Monday, 19 December 2011

Grass's recollection of young Ratzinger

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.

Pope Benedict XVI, who even as a young Joseph Ratzinger, had been imbued with a certain wisdom:

 Günter Grass, in his memoirs (Peeling the Onion, 2006), thinks he recalls an encounter with the young Joseph Ratzinger while both were held in an American prisoner-of-war camp in 1945. The young Grass, a Nazi who had been proud to serve in the Waffen-SS, was taken aback by this soft-spoken, gentle young Catholic. The future pope played dice, quoting St. Augustine in the original while he did so; he even dreamt in Latin. His only desire was to return to the seminary from which he had been drafted. “I said, there are many truths,” wrote Grass. “He said, there is only one.”

He was 16, at the time.