Benedict’s Top 10?

I did a Vatican Letter today on 10 texts I think are fundamental for understanding Pope Benedict XVI and his approach to his ministry. For those who want to click and read, here are the links:

1. His inaugural sermon in 2005.

2. Part 1 of his first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est.”

3. His 2005 talk to the Roman Curia on Vatican II.

4. His improvised sermon on baptism in early 2006.

5. His Q and A with young people a year after his election.

6. His lengthy interview with German reporters.

7. His address on faith and reason in Regensburg, Germany.

8. His letter to Chinese Catholics last year.

9. Sections 16-31 of his second encyclical, “Spe Salvi.”

10. His audience talk on St. Augustine last January.

Of course, this is a subjective list and is bound to be incomplete. I asked some colleagues what they thought should be on it, and they had their own ideas.

Italian reporter Sandro Magister, for example, whose blog pays careful attention to the pope’s words, agreed with me about the Regensburg address and the 2005 Roman Curia speech, but also suggested the pope’s January talk to the University of Rome— the one he didn’t get a chance to deliver after the visit was canceled because of protests. And among the pope’s homilies, Magister liked the one from Epiphany 2008, when the pope spoke eloquently about God and the “hope of history.” Yeah, I probably should’ve included that one.

Any other suggestions out there?

A longtime friend urges help for Holy Land

TORONTO — U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley, a longtime friend of the Catholic press, spoke once again at the annual Catholic News Service breakfast at the Catholic Media Convention. This year, though, the cardinal, now grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, spoke of the challenges facing the dwindling Christian community in the Holy Land.

“Many of the Christians in the Holy Land are the descendants of the original followers of Christ,” the cardinal told journalists in attendance. “Their numbers grow smaller as they feel themselves ever less welcome in the land of their birth — a twice-over minority: a minority in Jewish Israel and a minority within the Arab minority in Israel and, of course, a minority in the midst of the overwhelming Muslim majority in Palestine and Jordan.”

He urged the media officials to help the Knights “make better known the situation of Christians in the Holy Land so that there may continue to be a Christian and Catholic presence in the land made sacred by the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “