Benedict: Year One

by Jimmy Akin

in Benedict XVI

John Allen has a thoughtful (and lengthy!) analysis of the first year of B16’s reign. It’s worth reading as a whole, but I wanted to call attention to this one point, in which Allen is describing the reaction many had to Benedict’s election:

[I]n the immediate aftermath of his election, most commentators fell back upon tried-and-true labels: "archconservative," "authoritarian," "hard-line."

Probably the best expression of all this came in an editorial cartoon in L’Unità, the newspaper of the old Communist Party in Italy. Understanding the cartoon requires a bit of background. In Italy, perhaps the most revered pope of modern times is John XXIII, know as il papa buono, "The Good Pope." One treasured memory of John XXIII is an evening in October 1962, the opening of the Second Vatican Council, when the Catholic Action movement organized a torchlight parade that finished in St. Peter’s Square. The pope was not scheduled to address the crowd, but when it arrived, John XXIII wanted to speak. He said something burned into the consciousness of most Italians, repeated endlessly on television and radio. Smiling down on the crowd, he said: Tornando a casa, troverete i bambini. Date una carezza ai vostri bambini e dite: questa è la carezza del Papa. It means, "When you go home, you’ll find your children. Give them a kiss, and tell them that this kiss comes from the pope." It summed up the legendary love of the man.

Thus the L’Unità cartoon showed Benedict XVI at the same window, saying, "Tonight, when you go home, I want you to give your children a spanking, and tell them that this spanking comes from the pope."



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{ 14 comments } Political News and Blog Aggregator April 3, 2006 at 12:31 am

John Paul II Mourned One Year Later

Pilgrims are marking the first anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s death by praying at his tomb and p

Barbara April 3, 2006 at 5:51 am

Yes, Pope John XXIII was well loved. His passing was one of those events in my life, when I will forever remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news.

Mike Koenecke April 3, 2006 at 6:10 am

A minor quibble, but wouldn’t “carezza” be a caress, rather than a kiss?

BillyHW April 3, 2006 at 6:18 am

I believe that’s what we call a dynamic translation.
Few English-speaking persons would say they “caress” their kids goodnight.

ELC April 3, 2006 at 6:37 am

But Italians aren’t having children anymore. Pretty much as the rest of Europeans aren’t.

Karen April 3, 2006 at 6:38 am

I believe that’s what we call a dynamic translation.
Few English-speaking persons would say they “caress” their kids goodnight.

So *that*’s what I should be calling those. Often, I want to translate something for somebody but I tell them, “I know what it means, but it doesn’t make sense translated to English!” and I have to search my brain for colloquial equivalents.

Mark April 3, 2006 at 6:45 am

I am still waiting to see what kind of Pope Benedict will be. I am wondering if He will be a leader or a manager. I really havent noticed anything in the first year. Now there are rumblings about the Latin Missal and the SSPX coming back into the fold. The Church seems to make a gesture (even a Cardinal saying they are not Schismatic). Will This be a highlight of his Papacy?..I understand he is not JP2. I understand that JP2 came to us as a young man. I just wish I could see him do something other than red shoes and sunglasses. Pax Bonum

M.Z. Forrest April 3, 2006 at 7:06 am

I think John Allen summarizes what is pretty evident. Pope Benedict doesn’t want to be president and isn’t pursuing it.
Seeing Allen’s commentary makes the decision to drop Patriarchate of the West quite understandable. Instead of directing the African bishops, he is holding an African Synod. Those bishops that thought they had difficult jobs are going to find their jobs more difficult as Benedict forces them to take leadership on local and national issues rather than passing the buck to Rome.

Tim J. April 3, 2006 at 7:07 am

“I really havent noticed anything in the first year.”
Have you read Deus Caritas Est?

Alan Phipps April 3, 2006 at 7:14 am

“I really havent noticed anything in the first year.”
“Have you read Deus Caritas Est?”
Or heard about World Youth Day? Or his daily messages? Or… ? Don’t rely on mainstream media to get your info about the pope (if you were) – Benedict doesn’t get the same headlines as JPII. Subscribe to the Vatican Information Service or some reputable Catholic news organization :)

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B. April 3, 2006 at 7:29 am

Gerald Augustinus has translated and posted a pertinent article from Austria.

Mark April 3, 2006 at 10:01 am

Africa not look to Rome?..Letting Bishop’s (look at The LA diocese or the American Bishops!) run their own courses is what the problem is. Rome is is the Seat of Peter. If we cannot turen to Rome for Guidance…where do we go?

Samuel Ferraro April 4, 2006 at 11:32 pm

When are Catholics going to stop referring to Pope John XXIII as the “good pope”? This seems to imply that those who preceeded him were in some way not good. In 2000 years, while there were some popes involved in personal scandal, all of our popes have always upheld the faith through the protection of the Holy Ghost, therefore all popes qualify as good popes. Catholics especially should realize how unCatholic it is to even subtly pit a pope against his predecessors.

Garett April 25, 2006 at 4:49 pm


Clifton Efrain Alfonso Latrell Mason

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