From Jocelyn Rowe SIR – I would like to express the heartfelt joy of so many, many Catholics at the election of our brave new Pope, Benedict XVI.
We salute his courage in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his clear desire to serve God rather than pleasing man and his conviction that we may restore belief in the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist by showing proper reverence in the liturgy and in our worship.
Yours faithfully, JOCELYN ROWE Rye, E Sussex From Mr Selwyn Hodson Pressinger SIR – Many fellow Catholics, I am sure, welcome the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. His election is really “good news”. However, it is saddening that so many press reports wished to highlight his period in the German army in World War II.
I am reminded how the press reported the performances of my namesake, Anton Pressinger, in the famous Passion Plays at Oberammergau almost half a century ago. As well as stating that he was unusual in acting in the play over numerous decades, and twice in the role of Christ, they felt obliged to mention each time he had been fined 20 marks in 1947 by a German court (at GarmishPartenkirchen) for having been a member of the Nazi Party.
It seems that mention of any past involvement in the German military will always take precedence in a news story, irrespective of its positive aspects, even when the subject concerned becomes Pope.
The press could have emphasised instead the fact that Ratzinger is a sensible choice for a multitude of reasons, not least for his conservative views.
Such conservative thinking is needed in an increasingly secular western society, and it is appreciated by Christians in the poorer and developing nations. Moreover, many non-Christian nations, including Muslims, share the Pope’s views on a variety of issues concerning morality.
May we hope that, in spite of his age, Pope Benedict XVI will prove to be much more than just a “transitional pope”, as some reports were forecasting.
Yours faithfully, SELWYN HODSON PRESSINGER London SW7 From Miss Deborah Jones SIR – People who care for the welfare of animals can be heartened by the appointment of Pope Benedict XVI, whom I once had the honour to meet.
In an interview with a German journalist some years ago, he spoke about our use of animals as “a very serious question” and said that “they are given into our care... we cannot just do whatever we want with them”. They too, he went on, “are God’s creatures... [that] we must respect as companions in creation and as important elements in the creation... [Man] should always maintain his respect for these creatures”.
On the important subject of facto ry farming, he denounced “a sort of industrial use of creatures” as contradicting “the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible”. He reserved particular condemnation for the production of foie gras, where “geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible”, and of the intensive rearing of “hens living so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds” as a “degrading of living creatures to a commodity”.
Now, perhaps, we can see the Church taking her rightful place in the lead to stop these inhumane practices.
Yours faithfully, DEBORAH JONES Catholic Concern for Animals Witney, Oxon From Mr James Bruce SIR – His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is not a Rottweiler, but rather he is our German Shepherd. And there is life in the old dog yet.
Yours faithfully, JAMES BRUCE Bristol From Mr Dwight Longenecker SIR – Many people adopted “JP2” as an affectionate shorthand reference to the late, great John Paul II.
Acknowledging the stalwart reputation of our new Pope do you think we might refer to him as “B-16”?
Yours faithfully, DWIGHT LONGENECKER Chippenham, Wilts