While I was in Munich in July, I went one day with Father Gregor to see an exhibition on the life of Pope Benedict at the Archives of the Diocese of Munich and Freising. On our way there, we passed the diocesan offices, outside which we saw a fine modern statue of Saint Corbinian and his bear. I took a photograph, intending to send it to Claudine and Gerry Fearon, parishioners of my previous parish (Saint Joseph’s, avenue Hoche, Paris), who live at Saint Germain Les Arpajon, the birthplace of Saint Corbinian.
Rocco reports that, in his address in Munich’s Marienplatz yesterday, the Holy Father compared himself to the bear which became Saint Corbinian’s beast of burden, after killing the saint’s horse on his journey to Rome:
From my childhood, I was very much taken with the story that a bear had attacked and killed the horse which the saint was riding on a journey to Rome. According to the legend, the saint punished the bear by putting on his back the load that the horse had been carrying. So the bear had to carry this load across the Alps all the way to Rome, and only there did the saint set him free.
According to Indian Catholic, Pope Benedict noted that unlike St. Corbinian’s bear (which is represented in his Pontifical coat of arms) he was not set free in Rome, but kept in service.
For some other pictures of Saint Corbinian and the Bear, have a look at Roman Miscellany