Thursday, August 02, 2007

Benedict Breaks the Sterotype

It doesn't get much sweeter than this. So much those who think Pope Benedict is cold. Shy, reserved? Yes. Cold, no way.

H/T to Fr. Z. who translated this from Italian.

"Orgel-Ratz" and "Bücher-Ratz" (Organ-Ratz and Books-Ratz) amidst music, study and sweets

di Angela Ambrogetti

"Orgel-Ratz" and "Bücher-Ratz". That is what the fellow seminarians called the Ratzinger brothers. Georg was completely dedicated to music and Joseph was enamored of books. This is how the brothers are today, and when they spent a few days together the Bavarian kids of the past come back.

The news report about the Roman holidays of Monsignor Ratzinger seem to interest only the local German press. The newspaper of Regensburg reports, for example, about Pope Benedict’s birthday through the eyes of his brother. Joseph, to receive his big brother, who for years has had serious problems with his vision, put together a mountain of CD’s in his apartment, and in their free time read aloud to Georg the introduction of his Jesus of Nazareth and also every morning the breviary.

The birthday of Benedict XVI was celebrated with simiplicity and affection. Msgr. Gaenswein, the Pontiffs secretary, had in great secrecy rehearsed celebratory songs with the Memores Domini which look to the Pope’s well-being. The songs were sung after morning Mass. Then came birthday present time. Georg Ratzinger had already given his birthday trip: "I am stingy. My brother got only one present for Christmas, his name day, and this birthday together." There was the birthday breakfast: croissants with marmellade and an Italian "sacher". "Very good. We don’t have it on regular days." The day continued with the Pope’s official duties and, for Monsignor Georg, listening to music. After lunch was their appointment for a stroll, on the terrace of the Apostolic Palace. "A couple turns, about a quarter of an hour."

When the Pope’s brother can’t be in Rome in person, he sends some little gifts, like a dessert made by his housekeeper Agnes Heindl. Special delivery. This is what happened last April 12th, when it was entrusted to a pilgrimage lead by Monsignor Heinrich Wachter. The two tour busses were held up on the autostrada near Florence. So not to miss the Pope’s supper, Wacther took a taxi and, on his arrival at the Vatican, Benedict smiled and asked if he ought to reimburse his fare.

These are little glimpses of daily life which the newspaper of Regensburg dedicated to its illustrious former fellow citizen.

The Mittelbayerische Zeiutung is the daily which last year published a wonderful conversation with the Pope’s secretary and children from an elementary school, which has now become a book: Why does the Pope wear red shoes?

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