Pope Benedict XVI – Interest in Music and Poetry
Pope Benedict XVI
Students at St. Michael’s seminary in Traunstein where the Pope studied as a teenager cheered him when he appeared on the balcony at the Vatican. In Traunstein the media-generated opinion is less important than the warmth of the man whom they know personally. Pope Benedict is a frequent visitor to this small Bavarian town and stays in the seminary with his brother, who is also a priest.
“Only someone who knows tradition is able to shape the future,” said the Rev. Thomas Frauenlob, who heads the seminary in Traunstein.
Pope Benedict’s personal generosity is well remembered at St. Michael’s. In 2003, the seminary was unable to have a bishop available for confirmations, one of Catholicism’s two initiation rites. Though, according to some US news magazines, he was at the time one of the most powerful and famous men in the world, the seminary knew they could count on their friend. He arrived in time to confirm 14 boys, then stayed to speak personally to each one after the ceremony.
Frauenlob said the insults and accusations pained him. “I find it hurtful to see him described as a hard-liner,” he said. “People are too quick to say that, it’s not an accurate reflection of his personality.”
When he stays with the students he loves to play the grand piano. The Pope told journalist Peter Seewald in 1996 that music was a large part of his life. Growing up near Salzburg, the home of Mozart, he said, “You might say that there Mozart thoroughly penetrated our souls, and his music still touches me deeply because it is so luminous and yet at the same time, so deep.”
Music runs in the family. His elder brother Georg is the former director of the renowned Regensburger Domspatzen boy’s choir. The Pope said of Mozart, “His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence.”
Born on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday in the Catholic calendar, April 16, 1927, Joseph was brother to Georg and Maria and son of Maria and Joseph. His home was in a part of Germany known for its Catholicism and for what would now be called “social conservatism.” Then-Cardinal Ratzinger said of his birth on the vigil of Easter, “on the threshold of Easter, but not yet through the door.”
After the rise of the Nazi’s, the senior Joseph Ratzinger, a police commissioner, risked much as a public opponent of Nazi ideology which was wholly opposed to his traditional Catholicism.
As a child, Joseph Ratzinger developed a desire to teach at an early age, though he was also once impressed with the work of a local housepainter. He loved to write including poetry, “about things of everyday life, Christmas poems, nature poetry…whenever I learned something I wanted to pass it on too.”