| The Way of Love: Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical Deus Caritas Est |
Ignatius Press (December 2006)
In response to Benedict XVI's first encyclical, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies and Marriage and Family reflects, together with the Holy Father, on love. From the very beginning, the fundamental work of the Institute has been pursuing a deeper understanding of God's plan for marriage and family. In these twenty-five years various generations of students and professors, following the legacy of John Paul II, have been able to discover and communicate the beauty of the vocation for which all men have been created: the call to love.
| Images of Hope: Meditations on Major FeastsIgnatius Press (October 2006). |
In Images of Hope: Meditations on Major Feasts, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) masterfully weaves together Scripture, history, literature and theology as he reflects on major feasts of the liturgical calendar. In each chapter, he examines works of sacred art that illustrate the hope we celebrate in our most important Christian holy days.Excerpts
What do the humble ox and ass at the manger of the Christ Child tell us about Christmas? In an icon of Christ's Ascension, what do the Savior's hands held in blessing promise us? What is the meaning of the sword held by the great statue of Saint Paul before the Roman church that bears his name?
These and many other questions are explored with depth and sensitivity in this collection of meditations by the man who became Pope Benedict XVI. Several beautiful colored images of the relevant paintings, mosaics and sculptures accompany the rich and detailed text.
| Values in a Time of Upheaval |
The Crossroad Publishing Company (September 2006)
First published in April 2005 in Germany, Values in a Time of Upheaval instantly became a bestseller. The critique of relativism Ratzinger offered as the world mourned Pope John Paul II is here presented in richer detail. In chapters on the history and destiny of human life, Benedict XVI covers such topics as the dangers of secularism, the meaning of truth in a pluralistic world, morality, and the Christian basis for hope.
| Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity and IslamBasic Boos (August 2006). |
Pope Benedict XVI joins the President of the Italian Senate to offer a provocative critique of the spiritual, cultural, and political crisis afflicting the West.
On May 12, 2004, Pope Benedict XVI--then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger--addressed the Italian Senate on the state of the West; the very same day, Marcello Pera, President of the Italian Senate, spoke before the Lateran College of the Papal University. Together they called upon the West to confront the spiritual, cultural, and political malaise that have afflicted it in the earliest years of the 21st century. In the months that ensued, before Cardinal Ratzinger's election to the papacy, they developed their ideas into the eloquent dialogue that is Without Roots -- a book that quickly became an Italian bestseller and is even more timely today than ever.
With Europe shaken by the war in Iraq, terrorism, security, Israel, relations with the U.S., immigration, and the rejection of the EU constitution in both France and the Netherlands, the issue of European identity has profound implications for the rest of the world. Bringing together their unique vantage points as leaders of Church and State, Pope Benedict XVI and Pera challenge us to imagine what can be the future of a civilization that has abandoned its history for a relativist secularism. They call on the West to embrace a spiritual rather than political renewal-and to accept the moral beliefs that alone can help us to make sense of changes in technology, economics, and society.
| What It Means to Be a Christian |
Ignatius Press (June 2006).
Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, writes eloquently and persuasively about how 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 at length 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. He passionately encourages the reader to practice a deep, abiding Christian faith that seeks to be at the service of humanity.Excerpts
As Joseph Ratzinger mentions in the preface, "the book presents in written form three sermons that the author preached in the Cathedral at Muenster to a congregation from the Catholic Student Chaplaincy, December 13-15, 1964."
In other words, these are essays derived from sermons preached to college students toward the end of Vatican II. They are remarkable, among other reasons, for their insights into the ongoing Christian struggle to understand and realize in action "what it means to be a Christian".
| God Is Love: Deus Caritas EstIgnatius Press (May 2006). |
Everyone needs love. Everyone desires love. But not everyone understands love. In fact, love is probably the most misunderstood subject in history.
In his first Encyclical, Pope Benedict helps to clarify the meaning of love. He examines the nature of various kinds of love—human love and divine love, eros, friendship, and charity. He writes beautifully and inspirationally of how man was made for love by the God who is love, the God who became one of us out of love—Jesus Christ.
In the second part of the Encyclical, Benedict addresses the Church's practice of love. He examines the relationship between justice and charity, as well as the call of every Catholic to serve others in love. The Pope's "love letter" to mankind is remarkably accessible and timely.
| God's Revolution: World Youth Day and Other Cologne Talks |
Ignatius Press (February 2006).
The theme of the World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany August 2005 was "We Have Come to Worship Him." Throughout these talks and encounters with the youth, Benedict reinforced the meaning of this theme by leading us to adore the Child who is God, whose love renews and transforms the whole world. Radiating from this book, as from World Youth Day, is a sheer joy over the beauty of faith, the beauty of Christ and of our life in Christ. Reading this book reinforces the conviction that, in the person of Pope Benedict XVI, God has given the Church a great Teacher of the faith, and also a great Pastor who knows the way that can lead us to intimacy with God. His special charism seems to be his ability to combine universal openness with Catholic identity, clear and comprehensive witness to the truth of Christ with the gentleness of fraternal charity.
| Journey to Easter: Spiritual Reflections for the Lenten Season |
The Crossroad Publishing Company, Inc. (Reprint Edition. February 2006).
Pope Benedict XVI offers us a great Lenten blessing in Journey to Easter. This book is rich meditation on the meaning of Lent, the significance of the birth and death of Jesus Christ, and the meaning of Jesus in the life of Christians everywhere.
| Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures |
Ignatius Press (February 2006)
Written by Joseph Ratzinger shortly before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures looks at the growing conflict of cultures evident in the Western world.Excerpts
The West faces a deadly contradiction of its own making, he contends. Terrorism is on the rise. Technological advances of the West, employed by people who have cut themselves off from the moral wisdom of the past, threaten to abolish man (as C.S. Lewis put it)—whether through genetic manipulation or physical annihilation.
In short, the West is at war—with itself. Its scientific outlook has brought material progress. The Enlightenment’s appeal to reason has achieved a measure of freedom. But contrary to what many people suppose, both of these accomplishments depend on Judeo-Christian foundations, including the moral worldview that created Western culture.
More than anything else, argues Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, the important contributions of the West are threatened today by an exaggerated scientific outlook and by moral relativism—what Benedict XVI calls "the dictatorship of relativism"—in the name of freedom.
Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures is no mere tirade against the moral decline of the West. Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI challenges the West to return to its roots by finding a place for God in modern culture. He argues that both Christian culture and the Enlightenment formed the West, and that both hold the keys to human life and freedom as well as to domination and destruction.
Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI challenges non-believer and believer alike. "Both parties," he writes, "must reflect on their own selves and be ready to accept correction." He challenges secularized, unbelieving people to open themselves to God as the ground of true rationality and freedom. He calls on believers to "make God credible in this world by means of the enlightened faith they live."