Via Media

Via Media

Pope to Poland

The schedule:

The Holy Father will depart from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 8.40 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, arriving in Warsaw at 11 a.m. Following the welcome ceremony, he will hold a meeting with clergy in the cathedral of St. John. At 5.45 p.m. the Pope will pay a courtesy visit to the president of Poland in the presidential palace, before going on to participate in an ecumenical gathering at the Lutheran church of the Most Holy Trinity.

On Friday, May 26, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in Warsaw’s Pilsudski Square. In the afternoon, he will travel by helicopter to Czestochowa where he will visit the Shrine of the Virgin of Jasna Gora and meet with religious, seminarians and representatives from Catholic movements and institutes of consecrated life. He will then travel to Krakow where he will spend the night in the archbishop’s place.


The following day, the Pope will celebrate a private Mass in the archbishop’s palace in Krakow before travelling by car to Wadowice. There he will visit the basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the house in which John Paul II was born, later meeting local inhabitants in the town’s Rynek Square. At midday, he is due to visit the shrine of the Virgin of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. On his return to Krakow, he will visit the shrine of Divine Mercy and Wawel Cathedral and, at 7 p.m., meet with young people in the city’s Blonie Park.

At 9.45 a.m. on Sunday, May 28, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in Blonie Park, and pray the Regina Coeli. After lunch, he will travel by car from the archbishop’s palace in Krakow to Auschwitz. After visiting the former concentration camp and the center for dialogue and prayer, he will participate in a prayer meeting in memory of victims in the former concentration camp of Birkenau.

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posted April 26, 2006 at 7:38 pm

Irony: Bierkenau is where Sister Teresia Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)died August 9, 1942. That two such holy men should
have been growing up so close by and been unable to ameliorate the horrors is a puzzle from Gia’s PV. It took the White Russians to
liberate Auschwitz-Birkenau. The iron concerns how we are to overcome evil — by prayer with the church and her about to be popes, or with weapons from allies — or both.

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Victor Morton

posted April 27, 2006 at 1:52 am

WARNING AGAINST MISCONSTRUALS AND NOTING OF BONA FIDES: I broke into song and dance when a fellow Catholic called me to tell me that “it’s Ratzinger!!!” I have no time for the “Hitler Youth” rubbish and the rest of the “Papa Nazi” smear. And I have even less patience with the “Hitler’s Pope” junk written about Pius XII. There may not be a bigger fan of Pope Benedict/Cardinal Ratzinger in my profession. NEVERTHELESS …
I have to wonder whether Pope Benedict will mention (or should mention) his being German in any way, context, or point when he visits Auschwitz-Birkenau. On the one hand, he’s not visiting as Herr Joseph Ratzinger (a German), but as the Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff (a symbol of the universal church). And I know Pope Benedict/Cardinal Ratzinger has neither the reputation nor the apparent inclination to turn serious events into personal psychodrama.
But on the other hand, he is the first German pope of modern times, and is succeeding a Pole (both the site of the camp and the nationality of many of its victims). He will be going to a place that mourns actions committed by HIS compatriots during HIS lifetime. Some nod to that fact, done well and appropriately, could very well enhance and make more memorable his Polish visit and whatever else he did — like Marlene Dietrich singing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” during a trip to Israel, but doing so in German and breaking a taboo extant since the Jewish state’s founding. It’s a difficult balancing act — like Reagan’s visit to Bitburg.
But regardless of the rightness and wrongness, I hereby fearlessly predict that if Pope Benedict doesn’t mention being German during the camp visits, the MSM will leap onto that angle and we’ll see a new round of “Papa Nazi” headlines.

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