Pope’s childhood Christmas letter to Baby Jesus published

From the Catholic News Agency comes this charming report: a Christmas letter written by seven-year-old Joseph Ratzinger to Baby Jesus is on display this Advent in the Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn, where he was born.

The letter, written in 1934, reads:

Dear Baby Jesus, quickly come down to earth. You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy. I would like a Volks-Schott, green clothing for Mass and a heart of Jesus. I will always be good. Greetings from Joseph Ratzinger 

CNA offers a brief explanation for some of the young Ratzinger’s Christmas requests:

The first thing the Pope wanted was a Schott, one of the first prayer books with the missal in German and a parallel text in Latin. At the time there were two editions in the country, one for adults and one for children.

But little Joseph also asked for “green clothing for Mass.”

The Pope and his brothers used to play the “game of the priest,” and their mother, a seamstress, would help them by making clothes similar to those worn by priests, according to an “Inside the Vatican” interview his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, gave a few years ago.

He also asked for a heart of Jesus, referring to an image of the Sacred Heart, which his family was very devoted to.

The letter, published online Dec. 18 by the Italian website Korazym.org, was discovered during a renovation of the Holy Father’s former residence in Regensburg. Msgr. Georg Gänswein, the Pope’s personal secretary, said, “The Pope was very glad to find the letter and its contents made him smile.”

Read the full CNA story, which includes details about the Christmas letters of the Holy Father’s brother and sister, here.

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Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.