To Apple: File this for next Jobs keynote

nano blackSo Pope Benedict XVI has an iPod. The only controversy to me is that Vatican Rado bought the white Nano model — which will go well with those white-and-gold vestments — rather than the black that would look so cool with clericals. But when is the pope a man in black?

As you would expect, Carol Glatz at the Catholic News Service bureau at the Vatican does know what many MSM journalists would not know, which is that the pianist pope has a serious Mozart habit. The Vatican Radio staffers who helped the pope go digital knew that, too.

The pope’s new 2-gigabyte digital audio player already was loaded with a sampling of the radio’s programming in English, Italian and German and musical compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederic Chopin, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky and Igor Stravinsky. The stainless steel back was engraved with the words “To His Holiness, Benedict XVI” in Italian.

Once the pope, who is also a pianist, gets the hang of the device’s trademark click wheel, he will be able to listen to a special 20-minute feature produced by the radio’s English program that highlights Mozart’s life and music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his birth.

So, GetReligion readers, any other nominations for musical works to go on this particular iPod? What non-Vatican podcasts would you recommend, for starters? Have some fun with this, folks.

If stranded on a desert island, one of the CDs (those ancient round shiny things that replaced LPs) at the top of my list would be the Robert Shaw Festival Singers’ recording of the glorious Vespers by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Then again, if the odd tidbit of news reported in the new National Catholic Reporter column by the omnipresent John L. “Word from Rome” Allen Jr. is true, the pontiff previously known as the “Patriarch of the West” might not be as open to listening to Eastern Orthodox concert music as many thought he would be.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Calee Lee

    As a Christian artist who does not necessarily produce content for a “Christian” audience, I would love it if the pope watched my podcast “Up in Smoke” available on iTunes.

    However, since he only has a nano, I think the “Praystation Portable” podcast by Jeff Vista is great. Their website is in Dutch, but the morning and evening prayers are in English.

  • Dan

    Macworld doesn’t “get” Pope Benedict. The Macworld article states that on “receiving the iPod, the Pope reportedly remarked: ‘Computer technology is the future.’” Either this quote is out of context or it is false. In his writings Pope Benedict has criticized the modern tendency (of which Macworld contains endless examples) to apotheosize technology (or to attempt to use technology to usurp God’s place). Consider, for example, the following statement that Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) made in “God and the World”:

    “Let us consider the Tower of Babel, with which man tries to create a universal civilization by means of technology. He tries to bring about by his own and ability and efforts the dream, which in itself is right and good, of one world, of unified humanity, and by means of a tower reaching up to heaven, he tries to seize power and make himself like God. Basically this is the same as the dream of modern technology: possessing divine power, being able to get at the controls of the world itself. In this way, these images truly embody warnings from a primitive knowledge that can speak to us.”

    Pope Benedict also has written about how technology has a tendency to alienate man from himself and from other people.

    In light of what Pope Benedict has written in the past about technology, it is very unlikely that he would say “computer technology is the future.” And he certainly would not attribute the optimistic meaning that readers of Macword would attribute to such a statement.

  • Maggie

    Be sure to check out the speculative column by Mark Morford, “What’s On Jesus’ iPod?” at
    While there is no way of confirming what Jesus would put on his iPod, I do think his musical tastes would be more eclectic than the pontiff’s.

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  • AmericanPapist

    The “Dies Irae” for whenever he’s signing those excommunication notices…


    Judging from what the pope has said about tech in the past and the above quotes, I’d say he’s was nudged into using the ipod and might not use it as much as the article would have us believe.

    He’s probably listening to some scratched up Mozart records right now.

  • AK

    He could of course put all his old, scratched-up Mozart records on his iPod. All the hiss, none of the bulk.

    Either way, he’s probably NOT watching episodes of “Desperate Housewives.”

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