A period of silence

2013-02-18 L’Osservatore Romano

Retreat time of silence is beginning in the Vatican.  After the Sunday Angelus, that, as usual Benedict XVI prayed at noon in St Peter’s Square attended by a very large  number of people, the Lenten Spiritual Exercises began and will last until Saturday 23.

During this period there is no the General Audience on Wednesday, and the  Private and Special Audiences are also suspended.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, will preach the Retreat in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, on the theme Ars orandi, ars credendi. The face of God and the face of man in the prayers of the Psalms.   During the week the Cardinal will suggest an itinerary for meditation in the Psalter to the Pope and the members of the Roman Curia. The Cardinal will explain the Exercises which will be published in interview form in our newspaper. In addition the Cardinal is expected to speak about Joseph Ratzinger’s possible future role, since he has resigned from the Papacy.  He stands out as “a figure who will continue the service of  intercession that is so important for the Church”.

The comments and news regarding Benedict’s decision are increasing.  In the Autumn of 2001 the German journalist and writer Peter Seewald … began to collect relevant material with a biography of the Pontiff in mind. He should finish writing it by 2014. This is why in the second half of 2012 he met Mons. Georg Ratzinger and several of the Pope’s students, as well as Benedict XVI in the summer and in the month of December of last year. Peter Seewald has authored and published three books containing two interviews with Cardinal Ratzinger and one with Benedict XVI.

Seewald has spoken about these meeting with a German weekly “Focus”, which made an announcement in advance on the 16 February of the article published on Sunday 17th. In answer to the question, “what more can be expected of your Pontificate”, the Pope replied that he is well on in years and feels that what he has achieved already is enough. These words hint at his failing strength and energy which Benedict XVI admitted were the reason for his resignation from the papacy on 11 February.

The Pope’s decision has in no way been influenced by the theft of private documents from his flat. According to the German journalist and writer that episode did not upset the Pope, nor make him feel his ministry a burden, nevertheless Benedict XVI cannot explain that action. In settling the case the Pontiff feels strongly that it was important that the Vatican issued an independent judicial verdict and that it was not an intervention by a ruler.