Skip to comments.Benedict XVI, As Seen Up Close
Posted on 05/25/2008 1:50:27 PM PDT by NYer
ROME, MAY 23, 2008 (Zenit.org).- If you want to understand Joseph Ratzinger, the man and the Pope, the starting point is the love of God, affirmed a cardinal who has worked closely with him.
Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, gave an inside look at the personality of Benedict XVI when he participated Tuesday in the book launch of "Benedictus," by Giuseppe de Carli.
"The key to the person and the ministry of Benedict XVI is the love of God," the cardinal said, affirming that the Pontiff's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est," "represents the particularity of this Pontiff."
But the cardinal clarified what that love of God means: "Love is not a static attitude," but "a dynamism that, by definition, is something that spreads.
"It tends to continuously bring into play new energies," he affirmed. "Thus, love provokes the great questions, and therefore engenders philosophy and theology."
Pope of the people
According to Cardinal Saraiva Martins, "Benedictus" documents "the development of the presence of Benedict XVI on the international scene of the third millennium, and shows how, step by step, the Pope is entering, with his reserved, stately style, into the hearts of the people."
The cardinal added that without leaving aside his intellectual depth, the Holy Father is "becoming the Pope of the people, because the people clearly perceive his message, even when it is full of uncomfortable truths, that is, demanding [truths] that call for a commitment."
The prelate continued: "He is always guided by a fatherly love that does not resign itself to seeing his children drown in mediocrity.
"And what, if not love, is his constant urging to combat the dictatorship of relativism, so thoroughly saturating our society?"
Regarding his presence on the international scene, the Holy Father's "role is not along the lines of appearing, but of being," Cardinal Saraiva Martins contended. "His very presence, even before his teaching, is for everyone a constant calling to live in love and in the search for truth."
His way of presenting himself "to the Church and the world is never invasive: his tone of voice lacks the slightest element of arrogance, his discreet, humble, cordial approach manages to open the hearts of many to his proposals."
Offering another view, Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, recalled how the Pope, two days after his election, called him urgently to ask help with the design of the papal coat of arms. The Italian prelate is an expert in ecclesiastic heraldry.
"I immediately discovered his fundamental characteristics," the cardinal said, "which the book amply points out: the aspect of the man's simplicity, humanity, sincerity, spontaneity, but also the timidity. And I noted that this is accompanied right away with an element of decisiveness, matured in reflection."
Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and thus one of Cardinal Ratzinger's closest collaborators just before the election to the See of Peter, described the pontificate as a continuation of his previous style.
He explained: "That which we see now in the Holy Father in reality is that which Ratzinger was as the prefect of our congregation.
"The same intellectual lucidity, the same zeal for the defense of doctrine, the same simplicity in human relationships, the same humility in his person."
Paging through "Benedictus," the archbishop said, one sees four outstanding qualities. "[The Pope's] radiant, spontaneous, good-hearted and contagious smile" was first on the list.
Then, Archbishop Amato noted, the Holy Father is characterized by "his willingness to dialogue, matured in his years of university teaching and sharpened in his meetings with bishops from around the world," who visited him in his role as prefect of the Vatican congregation.
"He is a man of dialogue, woven together not with frigidity or indifference, but with an interior passion, because he is an intellectual with heart," he said.
The prelate proposed that the "communicative strength of the Pope proceeds from the reasonableness of his speech -- as much when he speaks of Christ or illustrates the truth of the faith, as when he critiques the pathologies of postmodern mentality."
And since "faith and reason are the two wings that raise us to the truth," Archbishop Amato concluded, "it is precisely the truth, love for the truth and the proposal of truth that is the common thread giving continuity to Ratzinger, before as prefect, now as Pope."
Viva il Papa!!
At the risk of elevating somebody I know to the level of Benedict XVI (which would embarrass him no end), I see this same gentleness and humility in our choirmaster. He is a musical genius, a composer and consummate musician, gifted keyboard master, brilliant singer, has all the great musicians of the past and their works at his fingertips. He knows what he knows, and he teaches it. But he is so quiet, so gentle, so kind to beginning choir members, he is not intimidating at all. He doesn't need to be proud or put himself forward, or put others down.
From what you've said about your pastor, I imagine he's like that too.
...Plus he loves animals and in a special way, cats. There is a cat friend he has by the name of Chico. There is a children’s book of him and his life as told by the Chico the cat. :) =^..^=
How awesome to have a Father like this. I do truly sense this about the Holy Father.
His beauty and authority spring from Love. If it weren't so, his message would be lost on many. But because his love is genuine, his message has...glory.
Which is a good thing, because his message is beautiful, and powerful, and needful, and, well...how blessed to have a successor to Saint Peter, appointed by the only Son of God. How blessed to be a Catholic.
Too bad they're not hiring Choirmasters on Wall Street.
Oh, he’d be a bust as a trader. And so would I.
The marketplace needs human beings, too.
Thank you for posting this! Today was our final day of Religious Eudcation. I work with the older students who just made their Confirmation. Following his visit to the Yonker's seminary, I printed out a copy of the Holy Father's address to youth and asked them to read it and report on how his message was pertinent to them. Like most young teens, they did the assignment but retained little of the message. We dissected it and I dwelled on Pope Benedict's recollection from his teen years. I asked if they were following the presidential candidates and what they understood about them. The discussion turned into a very educational and poignant lesson on how the words "compassion" and "mercy" for those who are born disabled or ill can become a springboard for elected officials to propose legislation that would permit post birth abortion. And then took it to the ultimate level of generating the "perfect society", much like the Nazis.
Pope Benedict's lectures, treatises, homilies, writings and books are like deep wells brimming with great wisdom and knowledge. The media likes nothing more than to extract 'sound bites' and usually miss the greater message. We should all be greatful to freeper ELS for her postings of the Holy Father's weekly audiences. I hope these will one day be published in a book for easy reference and meditation.
On another thread, Kolokotronis said he felt he was seeing the first true Father of the Church in many hundreds of years. I feel that way, too - I am sure BXVI is going to become a reference and people are going to be reading him many, many years hence.
I think humility is a hallmark of all of them. When I saw him at an audience in Rome in 2007, people were shouting and screaming for him as he left - and I could tell that he did not like it one bit. That is, he appreciates their enthusiasm, but he doesn’t feel it should be directed at him personally.
**Pope of the people**
Thank you God, for sending us this leader.
You said: Thank you God, for sending us this leader.
Amen and Amen.