Meet the ‘Benedict Bears’: Cuddly companions commemorate the late pope emeritus

 

The cuddly bear commemorating the late Pope Benedict XVI, created by the Coburg, Bavaria, company Hermann Teddy Fabrik in Germany. / Credit: www.teddy-fabrik.de

CNA Newsroom, Jan 20, 2023 / 09:15 am (CNA).

A traditional toy manufacturer in the picturesque Bavarian town of Coburg has produced two limited editions of its iconic teddy bears in honor of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The family-run Hermann Teddy Fabrik made only 265 of each edition because “Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th pope in history since Peter,” reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, on Jan. 20.

The larger toy of the two toys commemorating the pontiff is dressed in a white cape, wears a zucchetto on his head, and sports a lurex gold sash. The cuddly toy is selling for about $215 and comes with a pectoral cross — attached to a cord decorated with Swarovski crystals.

The hand-stuffed bear is delivered together with a card from 2005 with a picture of the papal teddy bear, “which was presented and issued by us for the enthronement of Pope Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005,” the company said.

The bigger Benedict bear also features the popular “growling voice” the toys make when cuddled. Hermann published an audio recording of the iconic sound on its website.

Credit: www.teddy-fabrik.de
Credit: www.teddy-fabrik.de

The smaller edition of the Benedict bear is stuffed with cotton instead of wood shavings, making it somewhat cuddlier.

Selling for about $53, it comes with a small scroll on which “a true story about the childhood of Benedict XVI, told in the style of the childhood memories of George Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict XVI,” is written.

The scroll tells the “true story” of how a 2-year-old Joseph Ratzinger, growing up in rural Bavaria, always wanted a teddy bear he saw in a local toymaker’s shop window. The little boy was devastated to see the toy had disappeared just before Christmas — only to discover the Christ Child had left it under the Christmas tree for him a few days later.

The Bavarian toymaker has produced a variety of teddy bears commemorating “popes, saints, and religious,” CNA Deutsch reported, including St. John Paul II and Pope Francis as well as St. Teresa of Calcutta. For fans of the legendary Swiss Guard, there is a teddy bear version complete with the iconic halberd — and also two models of a certain German monk by the name of Martin Luther.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died on Dec. 31, 2022, at the age of 95. He was supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013.


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