The Liturgical Vision of Pope Benedict XVI: A Theological Inquiry

Reason: Open to God
By Mariusz Biliniewicz.
The Liturgical Vision of Pope Benedict XVI: A Theological Inquiry

Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften (20 Feb 2013)

This book presents and evaluates the liturgical vision of Pope Benedict XVI and the theological background underlying that vision. It describes the main features of Joseph Ratzinger's theology of the liturgy and analyses them within the context of his theology as a whole. Ratzinger's evaluation of the contemporary Roman Catholic liturgy is explored in relation to his overall assessment of the post-Vatican II era in the Church, alongside an examination of his project of liturgical renewal ('reform of the reform') and its practical implementation during his pontificate. The author discusses the various critical voices which have been raised against the Pope's liturgical agenda and against certain aspects of his general theology. Overall, the book offers an assessment of the importance of Ratzinger's vision for the Church at the threshold of the third millennium.

Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

Image Press, November 21, 2012.

The momentous third and final volume in the Pope’s international bestselling Jesus of Nazareth series, detailing how the stories of Jesus’ infancy and childhood are as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago.

In 2007, Joseph Ratzinger published his first book as Pope Benedict XVI in order “to make known the figure and message of Jesus.” Now, the Pope focuses exclusively on the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life as a child. The root of these stories is the experience of hope found in the birth of Jesus and the affirmations of surrender and service embodied in his parents, Joseph and Mary. This is a story of longing and seeking, as demonstrated by the Magi searching for the redemption offered by the birth of a new king. It is a story of sacrifice and trusting completely in the wisdom of God as seen in the faith of Simeon, the just and devout man of Jerusalem, when he is in the presence of the Christ child. Ultimately, Jesus’ life and message is a story for today, one that speaks to the restlessness of the human heart searching for the sole truth which alone leads to profound joy.

Summary (Courtesy of the Vatican Information Service):

"The first chapter is dedicated to the genealogies of the Saviour in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which are very different, although both have the same theological and symbolic meaning: the placing of Jesus in history and his true origin as a new beginning of world history.

"The theme of chapter two is the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist and that of Jesus. Rereading the dialogue between Mary and the Archangel Gabriel in the Gospel of Luke, Joseph Ratzinger explains that, through a woman, God 'seeks to enter the world anew'. In order to liberate man from sin, he writes, quoting Bernard of Clairvaux, God needs 'free obedience' to his will. 'In creating freedom, he made himself in a certain sense dependent upon man. His power is tied to the unenforceable yes of a human being'. Thus, only thanks to Mary's assent can the history of salvation begin.

"Chapter three is centred on the event in Bethlehem and the historical context of the birth of Jesus, the Roman Empire under Augustus, which extends from East to West and whose universal dimension allows for the entry into the world of 'a universal Saviour'; 'it is indeed the fullness of time'. The single elements of the story of the birth are dense with meaning: the poverty in which 'he who is truly the first-born of all that is' chooses to reveal himself, and therefore 'the cosmic glory' that envelopes the manger; God's special love for the poor, which manifests itself in the annunciation to the shepherds; and the words of the Gloria, whose translation is controversial.

"The fourth chapter is dedicated to the three Magi, who saw the star of the 'King of the Jews' and who had come to adore the child, and to the flight into Egypt. Here the figures of the 'magoi', reconstructed through a rich range of historical, linguistic and scientific information, are outlined as a fascinating emblem of the inner unrest and search for truth of the human spirit.

"Finally, the Epilogue, with the story - according to the Gospel of Luke - of the last episode in the childhood of Jesus, the last account we have of him before the beginning of his public ministry with his baptism in the Jordan. It is the episode of the three days during the Passover pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, in which twelve-year-old Jesus leaves Mary and Joseph and stays in the Temple to discuss with the rabbis. Jesus, who was growing 'in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man', manifests himself in his nature as true God and, at the same time, true man, who 'thought and learned in human fashion'".

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Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: from the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection Pt. 2
Pope Benedict XVI. Ignatius Press (March 10, 2011).

For Christians, Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, who died for the sins of the world, and who rose from the dead in triumph over sin and death. For non-Christians, he is almost anything else-myth, a political revolutionary, a prophet whose teaching was misunderstood or distorted by his followers.

Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, and no myth, revolutionary, or misunderstood prophet, insists Benedict XVI. He thinks that the best of historical scholarship, while it can't "prove" Jesus is the Son of God, certainly doesn't disprove it. Indeed, Benedict maintains that the evidence, fairly considered, brings us face-to-face with the challenge of Jesus-a real man who taught and acted in ways that were tantamount to claims of divine authority, claims not easily dismissed as lunacy or deception.

Benedict XVI presents this challenge in his new book, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, the sequel volume to Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration.

Why was Jesus rejected by the religious leaders of his day? Who was responsible for his death? Did he establish a Church to carry on his work? How did Jesus view his suffering and death? How should we? And, most importantly, did Jesus really rise from the dead and what does his resurrection mean? The story of Jesus raises these and other crucial questions.

Benedict brings to his study the vast learning of a brilliant scholar, the passionate searching of a great mind, and the deep compassion of a pastor's heart. In the end, he dares readers to grapple with the meaning of Jesus' life, teaching, death, and resurrection. Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection challenges both believers and unbelievers to decide who Jesus of Nazareth is and what he means for them.

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Gained Horizons: Regensburg and the Enlargement of Reason

Gained Horizons: Regensburg and the Enlargement
of Reason Gained Horizons: Regensburg and the Enlargement of Reason
Edited by Bainard Cowan.
St. Augustines Press; 1 edition (February 10, 2011)

Gained Horizons takes up Pope Benedict XVI’s invitation, issued in his lecture at the University of Regensburg, to enter into the dialogue of cultures by “broadening our concept of reason” to “once more disclose its vast horizons.” Benedict placed in the foreground the notion of God as acting with reason, and said of “this great logos, this breadth of reason,” that “to rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.”The contributors to Gained Horizons conduct their inquiries down the paths of their disciplines of thought – philosophy, theology, political thought and literary criticism – examining the broader nature of reason and the forces that oppose it today in politics, culture, and education.

Several of the most distinguished and most stimulating commentators on the public scene come together in Gained Horizons to focus on the challenges and hopes of reason. Jean Bethke Elshtain finds in the conception of a God Who is approachable by reason the root of the subjection of rulers to law, even laws that they themselves have made. To Peter Lawler, Pope Benedict articulates a science adequate to the achievement of the American Founders and thus urgent to recover, since American public opinion tends both to deny reason in the name of freedom and to rigidify reason in the name of democratic science. R. R. Reno looks at the contemporary university and finds not so much a relativism as a loss of intellectual ambition, of the confidence that the disciplines can help us understand how we can live our lives. As Reno points out the dangers of relying on theory without traditional wisdom to solve human problems, Glenn Arbery describes Dostoevsky’s vision of modern man imprisoned in theory and his rescue by reason and grace in the action of Crime and Punishment. Nalin Ranasinghe then sketches out some of the implications of the Regensburg Address for philosophers in particular and the university in general; Pope Benedict challenges the academy to recove the full richness of the gift of reason. These and other contributors combine to launch not only a critique of the contemporary scene but an envisioning of the ever-present sources of logos that stand ready to be regenerated in our time.

Bainard Cowan is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Exiled Waters: Moby Dick and the Crisis of Allegory and editor of Poetics of the Americas and Uniting the Liberal Arts: Core and Context.

Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and the Signs of the Times

Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and the Signs of the Times Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and the Signs of the Times
Pope Benedict XVI | Peter Seewald. Introduction by George Weigel.
Ignatius Press (November 24, 2010)

Never has a Pope, in a book-length interview, dealt so directly with such wide-ranging and controversial issues as Pope Benedict XVI does in Light of the World. Taken from a recent week-long series of interviews with veteran journalist Peter Seewald, this book tackles head-on some of the greatest issues facing the world of our time. Seewald poses such forthright questions to Pope Benedict as:
  • What caused the clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?
  • Was there a "cover up"?
  • Have you considered resigning?
  • Does affirming the goodness of the human body mean a plea for "better sex"?
  • Can there be a genuine dialogue with Islam?
  • Should the Church rethink Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, women priests, contraception, and same-sex relationships?
  • Holy Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics?
  • Is there a schism in the Catholic Church?
  • Should there be a Third Vatican Council?
  • Is there any hope for Christian unity?
  • Is Christianity the only truth?
  • Can the Pope really speak for Jesus Christ?
  • How can the Pope claim to be "infallible"?
  • Is there a "dictatorship of relativism" today?
Twice before these two men held wide-ranging discussions, which became the best-selling books Salt of the Earth and God and the World. Then, Seewald's discussion partner was Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's chief doctrinal office. Now, Joseph Ratzinger is Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of the world's over one billion Catholics. Though Seewald now interviews the Pope himself, the journalist "pulls no punches", posing some of the thorniest questions any Pope has had to address. Believers and unbelievers will be fascinated to hear Benedict's thoughtful, straightforward and thought-provoking replies. This is no stern preachment or ponderous theological tract, but a lively, fast-paced, challenging, even entertaining exchange.

The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift

The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift


by Father Emery de Gaál, Ph.D. Palgrave Macmillan (November 23, 2010)

Many refer to Pope Benedict XVI as “the Mozart of Theology.” Who are the personalities and thinkers who have informed his theology? What events, and which religious devotions, have shaped his personality? What are the central themes of his complex scholarship encompassing more than 1500 titles? This study attempts to shed light on the unifying melody of the policies and positions of a pontificate charged with spiritual and theological depth. Especially in the 1970s an anthropocentric shift had occurred. Emery de Gaál argues that, amid a general lack of original, secular ideas stirring public opinion, Benedict XVI inaugurates an epochal Christocentric shift; by rekindling the Patristic genius, he provides Christianity with both intellectual legitimacy and the scholarship needed to propel it into the twenty-first century.

About the Author

Fr. Emery de Gaál is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and located in Mundelein, Illinois. He studied theology in Munich and Pittsburgh and also published Theology: The Art of Equanimity. He is a Catholic priest of the diocese of Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany.

Benedict XVI and Blessed John Henry Newman: The State Visit - September 2010 - The Official Record

Benedict XVI and Blessed John Henry Newman: The State Visit - September 2010 - The Official Record Benedict XVI and Blessed John Henry Newman: The State Visit - September 2010 - The Official Record

Catholic Truth Society (30 Sep 2010)

This magnificent large-format book is the official record, in photographs, background information, speeches and addresses, of the state visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Britain in September 2010.

The colour photographs throughout capture the full train of events from the 16th to the 19th September, as recorded by the official photographers.

Here too you will find recorded the words of the addresses and homilies given by the Holy Father to the people of Britain during his visit

Readers will find the significance of the visit explained through commentaries on both the intentions of the Pope in making this visit - and especially his beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman - and the historical importance of the venues he has chosen to visit.

A Turning Point for Europe?: The Church in the Modern World

A Turning Point for Europe?
Ignatius Press (2nd Edition. June 2010)

Cardinal Ratzinger addresses the challenges and responsibilities that both the Church and society in Europe face after the collapse of Marxism. Both liberalism and Marxism have denied religion the right to have any influence on public affairs and the common future of humanity. Since there is also a great spiritual emptiness growing in the West with the increased secularization, consumerism and hedonism, Ratzinger's comments apply as much, if not more, to the United States as well.

With the downfall of Marxism, religion has been discovered anew as an ineradicable force for both the individual and society. While there is renewed interest in religion, the dangers also exist to lay hold of religion as an instrument to serve various political ideas. Ratzinger, whose theological work has often dealt with the "reasons for our faith," reflects upon the various problems facing humanity at this turning point of our history and offers genuine hope based upon a deep Christian faith. He also addresses the critical role that the Church has in relationship to the world and the essential task of bringing Christ back into our culture.

Reviews

Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on the Holy Mass




Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on the Holy Mass
Ignatius Press (June 2010)

The celebration of the Eucharist, in which Jesus Christ becomes present, is the center of the Catholic faith. This volume brings together substantive texts of the Holy Father on the many aspects and dimensions of the Mass and the Mystery of the Eucharist, a rich source for every Christian and a spur to reflection and personal prayer. Delivered in addresses and homilies to a wide variety of audiences , these reflections reveal the depth and breadth of Pope Benedict XVI’s profound and life-long love for the Holy Eucharist. A major theme throughout the works of Joseph Ratzinger, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is the Church’s source of life, unity and fruitfulness. This theme has been carried deeply into his pontificate, as can be seen in this collection, which challenges the faithful to believe that by receiving Christ in Holy Communion, they are drawn not only into the very life of God, but into the community that is Christ’s Body, the Church.


Church Fathers and Teachers: From Leo the Great to Peter Lombard


Church Fathers and Teachers: From Leo the Great to Peter Lombard

Church Fathers and Teachers: From Leo the Great to Peter Lombard
Ignatius Press (June 2010)

After meditating on the Apostles and then on the Fathers of the early Church, as seen in his earlier works Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church and Church Fathers, Pope Benedict XVI devoted his attention to the most influential Christian men from the fifth through the twelfth centuries. In his first book, Church Fathers, Benedict began with Clement of Rome and ended with Saint Augustine. In this volume, the Holy Father reflects on some of the greatest theologians of the Middle Ages: Benedict, Anselm, Bernard, and Gregory the Great, to name just a few. By exploring both the lives and the ideas of the great popes, abbots, scholars and missionaries who lived during the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christendom, Pope Benedict XVI highlights the key elements of Catholic dogma and practice that remain the foundation stones not only of the Roman Catholic Church but of Christian society itself. This book is a wonderful way to get to know these later Church Fathers and Teachers and the tremendous spiritually rich patrimony they have bequeathed to us.


Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy

Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy (Fota Liturgy)
Four Courts Press Ltd (May 2010)

Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy is the published proceedings of the first Fota International Liturgical Conference held in Cork, Ireland, in July 2008 and it aims to provide a general overview of some of the more important themes in Benedict XVI’s liturgical writings. It serves as a broad introduction to issues central to Benedict XVI's concern for authentic renewal of Catholic worship, according to the principles set out by the Second Vatican Council, and to his critique of liturgical innovations deviant from those principles. The book explores some of the formative influences on Joseph Ratzinger's liturgical vision and points to the consistent application of those critically assimilated influences over a spectrum of issues facing modern liturgical scholarship: the recovery of the sacred, the cosmic and eschatological dimensions of Christian worship, advocacy of continuity rather than rupture in the liturgical tradition; the need for historical and intellectual honesty in discerning development (as well as in areas such as vernacular translations of the core texts of the Roman Rite); and the renewal of genuine scientific exploration of the sources of the Roman Rite. The book is aimed at a professional and general audience. For the most part, it is easily accessible and plots the map for a series of more specific issues to be dealt with in the Fota Liturgical Conference Series.

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Vol. 1, The Unity of the Church


Joseph Ratzinger in Communio

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Unity of the Church v. 1: Pope Benedict XVI (Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought)
W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (March 2010)

The Unity of the Church brings together a captivating collection of articles — previously published in Communio — by Pope Benedict XVI. The essays deal with various issues facing the church in the world today, including what divides and unites denominations, the growing crisis facing peace and justice, technological security, and the necessity of ecumenism in the growth of the church. / “Pope Benedict XVI rarely writes on any churchly matter that does not manifest its implications for man and culture, and vice versa,” notes David Schindler in the introduction. This collection is a brilliant expression of that tendency toward interconnectivity. / Dwelling in Love is part of the Ressourcement: Retrieval and Renewal in Catholic Thought series, edited by David L. Schindler.

The Social and Political Thought of Benedict XVI

The Social and Political Thought of Benedict XVIby Thomas Rourke. Lexington Books (January 2010)

Covering the entire trajectory of his religious life, this meticulously researched book identifies the roots of political and social order in Pope Benedict XVI's philosophy and analyzes his views on the role of Christian faith in politics. Although not generally characterized as a political philosopher, the Benedict's writings shed significant and unique light on the world of politics today. In an age when modern politics has lost sight of its proper relationship within the larger scheme of human affairs and existence, Thomas R. Rourke shows that, as both Pope and the former Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict has made a conscious effort to relate political issues to the broader dialogue on human endeavor, ethics, and culture.

Bringing to the fore Benedict's belief on the necessary place of the Christian tradition in a contemporary politics of reason, Rourke details the Pope's contribution to solving the deeper problems of politics today. A valuable study in political theory and religion, this book should be read by those interested in Catholic social and political thought.

Thomas R. Rourke is chair of the political science and philosophy department at Clarion University.

Related

Theological Highlights of Vatican II

Theological Highlights of Vatican IIPaulist Press (December 2009)

Here is a significant book comprising Joseph Ratzinger's report on the debates and struggles that made up each of the four sessions of Vatican II (1962-65), along with theological commentary by a noted scholar and professor.

At the council Ratzinger worked on the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei verbum), the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), and the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church (Ad gentes). Topics he treats in detail in the book include the debate on the liturgy schema, the early debate on divine revelation, the questions of Mariology and ecumenism, the decree on the bishops office in the Church, religious liberty, the Church and the Jews, and the schemas on the missions and on priestly ministry and life. He gives special attention to the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and to the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

Meeting Saint Paul with the Pope

Meeting Saint Paul with the Pope: Wednesday Audiences During the Pauline Jubilee Year
Paulist Press (November 2009)

A series of twenty-one reflections of Pope Benedict XVI on one of the most influential persons in the history of Christianity, Saint Paul.

Maria: Pope Benedict XVI on the Mother of God

Maria: Pope Benedict XVI on the Mother of GodIgnatius Press (November 2009)

This glorious volume is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book with dozens of inspirational and famous color paintings, sculptures and artwork of the Blessed Virgin Mary from all over the world. The beautiful pictures are accompanied by the profound writings and homilies of Pope Benedict XVI on the person of Mary, and her unique role in human history and in the plan of God for salvation history.

The gorgeous paintings and artwork are from many different centuries, some very famous and others less well-known. Many of these artworks are located at popular Marian shrines that Pope Benedict has visited and honored with special events, prayers and homilies, depicted throughout this volume. Some of the famous Marian images include Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Czestochowa (the ''Black Madonna''), Queen of the Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Loreto, Queen of Carmel, and many others.

Pope Benedict offers in-depth, inspirational reflections on the unique spiritual role Mary as the Mother of the Savior, showing her to be the universal ''Woman'' that Jesus calls her in the Gospels, his mother that God made the spiritual mother of all mankind. Using Biblical references of Mary as ''full of grace'' and the ''woman clothed with the sun'', Pope Benedict emphasizes that Mary's main role is to lead us to union with Jesus, to help us know and love Him much better and to be his true followers.

Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI

Covenant and CommunionBy Scott Hahn. Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd (October 2009)

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's election as Pope Benedict XVI brought a world-class biblical theologian to the papacy. There is an intensely biblical quality to his pastoral teaching and he has demonstrated a keen concern for the authentic interpretation of sacred Scripture. Here a foremost interpreter of Catholic thought and life offers a probing look at Benedict's biblical theology and provides a clear and concise introduction to his life and work. Bestselling author and theologian Scott Hahn argues that the heart of Benedict's theology is salvation history and the Bible and shows how Benedict accepts historical criticism but recognizes its limits. The author also explains how Benedict reads the overall narrative of Scripture and how he puts it to work in theology, liturgy, and Christian discipleship.

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Max and Benedict: A Bird's Eye View of the Pope's Daily Life

Max and Benedict: A Bird's Eye View of the Pope's Daily Lifeby Jeanne Perego (Author), Donata Casagrande (Illustrator). Ignatius Press (October 2009)

This lovely children's book is a sequel to Joseph and Chico, the international best seller that told the story of the life of Pope Benedict XVI from his youth to his election as the Pope. With the same award-winning author and illustrator, this lavishly illustrated book is aimed at children but in a way that even adults will enjoy. It takes up the story of Benedict XVI's new life as the Pope.

The narrator of this book is a blue rock-thrush that spends most of his time on the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica and in the Vatican gardens. The bird's scientific name is Monticola Solitarius, and it really lives in these places. His name is Max, and from his solitary perch, Max observes everything in the vicinity, and he is fascinated by one human in particular: the Pope.

Max tells readers what the Pope does on a typical day, and also about special moments in his life, such as the Pope's apostolic trips. The book provides a delicate portrait of the Holy Father's many responsibilities, and it helps us understand the Pope's important obligations that he always strives to carry out with love, faith and dedication.

Max talks about the Pope's private and public audiences, his meetings with heads of state, and with children, important liturgical moments, and the Angelus. He also describes more curious events, such as the blessing of the lambs and of a fire truck. He tells us about the moments that the Pope devotes to writing and prayer. Max flies to see the Pope at his Summer home, Castel Gandolfo, and is sorry he cannot accompany him on his important apostolic trips, but is happy each time the Pope returns to the Vatican. Max is also delighted when he sees the Pope relax a bit, playing the piano or strolling through the Vatican gardens. Max loves music, too, and many of his friends live in the Vatican garden.

Through this wonderful story, the author presents some of the fundamental ideas of Pope Benedict XVI, and the important daily life and activities of the successor of St. Peter, told in simple words that young readers can understand and enjoy.

The Pope and Jesus of Nazareth: Christ, Scripture and the Church

The Pope and Jesus of Nazareth: Christ, Scripture and the Church The Pope and Jesus of Nazareth: Christ, Scripture and the Church (Veritas)
SCM Press (September 1, 2009)

The Veritas Series offers original volumes engaging in critical questions of pressing concern to theologians, philosophers and scholars of other disciplines.

The publication of the book Jesus of Nazareth on 16 April 2007 was an unprecedented event: never before had a reigning Pope published personal reflections on Jesus. Benedict XVI’s book engages not just with New Testament scholarship but also with fundamental methodological questions related to historical criticism.

The Pope and Jesus of Nazareth provides essays by some of the leading scholars in Britain, continental Europe and the USA to highlight the insights and limits of the Pope’s reflection on Jesus. Specifically, it engages with the book from critical, cross-disciplinary and different faith perspectives.

Contributors include: John Milbank, Henri-Jérôme Gagey, Francisco Javier Martínez, Fergus Kerr OP, Richard B. Hays, Markus Bockmuehl, Adele Reinhartz, Mona Siddiqui.

Caritas in Veritate ("Charity in Truth")

Charity in Truth: Caritas in VeritateIgnatius Press (August 2009).

Pope Benedict’s third encyclical, Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate), applies the themes of his first two encyclicals —love and hope (God Is Love, Saved in Hope) — to the world’s major social issues. Drawing on moral truths open, in principle, to everyone (the natural law) as well as on the teachings of the gospel (revelation), Pope Benedict addresses Catholics and non-Catholics alike, challenging us all to recognize and then to confront the social evils of our day.

The first part of the encyclical examines the dynamic teaching of Benedict’s predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Both men contributed greatly to the body of doctrine known as “Catholic social teaching”. Both men challenged the simplistic division of political perspectives into “conservative” and “liberal”, and “right” and “left”. Both men were convinced that the natural moral law and the teaching of the Gospel were indispensable for a world in desperate search of hope and meaning.

In the second part Benedict surveys the social issues that confront the human race today—assaults on the dignity of the human person such as the attack on human life, poverty, issues of war and peace, terrorism, globalization, and environmental concerns. Benedict provides sound moral principles to address these social and economic problems, and to promote a culture of life and genuine peace.

In this outstanding work, Pope Benedict shows us why so many observers regard him as the world’s leading moral voice, as well as one of the most insightful and profound social/political thinkers of our day.

Pope Benedict XVI: An Introduction to His Theological Vision

Pope Benedict XVI: An Introduction to His Theological VisionPaulist Press (May 2009)

From professor and scholar, to the Vatican’s enforcer of the faith and, finally, to the throne of St. Peter, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI has become for the world the public face of the Roman Catholic Church. Rev. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J.—the T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles—tells us he has been reading and studying Ratzinger’s work since 1969. With this book, Rausch provides a clear and concise overview of the pope’s life and theological vision on several levels: his Eucharistic ecclesiology, his theology of liturgy, his Christology and “his relentless refusal to reduce Sacred Scripture to mere history or literature.”

As Benedict’s writings on contentious issues within the church (e.g. liberation theology, women, homosexuality et al.) and the world (human rights, solidarity, religious pluralism et al.) reflect, Rausch notes that “[Benedict’s] tendency is to speak the way a university professor does, isolating difficulties with a particular clarity and force.” The author expresses concern, though, on the pope’s ability to read the signs of the times, as it were, as he seeks to “rearticulate Catholic doctrine in the context of secular culture.” -- America

Reviews

Credo for Today: What Christians Believe

Credo for Today: What Christians BelieveIgnatius Press (May 2009).

What do Christians believe? What gives meaning to our life? What is the purpose of life? The Christian answer to these questions is found in the Creed, in the profession of faith. But what do the articles of this confession actually mean? And how to they affect our lives?

Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, takes a fresh look at these timeless questions. This work is a reflection of the profound, personal insights of Benedict XVI, but also of the great foundations of Christianity: faith, hope, and charity.

Ratzinger writes eloquently and persuasively about the importance for followers of Christ to understand well what they believe so one can live as a serious Christian in today’s secular world. He talks in depth about the true meaning of faith, hope, and love—the love of God and the love of neighbor. He also discusses the crucial importance of a lived faith, for the believer himself as well as being a witness for our age, and striving to bring faith in line with the present age that has veered off into rampant secularism and materialism.

"In our generation the Christian Faith finds itself in a much deeper crisis than at any other time in the past. In this situation it is no solution to shut our eyes in fear in the face of pressing problems, or to simply pass over them. If faith is to survive this age, then it must be lived, and above all, lived in this age. And this is possible only if a manifestation of faith is shown to have value for our present day, by growing to knowledge and fulfillment." —Pope Benedict XVI

Faith and the Future

Faith and the FutureIgnatius Press (March 2009).

Increasingly, the future is becoming a theme for theological reflection. In the background we can detect a growing concern among many people for the future of faith. Does faith have any future at all, and, if so, where in all the confusion of today's trends will we discover its embryo?

But the problem of the future assails not only the believer. In the ever more rapidly advancing process of historical evolution, man is confronted with enormous opportunities, but also with colossal perils. For him, the future is not only hope, but sorrow—a nightmare, indeed. He cannot avoid asking what part faith can play in building tomorrow's world.

Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, approaches this problem of universal concern from a variety of angles, bringing his deep personal faith and theological brilliance to bear on these serious questions.

Excerpts

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Saint Paul

Saint Paul
Ignatius Press (April 2009).

St. Paul is one of the most important figures in Christian history. As Saul of Tarsus he vigorously persecuted Christianity, even collaborating in the death of Christianity’s first martyr, Stephen. His encounter with the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus changed Paul’s life, the Christian Church, and world history. More than anyone else in the early Church, Paul saw the universal nature of the Christian message. He became the “Apostle to the Gentiles” and the “Teacher of the Nations”. As the human author of half of the New Testament, Paul is a figure who cannot be overlooked by anyone who wants to understand Jesus Christ and Christianity.

In this book, Pope Benedict XVI, a profound spiritual leader in his own right and a first-rate theologian and Bible commentator, explores the legacy of Paul. Pope Benedict follows the course of the Apostle’s life, including his missionary journeys and his relationship with the other apostles of Jesus such as St. Peter and St. James, and Paul’s martyrdom in Rome. Benedict also examines such questions as: Did Paul know Jesus during his earthly life and how much of Jesus’ teaching and ministry did he know of? Did Paul distort the teachings of Jesus? What role did Jesus’ death and resurrection play in Paul’s teaching? What are we to make of Paul’s teaching about the end of the world? What does Paul’s teaching say about the differences between Catholic and Protestant Christians over salvation and the roles of faith and works in the Christian life? How have modern Catholic and Protestant scholars come together in their understanding of Paul? What does Paul have to teach us today about living a spiritual life?

These and other important issues are addressed in this masterful, inspirational, and highly-readable presentation of St. Paul and his writings by one of today’s great spiritual teachers, Pope Benedict XVI.

The Ratzinger Reader




The Ratzinger Reader: Mapping a Theological Journey
Lieven Boeve (Editor), Gerard Mannion (Editor). T.& T.Clark Ltd (December 2008)

A fascinating and insightful volume collecting together the key writings of Joseph Ratzinger, some of them yet untranslated, from his youthful and more progressive writings, to his ‘transition period’ following his disillusionment with the aftermath of Vatican II, to his time as Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith down to 2005. The emphasis will be upon Joseph Ratzinger as ‘private theologian’, his many writings released in a personal capacity for such will chart the formation of and comment upon the official statements and texts released under his name in a more informative fashion than the simple inclusion of the formulaic ‘official texts’ themselves.

Following a section providing insight into the fundamental and systematic theological background and development of Joseph Ratzinger’s thought, further thematic sections will also be included, for example, Joseph Ratzinger’s writings on Ecclesiology, on Theology and the Role of Theologians, on the Eucharist, on Religious Pluralism, on Sacramental Theology, Ecumenism, on Truth, on the Contemporary Historical Era, on Magisterium and on Faith Morals etc.

The volume will open with an introductory essay charting the life and career, the achievements of and the controversies surrounding the new pope. Each reading will be prefaced by a brief introduction to its context and themes and will be followed by recommended further reading on its respective subject matter.


Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait

Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portraitby Peter Seewald. Ignatius Press (October 2008).

In the person of Pope Benedict XVI, one of the most significant of Europe's intellectuals is heading-up the Vatican. The journalist Peter Seewald, who has known Ratzinger since 1992, conducted the "longest interviews in church history" with him, for two books which were best-sellers world-wide, Salt of the Earth, God and the World.

Now he describes these intensive encounters in detail for the first time, and draws a portrait of this brilliant theologian who has put his life entirely at the service of the Catholic Church. Above and beyond that, this book is also the story of a long dialogue which changed Seewald's life.

Many people are trying to understand who Benedict XVI really is. On one point they are all agreed: in the person of Joseph Ratzinger, the chair of Peter is occupied by one of the most brilliant minds in the world. Peter Seewald's portrait of Benedict recounts details about the personality and life of Benedict which were hitherto completely unknown.

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