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6/5/2009 1:06 AM
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Two days ago, I belatedly mentioned the unexpected death in his sleep of Gianni Baget Bozzo in his home in Genoa on May 9. He was 84. I have come across what may have been the last article he wrote - and fittingly, it is about Benedict XVI - written in that concise style he perfected of capturing the essence of his subject in a few brief paragraphs.

Benedict XVI in Israel
by Gianni Baget Bozzo
Translated from

May 5, 2009

It is a delight, for anyone who likes Christianity, to hear or read Benedict XVI, because every time, he finds new points that lead to the heart of the faith: it is divine life communicated to believers.

A particular joy comes from his Wednesday catecheses which have been tracing the course of the Church through the thinking of those who have built it with their words.

Every author is chosen by the Holy Father with particular care, and the doctrinal nucleus of each one's thinking is then exposed in its profundity.

John Paul II commented on the Scriptures [in his Wednesday catecheses]; Benedict XVI contemplates the development of the Church as the Body of Christ in the mind of its sages and saints.

Naturally, this way of guiding Catholics appears to offend the sentiments of Church adversaries, but also that of many Catholics who have lost any taste for looking into their faith at all.

It is that 'offense' taken that has given rise to the myth of a theologian Pope who is supposedly out of tune with the reality of the times and of history, unlike his predecessor - or so they say.

It is also thought that the Church 'management', entrusted to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has not been able to show governance that is proportionate to the impetus that Benedict XVI is giving to the Church itself.

But the principle of government that Benedict XVI appears to follow for the Roman Curia and the world's bishops appears to lean on that age-old saying, "Make haste slowly."

It took years of governing by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before coming out in 1998 with Fides et Ratio, with Ad Tuendam Fidem ['To defend the faith', John Paul II's Motu Proprio spelling out Professions of Faith required in the Catholic faith], with the document regarding bishops' conferences, and in 2000, with Dominus Iesus - all of which are fundamental documents of John Paul II's Pontificate, and those that anchored his providential capacity for communication.

Pope Benedict gives a doctrinal character - therefore, a profoundly Catholic one - to every problem that he addresses. We could say that he 'catholicizes' the language with which he addresses every reality.

It will be a fundamental trait of the work he undertakers during his visit to the Holy Land, where he will 'resume' his approach to JESUS OF NAZARETH as he begun it in his book with this title.

Indeed, in the Holy Land, Benedict XVI will also be confronting contextually the relationship of the Catholic Church to Judaism and Islam, and that of the Holy See with the State of Israel and with the Palestinian people.

It is a huge theological and political mix with great relevance, in which the doctrinal aspect and that of governance overlap. As they do in reality.

But we can be sure that this trip will confirm the greatness of this Pope, who governs the Church through its doctrine, transforming into Christian language all the doctrinal, theological and theological problems that he comes across.

New nominations to the Curia will follow, and the 'management' will continue its pragmatic line of governance. And that is as it should be in the Catholic Church, when the Pope governs under the sign of the identity of the faith and the unity of its doctrinal thought.

Say a prayer for Father Gianni. I will miss his theologically
and politically well-informed insights:

Another item picked up from TEMPI - and I have no idea what, in particular, occasioned it, but it's equally laudatory.

The Pope may be hammered by the media
but he is a worldwide best-seller

by Bruno Mastroianni
Translated from

June 2, 2009

Why does Benedict XVI's mediatic image continue to be so bad?

There are so many explanations we can give. Above all, his insistence on truth which is unpleasant to the cushioned ears of the press, his unpardonable lack of political correctness.

But there's something else. One of the characteristics of this Pope is that to follow him, one has to lend him an ear and pay attention. In perfect tune with his kindly character, typical of a man of culture who is also a thelogian and better yet, a man of God, Benedict XVi expresses his teachings with all the calm of someone who completely trusts the value of what he says.

Without need of tricks or frills to call attention. His discourses are hymns to the human rational capacity - which they interpellate, respect, stimulate. The listener can choose to listen or not.

Because Benedict XVI's voice, amid so many sensation-making noises which shatter against each other in a frantic contest to gain an audience, is like a light whisper, too easily muffled.

This Pope never talks to produce an effect. He simply faces the essential issues that matter: man's destiny, who is God, what existence means. These are themes which require a listener ready to listen.

Meanwhile, with more than 130 books in circulation, and millions of copies sold around the world (in the past two years, JESUS OF NAZARETH and the two encyclicals sold millions by themselves), Papa Ratzinger is now the most widely read spiritual writer in the world. And in this, his popularity obviously follows criteria othere than what the media use!

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/5/2009 5:41 AM]
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