Categories: World
      Date: Dec 12, 2012
     Title: Children's book reveals pope's sensitive side, secretary says



(CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A new children's book, released by the Vatican publishing house, accurately reveals the "very, very, very sensitive soul" of Pope Benedict XVI, said his personal secretary, Archbishop-designate Georg Ganswein.

The Italian-language book, The Mystery of a Little Pond, was written and illustrated by the Russian painter Natalia Tsarkova and was presented at a Dec. 11 conference by the archbishop-designate and a panel of experts, including the director of the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo.

The tale takes place in a pond guarded over by a statue of Mary in the gardens of the papal villa and features a little goldfish who -- even in real life -- is fed by Pope Benedict during his evening stroll.

Archbishop-designate Ganswein, who will be ordained a bishop Jan. 6 by Pope Benedict and serve as prefect of the papal household, said the book accurately portrays a pope who "pays attention to the littlest creatures."

Young and old, he said, will "discover the mystery of the current pope who we all know is a great theologian with a very acute mind, but who has a very, very, very sensitive soul."

The 56-year-old archbishop-designate told those gathered for the book launch that during his years as a young assistant pastor in Germany's Black Forest, he was in charge of the children's liturgies.

"It is never easy to prepare a homily -- sometimes you are able to do it well, sometimes less so -- it depends on several things," he said.

"But preparing a homily for children is draining," the archbishop-designate said. "They immediately see if you are being superficial and they are unforgiving if you are not sincere."