Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Day in the Life of Pope Benedict

Hats off to AmericanPapist, who posted a video from a German television station that follows Pope Benedict XVI through an ordinary day. A link to the video on YouTube is here.

All I can say is, "Wow!" Pope Benedict is a far more private person than was Servant of God Pope John Paul II. There are a number of behind-the-scene shots in this video that I simply never expected to see -- everything from his dinner to watching television in the evening.

Here are a couple observations:

1. JPII's morning Mass was celebrated with a constant stream of different pilgrims attending. I know many, many people who attended Mass in the pope's private chapel. Such is not the case with Pope Benedict, whose Mass is attended normally by a core group of those who work with him, and very occasionally a small group of pilgrims. In the video, the pope celebrates in Latin ad orientem. Why aren't we doing that??? I also liked the clip of Pope Benedict in silent meditation. I've read elsewhere that this is his ordinary morning practice following Mass.
2. JPII prefered to eat with a wide variety of visiting bishops, young people, and especially visitors from Poland. Pope Benedict's meals are much more private, and even focused on work. I had to cheer when I saw Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP, former professor of moral theology at the Angelicum and now the papal theologian, sit down with the pope for dinner. It is good to see that "papal theologian" means just that and isn't simply an honorary title.
3. More in keeping with JPII, Pope Benedict takes time to relax in nature. While JPII's activities were more strenuous -- I've been to Castel Gandolfo and seen the swimming pool the late pontiff would frequent during his summer siestas. So even if Pope Benedict merely walks instead of climbing mountains incognito and taking an afternoon dip in the pool, the two popes do share a love for time outside.
4. And lastly, the two popes both use/d modern mass media to stay informed. I honestly hadn't expected to see Pope Benedict sit down to watch the evening news, but that's what he does in the video. All those telegrams regions that have experienced disasters receive come from a pope trying to stay as intimately involved in the world as possible. At the same time, he spends supper with his theologian. How's that for staying grounded? Certainly, Pope Benedict is in the world while not being of it.

Go check out this video!!!

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