Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Austere Life of Pope Benedict XVI

This article is a wonderful account of the Holy Father's life in the Vatican. It has been translated from Italian by a Ratzinger fan club member and an excerpt is presented here.

The austere life of a Pope who loves silence By Herve Yannou, Figaro correspondent in Rome

The Vatican prepares to celebrate the first Christmas in the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

On this occasion, we look into the daily routine of the German who became Pope on April 19. The creche has been installed at the foot of the obelisk on St. Peter’s Square, in the shadow of the giant fir that is this year’s Vatican Christmas tree. In this early morning hour, the bronze gates that constitute the official entrance to the Vatican, with Swiss Guards on duty, are still closed. It is 5:30 a.m. A light goes on in the right-hand corner of the third floor of the Apostolic Palace (1)*. Benedict XVI is awake. *[Numbers in parentheses refer to location on the floor plan in the accompanying illustration]

In Rome, there are no secrets but mysteries. Since his election, the rooms occupied up there by the Pope have not always revealed their mysteries. With Benedict XVI, the doors of the pontifical apartments have closed once again. John Paul II kept an open door. He received guests every morning for his private mass, almost never ate lunch or dinner alone. It was easy then to glean bits of information after these pontifical meals. These days, his successor’s guests do not expect to be fed. Benedict XVI has maintained the austere life style he led before he became Pope. Except for a small number of privileged guests, he does not receive anyone in his private quarters. The Pope governs the Church from this “ivory tower”, out of sight and more importantly, away from the ears of indiscreet listeners. More than ever, silence is golden for the Bavarian Pope.

Read the rest here.


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