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Theological Notebook: Day 4, Getting ready for the Installation

A few stories on setting up for the Installation Mass, meeting with and relations with the press, and the most significant one of this lot being a more close examination of the teenage Ratzinger under the Nazi Regime, which the most lame of the press have been trying to make into something sinister.


Old, New Traditions to Mark Papal Ceremony


Apr 23, 6:08 PM (ET)

By NICOLE WINFIELD

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The ceremony to install Pope Benedict XVI blends centuries-old tradition with some new elements, a mix of ritual that involves giving the pope a shawl emblazoned with red crosses to signify the blood of Christ and a golden ring to show his papal authority.

The symbolism of Sunday's ceremony is evident from the start, when Benedict will join cardinals in the grottoes underneath St. Peter's Basilica to pay homage at the tomb of St. Peter - the first pope - who is believed to be buried there.

"I leave from where the apostle arrived," Benedict will say, before processing out into St. Peter's Square for the two-hour installation Mass that is expected to draw world leaders and a half-million faithful, many from Benedict's native Germany.

Monsignor Crispino Valenziano, an official with the Vatican's Office of Liturgical Celebrations, outlined the rituals for journalists Saturday, explaining that many of the rites will be used for the first time since they were updated following the Second Vatican Council, the series of meetings in the 1960s that modernized the church.

The installation ceremony used to be called a coronation - when popes wore crowns to signify their political and spiritual powers. Pope Paul VI did away with the tiara, but the rite of the installation wasn't finalized when John Paul I was elected in 1978 or when John Paul II became pope about a month later, and "substitute" measures were used, he said.

The new rituals were approved by Benedict the day after he was elected, and draw on centuries-old tradition with a few new elements, Valenziano said.

Most importantly, Benedict will receive his Fisherman's Ring and pallium - the wool shawl that together with the ring signify his pastoral authority.

The ring traditionally had been emblazoned with the large seal on it that was used by popes to seal apostolic letters. This time, the seal will be a separate piece, but the ring will have the same picture on it: the figure of St. Peter casting his net from a fisherman's boat.

"I like size 24, it's double 12," - the number of Christ's apostles, Valenziano quoted Benedict as saying during a session to fit the ring, which was commissioned by the Association of Roman Jewelers.

In another shift that dates back to the first millennium, Benedict's pallium will be unusually long - almost 2.6 yards long, as opposed to the short, stole-like pieces that are given to bishops. Benedict's pallium will be embroidered with five red silk crosses as opposed to the six black ones that bishops wear.

Valenziano said the crosses were red "because they are the wounds of the shepherd who allowed himself to be crucified for the sheep." A pin pierces three of the crosses, to symbolize the nails driven into Christ on the cross, he said.

The tips of the pallium are embroidered in black silk - like the feet of lambs, he said.

The wool used to make the pallium come from sheep and lambs raised by Trappist monks outside Rome.

In another change, not all cardinals will kneel before new pope to pledge obedience to him since they have already done so, Valenziano said. Instead, a representational group of 12 people - again because of the 12 apostles - will swear obedience: three cardinals, a bishop, a priest, a deacon, a married couple, a nun, a religious brother and two youths who have received the sacrament of confirmation.

At the end of the Mass, Benedict will probably be driven around the piazza and will greet delegations, he said.

The installation ceremonies continue after the Mass, with visits by Benedict to the three other main basilicas of Rome: St. Paul outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major. Benedict travels first to St. Paul outside the Walls on Monday - a pilgrimage because Paul is considered the co-founder of the church with Peter. Benedict will read a biblical passage from the Letter from St. Paul to the Romans to signify his links to the city.

He will further that symbolism on May 7 by presiding over a Mass at St. John Lateran, his cathedral as bishop of Rome. Finally, he will pay homage to an icon of Mary at St. Mary Major basilica before returning to the Vatican.





Pope Benedict XVI Meets With Journalists


Apr 23, 4:10 PM (ET)

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI showed off his language skills in a meeting with journalists Saturday but made clear he was not a carbon copy of his media-minded predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

The new pope, reading prepared remarks in four languages, thanked journalists for their coverage of the "historically important" events during the papal transition, urged them to remember their ethical responsibilities and said he hoped to continue his predecessor's tradition of openness with the media.

The meeting with hundreds of journalists in a Vatican auditorium was Benedict's first public audience since his Tuesday election as head of the 1.1 billion-member Roman Catholic Church.

But the session only lasted about 15 minutes, and Benedict did not take questions or meet with individual reporters, in contrast to John Paul, who fielded questions for 40 minutes after reading a prepared speech.

Before the public session, the pope met privately with about a dozen news executives, mainly Italians but also the head of a Polish Catholic news agency, Vatican officials said.

"I hope to follow this dialogue with you, and I share, as Pope John Paul II observed concerning the faith, the development of social communications," the pontiff told more than 1,000 members of the media and pilgrims who assembled in the vast Paul VI auditorium used for weekly general audiences.

Recalling that John Paul had been "a great artisan" of an "open and sincere" dialogue with the media that was started by the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s, Benedict said the media in the modern age has the capacity to reach "the whole of humanity."

"Thanks to all of you, these historically important ecclesial events have had worldwide coverage. I know how hard you have worked, far away from your homes and families for long hours and in sometimes difficult conditions. I am aware of this dedication with which you have accomplished this demanding task," he said.

At the same time, he said, he could not ignore the need for "clear references of the ethical responsibilities" of the media, emphasizing the need for a "sincere search for the truth and the safeguarding of the centrality and the dignity of the person."

He read portions of his speech in Italian, English, French and his native German, joking that "since we are in Rome," he had to return to Italian. Spanish reporters said they were surprised he said nothing in their language.

Vatican officials had said in recent days that Benedict likely would not take questions and that the meeting was more an audience to greet journalists than a press conference.

"You could say that thanks to your work for so many weeks, the attention of the whole world has been fixed on the basilica, on St. Peter's Square, and on the Apostolic Palace, inside of which my predecessor, the unforgettable John Paul II, serenely ended his earthly existence," the pope said.

Before his remarks, the pope chuckled during a nearly one-minute ovation.

The 78-year-old Benedict, known for his long role as the Vatican's guardian of the faith, is setting his own tone. He is quick to wave and bless crowds but has avoided wading into them.




Thousands to Attend Pope's Installation


Apr 23, 2:31 PM (ET)

By WILLIAM J. KOLE

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The ceremony to install Pope Benedict XVI blends centuries-old tradition with some new elements, a mix of ritual that involves giving the pope a shawl emblazoned with red crosses to signify the blood of Christ and a golden ring to show his papal authority.

The symbolism of Sunday's ceremony is evident from the start, when Benedict will join cardinals in the grottoes underneath St. Peter's Basilica to pay homage at the tomb of St. Peter - the first pope - who is believed to be buried there.

"I leave from where the apostle arrived," Benedict will say, before processing out into St. Peter's Square for the two-hour installation Mass that is expected to draw world leaders and a half-million faithful, many from Benedict's native Germany.

Monsignor Crispino Valenziano, an official with the Vatican's Office of Liturgical Celebrations, outlined the rituals for journalists Saturday, explaining that many of the rites will be used for the first time since they were updated following the Second Vatican Council, the series of meetings in the 1960s that modernized the church.

The installation ceremony used to be called a coronation - when popes wore crowns to signify their political and spiritual powers. Pope Paul VI did away with the tiara, but the rite of the installation wasn't finalized when John Paul I was elected in 1978 or when John Paul II became pope about a month later, and "substitute" measures were used, he said.

The new rituals were approved by Benedict the day after he was elected, and draw on centuries-old tradition with a few new elements, Valenziano said.

Most importantly, Benedict will receive his Fisherman's Ring and pallium - the wool shawl that together with the ring signify his pastoral authority.

The ring traditionally had been emblazoned with the large seal on it that was used by popes to seal apostolic letters. This time, the seal will be a separate piece, but the ring will have the same picture on it: the figure of St. Peter casting his net from a fisherman's boat.

"I like size 24, it's double 12," - the number of Christ's apostles, Valenziano quoted Benedict as saying during a session to fit the ring, which was commissioned by the Association of Roman Jewelers.

In another shift that dates back to the first millennium, Benedict's pallium will be unusually long - almost 2.6 yards long, as opposed to the short, stole-like pieces that are given to bishops. Benedict's pallium will be embroidered with five red silk crosses as opposed to the six black ones that bishops wear.

Valenziano said the crosses were red "because they are the wounds of the shepherd who allowed himself to be crucified for the sheep." A pin pierces three of the crosses, to symbolize the nails driven into Christ on the cross, he said.

The tips of the pallium are embroidered in black silk - like the feet of lambs, he said.

The wool used to make the pallium come from sheep and lambs raised by Trappist monks outside Rome.

In another change, not all cardinals will kneel before new pope to pledge obedience to him since they have already done so, Valenziano said. Instead, a representational group of 12 people - again because of the 12 apostles - will swear obedience: three cardinals, a bishop, a priest, a deacon, a married couple, a nun, a religious brother and two youths who have received the sacrament of confirmation.

At the end of the Mass, Benedict will probably be driven around the piazza and will greet delegations, he said.

The installation ceremonies continue after the Mass, with visits by Benedict to the three other main basilicas of Rome: St. Paul outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major. Benedict travels first to St. Paul outside the Walls on Monday - a pilgrimage because Paul is considered the co-founder of the church with Peter. Benedict will read a biblical passage from the Letter from St. Paul to the Romans to signify his links to the city.

He will further that symbolism on May 7 by presiding over a Mass at St. John Lateran, his cathedral as bishop of Rome. Finally, he will pay homage to an icon of Mary at St. Mary Major basilica before returning to the Vatican.




New Pope Defied Nazis As Teen During WWII


Apr 23, 2:03 PM (ET)

By DAVID RISING and MATT SURMAN

TRAUNSTEIN, Germany (AP) - Blinds drawn, windows closed, Joseph Ratzinger huddled with his father and older brother around a radio and listened to Allied radio broadcasts, volume on low.

It was a small and risky act of defiance in this conservative Bavarian village deep inside Adolf Hitler's Germany. But the father wanted his sons to know the truth about the Nazis and World War II, says Georg Ratzinger, who like his brother drew strength from the Catholic Church.

"It was strictly forbidden. Anyone who was caught would be sent to the concentration camps, so we did it secretively," Georg Ratzinger told The Associated Press. "The German news was not true and he wanted to hear from the foreign services what was really happening."

The clandestine sessions were just one of the passive acts of resistance, evasions and escapes by the future Pope Benedict XVI, whose choices then - enrolling in the Hitler Youth as required and the Army when drafted as he approached age 18 - allowed him to survive.

People who knew the Ratzingers said they were never willingly part of the Nazi machine.

Frieda Jochner, 79, who grew up in their old neighborhood and speaks with a thick, warm Bavarian accent, remembered the "Ratzinger boys" as pious and serious - Georg as the "Bavarian one" - a friendly joker - and the studious Joseph as the more shy of the two.

She said Joseph Ratzinger was so involved in his studies at the Catholic seminary that even if he had wanted to be active in the Hitler Youth, he never would have had the time.

"He was very industrious," she said, taking a break decorating the Ratzingers' childhood home with wreaths, pine boughs and ribbons.

Renate Augerer, 75, remembered the brothers from the town's school, where they were both known as being serious, scholarly, pious and kind - two Catholic priests in the making.

"He was very certainly not for Hitler," Augerer said of Joseph Ratzinger. "Absolutely not. They couldn't do anything about it. ... You can't forget the times."

Max Fiedler, 77, said he also was compelled to join the Hitler Youth when the Nazis took over the Catholic youth group he was in and merged it into their organization.

"It was automatic," said Fiedler, who had joined Augerer at a reception in the small Traunstein town hall following a Mass in Ratzinger's honor last week.

Some 80 to 90 percent of Germans joined the Hitler Youth and refusing to sign up could mean being sent to a youth "reeducation camp," akin to a concentration camp, said Volker Dahm, director of Nazi-era research for Munich's Institute for Contemporary History.

"You could try to avoid it but it was very, very difficult," Dahm said. "It was a bit easier to avoid it if you lived in a big city where you could hide yourself in the crowd, but in the countryside it was nearly impossible because everyone knew you."

Pope John Paul II had covertly resisted the Nazis in occupied Poland, helping form an underground theater and enrolling in a clandestine seminary run by the archbishop of Krakow.

In Germany, opportunities for outright defiance were limited - and dangerous. Those who did resist met horrible fates, such as two famous student leaders in Munich, Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were caught distributing anti-Nazi leaflets in 1942 and executed by guillotine.

Pope Benedict, 78, has not tried to hide his enrollment in the Hitler Youth at age 14, addressing his brief membership in his autobiography, "Salt of the Earth."

"We weren't in it to start with, but with the beginning of the obligatory Hitler Youth in 1941 my brother was enrolled as was required," he recalled. "I was too young but later was enrolled into it from the seminary."

Benedict implies it was the school that did the enrolling, but he doesn't make it clear.

He said he tried to avoid Hitler Youth meetings, creating a dilemma. He needed proof of attendance to get a tuition discount, which his father - a retired policeman - badly needed. So he finessed it, according to his book.

"Thank God, there was a math teacher who understood. He was himself a Nazi party member, but an honest man who told me, 'Just go so we have it,'" he recalled. "But when he saw that I simply didn't want to, he said: 'I understand, I'll take care of it.' And so I was free of it."

With so little active resistance to the Nazis, small gestures of defiance were telling, said Johannes Tuchel, director of the German Resistance Memorial in Berlin.

"The color of resistance is not black and white, it's a scale of gray," Tuchel said. "It was not a single decision, not a single choice - you don't just say one day 'I resist.'

"Every day you had to decide if you were going to go with the Nazi system or step aside. To resist is a long-term decision," he added.

The Ratzingers moved to Traunstein in 1937. The father was anti-Nazi and had to move from the town of Tittmoning to Auschau in 1932 after clashing with local Nazi party supporters.

In Traunstein, resistance came largely from communists, though there were never many in the town of about 12,000 and most were arrested and shipped to the Dachau concentration camp in the early 1930s. Though most were later released, they lived in fear of being returned to the camps, according to Traunstein historian Friedbert Muehldorfer.

Being sent to a concentration camp for not joining the Hitler Youth would have been an "extreme" punishment, but "it was very difficult for youth who didn't join, and they could be ostracized," Muehldorfer said. "It doesn't mean they were enthusiastic about the Nazis."

The Nazis enjoyed general support in Traunstein, though it was tempered by the conservative Roman Catholicism typical of Bavaria. People were disgruntled with the Nazis' anti-church attitudes and practices such as removing crosses from school classrooms, Muehldorfer said.

The town had only a few Jewish families, largely driven out before the war began in 1939.

In 1943, at age 16, Joseph Ratzinger was called up along with his entire seminary class to work as a helper for anti-aircraft batteries, which defended a BMW plant and later an aircraft factory at Oberpfaffenhofen, where the first German jet fighters were produced.

In 1944, he was forced into the country's compulsory civil service and sent to dig anti-tank ditches on the Austrian-Hungarian border.

He recounts his work group being awakened in the middle of the night and pressured to join the Waffen SS, the combat units of the Nazi Party's elite guard. "An SS officer had each one come forward and tried, by parading each one in front of the group, to force 'volunteer' enlistments," he wrote in another autobiographical book, "Memoirs 1927-1977."

Some signed up in "this criminal group. I had the luck to be able to say that I had the intent to become a Catholic priest. We were sent away with scorn and insults."

He was drafted into the Army in December 1944 and stationed near Traunstein. With the German army collapsing and the end of the war just days away, he deserted in April or May of 1945 - he said he can't remember the exact date. He knew he could be killed by SS fanatics, who continued to shoot or hang soldiers found out of uniform up until the end of the war.

Sneaking home by a roundabout way, he was stopped by two soldiers as he emerged from under a train overpass. "For a moment, the situation was extremely critical for me," he remembered. But the soldiers "were ones who, thank God, had had enough of war" and let him go, treating him as wounded because he had his arm in a sling.

Tuchel, the director of the German Resistance Memorial in Berlin, said that even in wartime Germany young men like Ratzinger could find quiet ways to defy authority.

"There is always a choice. You have to go into the Hitler Youth, but then it is your decision if you are going to be an active member," Tuchel said. "You have to go into the labor service, but it's your decision if you're very active. ... You had no choice to go into the army, but it is your decision how long you stay."

Because Benedict acknowledged his past and because of the circumstances of his involvement, most people, including Jewish groups in Germany and Israel, have been understanding.

"He was a very young person when this happened, it was hardly a matter of choice, and what counts is what he's done in the last 30 years in Jewish-Catholic dialogue," said Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee's Berlin office.

At the right time, she suggested, the pope may share more of his past.

"We do have someone who has memories of the time, who certainly participated ... on the side of people who were perpetrating mass crimes. So I think the appropriate thing is that at the appropriate moment he is reflective about this personal biography - it will mean a lot in the Jewish world."

The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem doesn't see a need for further investigation of Ratzinger's Hitler Youth membership, said spokeswoman Estee Yaari.

Ephraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, said there two ways of dealing with the issue.

"One way is delving into the subject and emphasizing it. The other is by doing positive things to improve Jewish-Christian relations and German-Jewish relations without necessarily emphasizing his own personal experiences or his past," Zuroff said. "My impression is that he's chosen the latter path."

---

David Rising reported from Munich and Matt Surman reported from Traunstein.





U.S. Priest Reflects on Papal Transition


Apr 23, 1:46 PM (ET)

By WILLIAM J. KOLE

VATICAN CITY (AP) - They were three extraordinary weeks that shook the Rev. Shawn Corcoran's bookish world of canon law.

As Pope John Paul II lay on his deathbed, Corcoran - a 36-year-old priest with the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, studying Roman Catholic Church regulations in Rome - sat at his computer and gathered his thoughts.

Father Shawn sent his first message to parishioners, family and friends scattered around the world on April 2, just hours before John Paul died. His latest went out this past Wednesday, not long after Pope Benedict XVI's election.

Excerpts of his reflections on the laying to rest of one pope and the raising up of another form a poignant diary - a testament of tears and triumph by a clergyman who bore witness to history:

---

Saturday, April 2 (Early on day pope would die)

"I went to St. Peter's to pray for Pope John Paul. It was truly awesome to pray the rosary together with the estimated 30,000 others gathered - many of them young people - to aid our Holy Father as he seemingly comes to the end of his life. In doing so, I was reminded of the way that we were called to pray the rosary for our grandparents as they seemed to be approaching death or shortly thereafter.

---

Sunday, April 3

"Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord.

"As I was in St. Peter's Square this evening, many thoughts ran through my head.

"... I continued to go back to the many times that I was called to be with a family as the death of a loved one seemed to be imminent. I felt that the protracted waiting and praying for his death was another way in which John Paul II was revealing the beauty of what so many families have gone through ...

---

Monday, April 4

"Classes resumed as normal - but I must confess it was a little difficult to concentrate.

"When I saw his body, though, I confess to being taken a bit aback by his appearance. It seemed to me that his face was rather discolored ... this seems to be yet another witness that he indeed has shared in the same suffering that so many of our loved ones have shared."

---

Thursday, April 7

"I attended my classes in the morning, as usual ... again, my mind struggled to focus on the material ... John Paul II had authored the very canon law that we are studying - so many things truly have changed.

"... I began to become anxious about what the future holds ... What about his successor? Like so many of you, John Paul II is the only pope that I have known in my adult life. In a way, I almost don't want another to try to take his place - somewhat like one who has lost a parent and then another person is presented as a stepparent."

---

Friday, April 8 (Day of pope's funeral)

"I hope that all were able to watch the beautiful funeral liturgy for Pope John Paul II. I myself was very indescribably blessed to be able to be in attendance and participate in the liturgy ...

"... I enjoyed hearing them identify many of the different dignitaries as they arrived to honor our deceased pope, be they kings, queens, presidents and former presidents, prime ministers, princes ... One of the first things that struck me is the reality that this gathering of persons of so significant temporal authority throughout the world is truly unique ..."

---

Monday, April 18 (Day conclave opened)

"I just watched the beginning of the conclave on television ... I don't intend to miss classes to go to the St. Peter's piazza on the off-chance that I might see the white smoke announcing the election of a new pope ...

---

Wednesday, April 20 (Day after new pope's election)

"Habemus Papam!

"I know that I am truly blessed to be here in Rome at this moment and time! I really don't know where to start, but to say that I am filled with joy that we again have a Papa!

"I believe that all in the piazza shared the feeling that we once again have a father ... I hope it's not too profane, but it was like a cheer that is let out at the end of a football or basketball game in which everyone's emotions were finally able to be released - including many tears of joy!

"... The announcement of our new pope, Benedict XVI, was cause for yet another eruption of cheers and joy. When he first addressed us, 'My most dear brothers and sisters,' there was another great eruption, during which I yelled, 'And you are our father!'

"... As we walked home, we continued to simply be filled with the joy of the great announcement and to be in Rome at this time."





Pope Says He Hopes for Openness With Media


Apr 23, 9:01 AM (ET)

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI thanked journalists Saturday for their coverage during the "historically important" events during the papal transition, urged them to remember their ethical responsibilities and said he hoped to continue his predecessor's tradition of openness with the media.

The meeting with hundreds of journalists in a Vatican auditorium was Benedict's first public audience since his Tuesday election as head of the Catholic Church.

The session lasted about 15 minutes, and Benedict did not take questions or meet individual reporters, in contrast to his predecessor Pope John Paul II, who fielded questions for 40 minutes after reading a prepared speech.

"I hope to follow this dialogue with you, and I share, as Pope John Paul II observed concerning the faith, the development of social communications," the pontiff told more than 1,000 members of the media and pilgrims who assembled for his first appearance in the vast Vatican hall used for weekly general audiences.

Recalling that John Paul had been "a great artisan" of an "open and sincere" dialogue with the media that was started by the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s, Benedict said the media in the modern age has the capacity to reach "the whole of humanity."

"Thanks to all of you, these historically important ecclesial events have had worldwide coverage. I know how hard you have worked, far away from your homes and families for long hours and in sometimes difficult conditions. I am aware of this dedication with which you have accomplished this demanding task," he said.

At the same time, he said, he could not ignore the need for "clear references of the ethical responsibilities" of the media, emphasizing the need for a "sincere search for the truth and the safeguarding of the centrality and the dignity of the person."

He read portions of his speech in Italian, English, French and his native German, joking that "since we are in Rome" he had to return to Italian.

Vatican officials had said in recent days that Benedict likely would not take questions and that the meeting was more an audience to greet journalists than a press conference.

"You could say that thanks to your work for so many weeks, the attention of the whole world has been fixed on the basilica, on St. Peter's Square, and on the Apostolic Palace, inside of which my predecessor, the unforgettable John Paul II, serenely ended his earthly existence," the pope said.

Before his remarks, the pope chuckled during a nearly one-minute ovation.

The 78-year-old Benedict is quickly setting the personal tone of his reign - and it's not the distant and strident papacy that many feared because of his long role as the church's watchdog of theology.

An open-air Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday is expected to draw half a million faithful and hundreds of dignitaries to Rome. The decision for an outdoor Mass - rather than one in St. Peter's Basilica - shows Benedict favors the populist touch of recent popes who have made the same choice.

There were other signs the world is warming swiftly to the German-born pope: a Polish archbishop said Benedict would be invited to his predecessor's homeland in August, and the pope's Vatican e-mail address received more than 56,000 messages in the first two days.

Italian officials are putting tight security in place for the Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, where dignitaries are expected to include German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; Prince Albert II of Monaco and Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the U.S. president's brother.

Also due to attend are the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; Chrisostomos, a top envoy for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Christian Orthodox, and a senior representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Kirill.

Known as the Ceremony of Investiture, it will celebrated by the senior cardinal deacon, Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, the Chilean who proclaimed Benedict's name to the world as the 265th pontiff. During the Mass, Benedict will receive his papal Fisherman's Ring as well as the pallium - a narrow stole of white wool embroidered with five red silk crosses - which symbolizes his pastoral authority.

Air space within an five-mile radius will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, and Rome's second airport, Ciampino, will be shut down.

Italian civil protection officials estimate that about 100,000 people from Benedict's native Germany will flock to Rome. Italy will provide German-speaking volunteers from Italy's bilingual Alpine regions to help them.

On Monday, Benedict is scheduled to hold talks with Chrisostomos. Healing the nearly 1,000-year-old rift between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity was a major goal of the late pope.

Later Monday, Benedict plans to visit the Rome basilica built over the tomb of St. Paul, who helped bring Christianity to regions that now are split by the Catholic-Orthodox divide.

One decision by the pope will be closely watched: whom he picks as his successor to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"Already Benedict XVI has become ... an 'open door' pope, cordial and spontaneous," said Donatella Pacelli, a Rome sociologist who studies Catholic issues.

London-based religious commentator Peter Stanford recalled the pope's intellectual grounding as a forward-looking theologian in the 1960s who - like John Paul - turned increasingly conservative against secular trends.

"It would be a mistake to see (Benedict) as simply an efficient, ultra-loyal bureaucrat carrying out another man's orders," he wrote.
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