... has been posted on ZENIT. Here is the first part:
From Chapter IX: Pope
Like probably most Catholics, I, too, attentively followed the last days of John Paul II. I was aware that a great life was coming to an end in a completely organic way. Everyone sensed that he would not recover again from this final illness, yet it was all the more admirable how patiently and calmly he endured it. He even cheered up the people who had come to Rome, and somehow, for all his despondency about his own helplessness, he also radiated joy and confidence that he would soon be with his Heavenly Father. So it was a worthy end of a great personage, whose work was to continue from now on “over there”.
What I admired very much were the many young people who spontaneously set out for Rome so as to manifest once more their solidarity with this great pope. It is always said that the youth want nothing to do with the Church, but this was strikingly disproved at that time. On the contrary, there are many young people, too, who are spontaneously attracted by the Church, once they have experienced that the everyday routine cannot answer their questions and cannot give any meaning to their lives, that this other thing, faith, is needed for that.
During the next two weeks, I was repeatedly asked by people, and by journalists too, whether my brother would become pope. My answer was always the same: “No, he certainly will not!” The conclave would never elect a man at his age – he was just turning seventy-eight. It was different in the case of John XXIII, because his predecessor, Pius XII, had not held a consistory during his last five years in office and had not appointed any new cardinals. The College of Cardinals was therefore more or less aging then, so that they were forced to elect an older candidate, who at the age of seventy-six, almost seventy-seven, was nevertheless a good year younger than my brother at the time of the 2005 conclave. Now, though, the College of Cardinals was as strong as it had ever been at a conclave; there had never been so many cardinals. There were many great and talented men of all ages among them, so there was really no need to elect one of the oldest. Therefore, it was quite clear to me that a younger man would be the next pope.
I even experienced the “Habemus Papam” live. At the time I was called by a journalist who said she had just heard that white smoke had gone up in Rome and wanted to hear from me whether I knew anything more specific. “No,” I answered truthfully, “I know nothing.” Then I turned on the television and heard it there, like everybody else.
Then in fact the name Ratzinger was mentioned! I must quite honestly say that at that moment I was rather disheartened.
Read the rest on the ZENIT site. The book is available for order from Ignatius Press. I recently received a copy, and it is a very handsome book with some wonderful (and, I suspect, rarely seen before) photos; I've yet to read very much of it. But over the coming weeks, I'll be posting some more excerpts from the book here on Insight Scoop, as well as excerpts from other new releases.