Saturday, June 9, 2012

'Glory of the Olive' I (A Life under six Popes)

Like many I couldn't quite believe it when Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope. At the time I didn't have access to all the news sites that are now my daily bread and butter. As I've already said, in the years when I was writing my books  I only used the computer in connection with that work. As it is, I still don't know how I wrote them and functioned effectively as a full time teacher. When John Paul II died my third one had just been published. I knew his successor as a shadowy figure who was acknowledged as a consummate theologian and who had a penchant for traditional liturgy. And that the mainstream media, with the help, I'm sure, of many inside the Roman 'corridors of power', were determined to characterise him as totally impossible to elect as successor to John Paul II.. He is still suffering from the effect of their longstanding hatchet job..Indeed, this false representation of him is even now only just below the surface.

In the early 1990s I had a young friend who was a seminarian at Wigratzbad. He wrote to me in great excitement to tell me that Cardinal Ratzinger had visited the seminary and celebrated the Tridentine Mass. He enclosed a photograph of the event and it's still upstairs somewhere.  In the same letter my friend begged me to take no notice of what the media said about the Cardinal.. I never had done, I didn't then and I don't now.. I suppose that knowing I had worked for the Tablet, my friend thought I may have been tainted. If so, he need not have worried.

On the second day of the conclave I was at work and had to wait until I got home to find out what had happened..It was all over and 'habemus papam' had been declaimed across the Square to an apparently jubilant crowd..  I think it must have been a google alert report since that is the only thing I had fixed at the time. And I saw Benedict XVI on the central loggia of St Peter's for the first time.. It seemed like a dream come true. But what would he be like as Pope? I would have to wait until his homily at the inaugural Mass for an inkling as to the answer to my question.

To be continued

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hasn't it been a wonderful seven years, Jane! When he was elected I was still able to leap up and jump around. Today if I try doing that I become giddy! Thank God, our Benedict still sails the barque of Christ with absolute steadiness!
Love, Mary Hoka2_99