Pope reflects on being 'chosen'

2009-05-31 18:00

Vatican City - Pope Benedict said on Saturday he still had difficulty understanding why God had chosen him to lead the Catholic Church worldwide, recalling his isolated upbringing in a rural community of southern Germany.

The 82-year-old pontiff, whose past in wartime Germany once again came under scrutiny during a visit to Israel this month, said that as a boy he never dreamed of becoming pope.

"I must say that even today I have difficulty in understanding how the Lord was able to think of me, choose me for this mission," Benedict told a meeting with thousands of children from the Church's Missionary Childhood society.

'I accept it from his hands'

"But I accept it from his hands, even if it's surprising and appears far beyond my forces. But the Lord helps me."

Benedict said growing up in a poor region of southern Bavaria, he and his peers did not think of the outside world. He was "a rather naive boy in a small village very far from the centre, in a forgotten province," the pope said.

"Naturally, we knew, venerated and loved the pope - it was Pius XI - but for us he was unobtainably noble, in almost another world: Our father, but still inhabiting a reality far superior to ours."

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

The pope's German upbringing was thrust into the spotlight during the pilgrimage to the Holy Land this month, aimed at mending ties with the Jewish community strained by his re-admission of a Holocaust-denying bishop.

Some Jewish leaders, who criticised the pope's speech at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial as too detached and lacking in emotion, raised his teenage membership of the Hitler Youth. In Salt of the Earth, a 1996 book of autobiographical and religious reflections based on interviews with German journalist Peter Seewald, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said he was automatically enrolled in the Hitler Youth as a seminarian but played no active part.

Read more on:    catholic church  |  pope benedict  |  germany  |  vatican city  |  bavaria  |  jerusalem  |  israel  |  holocaust
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mind power tends to dominate your actions. Some things need to be dealt with on an emotional and feeling level. Try not to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.