Friday, Sept. 22, 1978
A good while after John Paul I’s election, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger shared his reflections on the pope and the conclave that elected him in a magazine interview. (Thirty Days Magazine, Spoiler Alert)
“It is true that the German-speaking cardinals met a few times,” Cardinal Ratzinger said. “These meetings were attended by Cardinals Joseph Schröffer, former prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Joseph Höffner, archbishop of Cologne; Franz König, archbishop of Vienna, and Alfred Bengsch, archbishop of Berlin. Paulo Evaristo Arns and Aloisio Lorscheider, Brazilian cardinals of German origin, also met. It was a small group. We didn’t want to decide anything at all. We only wanted to speak. I let myself be guided by Providence, listening to the names and seeing how consensus was finally formed around the patriarch of Venice.”
After John Paul I was elected, “I felt very happy. To have as pastor of the universal Church a man of that goodness and luminous faith was a guarantee that everything was going well. He himself was very surprised and felt the weight of his great responsibility. It was obvious that he suffered somewhat because of this. He did not expect to be elected. He was not a man who sought a career.”
“Personally, I am totally convinced that he [is] a saint, because of his great goodness, simplicity, humanity and great courage,” the cardinal said. “He [has] the courage to say things with great clarity, even if he [has] to go against current opinions.”
What is your favorite written work by Cardinal Ratzinger and why?