An Irish Times article Peter Seewald, recent interviewer of Pope Benedict XVI: The pope whisperer

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...[Augsburger Allgemeine's] editor, Markus Günther, predicts that, after the furore accompanying its publication dies down, Light of the World will shape the public image of the pope as much as Seewald’s two earlier interviews did.

“Going into the conclave in 2005, people knew what Ratzinger thought on so many issues because of those two books,” said Günther. “There are many people who say that, without these books, Ratzinger would not have become pope.”

Regardless of one’s views on the pope, Light of the World is of general interest, even if it is only of the prurient Hello! magazine variety.

The pope, we learn, never carries a wallet and has never used the exercise bike given to him by his doctor. He says he was “shocked” at being elected pope and prayed silently for the strength to get through his first appearance on the Vatican balcony, let alone the years to come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

4 Comments
Posted November 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. farstrider+ wrote:

But he admits he was not fully informed about Bishop Rowan Williamson, who denied there were gas chambers in Auschwitz, and would have acted differently had he known.

Whoops! Wrong bishop and wrong spelling…

November 27, 4:18 pm | [comment link]
2. farstrider+ wrote:

I’ve sent an e-mail to the journalist. Hopefully there will be a retraction/correction soon. It’s a fairly easy mistake to make, I guess—Rowan Williams/Richard Williamson…

November 27, 4:32 pm | [comment link]
3. TACit wrote:

‘A contrary Irishman’ - this phrase I heard once 35 years ago from an Oxford Professor with a Cambridge degree came to mind reading the posted article.  It’s a revealing sentence in the midst of the article asking if Seewald had ‘gone over to the other side’ (to Rome’s side, from that of the press)!  Apparently he’d like to consider whether Seewald is a psychophant who would never publish nor say anything detrimental to the Pope’s image, even at the expense of the (journalistic notion of) ‘truth’?  There’s no reason to suppose this, however.  It seems clear that the Pope elected to give an interview to a person who speaks the same language as himself natively.  He was asked for an(other) interview by V. Messori, an Italian who obtained one earlier, and demurred, then granted one to Seewald.  This was a very smart approach since at the outset there would be no possible confusion over the meanings of vocabulary.  Those that occurred were introduced by subsequent processes of publication.
The thing about Pope Benedict XVI is that he is a series of events himself, and by now the publication of this book is last week’s news.  There are many good and informative reviews out there, and there is the book itself. 
Since its release there has opened a Vatican Ratzinger Foundation for theological studies, with announcement of prizes it will award that are subsidized by earnings from his book sales.  Next, the pope presided on Saturday night at the first-ever Vigil for Life with Advent Vespers at St. Peter’s Basilica, at which he gave this homily (draft English translation), which could become a blockbuster for its charity and clarity in our darkened times:
http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=442594

November 28, 1:58 am | [comment link]
4. TACit wrote:

Interestingly, with regard to Ireland apparently this is said in the new book:
Pope Benedict says: “The Archbishop of Dublin told me something very interesting about that. He said that ecclesiastical penal law functioned until the late 1950s; admittedly, it was not perfect – there is much to criticise about it – but nevertheless it was applied. After the mid-sixties, however, it was simply not applied any more….....The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but, rather a Church of love: she must not punish . . This led to an odd darkening of the mind, even in very good people.”

Asked by Seewald about the overall impact of the Irish sex abuse crisis, Pope Benedict says: “In Ireland the problem is altogether specific – there is a self-enclosed Catholic society, so to speak, which remained true to its faith despite centuries of oppression, but in which, then, evidently certain attitudes were also able to develop. I cannot analyze that in detail now.  (my bold)
“To see a country that gave the world so many missionaries, so many saints, which in the history of the missions also stands at the origin of our faith in Germany, now in a situation like this is tremendously upsetting and depressing. Above all, of course, for the Catholics in Ireland itself, where now as always there are many good priests.”

November 28, 4:09 am | [comment link]
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