An inside look at Pope Benedict XVI
This is a very interesting short interview in the National Catholic Register. DiNoia is a Dominican, and Ratzinger's right hand man at CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).‘A Beautiful Personality’
National Catholic Register
May 1-8, 2005
Father Augustine DiNoia has worked with Cardinal Josef Ratzinger for three years.
As undersecretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith — the congregation Pope Benedict XVI headed before he became pope — the Dominican priest knows the new Pope well. He spoke with Register Correspondent Edward Pentin in Rome.
What is your reaction to the news?
I am absolutely ecstatic. It was clear after he gave the funeral Mass for John Paul II and the Mass before the beginning of the conclave that he had moved into another realm. He had moved into this new role. This was also a very quick election and shows that the cardinals probably realized this, too.
You know him well from working closely under him. Could you give us some insight into what he is like as a person?
He has a beautiful personality and when that begins to shine through and becomes evident, people will love him. One hundred percent of the staff in the office — including the ushers — are absolutely ecstatic.
GrenfellHunt: Very interesting. An administrator's job has a built-in capacity to create lots of enemies. That Ratzinger's leadership has created friends rather than enemies says something about his personal skills.
He is a kind, extremely humble and extraordinary human being. He’s also a fun man with a good sense of humor — we’ll miss him. He’s the whole package — he’s holy and knows how the Church works and how to run the Church. I have prayed for him to become Pope — so many of us have. I’ve never prayed harder!
We know, of course, that he’s thoroughly Catholic on doctrine. But more generally what will his pontificate be like, in your view?
He spent 24 years working for the Pope so he knows just what the Church needs. And although his main role has been to keep the Church right on doctrine, he is not just about orthodoxy but personifies two very important Christian qualities — truth and love. His sermon just before the conclave was, if anything, an anti-campaign speech — he was saying that this is what you’ll get if you vote for me, but clearly it was what the majority in the college wanted.
Why did he choose the name Benedict?
I knew that if he was chosen he would choose a name like Benedict because I know that he has a great devotion to the Benedictines who, of course, have a large presence in Germany. But if I could add, I was also very impressed by the crowds who gave him such a resounding cheer. The Italians love him — he knows the Italians well and, of course, he speaks perfect Italian.
Do you think all people will warm to him?
Once people have a chance to see him they’ll love him. He has a tough job, but I know he’ll do it very well. No one has yet really seen this wonderful, beautiful human being.
It is often said that the Church needs to be better administered. How will he be as an administrator?
He’s very decisive and, like any German bishop, he’s not afraid to confront and to set things right. The Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] ran very smoothly under him because he was so decisive.
GrenfellHunt: A German administrator with a skill for winning over Italian bureaucrats. That's a very unusual combination.
He has been quite tough on liturgical matters as well as doctrine. Should priests be very careful to watch their step?
No, because he will be carrying on the work of John Paul II — he worked for 25 years under John Paul. And remember John Paul wrote Redemptionis Sacramentum [a 2004 document that addressed liturgical lapses].
GrenfellHunt: here "no" clearly means "yes". John Paul II laid down the law on liturgical abuse, and Benedict XVI--with German efficiency--is going to make sure that law is enforced. DiNoia's "no" is meant to highlight the point that Pope Benedict is not making up these rules--merely enforcing what John Paul II already confirmed as the rule of the Church.
There are many issues of concern facing the Church. What will be the one of most importance to him, in your view?
I think his main focus will be to carry on the work of John Paul II in evangelization. In particular, he will be interested in the re-evangelization of Europe.
How will he do that?
By traveling and visiting, just like John Paul did.
So we're in good hands?
I have no doubt that we’re in for a great, great pontificate.
GrenfellHunt: this clarifies the point made by Sandro Magister. The reconversion of Europe to Catholicism is central to this papacy. A key part of the project means making sure that in the Eucharist Jesus Christ is worshipped as God Incarnate with all the glory that the liturgy is designed to give. Priests who neglect or water down or corrupt the liturgy have been served a warning. Ad majorem dei gloriam.