by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | Catholic World Report
“Of course, the Gebirgsschüzen (Territorial Marksmen), whom I was only able to her in the distance, deserve special thanks, because I am an honorary ‘Schütze,’ (marksman) even though I was once a mediocre Schütze."
— Pope Benedict XVI, Bavarian Evening, Castel Gandolfo, August 3, 2012.
“Now, as we ‘thank you,’ I can only impart my blessing to you, but let us first sing the Angelus together, and if we can the ‘Andachtsjodler’ (a hymn in the form of a yodel).”
— Pope Benedict XVI, Last Words in German at the Bavarian Evening.
The present pope, we know, is a man of many talents. We usually think of these talents as primarily intellectual, even his taste in music is classical. No one ever told us that he was a marksman, albeit mediocre, or that he could yodel. The idea of yodeling a hymn would go over big on country and western stations of the old school, no doubt. Google has many sung versions of this quite beautiful hymn that anyone can listen to. After listening to it, I can see why the pope added “if we can” as the music is quite lovely.
On August 3, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich arranged at the Pope’s Villa at Castel Gandolfo for an evening of music and friendliness in the Holy Father’s honor. In his remarks, the Pope said that he was truly dahoam, which means in German to be “at home.” He kidded Cardinal Marx a bit over the word: “I must compliment Cardinal Marx because he always pronounces the word (dahoam) so well.”
The Holy Father took the occasion to recall his homeland. Bavarian culture is “a joyful culture.” It is not “rowdy” but it is “full of fun.” Anyone who has been to an Oktober Fest in Munich will have a suspicion of what this means. Of the Bavarians, Benedict says, “we are not a boorish people.” He does not mean “amusement,” that they merely amuse themselves. The people are “joyful.”
Benedict then reflects on why this joyful characteristic might be present in Bavaria. “The joyfulness of the Bavarian culture is based on the fact that we are in tune with Creation.” That is an expression mindful of the English title of one of Josef Pieper’s books: A Theory of Festivity: In Tune with the World. The good is ultimately “a person.” This is where true joy can only be located.