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Personal secretary to Benedict XVI reflects on 'Pope of Surprises'

CWN - September 29, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has "surprised all of us" in the first five years of his pontificate, according to his personal secretary. The Holy Father, he said, is full of the same "vitality" of his John Paul II as he fulfills his "sacred duty" of laying down "tracks" throughout the world that lead to faith.

Msgr. Georg Gänswein, the personal secretary to Pope Benedict XVI, said that the Pontiff has provided a number of surprises during the first 5 years of his pontificate.

Reflecting on “The Pope of Surprises,” in an article that appeared in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Msgr. Gänswein said that the energy and vitality of the Pope have surprised most observers. He also cited the Pontiff’s “warmth and spontaneous and true simplicity, his courage in not being afraid to engage the difficult themes of today or enter debates.”

Msgr. Gänswein—who has released a book about his travel with the Pope during the first five years of this pontificate—said that the “truly singular and edifying fact” about Benedict XVI is his profound respect for his predecessor, John Paul II. That devotion, the Pope’s secretary said, illustrates the remarkable humility of Benedict XVI. Yet he added that while Pope Benedict reveres his predecessor and seeks to continue his work, he carries out his own ministry with a very different style, "in a new way and still equally full of vitality."

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