Monday, 14 August 2006

The Papal Interview

Last night I settled down in front of EWTN and, during its less interesting moments, I began to channel hop. After viewing highlights of a Spanish bullfight and the end of a concert given by the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra (resembling a slightly better than average school ensemble), I stumbled across DW-TV and the whole interview with Pope Benedict at Castel Gandolfo, complete with English translation (click the link for the full transcript).

The Holy Father answered very well (surprise, surprise), although there seemed little structure to the questioning. There were some telling human touches - he admitted that he found the Petrine ministry tiring but that 'the Good Lord gives me the necessary strength' and that humour was essential to the job: 'a writer once said that angels can fly because they don't take themselves too seriously. Maybe we could also fly a bit if we didn't think we were so important.' That writer, of course, is G.K.Chesterton, as other bloggers have noted.

In noting the perceived distinction between Ratzinger and Benedict, he said: 'my basic personality and even my basic vision have grown, but in everything that is essential I have remained identical. I'm happy that certain aspects that weren't noticed at first are now coming into the open.'

John Paul II is often described as a Pope of grand gestures, in contrast to the quieter, less dramatic Benedict XVI. But surely the granting of the first ever papal TV interview (as well as his previous interview with Vatican Radio) is a noteworthy development in the style of the Papacy and a grand gesture in its own right. Would John Paul II, with his great charisma, have been quite so comfortable in a televised interview?

By the way, I'm all for thrones - but the Holy Father did look rather dwarfed in the chair chosen for the interview (see picture above).



Anonymous Nancy said...

That's not quite correct about John Paul II. John Paul II had agreed to a live televised interview with Vittorio Messori on Italian television in October 1993 to mark the 15th anniversary of his pontificate; the interview would have then been shared with networks around the world. Unfortunately scheduling conflicts in September meant that the project had to be shelved.

But John Paul hadn't forgotten about Messori's questions and worked on replies to them over the following months. The result, which was published in 1994, was what we all know as Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

10:42 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Thanks for the info - it would have been interesting to compare the interviews, had the Messori interview materialised.

11:21 pm  

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