Benedict Says He Prayed Not to Be Elected
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he had viewed the idea of being elected pope as a "guillotine," and he prayed to God during the recent conclave to be spared selection but "evidently this time He didn't listen to me."...
Speaking in his native tongue, Benedict told the audience that at one point during the conclave, when it became clear he was garnering many votes, a fellow cardinal slipped him a note reminding him what he had preached before the conclave about Christ calling Peter to follow him even where he did not want to go....
"As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that - in a manner of speaking the guillotine would fall on me - I started to feel quite dizzy," a smiling Benedict said, clearly joking. "I thought that I had done my life's work and could now hope to live out my days in peace. I told the Lord with deep conviction, 'Don't do this to me.'"
He recalled saying to God in his prayers: "You have younger, better, more enthusiastic and energetic candidates."
"Evidently, this time He didn't listen to me," Benedict said....
Benedict was interrupted several times by applause and cheering during the audience, and he seemed to enjoy the welcome from his countrymen, smiling and chuckling occasionally. When he first arrived in the audience hall, he received a hero's welcome, shaking the pilgrims' hands and blessing a child handed to him.
"Benedict sent from God!" the crowds chanted. In German, the chant rhymes: "Benedikt Gott Geschickt."
Pilgrims, some in traditional dress, toted Bavarian flags and a banner for the church's World Youth Day, which is being celebrated in August in Cologne, Germany. Benedict told the crowd he was looking forward to attending, following a tradition beloved by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who made reaching out to young Catholics a hallmark of his pontificate.
"It's not true that young people only look at consumerism and materialism," he said. "Young people want great things."
He told them the church is not a place for people seeking a comfortable life, noting that it is difficult to choose to follow Christ.
"He who is looking to be comfortable has come to the wrong address," he said.
He asked for their support, no matter what.
"I ask you for your trust when I make errors or when I say things that aren't easily understood, because the pope has to say these things. If we stick together, then we will find the way."
In the crowd was Benedict's brother, Georg Ratzinger, who also is a priest and traveled to Rome for his younger brother's inauguration. He received warm applause from the crowd when he arrived.
Benedict played to the crowd, telling them: "My roots are in Bavaria and I'm still Bavarian as bishop of Rome."
At the start of the audience, Benedict apologized to the crowds for arriving late, explaining that a meeting with religious leaders who attended his inauguration Mass ran long.
"The Germans are used to punctuality," he joked. "I'm already very Italian."
Many people in the crowd said they were thrilled with Benedict's election and were surprised to find him so warm when he has had such a dour reputation as head of the Vatican's doctrinal orthodoxy office."I was so surprised. I didn't know he was so personable," said Annette Wilkemeyer. "This is great, especially for the young."
The article references Christ calling Peter to go where he did not want to go. The first thought I had was of Moses, also doubting his adequacy as God's messenger ("And Moses said unto God, 'Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Isreal out of Egypt?' And He said, 'Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a token unto you, that I have sent you: When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you will serve God upon this mountain.'" Exodus 3:11-12) And look what "inadequate" Moses ended up doing....
And I believe it was St. Augustine of Hippo, who upon finding out that he had been chosen to be Bishop of Hippo, had to be chased through the streets by the town's population before they could bring him to the cathedral. Much of Augustine's best work was done after he became a bishop.
Take a minute to pray for our new pope.