Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Cat to tell the Pope's life story

The new storybook is authorised by the Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI’s early life has been revealed in an authorised biography by his favourite cat, Chico.

The Pope's nine-year-old ginger Siamese cat, has 'published' the tell-all book for children about the life of Joseph Ratzinger, from his childhood in Nazi Germany to his election as supreme pontiff in 2005.

"Dear Children, here you will find a biography that is different to others because it is told by a cat and it is not every day a cat can consider the Holy Father his friend and sit down to write his life story," the Pope's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, says in the foreword.

Chico reveals how one Christmas he attacked the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, leaving him with scratches to his face.

"He forgave me instantly but said to me 'Don't do that again" he says.

Chico tells of Pope Benedict's controversial membership of the Hitler Youth and his involvement with the German army. At age 16 he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps, then trained in the German infantry.

He recalls: "While Joseph and Georg (Pope's elder brother), near their future in the Church, a tragedy is developing in Germany that will shake the world.

"I am talking about Nazism, one of the most dramatic and shameful moments in the history of Man.

"In that period Joseph (Pope Benedict) was forced to do something completely against his will: enter the army and leave for war. First Joseph was sent to defend a factory making aeroplane motors, then he had to prepare barricades in case of an attack by tanks.

"When the war ended, he found himself in a prisoner of war camp along with 50,000 prisoners, forced to live in the open with just a piece of bread and soup a day.''

The book, called Joseph and Chico, has been written by an author from Milan.

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