Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Vatican News

As usual check out Hugh Hewitt's site for new blogs of note.Raplog is one of them and has a good commentary on the Prom.

Here are two events from the last week worth noting.

First, there is the Pope's nomination of his successor and secondly the Vatican's address to the council of Europe.

VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI named the archbishop of San Francisco to succeed him as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Vatican announced today that Archbishop William Levada, 68, will fill the vacancy left by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger upon his election to the papacy.

The Pope and Archbishop Levada worked together from 1986 to 1993 on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The archbishop was the only American bishop on the editorial committee. He also authored the Catechism's glossary, which was published in the second English-language edition of the Catechism.

Archbishop Levada has been a bishop-member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2002, and worked under Cardinal Ratzinger as an official of the congregation when the cardinal became prefect in 1981.

Born William Levada in Long Beach, California, June 15, 1936, he attended entered the seminary in Los Angeles.

In 1958, he was sent to further his seminary formation in Rome at the North American College, and received a doctorate in sacred theology "magna cum laude" from the Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained a priest in St. Peter's Basilica Dec. 20, 1961, and worked five years in parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

After receiving his doctorate, he taught theology at St. John's Seminary School of Theology, located at Camarillo, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Father Levada was appointed as an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1976, and during his six years of service, he taught at the Gregorian University.

In 1982, he was assigned to be executive director of California's bishops' conference in Sacramento, the public policy arm of the Church in California. During his two years there, he was named auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, and was ordained May 12, 1983.

Returning to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1984, he served as vicar for Santa Barbara until 1986, when he was appointed archbishop of Portland, Oregon.

Archbishop Levada returned to California in 1995 as coadjutor archbishop of San Francisco, and since then has been active on many committees of the U.S. bishops' conference, the Catholic University of America, the national shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

He participated in the special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America in 1997, and was subsequently named to its post-synodal council.

He was designated bishop co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States in for the year 2000.

In November, 2000 the Vatican announced his appointment as a member of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and two years later, in 2003, he began a 3-year term as chairman of the U.S. bishops' conference Committee on Doctrine.

Founded in 1542 by Pope Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was originally called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition, as its duty was to defend the Church from heresy. It is the oldest of the curia's nine congregations.

VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address, delivered in English by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states, at the third summit of heads of state and governments of the Council of Europe, held in Warsaw, Poland, from May 16-17.

* * *

1. European Unity and European Values

1. It is my honor to convey to all present the cordial greetings of the new Pope, Benedict XVI, who in the choice of his name intended to recall one of the great architects of European civilization. In some of his previous talks and publications he has proposed a number of considerations, both historical and doctrinal, on the subject of European unity and values, which remain relevant and worthy of attention.

2. This theme, to which the present session is dedicated, is something particularly important for the Holy See. Pius XII in his Christmas message of 1944 proposed to Europe a "true democracy founded on freedom and equality" ("Acta Apostolicae Sedis," 37 (1945)14), and on May 9, 1945 he spoke of "a new Europe ... founded on respect for human dignity, for the sacred principle of equality of rights for all peoples, all states, large or small, weak or strong" (ibid, 129-130). Pope Paul VI dedicated keen and increasing attention to the same subject. And all are aware of the incessant, passionate and active commitment of John Paul II to a Europe corresponding more fully to its geographical, and especially to its historical identity. Here in his Polish homeland, I am particularly pleased to recall his great and lovable personality.

3. Europe will be loved by its citizens and will serve as an agent of peace and civilization in the world only if it is animated by certain fundamental values:

a. The promotion of human dignity and fundamental human rights, among which in the first place freedom of conscience and religion.

b. The pursuit of the common good in a spirit of solidarity.

c. Respect for national and cultural identity.

These values obviously are shared by all, however, if they are to take on a clear focus and not remain generic, they must refer to Europe's own history because this is what constitutes Europe in its spiritual identity. For this reason the Holy See views with satisfaction the commitment expressed in the Preamble of the Declaration, paragraph 6, "to the universal values and principles which are rooted in Europe's cultural, religious and humanistic heritage." The pre-eminent role that Christianity has played in forming and developing this cultural, religious and humanistic patrimony is well known to all and cannot be ignored.

2. Challenges Facing European Societies

Europe is faced with challenges arising from its own internal dynamism as well as challenges in its encounter with world problems. It cannot address one set of challenges successfully without responding adequately to the other.

1. As to the first, the Council of Europe, as a guarantor of democratic security, based on respect for human rights and the rule of law, is confronted with two requirements:

a. The need to prevent the principle of equality from compromising the protection of legitimate diversity: justice in fact requires equal relationships to be treated equally and diverse relationships to be treated diversely;

b. The need to prevent the principle of individual freedom from being dislodged from its natural insertion in the totality of social relationships, and therefore from the principle of social responsibility, which in fact constitutes an essential component of its positive value.
The consequences of this confrontation on the level of international relations, as well as on the social, family and individual levels are evident.

2. On the other hand, many concrete challenges derive from the great world-wide problems handed down from the 20th century: the nuclear threat, which is now in danger of escaping from the exclusive historic responsibility of the great powers, the emergence of forms of political and religious fundamentalism, large-scale migration of peoples and certain situations of dangerous instability at the state level, even in the European arena. I am referring here particularly to the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the Kosovo region, both of which are in need of a reliable solution, which cannot be reached without providing effective guarantees for minorities.

3. In a spirit of service the Holy See offers her own support and that of the whole Catholic Church in order to respond adequately to these challenges. She is persuaded that the message of fraternity, proper to the Gospel, the vast charitable action of Catholic organizations, the commitment to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue can be conjoined naturally to the commitment to political, interreligious and intercultural dialogue, mentioned in the final declaration of this assembly which the Holy See willingly supports.

3. The Construction of Europe

I would like to say a few words about the construction of Europe. The delegation of the Holy See does not presume to propose technical solutions but would like to offer some simple considerations as a contribution to our common reflection.

1. A better coordination of European organizations is not only an imperative of political and conceptual coherence or financial considerations, but is required by the original creative spirit of the European project. The success of this project in fact does not require just the smooth functioning of each of the principal institutions, but their common balanced synergy which allows the citizens of Europe to see Europe as their "common home" at the service of the human person and society.

2. Given its widely recognized competence, acquired in the juridical area, the experience of the Council of Europe is particularly important because it sketches the outlines of what could become a blueprint for European society. The more than 150 conventions of the Council of Europe, dealing with education, culture, minorities, refugees, immigration, ecology, the media etc. cover a notable part of the sectors involved in the social dimension.

Furthermore the territorial extension acquired by the Council of Europe draws it close to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OCSE, however, is also marked by its transatlantic dimension, something indispensable for maintaining peace in a globalized world and for fulfilling its mandate with regard to conflicts. From the three ways of European construction outlined in the three baskets of the OSCE -- concerning respectively security policies, economic and ecological cooperation, and the human dimension -- clearly it is this last factor which offers the broadest field of cooperation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

3. Regarding the European Union, it is in the juridical sector in relation to human rights that one finds further concrete possibilities for closer institutional cooperation. The common commitment to corroborate the human rights and the legal protection of European citizens -- reaffirmed by the will of the European Union to adhere to the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental liberties -- must be given adequate expression in the propositions to be presented by the Coordination Group created in December 2004.

4. I would like to conclude by stating clearly that in the construction of the great European project the Holy See will not fail to continue to offer her cooperation.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Return of the Blog

After finally getting home last week and getting settled back in here in the Minny the posting should finally continue. A lot has gone on the past few weeks most notably Pope Benedict's appointing of his successor to the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. I will find some articles to post tomorrow on that and others. God Bless!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Finals Are Over!!!!

Finals are finally over here at Ave so now I can finally get back to posting. Sorry for all of those that missed reading this blog over the past week or so. I will get some articles up soon as well as some more commentary. In the mean time check out some of the Catholic ads that have been put up. God Bless!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

First General Audience

Take a look at the message from our new Holy Father at the first general audience in Rome. Our new Pope must have spent a long time in prayer before choosing Benedict or maybe he was just inspired by the Holy Spirit immediately on the spot?

Benedict XVI's Address at 1st General Audience
"To Reflect on the Name I Have Chosen"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 27, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today at his first general audience since being elected Pope. The audience was in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

I am happy to welcome you and cordially greet all of you here present, as well as those who are following us through radio and television. As I already expressed in my first meeting with the Lord Cardinals, precisely on Wednesday of last week in the Sistine Chapel, I am experiencing contrasting sentiments in my spirit these days at the beginning of my Petrine ministry: awe and gratitude to God, who surprised me first of all, in calling me to succeed the Apostle Peter; interior trepidation before the enormity of the task and responsibility that has been entrusted to me. However, the certainty of the help of God, of his Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary, and of the patron saints gives me serenity and joy. I am also supported by the spiritual closeness of the whole People of God from whom, as I repeated last Sunday, I continue to request to support me with insistent prayer.

After the holy death of my venerated predecessor, John Paul II, the traditional Wednesday general audiences are resumed today. In this first meeting I would like first of all to reflect on the name I have chosen when becoming Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the universal Church. I wished to call myself Benedict XVI to be united ideally with the venerated Pontiff Benedict XV, who led the Church in a troubled time because of World War I. He was a courageous and authentic prophet of peace and he did his utmost with strenuous courage from the start to avoid the drama of the war and then to limit its inauspicious consequences. Following his footsteps, I wish to put my ministry at the service of reconciliation and harmony among men and nations, profoundly convinced that the great good of peace is, first of all, a gift of God, a fragile and precious gift to be invoked, defended and built day after day with the contribution of all.

The name Benedict evokes, moreover, the extraordinary figure of the great "patriarch of Western monasticism," St. Benedict of Nursia, co-patron of Europe together with Saints Cyril and Methodius. The gradual expansion of the Benedictine Order founded by him has had an enormous influence on the spread of Christianity on the whole Continent. Because of this, St. Benedict is much venerated in Germany and, in particular, in Bavaria, my native land. He constitutes a fundamental point of reference for the unity of Europe and a strong reminder of the inalienable Christian roots of its culture and its civilization.

We know the recommendation left to his monks in his Rule by this Father of Western monasticism: "Prefer absolutely nothing to Christ" (Rule 72,11; cf. 4,21). At the beginning of my service as Successor of Peter I pray to St. Benedict to help us to hold firm the centrality of Christ in our life. May he always be first in our thoughts and in all our activity!

My thought goes back with affection to my venerated predecessor, John Paul II, to whom we are indebted for an extraordinary spiritual legacy. "Our Christian communities" -- he wrote in the apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" -- "must become genuine 'schools' of prayer, where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly 'falls in love'" (No. 33).

He himself sought to put these indications into practice by dedicating the Wednesday catecheses of the last times to commenting on the Psalms of lauds and vespers. As he did at the start of his pontificate, when he wished to continue with the reflections initiated by his Predecessor on the Christian virtues (cf. "Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II," I [1978], pp. 60-63), I also intend to propose in the next weekly appointments the commentary prepared by him on the second part of the Psalms and canticles that make up vespers. Next Wednesday I will take up again, precisely, from where his catecheses were interrupted, in the general audience of last January 26.

Dear Friends, thank you again for your visit; thank you for the affection with which you surround me. They are sentiments that I cordially return with a special blessing, which I impart to you here present, to your families and to all your loved ones.

[At the end of the audience, the Holy Father summarized his address in several languages. In English, he said:]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with great joy that I welcome you and also greet those following this audience through radio and television. After the holy death of my beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, I come before you today for my first general audience.

Filled with sentiments of awe and thanksgiving, I wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples.

Additionally, I recall St. Benedict of Nursia, co-patron of Europe, whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe. I ask him to help us all to hold firm to the centrality of Christ in our Christian life: May Christ always take first place in our thoughts and actions!

I extend a special welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims here today, including groups from England, Wales, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Singapore and the United States of America. Thank you for the affection with which you have greeted me. Upon all of you, I invoke the peace and joy of Jesus Christ Our Lord!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Heat Win Game Two With Ease

The Miami Heat took a 2-0 lead against the New Jersey Nets with a win last night in Miami. Dwayne Wade had a quiet 17 points but had a game high 10 assists. Zo was huge off the bench and will be the x-factor that gives Miami the edge against Detroit. I don't think I have seen a more fired up guy than him except maybe last years K.G. in the Sacremento series. Watch out when the diesel power returns...

The Mission

Here's a great article about the importance of the mission. We Americans should hear this message from the Holy Father with even more importance because we are needed even more here with the media culture today.

Mission More Crucial Than Ever, Says Holy Father
During Visit to Tomb of the Apostle Paul

ROME, APRIL 26, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI reaffirmed the Church's evangelizing endeavor, stressing that "Christ's missionary mandate is more important than ever."

During his first official visit outside the Vatican, to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the Pope said Monday that he is confident of a "new flowering of the Church" thanks to the blood shed by many Christians of the 20th century.

In an unusual gesture, on the day after the solemn inauguration of his pontificate, the Holy Father went to pray to the tomb of the Apostle Paul "to express the inseparable bond of the Church of Rome with the Apostle to the Gentiles," explained the Holy See.

After visiting the sepulcher and reading from the beginning of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, the new Pontiff, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, delivered a homily focused on the passion that every Christian should feel for the proclamation of Christ.

The pilgrims who crowded the basilica interrupted him with applause, especially when he mentioned "the example of my beloved and venerated predecessor John Paul II, a missionary Pope whose activity understood in this way, witnessed in more than 100 apostolic trips beyond the confines of Italy, is truly inimitable."

"May the Lord also infuse such a love in me so that I will not remain calm in face of the urgencies of the Gospel proclamation in today's world," he said.

Benedict XVI added that "the Church is by her nature missionary; her primary task is evangelization. … At the beginning of the third millennium, she feels with renewed force that Christ's missionary mandate is more important than ever."

After mentioning that the Jubilee of the Year 2000 led the Church to "start afresh from Christ," he recalled the motto St. Benedict proposed in Chapter 4of his Rule, exhorting his monks "not to prefer anything to the love of Christ."

The Holy Father highlighted the fact that the century that just ended "was a time of martyrdom," and concluded by saying "that if the blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians, at the beginning of the third millennium it is right to expect a new flowering of the Church, especially there where she has suffered most for the faith and the testimony of the Gospel."

At the end of the celebration, animated by the singing of the basilica's Benedictine monks, the Pope left in procession, greeting some of those present with his hand and imparting the gesture of blessing. He paused once to embrace a child.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pope Bendedict XVI's Inauguration Mesage

Here is a great article from George Weigel who is most famous for his JPII biography. He also is known to be friends with Benedict XVI. Find out more about the new Pope's name.

This is a Zenit article which talks about the inauguration mass. It is followed by another one that talks about how the Pope asked GOd not to be Pope. Note the "Do Not Be Afraid!" at the end of the first article.

Benedict XVI's Agenda: God's Will
At Inauguration, New Pope Says He Plans to Listen

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 24, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the priorities for his pontificate are those of the will of God, not his own ideas.

During a Mass today in St. Peter's Square to inaugurate his pontificate, the new Pope received the pallium and the Fisherman's Ring, symbols of his Petrine ministry.

"At this moment there is no need for me to present a program of governance," the German-born Pontiff said in his homily to an audience of 400,000 people. "I was able to give an indication of what I see as my task in my message of Wednesday, April 20, and there will be other opportunities to do so."

The message the Holy Father referred to was one he delivered to cardinals in the Sistine Chapel after the Mass he celebrated the day following his election as Pope.

In that message, he committed himself to promote unity in the Church, unity with other Christian confessions, and unity within the human family, following the guidelines outlined by the Second Vatican Council.

"My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and will of the Lord, to be guided by him, so that he himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history," Benedict XVI said in the homily at his inaugural Mass.

"Instead of putting forward a program, I should simply like to comment on the two liturgical symbols which represent the inauguration of the Petrine ministry; both these symbols, moreover, reflect clearly what we heard proclaimed in today's readings," noted the Pope.

The Holy Father's homily was interrupted by applause 39 times.

"And now, at this moment, weak servant of God that I am, I must assume this enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity. How can I do this? How will I be able to do it?" he asked.

"I do not have to carry alone what in truth I could never carry alone. All the saints of God are there to protect me, to sustain me and carry me. And your prayers, my dear friends, your indulgence, your love, your faith and your hope accompany me," the 78-year-old Pope said.

"Yes, the Church is alive," he said in reference to the past days, from the sickness and death of Pope John Paul II to the holding of the conclave and the papal election.

"And the Church is young," stated the German Pontiff. "She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future."

"The Church is alive and we are seeing it: We are experiencing the joy that the Risen Lord promised his followers. The Church is alive -- she is alive because Christ is alive, because he is truly risen," he added.

One of the words Benedict XVI most repeated was "joy." The "servant of the servants of God," as he acknowledged himself to be, recalled the words at the beginning of his predecessor's pontificate, when he exclaimed: "Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!"

"The Pope was addressing the mighty, the powerful of this world, who feared that Christ might take away something of their power if they were to let him in, if they were to allow the faith to be free," Benedict XVI continued.

"Yes, he would certainly have taken something away from them: the dominion of corruption, the manipulation of law and the freedom to do as they pleased. But he would not have taken away anything that pertains to human freedom or dignity, or to the building of a just society," the Pope said.

"If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great," he added. "No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation."

Benedict XVI ended by appealing to the "dear young people": "Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ -- and you will find true life."

Monday, April 25, 2005

Heat and Vikings

Heat Win!!!

The Heat played great yesterday and Dwayne Wade had a very solid 32 pts. along with 8 assists. Damon Jones sharp-shooted his way to 30 as well and hopefully he will continue to hit big shots throughout the playoffs. Next Game: Tues. 6 pm on TNT.

Also the Vikings did very well in the draft on Sat. and every sports writer has them at the top of the list on how well teams did. Hopefully they can bring it all together this year.

Divine Mercy Eve

This poem was sent to me from a dear seminarian friend in Rome, thank you to him, and being poetry should be read aloud:

Divine Mercy Eve
On the eve of Divine Mercy (the liturgical feast he instituted and favored most) and on the first Saturday of the month, John Paul II died at 9:37pm, while the pilgrims outside his window were praying the fourth mystery of the rosary. From his bed he looked toward the window overlooking the crowd, said “Amen” and delivered his soul to God. The night Pope John Paul II died, I had the privilege to be in St. Peter’s Square for the prayer vigil. Reflecting upon this grace and desiring to send to you the experience God granted me, this poem sprung from my heart.

Standing in St. Peter’s Square
Caressing my rosary beads
Frigid was the damp, night air
Wet the path my tear so leads

My lips tremble, my voice cracks
As holy chants meet my ear
It’s so hard to face the facts
Soon I’ll live the orphan’s fear

For this night my Father dies
My Vicar, John Paul the great
A man so holy and so wise
Who altered history’s fate

Infirmity is his cross
With silent words he preaches
Who can endure such a loss
Or ignore what he teaches

Thousands have come to his side
Prayers, songs, and candles aflame
Tears and smiles both abide
Invoking God’s holy name

Upon Divine Mercy’s eve
A first Saturday’s embrace
Like Simeon’s foretold leave
The fourth decade ends his race

He began in Mary’s name
Totus tuus he said then
With her he now ends the same
Proclaiming his last “Amen”

As these thoughts mingle with tears
Below his window I stand
My only Pope all my years
Leaves now to the Promised Land

Him I never touched or met
Yet I feel as his true son
My priesthood to him I debt
My respect and love he won

A gaping hole in my heart
In this sad moment he leaves
But then,
-says the Spirit-
Something new will start
Overcoming my bereaves

With us, John Paul will stay
His mission will still go on
In God’s heaven he shall reign
There breaking forth his new dawn

For orphans we shall not be
Our Father with us shall stay
From heaven he’ll hear our plea
And obtain God’s grace without delay

Yet John Paul shall live here still
Never departing from our side
But like Emmaus for us he will
Be in a new way to confide

And so this night, with my cries
A joyful peace consumes me
With my rosary done I rise
Faith affords serenity

True my Father this night dies
Countless tears ought to be shed
But now Saint John Paul does rise
And I will follow where he’s led

The damp night air seems long past
Proudly I lift my head high
My heart is ready at long last
And I leave St. Peter’s
Without a sigh.

More Fr. Fessio Interviews

Here are some more Fr. Fessio interviews with more great information on our new Holy Father Benedict XVI:

I. The following will appear on the Ignatius Press website and are the answers to questions posed by Valerie Schmaltz of Ignatius Press:

1.You have a longstanding relationship with Pope Benedict XVI. Can you describe when you first met him?

I first met Fr. Joseph Ratzinger when I arrived in Regensburg, (then West Germany) in the fall of 1972. I began my doctoral studies there and he was my doctoral director.

How that happened is a story in itself. I had begun my theological studies in France at the Jesuit Theologate in Lyons. There I was befriended by Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J., a wonderful man of the Church and a renowned theologian. When the time came for me to decide upon the subject for a doctorate I asked his advice. He immediately told me that I should do my doctorate on Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar whom he considered one of the greatest theologians of the era, if not all time. When I asked him where I should do it he immediately said, “Go to Regensburg and do it under Fr. Joseph Ratzinger; he’s a fine young theologian.” Fr. de Lubac graciously wrote to Fr. Ratzinger on my behalf and Fr. Ratzinger who was not accepting many new graduate students since he had so many already, accepted Fr. de Lubac’s recommendation.

Joseph Ratzinger was then as he is now, a very quiet and gracious person, always willing to listen; but when he speaks, he speaks with great clarity and depth of understanding. Even then one felt a presence because of his goodness, his openness, and his wisdom.

2.How has your relationship continued through the years?

The doctoral students of Cardinal Ratzinger once they had received their doctorates, found a Schulerkreis (or student circle) that had yearly meetings. Those meetings were usually two to three days long, held at a monastery, and had a specific theological topic and one or two invited speakers. We celebrated Mass together, ate together, listened to lectures and discussed them together. In the evenings, we would often sit around a table and have conversation accompanied by glasses of white wine.

In the period 1987-1989, four priests, working with the then Cardinal Ratzinger, planned and established the Association de Lubac, Speyr, von Balthasar whose main work was a house of formation in Rome called Casa Balthasar. The four priests were Fr. Jacques Servais, S.J. another Jesuit who remains rector of Casa Balthasar, Fr. Mark Ouellet who is now the Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec, Fr. Christoph Schönborn, OP who is now the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna and myself. (Jesuits are by rule required neither to seek nor to accept ecclesiastical preferment. Fr. Servais and I did not seek any nor were any offered us!) Once Casa Balthasar was established, in 1989, we all met once a year to review the progress and plan the coming year. This gave us an opportunity to spend some time with Cardinal Ratzinger who would come to Casa Balthasar for a meeting, dinner and recreation after dinner. I also had the occasion to visit him in his apartment or in his office a number of times throughout the years.

3.How did you choose to publish his works and why did he choose Ignatius Press to publish so many of his works in the English translation?

Ignatius Press was begun in 1978, with our first books published in 1979. The original intent was to make available in English the works of the great contemporary Catholic theologians of Europe. We began with Louis Bouyer and Hans Urs von Balthasar. We soon added Cardinal Ratzinger to our list of authors. He very graciously accepted Ignatius Press as his English language publisher.

4.What is the impact of Urs Von Balthasar on the new pope?

The reason Fr. de Lubac directed me towards Fr. Ratzinger to do my dissertation on von Balthasar was that Fr. Ratzinger was both a personal friend and a student of the works of von Balthasar. Certainly von Balthasar has had a profound effect on Pope Benedict just as he has on any one who has spent time studying his massive and rich corpus.

5.Which of his works would you recommend to those wondering about the direction of Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy?

For those who would like an idea of the direction of this new papacy, I would recommend starting with the Ratzinger Report. It was an interview he gave to Vittorio Messori in 1985. Cardinal Ratzinger comments very openly there on the strength and weaknesses of the Church at that time. Not too much has changed except for the increase in enthusiasm generated by the vibrant papacy of John Paul II; the major challenges remain.

6. What is Pope Benedict XVI like as a person? What about his reputation as an enforcer?

As a person, Pope Benedict is courteous, kind, gracious, soft-spoken, with an ever-present sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye. I’ve never heard him express anger or raise his voice. He listens very attentively to people and while clear and firm in his expression of the truths of the Catholic Faith, he always speaks or writes with profound courtesy and respect. He has a reputation as an enforcer because he had that task assigned to him. Even in treating dissident theologians, he was always open and fair, thorough and objective. Although there are still lingering complaints about the “secrecy” of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, there is simply no basis for that. The Congregation has worked with complete transparency. I can’t think of anyone in the Vatican who has been more open to being interviewed or being questioned on any topic than Cardinal Ratzinger. Of course, when he is obliged to tell someone who considers himself a Catholic of good standing that what that person is teaching or advocating is incompatible with Catholic truth, that is often not well received. In trying to explain the hostility toward Cardinal Ratzinger, I can only think that it is a projection of the anger of those who are being corrected upon the one who has to administer the correction.

7.Comparisons will be inevitable with Pope John Paul II. Would you venture a comparison and a few thoughts on the relationship between then Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II? Why do you think he was chosen so quickly?

Certainly Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II were the closest of collaborators. Pope John Paul II brought Cardinal Ratzinger to Rome in 1981 to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and he stayed there until he was elected Pope in 2005. No other prefect of a Vatican congregation has stayed so long in the same position. It was customary that Ratzinger would see the Holy Father once a week to discuss whatever matters were important at that time.

They both have “charisma” but of different sorts. Pope John Paul II was an actor on the world’s stage, very outgoing and with a personal magnetism that was palpable. But Pope Benedict, while quieter and more serene in his demeanor, also has a warmth and a presence which all those who have come into contact with him have remarked. I think that John Paul II, especially in his prophetic role, proclaimed Christ to the whole world. Pope Benedict will do the same but I believe he will turn his attention more towards the Church hierchy. Just as St. Benedict through his monasteries penetrated and informed a rising Christian civilization in Europe, Pope Benedict will focus on the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, on solemn and properly celebrated liturgies, so that the Church herself will be better able to go forth into the world and be a light to the nations.

I can only speculate on why Benedict was chosen so quickly but I do think that the following elements had a role to play. In the synod which elected John Paul II in 1978, all or virtually all of the cardinals hand ample opportunity to get to know each other during the four years of the Second Vatican Council which ran from 1962-1965. Therefore they had a much better personal knowledge of their peers. However, with the expansion of the College of Cardinals, and with the emphasis on new cardinals in far-flung parts of the world, I think it’s true that going into the conclave most of the cardinals did not know most of the other cardinals. In such an important decision, I doubt that anyone, especially someone with experience in administration, would want to elect someone who was not well known to him. Since cardinals get to know each other when they come together, and that’s normally done in Rome, obviously cardinals who are living in Rome or near Rome, and those visiting often in Rome such as those in Italy and in Western Europe would know each other better. They’d also have more access to each other’s writings. For these reasons I think that the most likely candidates were in those groups.

But Cardinal Ratzinger was certainly the best known of the cardinals. He was older and he had published many books, spoken around the world, and acted in a very public way as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Divine Faith. He was also extremely respected even by those who disagreed with him. So, while there was much suspense during the conclave, now that the choice has been made, it almost seems like it was a necessity. Despite the fact that there were cardinals with wonderful qualifications, there really was no one that had his depth of knowledge and experience, including experience with the Curial offices of the Vatican.

8.Critics have said that Benedict XVI is “backward-looking” instead of “forward-looking” and that he is at heart opposed to the Second Vatican Council. How would you respond to the charge?

Every Pope, and every Catholic, must be both backward-looking and forward-looking. The truths of the Catholic Church are God’s message entrusted to fallible human beings by God Himself through his Son Jesus Christ. Our task is to receive that message and contemplate it, appropriate it, explain it, defend it and then pass it on intact. John Paul II did that. Cardinal Ratzinger did that, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and I have no doubt that Pope Benedict XVI will do the same. As for the Vatican Council, Pope Benedict was a theological peritus or advisor for the Council and was very influential at the Council; he’s one of it’s architects. And he made it very clear in his first public statement as pope the day after he was elected that he fully supports the Second Vatican Council. He says powerfully: “I too declare, as I start in the service that is proper to the successor to Peter, wish to affirm with force my decided will to pursue to the commitment to enact [exsecutionem] Vatican Council II, in the wake of my predecessors and in faithful continuity with the millennia-old tradition of the Church [duorum milium annorum].” This is a statement typical of Cardinal Ratzinger. He affirms in unmistakable terms that he is a pope of the Council. But he also says that he is going to pursue its implementation. The implication is that the Council has not been or at least has not been fully implemented yet. Further, he affirms he will implement the Council in continuity with the tradition. A clear statement that he does not read the Council as a break with tradition but as an extension of tradition.

9.To those wondering about the spiritual life of the new pope, do you have any insights? Does he have particular devotions to Mary, any other saints?

The Cardinal was born on Holy Saturday, and was brought by his parents to the parish church and baptized at the Easter Vigil Mass. So he was born both naturally and supernaturally in the midst of the great Paschal Mystery of the Church. I’ve heard him say very candidly that his life has been liturgical from the beginning; that he always feels nourished by the celebration of the Mass and the praying of the Divine Office. He admired his fellow theologian von Balthasar for promoting kniende Theologie (kneeling theology) and his works could not have been produced by a man who was not a man of deep personal prayer. His devotions are Catholic devotions, to the saints, but particularly to saint St. Joseph his patron, and of course to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

10.Do you have any personal stories about the new pope you can share with us?

I don’t know what his favorite foods are but Mozart is his favorite composer. While he leads a simple life, He’s a Bavarian who enjoys a good meal, and he does love to listen to classical music. He also plays the piano.

11.Finally, do you know what his favorite foods are? What is his favorite music?

There are many stories I could tell but let one suffice. He was asked by a very skeptical and agnostic journalist, Peter Seewald for a book-length interview. The cardinal, generous as always, agreed to this and made himself available to answer all his questions, even the most hostile ones. After that experience – the results of which were published as The Salt of the Earth – Peter Seewald became a Catholic! Later he did another book-length interview which became God and the World. The man sarcastically called God’s rotweiler or the panzer kardinal is a man who in real life can touch the hearts of the most hardened skeptics. He has given his life and all his gifts to the service of the Lord and the Church. And when he speaks he speaks with a power that comes from beyond him but that works marvelously through him.

II. II. The following are Fr. Fessio’s answers to questions proposed by Business Week and will be published in the next issue.

1.What kind of a manager is he?

Cardinal Ratzinger has famously written that what the Church needs is not managers but saints. This is because the Church, while a social organization is much more than that. It is the sacramental continuation of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And therefore what the Church has needed in all ages is leaders who devote themselves entirely to the person and teaching of Christ and gather others and communicate that to them. At the same time, Joseph Ratzinger was an archbishop and cardinal in Munich and later the Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 until he was elected Pope Benedict XVI. He was always very cordial and deferential in his dealings with colleagues. He always informed himself fully on whatever matters needed discussion. He scheduled regular meetings and assigned tasks.

2.What time does he get up in the morning?

Pope Benedict the XVI when he was a cardinal normally went to bed relatively early and got up early and celebrated Mass quite early in the morning.

3.Does he delegate? Examples.

He does delegate. One excellent example is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. John Paul II gave him the task of overseeing a committee of cardinals and a committee of bishops to put together a compendium of all the Catholic Church’s teachings. It required input from various regions and language groups and Cardinal Ratzinger delegated the task of overseeing this to then Fr. Christoph Schönborn, O.P., who has since become the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna. While Cardinal Ratzinger kept in touch with Fr. Schönborn, and worked directly on some of the text, and read the text of the Catechism, he gave wide latitude to Fr. Schönborn who himself oversaw a committee of very diverse people. Also, my friends on the staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith say that he runs a well organized operation. While prayer is important and they stop during the day to pray the Angelus for example, meetings are scheduled regularly, tasks are assigned, the results are evaluated and whatever action is appropriate is taken.

4.When you studied under him, what was he like as a mentor and as someone to whom you reported?

As a mentor he was very easy to talk to and very understanding. He gave me excellent guidance in my thesis research and writing. He is a brilliant theologian in his own right and he has wonderful perceptive abilities, but he listens very attentively and patiently. However, once he’s heard a person out and been asked for his opinion or a decision he expresses it very calmly, clearly, and decisively and in a synthetic manner he has the ability to gather up into one sentence almost all the elements that are needed.

5.Give me some anecdotes that describe him as a manager, as a communicator? About his character and his personality?

Perhaps the best way to know what kind of a manager he is is to ask those who actually work with him from day to day. Three good priest friends have been in that position. They all revere him and consider him a saint. They love the man who has so much respect for them, and they would do anything for him. I would call him more a leader than a manager. He inspires others to give fully of themselves and he encourages them to develop their talents. Despite the way he is often portrayed, he is warm and gracious. He has a wonderful sense of humor that is manifest almost continuously. Despite the fact that he had the responsibility of insuring doctrinal orthodoxy among Catholics and especially among Catholic theologians and teachers, I’ve never seen him lose his temper or raise his voice. He has always objectively considered the writings in question, consulted widely, and then made a clear and judicious decision. When Walter Kasper was a bishop in Germany, Kasper publicly opposed Cardinal Ratzinger in a way that was quite inconsiderate. Years later, when it was proposed that Kasper be made a Cardinal, Cardinal Ratzinger, who could have clearly blocked it, did not do so. He holds no grudges and has a genuine love even of those with whom he seriously disagrees.

6.How trumped up is this charge that he’s tough as nails? Is this true?

He may be characterized as “tough as nails” and in one sense he is. I’m confident that he would die for the truths that he holds. No one could dislodge from him the faith which he’s made such a part of his life and his being. At the same time that’s not how he treats people. There is no person I’ve ever met who is any more gentle, gracious or cordial than Cardinal Ratzinger. There is no difference between his public and private persona. That’s one of the endearing characteristics of Joseph Ratzinger. Whether as bishop or cardinal or even now as Pope, he will speak openly and transparently. He will listen carefully. You will always know that you are talking to the person and not some mask or some diplomatically disguised personality.

7.How does he unwind?

The Cardinal loves music and art. I believe he played piano, and his brother, also a priest, was the director of the Domspatzchor, or young boys choir, at the cathedral in Regensburg. He loves to read and he does so widely. He is very cultured with tremendous knowledge both of antiquity and the classics but also the modern period and contemporary authors and artists.

8.What were his formative experiences? Who are/were his favorite theologians? Why?

His formative experiences were mainly in war-time Germany and war-torn Europe. He saw first hand the results of the ill-fated attempt to create a humanism without God. He saw that the attempt to build a perfect earthly city or a pure race or a worker’s paradise would only lead to mass destruction and the debasement of man. So the experience of Europe under Fascism, National Socialism, and Communism taught him, as it taught John Paul II, that society without Faith in God becomes a death camp. His favorite theologians are, among the ancients, the great fathers of the Church especially the Greek fathers and St. Augustine; also St. Bonaventure who was the subject of his doctoral thesis as a young student of theology. As to contemporaries he was very close to Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J. and Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar as well as Fr. Louis Bouyer. Along with them he ranks as one of the greatest theologians of the 20th Century. His particular interest in these authors I believe was that they all went deep to the roots of Christianity and Western Civilization and were imbued with the spirit of Sacred Scriptures, Greek philosophers and writers, and the Fathers of the Church. These theologians were all able to have a much more mature perspective on contemporary events by virtue of their immersion in the long and rich history of man’s conversation about God, the world and himself.

9.Does he have any personal heroes at all? If so, whom?

I’m not sure he has any personal heroes other than the saints. Of course he has a devotion to his own patron saint, St. Joseph whom he imitates in being a quiet masculine, fatherly presence in the Church.

10.What’s he like with numbers? Does he think conceptually in terms of finance at all? If not, who does he depend on for this?

I’m not sure how he is with numbers. I know he can count to seven because that’s how many Sacraments there are. He can probably get to ten and twelve too because that’s the number of Commandments and the number of Apostles. But I’ve never seen him talk about or discuss anything related to finance. I suspect he leaves that to others more qualified and interested.

11.Where was he in World War II? Much was made of John Paul II’s experiences in Nazi-dominated Poland. Where was the Cardinal during this? Was he in a seminary or with his family? What did his dad do and did this influence him at all?

He was born in 1927 so that he would have been eleven or twelve when World War II began. He was required to be in Hitler youth groups as a young boy although he was opposed to it even at that age. Later on when he joined the seminary he was able to remove himself from such groups. But later in the war he, along with a lot of other young Germans of his time, was forced into military service. He was assigned to an anti-aircraft battery around Munich, although it was so repulsive to him that he actually deserted it.

12.How much has Vatican II influenced him?

As a young theologian, Joseph Ratzinger was a peritus or theological advisor to two influential German Cardinals during the Second Vatican Council. Although some look back at those days and consider him a liberal, the fact is really that against the background of the pre-Vatican II Church he seemed like a liberal. Against the background of the post-Vatican II Church he seems like a conservative. In fact, is he has always been himself a loyal son of the Church one of tremendous brilliance and wide culture and education. His positions haven’t changed, but the surrounding society and even some aspects of the Church have.

13.How have the events of 1968 influenced him?

He certainly saw and experienced then that violent revolution is not the way to achieve beneficial social change. Nor does it lead to spiritual maturity. I believe that he took Benedict for his papal name precisely because St. Benedict was the Father of Europe. St. Benedict was a young man in a corrupt super-power that had become hedonistic and self-centered. In addition to this moral corruption from within there was the attacks from the barbarians from without. So Benedict left Rome where he was a magistrate and went out into the woods to pray. Others joined him and from that experience arose the great Benedictine monastic movement. By the year 1200 there were 40,000 Benedictine monasteries scattered throughout Europe. (Too bad Benedict didn’t have the prescience to think of an IPO.) These monasteries preserved the cultural riches of Greece and Rome as well as the growing wisdom accumulated by the Church herself. They educated men and women who formed the great European culture. They were the ones that turned swamps into arable land. Made the woods into fields. Helped to build convents and monasteries and churches and towns. It was through Benedict’s flight from a corrupt and corrupting society and his seeking of God alone through prayer and work (ora et labora) that he transformed culture and transformed Europe. He is rightly called the Father of Europe. I believe that Cardinal Ratzinger feels a call at this time, when demographics are trending towards the demise of European culture and the rise of Islamic culture in old Europe, that he wants to bring Europe back to the sources from which it derived all its energy and strength and glory: faith in Jesus Christ and His Church.