Papa Benedetto, We Love You too!
On this podcast, people share their stories – what it is about Papa Benedetto that they love so much, how his life has encouraged them, and which of his words particularly inspire them.
Many thanks to Amanda Vernon for the gift of her music.
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24) Greg, who's 23 & from Great Britain:
"Among other things, I’ve read quite a lot of Benedict XVI’s writings and I think he’s a very profound and great writer. But I think he’s much more relevant and knows much more about the modern world than most people realise - so I'm principally thinking of his idea of the dictatorship of relativism. I've been at university for 5 years now and to me it's extremely obvious that he was completely right about this …just in terms of ideas of free speech, society's obsession with relativism and the fear of the absolute means that anyone who expresses or wishes otherwise are deemed intolerant or bigoted. … I think Benedict is an extremely loving, caring and cheerful man in his own way, but we don't see it so much, and he's able to express it in words like no-one else I've ever read."
BXVI, Westminster Hall London (17.09.10): ".. The central question at issue, then, is this: where is the ethical foundation for political choices to be found? The Catholic tradition maintains that the objective norms governing right action are accessible to reason, prescinding from the content of revelation. According to this understanding, the role of religion in political debate is not so much to supply these norms, as if they could not be known by non-believers – still less to propose concrete political solutions, which would lie altogether outside the competence of religion – but rather to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles. This “corrective” role of religion vis-à-vis reason is not always welcomed, though, partly because distorted forms of religion, such as sectarianism and fundamentalism, can be seen to create serious social problems themselves. And in their turn, these distortions of religion arise when insufficient attention is given to the purifying and structuring role of reason within religion. It is a two-way process. Without the corrective supplied by religion, though, reason too can fall prey to distortions, as when it is manipulated by ideology, or applied in a partial way that fails to take full account of the dignity of the human person. Such misuse of reason, after all, was what gave rise to the slave trade in the first place and to many other social evils, not least the totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century. This is why I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilization. .."
23) Angelika, 1 of the Totus2us team, who's 30 & from Germany:
"How can you not love Pope Benedict? He’s such a lovely man. I don’t think there are many people like him who are so humble yet so great at the same time. He’s such a wonderful theologian, deep thinker, great scholar and yet he never even mentions it. He's never proud and never boasts about it. When he resigned a year ago I think that was probably the most humble thing to do: accepting that you can't go on like that, that your task is going to be too much for you, that it's too big for you, and yet not just pretending to do it and not doing it well, but instead resigning and just admitting that you're weak. That's incredible. Yeh, I do love him."
22) Collette, who's 25 & from Birmingham in England, talks about how Benedict XVI's apostolic pilgrimage to the UK in 2010 touched her:
"Three years ago I was a lapsed Catholic, living a life at complete odds to the Church, very far away from the Church. Pope Benedict came to England on his visit and through his words and his actions, Christ's love really broke through into my life and I had a really powerful conversion experience. I'll never forget his words at Bellahouston Park where he asked the young people to lead a life worthy of their vocation. He didn't just ask, he urged the young people to lead a life worthy of their vocation. And for me in my heart I knew there was something more in my life. A few days later I felt Christ's love in such a powerful way through his instrument Pope Benedict, when he told the young people at Twickenham, 'Dear young people, God loves you so much more than you could ever imagine and by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness because God wants what's best for you.' And in that moment, through God's servant Benedict XVI, through Peter here on earth, I learnt the two greatest loves of my life: 1) that I am loved by God, that I am his child and He loves me and 2) that I am called to holiness and this has completely changed my life."
21) Ulrich, who's 26 & from Germany, after his response in English talks a bit in German about his JMJ experience at WJT Köln 2005
"I had this great luck to discover the faith especially with our Pope Benedict. So I read a lot of his books, a lot of his homilies, and I actually had the great luck to see him twice personally: once in Cologne (at World Youth Day) and once in Rome. Yeh, I really felt deeply impressed by his confrontation with the modern world and his explanations for us Christians: how to rediscover the faith, especially with this task of the apostolic mission, confronting with this world who right now is really apart from faith. But we know that there is such a strong link between faith and reason, so that's a great, great, unforgettable achievement of our Pope Benedict."
20) Brandon, who's 26 & from the United States:
"What I liked about Pope Benedict is that he was such a prolific writer, the way he wrote and how he synthesised all of his thought and really centred around the person of Jesus in a very wonderful way."
19) Miriam, who's 21 & from Germany:
"For me, it’s a really big grace to be here in Rome during the last days of the pontificate of Pope Benedict. He was a real father for me, because he was a holy man and he knew how to love the faith. ..I started to read what he said, to get to know him better because I studied for 9 months in Rome. I was there every Sunday at the Angelus and it was just so good to hear him and to hear his interpretation of the Gospel, to hear how he’s living his prayer life. Like he told us during the last audiences, and now in the last audience when he was so personal, when he really told us how his heart, how he loves God and that he feels that the Church is alive, the Church is young. We are not alone, he’s not alone, because God is with us. It was so touching and if felt like ‘yeh, there’s hope, there’s a great hope for us’."
18) Erin, who's 19 & from Indianna in the United States:
"I want to thank Papa Benedict for his witness and for his love for the Church. In both ways it’s the way he lives his life, and his vocation is inspiring to me because he shows us what a saint right now can look like and how unique everyone’s call is. But what is the same throughout all is that we're all called to listen to the will of God and to say yes, whatever it is. From that will come so much beauty and so much love, and that is how the Church should live."
17) Mary, who's 19 & from the United States:
"I’d like to thank Pope Benedict for all that he has done in the past 8 years as pope. I think one of the most powerful things or ways that he has had an impact on me is actually with his resignation. It is such an act of humility and self-sacrifice, that he really is showing his love for the Church in a new way. I think I’ll remember him more fondly for this gift that he’s giving to the Church, but I also appreciate his work in the new evangelization and his promotion of that. He has just been such a blessing for the Church and I just hope we get another pope as wonderful as he is. So thank you, Pope Benedict. We love you."
14) Alice, who's 21 & from England:
"In 2010 I was lucky enough to meet the Holy Father when he came to the UK on his state visit. Listening to what he said to the young people gathered on the steps of Westminster, and being lucky enough to have been given blessing by him, it was really moving and his words really struck a chord with myself and a lot of young people I spoke to that day. I think it really helped the young people of the UK to bear witness more easily to their faith."
13) Ben, who's 19 & from England:
"I went to Rome 3 weeks ago and had an audience with the Pope and it was amazing. It was just amazing to see how many people were there and how many people love the Pope. I work for Kimberley, which is a retreat centre, and we got a shout out from the Pope, so it was really cool and made me think more in detail about the Pope and sort of made me feel like there was something bigger out there."
12) Paul, who's 23 & from Scotland, has recently come back from a year in Rome:
"During my time there as a young Catholic I got to spend a lot of time witnessing and seeing the heart of our Church, and at the very heart of our Church, the leader of our Church, our Holy Father Pope Benedict. For me as a young Catholic, to see him, to see this pillar of faith, of hope and of love, he really inspired in me the confidence to really step out into the deep, to give everything for Our Lord."
"I think he's doing so much for the Church in terms of the reform of the reform and that kind of thing. So for me you can see that he really, really wants to bring the Church back with regards to the liturgy specifically and I just think he's a great man, a living saint. I appreciate everything that he has done and I hope he has many, many more years."
10) Doug, who's 22 & from the United States, is currently studying in Rome and has been reading a lot more by Pope Benedict (eg his interview with Peter Seewald in Light of the World). This Christmas Doug served for BXVI at Midnight Mass at St Peter's:
"It was a very powerful experience ..filled with grace. Just seeing the man, who is old and fragile, this man who the Lord entrusted the Church with, through Peter, Pope Benedict still has the same duties given to Peter: he's given the keys of the Church, he's the rock on which our Church is built, and that strong, central figure of the Catholic Church was incarnate in Pope Benedict and for me it was just good to see that and to see him."
9) Charles, who's 19 & from England, is most struck by Benedict XVI's fatherliness and his continual encouragement that if every person is called to holiness, then every person is called to become a saint:
"I think what Pope Benedict has shown us is in his papacy is that he is a father, a father to each and everyone of us. And that he is a Pope who touches individuals and who is capable through his preaching and his words to touch the innermost soul of each and every person and to awaken in them a desire to change and a desire to move forward in their spiritual life, to go forward hopefully on the path to sainthood."
Papa Benedetto, Erin-Thérèse loves you!
"That moment, that Easter, had its trajectory in our eventual conversion to the Catholic faith. Pope Benedict has been there every step of the way for us, offering us a Holy Father whom we could respond to and relate to in some degree because his vision about where the Church is and where it needs to go is so clear, because he is this man of great faith and great intellect and he shows that these two things, far from being mutually exclusive, go hand in hand together. So I think he is the Pope that we need right now, the one who understands the challenges we face and the really urgent need for reevangelism."
"My dear brothers and sisters, Christ is risen." - BXVI
Papa Benedetto, Ruth loves you!
7) Ruth, 1 of the Totus2us team, talks about Cardinal Ratzinger's close friendship with John Paul II; about his writings as Pope Benedict: his Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, his great encyclicals on Love, Hope, and Charity and Truth, and his book, 'Jesus of Nazareth'.
"Faith, hope and charity go together. Hope is practised through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness. Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! It thus transforms our impatience and our doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in his hands and that, as the dramatic imagery of the end of the Book of Revelation points out, in spite of all darkness he ultimately triumphs in glory. Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light - and in the end, the only light - that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practise it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world - this is the invitation I would like to extend with the present encyclical." - BXVI - from his encyclical Deus Caritas Est
6) Niamh, who's 25 and from England, loves Pope Benedict XVI for all that he teaches, and most especially because she has found that at the heart of everything he says is his call to a real, authentic friendship with Christ.
"Try each day to follow Christ’s word. Listen to him as a true friend with whom you can share your path in life. With him at your side, you will find courage and hope to face difficulties and problems, and even to overcome disappointments and set-backs." - BXVI - from his Message for the 26th World Youth Day (in Madrid 2011)
(Niamh is on the right in the photo, outside Lambeth Palace, during BXVI's visit to London)
Papa Benedetto, Anthony loves you!
5) Anthony, an Indian expat working in Dubai, highlights the universality of the Church - what it is to be Catholic - and the gift of the Papacy, because the Papacy was instituted by Christ himself. He started admiring the Cardinal Ratzinger's humility when he read about him just before the Papal Election in 2005 and in Benedict XVI has discovered a great teacher. Anthony ends by encouraging the young people of the UK not to be afraid of receiving the Holy Father with open arms during his papal visit, as they will witness history in the making: Pope Benedict is not coming as a politician but he is bringing Christ to us.
"God takes nothing away from those who give themselves to him. On the contrary, he gives them everything. He comes to draw out the best that is in each one of us, so that our lives can truly flourish." - BXVI
If you'd like to download (free) copies of the Pope posters or see the Catholic T-shirts Anthony has designed, visit his blog.
4) Father Martin, a priest from the archdiocese of Birmingham in England, recalls the days leading up to Cardinal Ratzinger's election and inauguration as Pope Benedict XVI. His quote is from Papa Benedetto's homily:
"If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ!" - BXVI at his Inauguration Mass
2) Vincent, who's 25 and from Britain, was first inspired by Cardinal Ratzinger when, as Dean of College of Cardinals, he gave the homily at the Mass "for the election of the Roman Pontiff" in St. Peter's Basilica, before the conclave of Cardinals, (which went on to elect him as the new Pope on 19th April 2005).
"How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought? The small boat of thought of many Christians has often remained agitated by the waves, tossed from one extreme to the other..
Every day new sects are born and we see realized what St. Paul says on the deception of men, on the cunning that tends to lead into error. To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of "doctrine," seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the "I" and its whims as the ultimate measure." - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
(and he continued: "We have another measure: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. "Adult" is not a faith that follows the waves in fashion and the latest novelty. Adult and mature is a faith profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ. This friendship opens us to all that is good and gives us the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth. ...")
Papa Benedetto, Amanda loves you!
1) Amanda who's 22 and from America, has a Catholic music ministry, and her song A Little Bit is featured on this podcast (for more info visit her website). Here she describes how her music, her ministry and her marriage would not be the same without Pope Benedict XVI.
"Be prepared to put your life on the line in order to enlighten the world with the truth of Christ; to respond with love to hatred and disregard for life; to proclaim the hope of the risen Christ in every corner of the earth." - BXVI