Personal Side Of New Pope

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

April 19, 2005

Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany has been described as a strict conservative leader, but Father Brian Mulcahy sees him in a different light

"He's actually a very humble and simple man in person," said Fr. Brian Mulcahy of St. Thomas Aquinas Church who studied under him. "He's an absolutely brilliant man, a noted theologian, but somebody who is very easy to talk to, very soft spoken."

The man he knows is very cultured and allays stress in an interesting way.

"He loves to play the piano, that's how he relaxes, playing the piano," said Fr. Mulcahy.

He was not a leading candidate for the papacy before the election and some thought he was one of the least likely candidates.

"I was saying they'll never elect him and even if they did I think he'd turn it down because from his own lips I heard him say he wants nothing more than to be relieved from his administrative duties and write the few books he has in his head to write--but obviously the holy spirit had something else in mind," Fr. Mulcahy said.

Speaking of books, since elected, his sales have sky rocketed. Very few stores in the area sell his books now--but are expecting to have copies in later this week. Barnes and Noble's website put his writings on their homepage. Fr. Mulcahy describes both the new pope and his writings, deeply spiritual.

"He just comes with a great theological mind--a deep personal faith and that's what he brings to his writings," said Fr. Mulcahy.

Other Catholic leaders can see his faith even if they haven't met him personally

"Transitional Popes are full of surprises, so no matter how long Pope Benedict lasts, he's a very strong personality and I'm sure his affect will be felt very much," said Fr. Gregory Kandt from the Church of the Incarnation.

Catholics say he is a gifted leader that fulfills what the cardinals were looking for: a man of prayer and faith.

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