Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Holy Father in flying form, in two languages!

The Holy Father is about to make an Apostolic Visit to the USA and he prepared the above deeply spiritual message in advance of the trip. As with anything else he says we can expect that this will be misunderstood by many journalists with little knowledge of, and even less interest in, his teaching. However, an excellent American organisation the Pew Forum held a briefing for journalists so that they could put il Papa's visit in context. They had two speakers, John Allen of the infamous National Catholic Distorter (who is despite that and his execrable biography of the Cardinal Ratzinger, a fair-minded and decent commenter) and George Weigel a solidly orthodox Catholic, if a bit too neo-Conservative for my liking.

The whole transcript of the discussion, including questions and answers afterwards can be found here; particularly interesting though is one quote from Allen, showing the Pope's sharp even slightly barbed sense of humour.

There is a custom in the Vatican press corps that when one of us publishes a book about the pope, we typically inscribe a copy to him and then give it either to his private secretary or to his spokes[man]. [...] But when the Holy Father was elected, I published one of these insta-books about the conclave and the new pope. And I dutifully inscribed it to the pope, and I gave it to his spokes[man Joaquin Navarro-Valls] ... this was in June. In August, I got a call on my cell phone from Navarro-Valls [who] said, look John, I want you to know that I’m on vacation with the Holy Father, and the pope came down to breakfast this morning with your book in his hands... So Navarro says to me, ... the pope has a message for you ... would you please thank Herr Allen for having written this book, particularly the last part about the future of my pontificate because it has saved me the trouble of thinking about it for myself.

No comments: