Radio-Novel Looks at Life of Joseph Ratzinger

To Be Broadcast by Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 13, 2005 ( Vatican Radio will broadcast a multipart radio-novel on the life of Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI.

Beginning Sept. 25, and continuing every Sunday for the next 12 weeks, Vatican Radio will broadcast the Italian-language novel by chapters. The series is part of Vatican Radio’s cultural program.

Some 15 personalities will take part, including actors and professional dubbers.

The chapters, which may be heard live at 6:30 p.m. (local Roman time), in the “105-live” frequency.

The radio-novel will cover Joseph Ratzinger’s life from his birth, in 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Germany, to his appointment as archbishop of Munich in 1977. Allusions to the present will not be lacking.

The idea of a radio broadcast of the Pope’s biography came to journalist Franco Bucarelli when paging through the volume “My Life,” written by Cardinal Ratzinger himself, and published in Italian by St. Paul’s, which has granted the rights for this program.

The adaptation and setting, reconstructing family environments and recalling the historical background of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the postwar period is the work of writer Stefano Cavallo.


According to Laura De Luca, the program’s director, “The text is magnificently suited to a radiophonic version, precisely because of Joseph Ratzinger’s literary style, able to transmit great ideas through minor stories, attention to telling signs, daily meetings — apparently insignificant details of everyday life.”

“There is a whole subtext that goes beyond the simple adaptation of the book,” De Luca told ZENIT. “In representing some moments of his life, Stefano Cavallo took advantage of the occasion to say some things to the Pope.”

De Luca said that she was impressed by a passage of the autobiography in which Cardinal Ratzinger pauses to describe the fascination felt by a child when seeing the liturgical gestures of the priest during Mass.

Mara Miceli wrote the dialogues for the series. For the voice in first person of Joseph Ratzinger’s narration, Cavallo decided on a nonprofessional presenter, in order to avoid an excessively academic or theatrical tone, which would not be in tune with the simple personality of the present Pope. The choice fell on Bernhard Müller-Hülsebusch, a Bavarian journalist who has been living in Italy for 33 years.

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