All about Pope Benedict XVI – from a priest who knows him

You have a long-standing relationship with Pope Benedict XVI. Can you describe when you first met him?

Father Fessio: I first met Fr. Joseph Ratzinger when I arrived in Regensburg, (then West Germany) in the fall of 1972. I began my doctoral studies there and he was my doctoral director.

How that happened is a story in itself. I had begun my theological studies in France at the Jesuit Theologate in Lyons. There I was befriended by Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J., a wonderful man of the Church and a renowned theologian. When the time came for me to decide upon the subject for a doctorate I asked his advice. He immediately told me that I should do my doctorate on Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar whom he considered one of the greatest theologians of the era, if not all time. When I asked him where I should do it he immediately said, “Go to Regensburg and do it under Fr. Joseph Ratzinger; he’s a fine young theologian.” Fr. de Lubac graciously wrote to Fr. Ratzinger on my behalf and Fr. Ratzinger who was not accepting many new graduate students since he had so many already, accepted Fr. de Lubac’s recommendation.

Joseph Ratzinger was then as he is now, a very quiet and gracious person, always willing to listen; but when he speaks, he speaks with great clarity and depth of understanding. Even then one felt a presence because of his goodness, his openness, and his wisdom.

Read more

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s