeness and fraternal understanding. . . .

    When you presented your resignation a month ago, aware that the situation created did not allow you to begin the episcopal service with the indispensable authority, I saw clearly in this act a profound sensitivity for the good of the Church of Warsaw and of Poland, and also your humility and detachment from offices.

    Above all I would like to encourage you to continue with confidence and serenity in your heart. I express the desire that you resume your activity at the service of Christ, in the way that is possible, so that you use your vast and profound knowledge and priestly devotion for the good of the beloved Church in Poland.

    Today, as in the past, the episcopal mission is marked by suffering. May Our Lord sustain you with his grace.

    The Bishops of Poland had designated Ash Wednesday aday of prayer and repentance for Polish clergy.
  • Related Commentary:

  • Religious freedom and ecumenism remains a furvent concern for Pope Benedict. On January 19, Benedict asked the Turkish government to grant religious freedom to all believers, and to legally recognize the Catholic Church. .
    On January 22nd, Benedict encouraged dialogue between Orthodox and Muslim communities in Montenegro, while receiving the country's first ambassador to the Holy See.
    In his Wednesday January 24 general audience, he surveyed the most significant ecumenical events that took place in 2006.

    And on March 28, 2007, Benedict expressed words of appreciation for the work done in ecumenism by the Lutheran World Federation, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of its foundation.

    Further Commentary

    • The Ecumenical Adventure" - Interview with Father Massa, executive director of the U.S. episcopal conference's Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. Zenit News. February 23, 2007: "Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue doesn't mean that Catholics have to compromise their beliefs, actually, quite the opposite is true."

  • Ratzinger and Aquinas Much is made of then-Cardinal Ratzinger's preference for Augustine over Aquinas, as in when he admitted in Milestones that "I had difficulties in penetrating the thought of Thomas Aquinas, whose crystal-clear logic seemed to be too closed in on itself, too impersonal and ready-made."

    Although Ratzinger attributed his negative impression not so much to the good doctor himself as having been presented with "a rigid, neoscholastic Thomism that was simply too far afield from my own questions," it hardly restrains his critics from using it as a cudgel to his head, as when the SSPX publication The Angelus berated him ("The Memories of a Destructive Mind" March 1999 No. 31):

    "This opinion is enunciated by a prince of the Church whose function it is to safeguard the purity of the doctrine of the Faith! Why, then, should anyone be surprised at the current disastrous crisis of Catholicism!"
    Perhaps it will ease the concerns of such critics to note that in his January 28 Angelus, Pope Benedict paid tribute to the great Doctor of the Church:
    When Christian faith is authentic, it does not diminish freedom and human reason; so, why should faith and reason fear one another if the best way for them to express themselves is by meeting and entering into dialogue? Faith presupposes reason and perfects it, and reason, enlightened by faith, finds the strength to rise to knowledge of God and spiritual realities. Human reason loses nothing by opening itself to the content of faith, which, indeed, requires its free and conscious adherence.

    St Thomas Aquinas, with farsighted wisdom, succeeded in establishing a fruitful confrontation with the Arab and Hebrew thought of his time, to the point that he was considered an ever up-to-date teacher of dialogue with other cultures and religions. He knew how to present that wonderful Christian synthesis of reason and faith which today too, for the Western civilization, is a precious patrimony to draw from for an effective dialogue with the great cultural and religious traditions of the East and South of the world.

    Let us pray that Christians, especially those who work in an academic and cultural context, are able to express the reasonableness of their faith and witness to it in a dialogue inspired by love. Let us ask the Lord for this gift through the intercession of St Thomas Aquinas and above all, through Mary, Seat of Wisdom.

    See also: Benedict on Aquinas: "Faith Implies Reason" Part I | Part II Ignatius Insight, by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | February 1, 2007.

  • On February 14th, 2007, Benedict XVI dedicated his Wednesday general audience address to "Women of the Early Church", affirming that "the female presence in the sphere of the primitive Church was [in no way] secondary." The Pope examines the testimony of St. Paul on the contribution of women in the early Church. The Pope had dedicated his prior Wednesday audience to the role of Aquila and Priscilla, a married couple active in the early Church.

  • On March 2nd, Pope Benedict gave a tribute to Pope Paul VI - "A Firm and Wise Helmsman of the Barque of Peter":
    In thinking back over the years of his Pontificate, it is striking to note the missionary zeal that motivated him and impelled him to undertake demanding Apostolic Journeys even to distant nations in order to make prophetic gestures of great ecclesial, missionary and ecumenical importance.

    He was the first Pope to go to the Land where Christ lived and from which Peter set out on his journey to Rome. That Visit, only six months after his election as Supreme Pastor of the People of God and while the Second Vatican Council was underway, had a clear symbolic meaning. He showed the Church that the path of her mission is to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

    This was precisely what Pope Paul VI sought to do during his Petrine ministry, which he always exercised with wisdom and prudence in complete fidelity to the Lord's command.

  • Praying with the Pope. On Saturday, Pope Benedict gathered with European and Asian university students, both in reality and virtually, to pray the rosary. The event was held to mark the fifth European Day for Universities. Amy Welborn (Open Book rounds up coverage of the event, including video footage on

  • At the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, Pope Benedict used a story from Leo Tolstoy to explain the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (Zenit. April 5, 2007):
    Leo Tolstoi, the Russian writer, tells in a short story of a harsh sovereign who asked his priests and sages to show him God so that he might see him. The wise men were unable to satisfy his desire.

    Then a shepherd, who was just coming in from the fields, volunteered to take on the task of the priests and sages. From him the king learned that his eyes were not good enough to see God. Then, however, he wanted to know at least what God does. "To be able to answer your question", the shepherd said to the king, "we must exchange our clothes".

    Somewhat hesitant but impelled by curiosity about the information he was expecting, the king consented; he gave the shepherd his royal robes and had himself dressed in the simple clothes of the poor man.

    Then came the answer: "This is what God does".

  • Pope Set to Make Mark on U.S. Church, by Eric Gorski. ABC News. April 12, 2002. "Two years into his reign, Pope Benedict XVI is finally poised to make a major mark on American Catholicism with a string of key bishop appointments and important decisions about the future of U.S. seminaries and bishops' involvement in politics. . . ."

Sacramentum Caritatis

On March 13, 2007, Benedict XVI released his second major document -- Sacramentum Caritatis (Sacrament of Charity) -- an apostolic exhortation that reflects the conclusions of the 2005 synod on the Eucharist:

The document, dated Feb. 22, reflects the conclusions of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held in Rome from Oct. 2 to 23, 2005.

Cardinal Scola, who was the relator general of the synodal assembly, said the title of the apostolic exhortation reaffirms "the Holy Father's insistence over these two years of his pontificate on the truth of love."

The cardinal said that this clearly indicates that this is "one of the crucial themes upon which the future of the Church and of humanity depend."

Text and Commentary


  • On February 17th, 2007 Pope Benedict participated in a Q&A session with seminarians of the Roman Major Seminary. The Holy Father spoke of the discernment of God's voice and spiritual direction ("through his Word, in Sacred Scripture, read in the communion of the Church and read personally in conversation with God"); elements of his own priestly formation and his influences ("it was above all the figure of St Augustine who fascinated me from the very start, then also the Augustinian current in the Middle Ages: St Bonaventure, the great Franciscans, the figure of St Francis of Assisi").

    There is a simplicity and beauty in the Holy Father's words and advice, for instance, in persisting in one's vocation despite our very human frailness and inconsistency:

    It is good to recognize one's weakness because in this way we know that we stand in need of the Lord's grace. The Lord comforts us. In the Apostolic College there was not only Judas but also the good Apostles; yet, Peter fell and many times the Lord reprimanded the Apostles for their slowness, the closure of their hearts and their scant faith. He therefore simply shows us that none of us is equal to this great yes, equal to celebrating "in persona Christi", to living coherently in this context, to being united to Christ in his priestly mission.

    To console us, the Lord has also given us these parables of the net with the good fish and the bad fish, of the field where wheat but also tares grow. He makes us realize that he came precisely to help us in our weakness, and that he did not come, as he says, to call the just, those who claim they are righteous through and through and are not in need of grace, those who pray praising themselves; but he came to call those who know they are lacking, to provoke those who know they need the Lord's forgiveness every day, that they need his grace in order to progress.

    I think this is very important: to recognize that we need an ongoing conversion, that we are simply not there yet. St Augustine, at the moment of his conversion, thought he had reached the heights of life with God, of the beauty of the sun that is his Word. He then had to understand that the journey after conversion is still a journey of conversion, that it remains a journey where the broad perspectives, joys and lights of the Lord are not absent; but nor are dark valleys absent through which we must wend our way with trust, relying on the goodness of the Lord.

    On bearing witness to Christ in suffering:
    It was not by chance that the Lord told his disciples: the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem to suffer; therefore, anyone who wants to be a disciple of mine must shoulder his cross so he can follow me. In fact, we are always somewhat similar to Peter, who said to the Lord: "No, Lord, this cannot happen to you, you must not suffer". We do not want to carry the Cross, we want to create a kingdom that is more human, more beautiful, on this earth.

    This is totally mistaken: the Lord teaches it. However, Peter needed a lot of time, perhaps his entire life, in order to understand it; why is there this legend of the Quo Vadis? There is something true in it: learning that it is precisely in walking with the Lord's Cross that the journey will bear fruit. Thus, I would say that before talking to others, we ourselves must understand the mystery of the Cross.

    Of course, Christianity gives us joy, for love gives joy. But love is also always a process of losing oneself, hence, a process of coming out of oneself; in this regard, it is also a painful process. Only in this way is it beautiful and helps us to mature and to attain true joy.

    Anyone who seeks to affirm or to promise a life that is only happy and easy is a liar, because this is not the truth about man; the result is that one then has to flee to false paradises. And in this way one does not attain joy but self-destruction.

    Christianity proclaims joy to us, indeed; this joy, however, only develops on the path of love, and this path of love has to do with the Cross, with communion with the Crucified Christ. And it is presented through the grain of wheat that fell to the ground. When we begin to understand and accept this -- every day, because every day brings some disappointment or other, some burden that may also cause pain --, when we accept this lesson of following Christ, just as the Apostles had to learn at this school, so we too will become capable of helping the suffering.

    Zenit News provided a translation of the exchange: Part I: "We Must Accept Our Frailty But Keep On Going"; Part II: "A Day Without the Eucharist Is Incomplete". March 2, 2007.

  • On February 22, Pope Benedict met with the Roman Clergy for a session of questions-and-answers as well. Here is a three part translation, also courtesy of Zenit: Part I: "Contemplation Is Expressed in Works of Charity"; Part II: "Do Not Extinguish Charisms ... the Church Is One" and Part III: "The Pastor Leads the Way" -- which touches on the meaning of reparation in Eucharistic adoration.

Key Addresses January - April 2007

  • Message of Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace January 1, 2007.


      Benedict XVI on the Path to Peace (Part 1); Part II - interview with Paolo Carozza, law professor at the University of Notre Dame and a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (Zenit News January 8, 2007):
      Where Benedict XVI goes much further than the prevailing mentality is in his insistence that it is not enough to simply assert -- however correctly -- the link between peace and human dignity. To make that connection real and concrete, not just an abstract ideal or intuition of the truth, one needs to cultivate an adequate and objective understanding of what the human person is, and what human dignity requires.

      Benedict XVI thus takes us back to what Mary Ann Glendon has referred to as the "unfinished business" of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the question of its foundations. For 60 years the international community has largely proceeded to try to develop and realize human rights though positive law while prescinding from any sustained effort to reach common understandings of their underlying source and scope.

      In short, the difference between the vision in Benedict XVI's message and the conventional wisdom of international affairs is not so much in the affirmation that the dignity and rights of the human person are the path to peace, but rather in the Pope's warning that that path will be uncertain, unstable and wayward without a "true integral humanism" that embraces the whole human person as a concrete, given reality -- without reduction, without manipulation, and without ideology.

  • Pope's 2007 Address to the Diplomatic Corps on the State of the World Delivered in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. January 8, 2007.
  • Pope's Homily on Feast of Baptism of the Lord Zenit News Service. January 15, 2007.
  • Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2007
  • Easter Vigil - Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI April 7, 2007.


  • Urbi Et Orbi - Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI. Easter Sunday April 8, 2007.


    • Explaining Benedict's focus on Africa, by John Allen, Jr. National Catholic Reporter April 9, 2007:
      Benedict XVI, this most European of popes, once again exhibited a notable concern with Africa during the Easter season. In his traditional urbi et orbi greeting, Benedict spoke in greater detail about the political and humanitarian struggles of Africa than any other part of the world. . . .
    • On Easter, pope laments wars, horrors, 'continual slaughter' in Iraq, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. April 9, 2007.

    • Out of Pope Benedict XVI's 1,444 word Urbi Et Orbi Easter Message for 2007 devoted to an observation of all manner of human suffering throughout the world and the response of the Gospel, much is being made of the following sentence:
      In the Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees.
      Amy Welborn has a roundup of pundit's reactions to the Pope's remark (along with the usual raging debate in the combox); for further commentary and reflections on the reaction, and the attempt by some to decipher a critique of U.S. foreign policy from the Pope's words, click here.

Articles & Commentary

  • Exercises in Disinformation: The Pope According to the Leading Newspapers January 5, 2007 - Sandro Magister and Anton Smitsendonk, the former Dutch ambassador to China, examine how the press (including the New York Times and other major newspapers) "deformed Benedict XVI’s position on the entry of Turkey into the European Union."

  • Lost in translation: Pope's asides might be changed in official texts, by John Thavis. Catholic News Service. February 2, 2007:
    Rarely is a general audience talk interrupted by spontaneous applause, and Pope Benedict XVI seemed as surprised as anyone when the clapping began in the Vatican's audience hall.

    The pope had been talking about the church's early times, and he set aside his text to drive home a point: The apostles and first disciples weren't perfect, but had their own arguments and controversies.

    "This appears very consoling to me, because we see that the saints did not drop as saints from heaven. They were men like us with problems and even with sins," he said Jan. 31.

    That's when the applause erupted among the 6,000 people in attendance. The pope paused, looked up and smiled awkwardly, then continued to ad lib about how holiness doesn't mean never making a mistake.

    The moment marked a milestone for Pope Benedict as a communicator and demonstrated two important facts: First, the scholarly pontiff is focusing on uncomplicated lessons about the church and the faith. Second, when he talks, people listen.

  • McBrien: B16 doesn't really understand Vatican II, by Carl Olson. Insight Scoop February 4, 2007:
    Fr. Richard McBrien, former consultant to The Da Vinci Code movie and former head of the theology department at Notre Dame, has it on good authority—his own!—that Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI doesn't really understand Vatican II or how to correctly interpret it. . . .

  • The "most hyperbolic journalism ever" award goes to Nick Pisa, who makes no attempt to conceal his anti-papal bias in penning 'Hell exists - deny it and you'll end up there'. The Scotsman March 27, 2007:
    POPE BENEDICT XVI has reiterated the existence of Hell and condemned society for not talking about eternal damnation enough.

    A furious Pope Benedict unleashed a bitter attack during a sermon while on a visit to a parish church and said: "Hell exists and there is eternal punishment for those who sin and do not repent."

    Sounding "more of a parish priest than a Pope" the leader of the world's one billion Roman Catholics added: "The problem today is society does not talk about Hell. It's as if it did not exist, but it does."

    Pope Benedict unleashed his fury during a visit to the tiny parish church of St Felicity and the Martyr Children at Fidene on the outskirts of Rome, in his capacity as bishop of the Italian capital.

    One churchgoer said: "The Holy Father was really having a go. It was a typical fire-and-brimstone sermon that you would have expected from a parish priest years ago."

    Zenit News' reporting of the homily is a tad more . . . restrained:
    Hell consists in closing oneself off from the love of God, and sin is the true enemy of the human person, Benedict XVI says.

    The Pope made that comment on Sunday when celebrating Mass at the Parish of St. Felicity and Martyred Sons in the northern sector of the Diocese of Rome.

    "If it is true that God is justice, then we should not forget that he is above all love; if he hates sin it is because he has an infinite love for all human beings," the Holy Father explained.

  • Pope's Study of Church Fathers Not Just for Catholics Zenit. March 28, 2007 - Benedict XVI's Wednesday-audience series on the Apostolic Fathers can give us hope for unity among Christians, says David Warner, a Catholic theologian who was once an evangelical Protestant minister and who is now a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology in Steubenville, Ohio.

  • "Catholic politicians get strict orders from pope", observes Ian Fisher (International Herald Tribune March 13, 2007):
    Pope Benedict XVI strongly reasserted Tuesday the church's opposition to abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, saying that Catholic politicians were "especially" obligated to defend the church's stance in their public duties.

    "These values are non-negotiable," the pope wrote in a 130-page "apostolic exhortation" issued in Rome, forming a distillation of opinion from a worldwide meeting of bishops at the Vatican in 2005. . . .

    In the document, the pope also repeated that celibacy remains "obligatory" for Catholic priests.

    So sorry to disappoint.

  • Scott Hahn on Benedict XVI's "Curriculum" Zenit News. March 29, 2007:
    Seminarians, students and other eager listeners gathered recently at the University of the Holy Cross in Rome listen to American professor Scott Hahn expound the theological vision of Benedict XVI. . . .

    Foremost on Hahn's agenda was the Holy Father's "curriculum" for Catholics, which Hahn believes will also lead many Protestant theologians to discover the answers they have been searching in the Catholic liturgy.

    But even more, Hahn said that Benedict XVI's "clarity and classic style of theologizing" make his teaching accessible to the average lay person.

    "One of the remarkable things about Benedict XVI," said Hahn, "is that he is almost too straightforward. With a little bit of effort, those who are not schooled in theology will grasp treasures of biblical wisdom in the context of liturgy and the sacraments."

  • An “Apostate” from Itself: The Lost Europe of Pope Benedict - From Sandro Magister, "L’Europa nella crisi delle culture" -- an address given by then-Cardinal Ratzinger before the plenary assembly of the European parliament. April 1, 2004.

  • The Pope and Islam, by Jane Cramer. The New Yorker April 2, 2007.
    It is well known that Benedict wants to transform the Church of Rome, which is not to say that he wants to make it more responsive to the realities of modern life as it is lived by Catholic women in the West, or by Catholic homosexuals, or even by the millions of desperately poor Catholic families in the Third World who are still waiting for some merciful dispensation on the use of contraception. He wants to purify the Church, to make it more definitively Christian, more observant, obedient, and disciplined—you could say more like the way he sees Islam. And never mind that he doesn’t seem to like much about Islam, or that he has doubts about Islam’s direction. . . .
  • According to the Catholic News Service, Pope Benedict XVI had a hand in Iran's decision to release the British hostages:
    The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had sent a written appeal to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, urging the release of the 14 men and one woman captured by Iran in contested waters March 23.

    An informed Vatican source said that in an effort to quell increasing international tensions over the crew's seizure Pope Benedict sent the letter for "exclusively humanitarian" reasons. The Vatican would provide no details on the contents of the letter or when it was sent. . . .

    Bishop Burns, who earlier had appealed for the release of the service personnel, said April 4 that the decision by the Iranian government to free them was "not just as the result of diplomacy," but was "an act of mercy" in accordance with Islam.

    Writing for, Micah Halpern takes a somewhat different view of the Pope's request, noting to whom the correspondence was directed (A Pope Who Gets It, by Micah Halpern. FrontPageMag. April 7, 2007:
    Pope Benedict penned this letter to put forth and articulate a humanitarian objective.

    Note that the letter was sent not to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    It was sent directly to the Ayatollah Khamenei. Ahmadinejad might be the public presenter, the face of Iran to the outside world, but inside Iran, he is second fiddle.

    The Ayatollah is just as his title describes, the Ayatollah is absolute supreme leader.

    Whatever the Ayatollah wants, happens. Whatever the Ayatollah decrees, is implemented.

    As much policy freedom as we are now seeing from Ahmadinejad, his personal survival depends on doing just as he is told. . . .

    The actions of the Ayatollah Khamenei are calculated by their ability to showcase Iran's honor.

    Khamenei's ploys, his actions, his decisions, even his bluster are calculated to showcase Iran's place of honor among Muslim nations.

    It is the eyes of his fellow Muslims that he is watching, it is the hearts of Islam that he is seeking.

    Pope Benedict XVI put aside his bigger battle to try to solve the little issue.

    The message that the Pope put forth to the supreme leader of Iran was simple: if you are really interested in the message of God, if you are really interested in relieving pain and suffering, you will release your captives.

    This time, the Pope called the Ayatollah's bluff.

  • On April 10, 2007 Dr. Samuel Gregg delivered an address entitled "The Crisis of Europe: Benedict XVI’s Analysis and Solution" as part of the Acton Institute's 2007 Lecture Series. Click the link for audio (mp3). Text will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

  • "Easter in Rome: The Secret Homilies of the Successor of Peter", by Sandro Magister. www.Chiesa. April 11, 2007. Commenting on an ongoing problem in the Vatican of Benedict XVI:
    There is a limit beyond which the words of Benedict XVI do not go. They reach completely only those who listen to them in person, whether present physically or thanks to a live television broadcast. The number of these persons is substantial, more than for any earlier pontificate. The Easter “urbi et orbi” message and the Way of the Cross on Good Friday were followed by huge crowds and retransmitted in more than forty countries. But even more vast is the number of persons who receive the pope’s message in an incomplete form – or not at all.

    Benedict XVI experienced this communications block to an even greater extent in the other celebrations of last Holy Week. . . .

    among those present at these Masses, only those who understood Italian were able to listen fruitfully to the pope’s homilies. The Catholic media outlets that translated and distributed the texts in various countries barely extended the listening area, to a niche audience.

    For a pope like Benedict XVI, who has centered his ministry precisely upon the word, this is a serious limitation. The offices in the Roman curia that deal with communications have to this point done nothing new in order to remedy this, at least in part. For example, no one sees to a quick distribution of the pope’s texts by internet to all the bishops and priests of the world, in the various languages.

On a Lighter Note . . .

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