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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Oremus pro mitissime papa nostro

The crap has already started, of course. A letter explaining how Ratzinger engineered his own election.

Asked if he voted for Ratzinger, Glemp replied “During the conclave, my hand did not waver”. Cardinal Meisner, that when the counting of the votes for Ratzinger reached 77, the cardinals rose from their seats and began applauding, and the counting continued. Another journalist gives a reconstruction of voting strategies, following some citations from Meisner, but doesn't actually give a source.

One of the Polish tabloid headlines yesterday: “He likes sweet pancakes”, blazing white letters across a fotie of the Holy Father. One of my housemates said in the evening, laughing half from happiness and half at the power of suggestion “you know, I read it and I suddenly felt a great urge to eat pancakes”. I had noticed the plate of pancakes next to the cooker.

Leonardo Boff (my R.E. Teacher gave me a book of his to read when I was at school - it was yellow) has been quoted at length in the South American press. I say this on the basis of in-depth personal investigation of South American papers, of course. He says the predictable stuff, but has also complimentary words for the Holy Father, and the following reminiscences. “I got to know him as a professor of theology. He always gave half of his salary to help students from the Third World. He helped me - also financially - to publish my doctoral thesis.”

Sad that even supposed vaticanologists weigh at great length the new pope's media-friendliness, fret about his ability or lack of ability to deal with crowds. One Polish chap solemnly and sadly relates his impression of Cardinal Ratzinger at an academic roundtable, “the impression he made on his interlocutors was not, unfortunately, favourable”. Most of the balance of their text is made up of wondering how people will like what he does, or the extent to which he will do what people would like. Did they have special spectacles on when they read his sermons? What matters? Christ.

Funny how people can't see past their own motives.

A few smiles in this comment from the Times. Another one.

From the online comments:

"Yes, he is the right choice. I am not a Catholic and I am a liberal. Yet I do believe that any church that deviates from its fundamental values just to satisfy so called modern liberal attitudes is not worth a string of plastic beads. It is curous but it is they that are losing their followers the fastest. Wouldn't these churches love to have congregations that showed the same love and joy in their faces as those in St Peter's Square when they beheld their new Pope." Name and address withheld

Read also Zadok the Roman, who should be added to our links.

And for seemingly limitless amusement I recommend the Independent (sadlty particularly promising-looking article you have to pay for, but you can giggle at the letters), Guardian, etc.

I can still feel the happy hormones or whatever it is flowing through me. But I am so sad for the Holy Father, it is not going to be easy. Poor man. But again, he will see it all in perspective, so won't be too miserable about it even if it really hurts. Still. Not nice.