The Essential Pope Benedict XVI: His Central Writings and Speeches

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9780061128837: The Essential Pope Benedict XVI: His Central Writings and Speeches

On April 24, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, the twenty-first-century successor of the Apostle Peter and the spiritual leader of more than one billion Roman Catholics. Who is this complex man whose office grants him sole charge of the world's largest religion? How will his tenure influence the future? The Essential Pope Benedict XVI answers these questions through carefully chosen selections from his homilies, interviews, theological essays, and articles on the crises facing the church today. This collection lays out Benedict's thinking and relates it to a variety of contemporary issues, including modern culture's abandonment of traditional religious values, social mores regarding conception and the sanctity of life, current challenges to the priesthood, and the Catholic Church's tenuous relations with other world religions.

First a brilliant peritus, or "expert advisor," to the Second Vatican Council and then archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger was appointed head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II in 1981. As Cardinal Ratzinger, the ex officio defender of church doctrine, he gained a reputation as a heroic guardian of the faith for conservatives and was held in suspicion by church liberals.

We cannot yet know what issues and events will define the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, but by any measure he will be seen as one of the most important theological voices of our time. This one volume is the best source for understanding the heart, soul, and agenda of this twenty-first-century successor to St. Peter.

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About the Author:

A former publishing executive, John F. Thornton is a literary agent and co-editor of Tongues of Angels, Tongues of Men: A Book of Sermons. He lives in New York City.



Susan B. Varenne holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is a New York City teacher and a freelance writer specializing in religion.

From Booklist:

In The Regensburg Lecture (2007), James V. Schall notes the pope's remarkable capability for writing compactly and clearly, imparting a lot of information and argument very unambiguously. That talent is everywhere evident in these sermons, lectures, and excerpts from then Cardinal Ratzinger's many books, capped by his first papal encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love). Because his publications number in the high hundreds, the essentiality claimed for even this large selection may raise eyebrows. But recall the skill that Schall points out, remark the topical sections of this book--"The Church," "The Liturgy," "Theology," "Scripture," "The Priesthood," and "Christian Morality"--and apprehensions dissipate. These are precisely the concerns essential to a pope. Altogether they show that, contrary to the expectations of many, Benedict is no new Pio Nino (Pius IX, famous for pushing papal infallibility through the first Vatican Council), fulminating against error. He is a conciliator, ever ready to acknowledge the worth of ideas presumably inimical to Christianity and to improve them with the truth that is Christ. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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