.- Pope Benedict XVI told German Radio and Television that he has grown since being elected pontiff and that he finds joy in his ministry.
“[My] basic personality and even my basic vision have grown, but in everything that is essential I have remained identical,” he said in the interview, which he granted in anticipation of his visit to Germany next month. The interview was released Sunday.
“I’m happy that certain aspects [of my personality] that weren’t noticed at first are now coming into the open,” he added.
Despite the fact that being Pope is tiring, the pontiff said, he finds joy in his ministry. “The Good Lord gives me the necessary strength,” he commented.
“I think it’s very important to be able to see the funny side of life and its joyful dimension and not to take everything too tragically,” the Pope added, demonstrating his sense of humor. “I’d also say it’s necessary for my ministry.”
While some may view the pontifical office as a lonely one, Pope Benedict said he is not lonesome. He is surrounded by his "pontifical family" and receives many visitors daily, providing him with many personal encounters.
The Pope has planned a trip to the Latin American Episcopal Council in Brazil next year and said he would like to visit the Holy Land. However, he leaves any other travels to Divine Providence.
“I’ve never felt strong enough to plan many long trips,” the Pope admitted. “But where such a trip allows me to communicate a message or where, shall I say, it’s in response to a sincere request, I’d like to go – in the ‘measure’ that’s possible for me,” he said.
Benedict said he is humbled by the amount of work that people go through to get ready for his Pontifical trips, “I blush when I think of all the preparations that are made for my visit, for everything that people do.” The Pontiff said he’s been told of everything Germans – even non-Catholics – are doing to prepare for his upcoming visit and is grateful. But, he said, “I don’t think it’s for me, but rather a sign of wanting to be part of this faith community and to serve one another. Demonstrating this solidarity means letting ourselves be inspired by the Lord.”
In response to a question about a recent worldwide fascination with Catholicism, the Pope explained that the pontificate of John Paul II “drew people’s attention” to Catholicism and the Church and “brought them together.”
He said the late pontiff’s funeral, for which “hundreds of thousands of people flowed towards St Peter’s Square in an orderly fashion, stood for hours, and while they should have collapsed, they resisted as if moved by an inner strength” remains a historical moment.
This large manifestation of faith was then relived at the inauguration of his own pontificate and again in Cologne, Pope Benedict noted.
“It’s very beautiful when the experience of community becomes an experience of faith at the same time,” he reflected aloud.