So the popular Build-a-Bear company is getting in on the papal memorabilia craze, having won rights to market, yes, an official Benedict “Christ Our Hope” teddy bear t-shirt. Here’s the catch: The company is only selling the t-shirt in its Washington-area stores. That Build-a-Bear papal gear would not be respectful enough for the NYC church folk is odd, given that, as posted below, the New York archdiocese has a Papal Skateboard contest. (Washington is featuring an essay contest.)
Most important, however, the bear is actually Benedict’s chosen symbol–drawn from a wonderful Bavarian legend about St.Corbinian, the first bishop and patron saint of the Munich area from which the future pope hails. When Corbinian was on his way to Rome, a bear attacked and killed his horse. St. Corbinian punished the bear by making him carry the saint’s belongings the rest of the way. As Joseph Ratzinger wrote in his pre-papal memoir, “Milestones, “I have carried my pack to Rome and wander for some time now through the streets of the Eternal City. When release will come I cannot know. What I do know is that I am God’s pack animal, and, as such, close to him.”
When he became Pope, Joseph Ratzinger included the bar on his coat of arms. Read more here.