THE CATHOLIC HERALD
BUILDING A CULTURE OF LIFE IN
with Citra Abbott, Pastor Iuventus, Fr Rupert McHardy,
and Scott P Richert
YOUR 20-PAGE COLOUR ADVENT MAGAZINE
November 26 2010 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Benedict XVI: the inside story
Pope Benedict XVI has given very honest answers to extremely complex and morally sensitive questions in his six hours of interviews with the German journalist Peter Seewald Photo: PA
BY ANNA ARCO
POPE BENEDICT XVI has addressed the challenges facing the Church with unprecedented frankness in a revealing new book published this week.
Pope Benedict became the first pontiff in history to give a book-length, faceto-face interview in which he answered every question that was put to him.
In Light of the World: the Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, arguably the most intimate portrait of a serving pontiff, Pope Benedict spoke about some of the most difficult moments of his pontificate, including the clerical abuse crisis. He spoke to Peter Seewald, a German journalist, about being shocked and upset by the abuse crisis which rattled the European Church this year, his thoughts on the Williamson affair, a controversy which damaged Jewish-Catholic relations in 2009, and about improved dialogue with Islam after the Regensburg address in 2006.
Benedict XVI also spoke about the furore caused when he told journalists on the papal plane that condoms were not the solution to the HIV/Aids epidemic. He said that while condoms were not the answer to the epidemic, there were instances when the use of a condom to reduce the risk of infection could mark “a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality”.
The Pope discussed the crisis in the environment, which he linked to a spiritual crisis and a blind quest for progress that left out ethics. Pope Benedict spoke to Mr Seewald about the dictatorship of rela-
tivism, a phrase which has characterised his pontificate and describes secularism as “a new religion, which pretends to be generally valid because it is reasonable”.
Mr Seewald and Pope Benedict also discussed the future of the Church. The Pope said he expected that national Churches, like the German Church or the English Church, to disappear. Speaking about the liturgy, the Pope said the Eucharist was at the heart of any change that would move the world forward. During the six hours of interview the Pope also talked about the issues which have dominated media coverage of the Catholic Church, like the ordination of women and celibacy.
Pope Benedict XVI alluded to his health, saying that he noticed his “ forces are diminishing”. He indicated he would resign if were no longer physically, psychologically or spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office.
Other more intimate details from the Pope’s daily life also emerge throughout the book, published in Britain by the Catholic Truth Society. He explains he never wears anything except a cassock, because one of John Paul II’s undersecretaries insisted on it. The Pope also watches films with the Vatican household from time to time, and the 1950s Italian Don Camillo series is a favourite.
Reports: Pages 2-3 Extract: Page 8 Editorial comment: Page 13
Pakistan frees Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy
BY ED WEST
A PAKISTANI Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy has been freed following intense international pressure, including a direct appeal from Pope Benedict XVI.
Asia Bibi was released on Monday following an order from President Asif Ali Zardari, and a Pakistani Christian group claimed she had been pardoned.
Mrs Bibi had been condemned to death by hanging after a court in Punjab found her guilty of making blasphemous statements against Mohammed. Under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law insulting the founder of Islam is punishable by death.
Mrs Bibi said she was arrested after arguing with women who refused to drink water made “unclean” by a Christian’s touch.
President Asif Ali Zardari ordered a review of the case after the international outcry that greeted her sentencing,
and the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), a campaign group for the legal rights of Pakistani Christians, confirmed she had been pardoned and would be resettled in the United States.
The Pope last week joined calls for the release of the 45year-old mother, who is now in hiding.
The Holy Father expressed his “spiritual closeness” to Mrs Bibi and said “the international community is following with great concern the difficult situation of Christians in Pakistan, often victims of violence or discrimination”.
He said: “I pray for those who are in similar situations that their human dignity and their fundamental rights be fully respected.”
John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity for persecuted Christians, said: “We earnestly hope that the controversy surrounding this case proves to be a crucial nail in the coffin for Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.”
Pope gives £85,000 truffle to homeless
Priests: ‘Pogues star has a depth to him’
BY NICK PISA IN ROME
DOWN-AND-OUTS were treated to a super slap-up lunch from Pope Benedict XVI after he donated a £85,500 white truffle to a soup kitchen.
He handed over the one kilo delicacy to nuns running a Rome soup kitchen. It had been given to him by businessman Antonio Bertolotto who had paid 100,000 euros for it at a charity auction.
But not all the diners at the Caritas soup kitchen seemed to recognise the gastronomical delight, with several asking: “What is it? A potato?’’
One tramp, who would only give his name as Massimo, 65, from Rome, said:’’To be honest I’ve never seen a truffle and I’ve never tasted one but when you’re in my situation... you’ll eat anything.’’
Mgr Enrico Feroci, who helps run the kitchen, said: “There is enough truffle for everyone to go round. We will serve it at lunch and at dinner, you only need a shaving of it to appreciate the taste.”
BY MARK GREAVES
SINGING trio The Priests have defended their decision to collaborate with Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan after criticism from fans.
They sang with MacGowan, a former heroin addict and famously misbehaving rock star, for their Christmas single “The Little Drummer Boy”.
Fans online described the collaboration as “distasteful” and criticised the Irish singer’s “scandalous character”.
But Fr David Delargy said it was a privilege to work with him and that he had a “depth and sincerity” that is not picked up by the media. At the end of the recording session, Fr Delargy said, he even asked the priests for a blessing.
“He came across as a deeper, richer and more complex person than he’s often portrayed,” Fr Delargy said.
DON’T MISS: FR JAMES HANVEY’S ADVENT REFLECTION PAGE 9