Wednesday, September 24, 2008

French editorials on the Visit of Pope Benedict: II

Le Figaro Magazine: covering the week of the Pope's visit, published on the Saturday after his departure. Editorial by Alexis Brezet: 'The Mystery of Benoit XVI: The Pope sacrifices nothing to novelty and facile words.....'

It seems to me that le Figaro is not grinding any partisan axes. It genuinely wants to penetrate this 'mystery'. To actual Catholics, there is of course no mystery, but as one of the two most influential secular French dailies, le Figaro is to be congratulated for taking such an open-minded stance, and in direct contrast with the fomenting fellows and females of the mostly bishop-controlled Catholic media.

At first the editorial states that Benedict (translation from now on, my comments in brackets)'does not have the charisma (debased and shallow use of the word) of his predecessor. He is reserved, cerebral, economical in gesture and precise in each word he utters. He doesn't employ any of the seductions that please the media.....

'At the heart of the French church there are many who are reluctant to follow this old fashioned pope who is bringing back the good old catechism and Latin prayers; who distributes communion in the mouth ('sur les levres', which actually means on the lips and therefore nonsensical); and who has ordered generosity towards the faithful who want the old liturgy from before Vatican II. And yet, in his manner, which is all gentleness and almost timidity, this Pope is incredibly popular. (Incredible because he is actually teaching the Faith!?) Each Wednesday in Saint Peter's Square, Pope Benedict's public audiences are attracting crowds never seen in such great numbers before. His first 'Encyclical Deus Caritas Est' was a record breaking best seller. (As has been 'Jesus of Nazareth') Hundreds of thousands of young people at WDF Cologne and Sydney gave the lie to the claim that WDF would be overshadowed without Jonh Paul II. And now we have the multitudes at Paris and Lourdes. In this popular infatuation (strange word, indicating perhaps that le Figaro wonders whether it will be a short-lived phenomenon) lies a mystery which does not cease to intrigue us.'
End of translated quote.

I've no doubt that all here would say that it doesn't intrigue us at all. No, it gladdens us, gives us strength and increases our prayer for our Holy Father. Habemus Papam indeed.

More of the meat from the Pelerin and le Figaro articles tomorrow but for now, I leave you with the astute words of French Fr. Guy Gilbert which appear later on in the Figaro magazine:

'One looked at John Paul II; one listens to Benoit XVI.'

God bless,

In Christo pro Papa



Grigori said...

Dear Jane,

I find it exceptionally difficult to be critical of JPII because he became Pope in the year I was born and remained so until my late twenties.

I have heard a lot of criticism of him, but find it very hard to depart from the childlike unconditional love of someone who knew him as the only Pope from when I first gained awareness of the world.

When I first heard Benedict XVI with his German accent, which had previously only been regularly heard in WWII films(!!) it was quite an adjustment to make mentally. However, his wonderful wisdom and love quickly won me over (especially when he released Deus Caritas Est and his book on Jesus).

I continue to pray that God will bless us by keeping him with us for as long as possible.

God bless.

In Christo pro Papa,


Jane said...

Dear Grigori,

First of all thanks for your comment and for your morning's offering of a decade. re: earlier promise on HS, go asap to both of these:


in the subject boxes put FROM GRIGORI

Both will be alerted when I've finished this comment.

Now, your comment:

I did not mean to criticize Pope John Paul II in quoting Fr Guy. Quite the reverse. I interpret his comment as going much deeper and like to think it means, that we can learn tremendous lessons about Christian suffering and death when we look at him. By the end his suffering was almost unbearable to watch but he showed us (when he could hardly speak anymore), how to die silently, with dignity, acceptance and love of God and of us all.

Of course I understand how it must have felt to lose the only Pope you had known and regarded as a spiritual father in more than just the ordinary way that we Catholics regard our Popes.

I would like to go on and explain what I see as the important connections between John Paul and Benedict, and I'm not merely talking about the fact that they were close and valued each other tremendously. However, I must go now. Have had a difficult morning on the computer when for four hours I couldn't access my posts and comments. Seems OK now though.

God bless and will come back this evening. Have to go shopping in a couple of hours which I detest. Will say a Hail Mary or two for you when at the cat food shelves!

In Christo pro Papa,


Grigori said...

Dear Jane,

Thank you for your response. The Hail Marys are very welcome.

I was not being critical about you for being critical :-) I was trying to be self-critical for my inability to think critically where he is concerned. It is like my parents - I cannot see their faults (of course in their case it may be that they do not have any! :-) ).

I understand that John Paul II and Benedict XVI were very close? The former a Philospher, the latter a Theologian supreme.

Please send my love to les chats. I will pray for you all in between clients.

God bless.

In Christo pro Papa,