Film maker changes his mind about Pope Benedict

The UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald has this interesting article.

It is quite long, so I will show just part of it here.

How I changed my mind about the Pope

Mark Dowd embarks on a personal quest to understand Pope Benedict XVI

By Mark Dowd on Friday, 10 September 2010

June 1945. An exhausted 17-year-old boy has been released from a prisoner of war camp and completes an 80-mile journey back home, eager to see his family and friends. As he descends at sunset from the hills into his home town of Traunstein close to the Austrian border on the feast of the Sacred Heart, he hears music coming from the church of St Oswald. It is almost something from a Hollywood screenplay.

“The heavenly Jerusalem itself could not have appeared more beautiful to me at that moment,” he writes. The teenage Joseph Ratzinger knew that his mother and sister Maria were in the church. You or I might have hastily pulled open the church door and blundered in, scouring the pews in search of eager family reunion. But what does the present Pope tell us in, Milestones, his short collection of memoirs published in 1997?

“I did not want to create disturbance so I did not go in.”


So what about that reluctance to enter the church?

My brother has spent his whole life in devotion to the liturgy and knows that it is the central pillar of the Church’s life,” Georg told me. “He knows that if he had gone in, it would have created a disturbance. No, he said a prayer and that was it.”

The young Joseph went home. Father was waiting and later, that long-awaited reunion with his mother and sister. But if ever a story were to touch on so many important themes in the Ratzinger worldview, it is this one: the respect for the aesthetics of liturgical life, the centrality of order and a strongly held sense of boundaries: and not making yourself “the story”, realising that self-assertion is not a central component of personal freedom.


Mark Dowd’s film, Benedict: Trials of a Pope, will be broadcast on BBC Two on Wednesday September 15 at 7pm

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. cdruiz says:

    Thanks be to God for giving us such a great shepherd.

  2. Joseph says:

    The amount of modesty and humility makes this man (Holy Father)much larger then many other these days. It is the defining aspect of a true man.

  3. SimonDodd says:

    I’m glad Dowd has seen the light, so to speak, but I don’t understand why he keeps referring to the Pope as “Vicar of Rome.” The vicar of Rome is Agostino Card. Vallini, is he not? Pope Benedict is the Bishop of Rome, and the vicar of Jesus Christ.

  4. HighMass says:

    There are not enough words or prasies of THANKSGIVING for Papa Benidetto!

    Viva il Papa

  5. HighMass says:

    SOrry meant to say there are not enough words of Praises and Thanksgiving to GOD for Papa Benedetto

  6. pberginjr says:

    I clicked over and read the whole article. Does anyone know if Dowd used to be a Dominican (maybe through novitiate) or was he just educated by them?

  7. devthakur says:

    I read this story too quickly and thought “Maureen Dowd said this … can’t be true … impossible!” A re-read quickly corrected my misimpression!

    More on topic, I hope the film will be available to those who don’t have BBC 2 … on DVD perhaps.

  8. Bruce says:

    This brings to mind something that really annoys me; people who came to Mass late and walk right up and sit in the front pews. This happens mostly during weekday Masses when there are less people attending Mass. When I arrive late, which is rare, I usually sit in the back quietly so as not to disturb anyone.

  9. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z: “The UK’s best Catholic weekly …”

    Every time I read this line, I wonder ….. Is there another Catholic weekly in the UK? (Aside from the usual nominally Catholic diocesan weeklies.) While realizing that I may be totally out of it out here in the colonies, oblivious to a plethora of truly Catholic weeklies “over there”.

  10. Nathan says:

    Henry, I could be wrong, but I think Fr. Z’s reference to The Catholic Herald as the UK’s best Catholic weekly might be to set it up as an alternative to the only other paper that I know of that might (in some quarters) fit the bill, The Bitter Pill, aka The Tablet.

    Just like a Yank to jump in when he really doesn’t know the answer, right?

    In Christ,

  11. Legisperitus says:

    I was confused when another post here referred to a “BBC documentary” that was going to savage Pope Benedict and thought it might have been this one. But it’s actually the Channel 4 film, not anything by the Beeb.

  12. terryprest says:

    What made someone who was at first perhaps hostile or cold towards Benedict XVI change his mind?

    The article is revealing. Mr Dowd states:

    “But the real delight for me has been in engaging with the writings of this 83-year-old man. The encyclicals have been given deserved space and attention … Jump forward almost 40 years and we have volume one of Jesus of Nazareth. … Be that as it may, what is genuinely moving about the encounter one undergoes in reading this book is the sheer power and depth of faith in the 335 pages. Forty of those are a flowing meditation on the Lord’s Prayer and the Pope writes with such a direct voice, occasionally moving away from a more formal and academic tone – you almost feel he is in the room, singling you out, speaking to you directly.”

    The Pope`s writings and homilies really ought to be pushed more. He reveals so much about himself. The Pope who speaks in these writings is completely different from the Pope who is so vilely portrayed in the Press.

    They must also be one of the greatest tools of evangelisation and conversion which the Church has ever possessed in modern times.

  13. pelerin says:

    Henry Edwards – There are four Catholic newspapers here in Britain (that I know of). ‘The Catholic Herald’ ‘The Universe’ ‘The Catholic Times’ and ‘The Tablet.’

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    Nathan and Pelerin,

    Well, yes, I was trying for some kind of contrast like “really Catholic” versus “merely allegedly Catholic”, though I know nothing at all about The Universe and The Catholic Times.

  15. Yes,there are four “Catholic” newspapers.

    The Catholic Herald is Catholic, and great.
    The Catholic Times has one or two good Catholic writers.
    The Universe is a bit like The Sun, without the topless models.
    The Suppository isn’t Catholic…

  16. annieoakley says:


    This may be wrong, but I think that Channel 4 is one of the BBC’s stations:

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