Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Memories of Pope Benedict

Memories of Pope Benedict

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          I still remember the day Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.  My wife and I were in Cancun on our honeymoon, having married only three days before (on Cardinal Ratzinger’s birthday).  We were staying at my aunt and uncle’s time share, which they generously gave us for a week as a wedding present.
          Each night we would turn on the television for news out of the Vatican.  Finally, on April 19, I was in the guest lobby checking my email (and setting my Fantasy baseball lineup for the next day – don’t tell my wife), when I saw a headline that it was Ratzinger.
          I had long been a fan of Cardinal Ratzinger and owned a number of his books.  Of course, the conventional wisdom said that, at 78, he was far too old to be chosen.  But the Holy Spirit doesn’t check in with conventional wisdom.
          I shut off the computer (leaving Cliff Lee on the bench, much to my later dismay) and ran back to the room to share the news with my wife, who had been taking a nap.
          “It’s Cardinal Ratzinger!” I shouted, and we both celebrated.
          My wife and I are both members of the John Paul II generation.  We have a deep affection for our Polish pope, and one of the greatest thrills of my life was when I got to see and attend Mass with him. 
          But these past eight years, we have also fallen in love with our German shepherd.  How blessed we have been!  This man of humble charity and intellectual greatness now delivers a powerful lesson about love of the Church and the world.
          I will dearly miss Pope Benedict, and I know his prayers will continue to build up the Church.  May God grant us another pope in the image of the men who have guided her so beautifully this past 35 years.