The National Catholic Review

Now we know where he gets it from.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, well-known for his good sense of humor (among other qualities), introduced his mother to Pope Benedict this weekend, and her exchange with the holy father showed that a lighthearted spirit runs in the family. From the New York Post:

Amid cheers and applause, Dolan walked his mom, Shirley, up to the stage to greet his boss during a papal audience before an enthusiastic crowd inside the Paul VI Hall.

“Holy Father, here is my mom!” Dolan said he told the pope.

Unable to resist the temptation to make a joke, Dolan, 62, pointed out that he’s one of the few princes of the church young enough and lucky enough to still have his mother alive.

“I asked him if he would declare her the first lady of the College of Cardinals,” he said.

Dolan recounted that the pope, who turns 85 in April, then paid his mom the ultimate compliment, telling her, “You look too young to be the mother of a cardinal.”

The cardinal said his mom — showing that a quick wit is a family trait — shot back, “Holy Father, was that an infallible statement?

Comments

Bill Collier | 2/23/2012 - 5:34pm
C'mon, David P., you're being too rigid in your characterization of humor. :)

I read it that he was poking fun at his first-hand knowledge of the Germanic obsession with structure and order. As I said, it wasn't a quip that would bring the house down with laughter, but for someone in BXVI's position, it was a refreshing bit of self-deprecation, and it would seem to satisfy your criterion of "even one example in the Pope's eighty five years where he managed a nice riposte."
david power | 2/23/2012 - 4:27pm
Tom,
That criteria seems fair enough. 
No welching .
At the very most he gave a wide smile (social grace) and then his mind moved back to the Eternal dialectic and as a good Augustinian cringed at the idea that any man could be infallible in anything and winced at the presumption of past Popes.
Let me know when you get word.
T BLACKBURN | 2/23/2012 - 4:08pm
David, I said a hearty chuckle. A chuckle is noise. If he responded with a demure smile, it wasn't a chuckle and you win. I proposed the bet on the assumption that Cardinal Dolan would have to do some translating for him, but that he would recognize "infalibility" in any language and the cardinal would merely have to steer the comment a little for him. Ar which the German pontiff said, approximately, "Ach hee hee hee., hoopla." If you don't insist on exactly three hees, that would be my definition.
david power | 2/23/2012 - 2:14pm
You are indeed.
But before we start scowering St Patricks cathedral for the Cardinal lets define hearty.
I would say at best he gave a demure and polite  smile. A "hearty" laugh would be hard to muster given that she no doubt said it in English and there was no translator there and so the spontaneity would be gone.
Another thing would be for them to say that the Pope just gave a withering look would be unthinkable for anybody in the inner sanctum.


But in a moment of indiscretion the great Albacete recounted this:


CHARLIE ROSE: You knew the guy. So you...
LORENZO ALBACETE: No, I'm telling you. Absolutely. Again, I don't— again, I haven't—I cannot say I had a friendship with Ratzinger, though we have worked together for 20 some years.
CHARLIE ROSE: So you know him.
LORENZO ALBACETE: Oh, yes. Yes. Do you want me to tell you—maybe it`s not prudent for me to tell you.
(CROSSTALK)
LORENZO ALBACETE: It`s not prudent.
CHARLIE ROSE: Please.
LORENZO ALBACETE: I'll regret it. In the reruns, I'll always regret it.
CHARLIE ROSE: Don`t worry.
LORENZO ALBACETE: You know that he is a proponent of these movements....
CHARLIE ROSE: Throw prudence aside. Of what?
LORENZO ALBACETE: The movements that have risen in the church, these creative minorities, from very impressive ones to ones that one has never heard from. And once I was at a Congress in which he was there, to understand what this means, all these movements. And they have the whole list of them, and there was a huge number towards the end that were all called joy of something. Like of a place. Joie of Lyon.
CHARLIE ROSE: Joy of Lyon, France.
LORENZO ALBACETE: Joie de Paris. Joie—and I said, well, look at this. And then he came over to me and he said hi. I said, oh, hi. Your Eminence, look, I'm very concerned. I am the founder of a movement, and it's not here. You haven't listed it. He said, "Oh, what is your movement?" I said Joie de Times Square. He started laughing. And he said, "What is your charism," namely your specialty? And I said, oh, the Virgin. And he said, "Ah, Our Lady." I said, no, no, the Virgin Megastore that's over in Times Square, that's open all night, that's where we meet.
And that was his reaction. He had to order water. He probably thinks I'm just some big clown anyway.

 
T BLACKBURN | 2/23/2012 - 1:58pm
David, No. In fact if a neutral bystander (I'd count the cardinal in that class) can be found to give testimony, I have $10 that says Benedict at least greeted Mom's comment with a hearty chuckle. Am I on?
david power | 2/23/2012 - 1:51pm
Tom,

Is that the sound of the towel being thrown in??? :)  
T BLACKBURN | 2/23/2012 - 1:45pm
Well, somebody around here doesn't have a sense of humor. That's for sure.
david power | 2/23/2012 - 1:42pm
Bill,

I am afraid that is not even an attempt at humour. 
It could be that his humor is in German and so not quoted a lot. 
I reckon  though that not even Jason Berry could unearth a slice of humor from the master of tubingen. 
Bill Collier | 2/23/2012 - 1:29pm
In his latest book ("Between Heaven and Mirth"), Fr. Martin quotes BXVI on humor:


"I believe God has a great sense of humor. Sometimes he gives you something like a nudge and says, Don’t take yourself so seriously! Humor is in fact an essential element in the mirth of creation. We can see how, in many matters in our lives, God wants to prod us into taking things a bit more lightly; to see the funny side of it; to get down off our pedestal and not to forget our sense of fun."
And a few years ago, the Catholic News Service had the following from BXVI:

"Pope Benedict has frequently criticized the growth of Church bureaucracy and its output of studies, reports and meetings. Asked once whether the Vatican would operate better in Germany, he responded, "What a disaster! The Church would be too organized."

Source: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/BenedictXVI/benedictbiography.asp

True, not Letterman-Leno-Colbert-Pope John XXIII material, but not too bad for a theology scholar. ;)
david power | 2/23/2012 - 11:58am
Tom,

I have probably read more of Ratzinger than of anybody else.The only thing of his that I can't claim to have read is his homilies and some essays.
Ratinger or Pope Benedict is a great scholar.But I was using the word with in the strict sense of humour.There is nothing on record of the Pope ever being funny.If there was you can be sure that it would be paraded before the world.
I can glance at my bookshelf as I write and see 9 books with his name on them.
Some of them I only read when I am having trouble sleeping. God is near us and the Spirit of the Liturgy fall into this category.If I promoted their sleepinducing qualities to the world I am sure that the Pill producers  would order a hit on me. 
If he is doing an interview he is usually erudite ,candid and humble but also a little calculating.
If you can show me even one example in the Pope's eighty five years where he managed a nice riposte I will congratulate you.His gift is his subtle intellect.I am glad he is Pope as I think if people "need" to be funny there is something wrong (not naming names!). 
I once stood about 20 metres from the Pope in Rome as he was speaking and I can tell you that the entire audience was almost catatonic and not from concentration.I would not term as stuffy but he is not a livewire either.
We do not have to be all things to all people.The Pope is comfortable of who he is and that is gift in itself. 
T BLACKBURN | 2/23/2012 - 7:38am
David, "wit is not one of them"? You must not have read much of Pope Benedict's writing. He  isn't as funny as Father Jim Martin, maybe, but  he is cogent and loose enough that no one can describe him as stuffy.
david power | 2/22/2012 - 7:26pm
Vince,

You are bad to the bone.The Holy Father has many qualities but wit is not one of them.The  Dolan family seems to specialise in catholic humour of a very papal and sychophantic nature.
How the Irish have fallen!! 
Vince Killoran | 2/22/2012 - 1:55pm
 “Holy Father, was that an infallible statement?"

The way things are going I wouldn't be surprised if he responded in the affirmative.
RALPH BREMIGAN | 2/22/2012 - 1:54pm
Any reports on whether B16 appreciated her sense of humor?
J Cosgrove | 2/22/2012 - 1:46pm
My wife said to me she must be one of the proudest mothers on the planet.
T BLACKBURN | 2/24/2012 - 3:31pm
I'm sorry. ~I've been alway. David, you're on.
Now, can someone find out what B16 said or did?


david power | 2/24/2012 - 9:59am
Maria,

I actually have never met a lol funny German in my life.
I have met many great Germans and Bavarians are a ncie people.God gives in different areas and the Germans were blessed in many  areas apart from humor.
I was speaking to a German friend a few years ago and he was basically saying that the Germans were not as funny as the Irish and English and I just said to him "Why do you think that is?" and then he gave a truly funny but dark answer when he said "I guess we killed  all the funny guys".