Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Papacy Unlike the Prior One

Magister's account of the Papal visit to Loreto (excerpted):

In Loreto, the vigil with the thirty thousand young people who came from Italy and the rest of the world was comprised of two events: the first, an afternoon of prayer and reflection; and the second, a typical evening of musical entertainment, featuring famous performers.

This evening of music, which was broadcast live by one of the television channels of the Italian state, was conceived by Bibi Ballandi, a manager for famous artists and an organizer of televised events. He was the one who in 1997, for a similar evening during the international Eucharistic congress in Bologna, brought in Bob Dylan and Adriano Celentano to sing in front of John Paul II, who remained on the stage for the entire performance.

This time, in Loreto, there were Claudio Baglioni, Lucio Dalla, and the rock group "Vibrazioni." But the pope wasn’t there. While the singers were performing, he was secluded in prayer at the shrine, before the reliquary of the Holy House of Nazareth.


In Loreto, Benedict XVI instead personally participated in the afternoon meeting with the young people, organized by the heads of the pastoral care of young people for the Italian bishops’ conference.

But here, too, he made a clear departure from the prepared script. On the one side, there were the young actors who took turns reading – with theatrical flair, but still in a contrived manner – the passages selected by the organizers, many of which were taken from the Bible. On the other side, there was the pope, who set aside the texts prepared for him by the offices of the curia and responded to questions from the young people with spontaneous, improvised words that were unmistakably his own, and therefore also capable of penetrating the heart. While he was speaking and saying profound, demanding, touching things, there was an impressive silence and attention among the three hundred thousand young people listening to him.

Not a man of the "beau geste" but a teacher, in word and example.

HT: Fr. Z.

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