Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
AP and Reuters today report more evidence that Pope Benedict XVI is the personable Pope, capable of candor and informality.
Like his great Communion and confession advice, it came in response to a child’s question about his childhood.
He said he was an “ingenuous, small town boy,” according to AP.
Reuters rendered the same quote with more poetry: “a rather naive boy in a small village very far from the center, in a forgotten province.”
In the AP story, the Pope said he and the other altar boys were “no saints,” getting into fights occasionally.
Reuters quoted his childhood thoughts on the papacy. First, he noted that he and his friends didn’t spare much thought for the world outside their own Bavaria. But:
“Naturally, we knew, venerated and loved the Pope — it was Pius XI — but for us he was unobtainably noble, in almost another world: our father, but still inhabiting a reality far superior to ours.”
As to his own vocation, Reuters quotes him saying:
“I must say that even today I have difficulty in understanding how the Lord was able to think of me, choose me for this mission.
“But I accept it from his hands, even if it’s surprising and appears far beyond my strength. But the Lord helps me.”