Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today

Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today by Joseph Ratzinger. Introduction by Gerhard Cardinal Müller. Forward by Pope Francis.

Ignatius Press (August 1, 2017). 392 pgs.

This inspiring collection of homilies delivered by Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) over six decades offers deep theological and historical insights on the meaning of the life and the witness of a Catholic priest.

When Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the Year for Priests in 2009, he did so in conjunction with celebrating the 150th anniversary of the death of John Vianney, the patron saint of all parish priests. Benedict's purpose for that special year is the same purpose of this book of homilies -- to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world. As St. John Vianney would often say, "The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus." This touching expression makes us reflect on the immense gift that priests represent, not only for the Church but for all mankind.

Contemporary men and women need priests to be distinguished by their determined witness to Christ. These homilies are meant to illuminate and to inspire priests to renew their commitment to "teaching and learning the love of God". The homilies cover a wide variety of important topics on the priesthood, all deeply rooted in Scripture, including acting in persona Christi, becoming an offering with Christ for the salvation of mankind, being there for God's mercy, and witnessing Christian joy.

The Last Testament: In His Own Words

The Last Testament: In His Own Words Last Testament: In His Own Words by Pope Benedict XVI, Peter Seewald (interviewer)

Bloomsbury Continuum (November 15, 2016) 224pp.

Pope Benedict made history by being the first Pope in over 700 years to resign from office. The Catholic Church the world over was stunned. Worn out by corruption in the Church and by an endless series of clerical sex scandals, he decided that the resolution of all these problems was outside his power for a man of his age.

Last Testament is nearest to an autobiography from the shy and private man who has remained “hidden to the world” in a former convent in the Vatican gardens. He breaks his silence on issues such as:

  • The “Vatileaks” case in which his butler leaked some of his personal letters that alleged corruption and scandal in the Vatican
  • The presence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican and how he dismantled it
  • His alleged Nazi upbringing
  • His attempts at cleaning up the “dirt in the church” (clerical sexual abuse)
  • The mysterious private secretary “Gorgeous George”
On a more personal level he writes with great warmth of his successor Pope Francis, who he admits has a popular touch, a star quality which he has lacked. Much controversy still surrounds Pope Benedict`s Papacy--in this book he addresses these controversies and reveals how at his late age, governing and reforming the Papacy and particularly the Vatican, was beyond him.

The Unity of the Nations: A Vision of the Church Fathers

The Unity of the Nations: A Vision of the Church Fathers The Unity of the Nations: A Vision of the Church Fathers

The Catholic University of America Press (March 16, 2015)

What did ancient Christians and pagans believe makes the unity of the nations? Just as he began serving as a major adviser at the Second Vatican Council in 1962, Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) studied this question in lectures delivered at Austria's University of Salzburg. These lectures, originally published in German, are now made available in English in this volume. According to Ratzinger, pagan Rome said the Empire was the "cosmopolis" which united the world. The church affirmed the goodness of the world, and acknowledged the proper role of the state. But Christian belief that Christ had given birth to the church, the eternal cosmopolis, present now, was revolutionary. Christ was the New Adam, who restores unity to a humanity scattered in the Fall and at Babel. For Origen, Israel was the true state that remained under the one God; other nations were under archons or dark angels, from which Christ came to liberate them. Christ instituted the eternal kingdom of peace, to which Christians belong now, living within and at the service of, their earthly nations. In Ratzinger's view, Origen thought peace between the church and world before the Eschaton - the eternal kingdom - was possible. Augustine responded in two ways to claims by pagans that the Christian God had not protected Rome from being sacked in 410. First, Rome's pagan civic religion was undermined in its function of aiding state security by the fact that it was not true. Second, Christianity, as the truth, was not subordinate to the state, but was a new community. In Ratzinger's view, Augustine saw the church, the City of God, as an alien citizen, but one very much within the City of Man and meant to renew, not take over, that earthly city, until Christ's Second Coming. This early work of Ratzinger's showcases the development of his theology, including themes that will inform his life's work, such as how God's transcendence and the doctrine of creation inform a Christian worldview, and the central role of the Incarnation in understanding how the church relates to the world.

The Garden of God: Toward a Human Ecology

The Garden of God: Toward a Human Ecology The Garden of God: Toward a Human Ecology The Catholic University of America Press (April 2014).

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells of the creation of the world and our dominion over it. But is this the whole storyfi The planet on which we live is ecologically fragile, and all people of good will have a respon- sibility to take care of this most precious gift. During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly drew attention to the environment, whether in terms of preserving it -- such as his address concerning Amazonia and his letter regarding the Arctic -- or distributing its vital resources -- such as water -- more equitably. What is more, during Benedict’s papacy, the Vatican became the first, and remains the only, carbon-neutral country in the world. This book gathers together the audiences, addresses, letters, and homilies of Benedict on a wide-ranging set of topics that deal with the world about us. The major themes and connections he explores are cre- ation and the natural world; the environment, science, and technology; and hunger, poverty, and the earth’s resources. In these pages, Benedict insists that if we truly desire peace, we must be increasingly conscious of and nurture all of creation. Further- more, he argues convincingly that as our love of God should cause us to protect the environment, so should our heightened sense of appre- ciation of the natural world draw us closer to God. Benedict speaks out against the spread of nuclear weapons, threats to biodiversity, and in favor of alternative energy. He urges sustainable development, equita- ble distribution of food and water, and an end to hunger. This book is a valuable resource for all those who seek to under- stand more fully the relationships among the environment, Catholic social teaching, and theology. Whether speaking to a vast crowd, meet- ing with a small group of scientists, or writing letters to world leaders, Benedict has shown a clear path towards a theologically cogent con- cern for the planet on which we live.

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Vol. 2: Anthropology and Culture

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Vol. 2: Anthropology and Culture Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Vol. 2: Anthropology and Culture (Ressourcement: Retrieval and Renewal in Catholic Thought) by Pope Benedict XVI. Edited by David Schindler and Nicholas J. Healy.

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (January 2013)

In this second volume of Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Pope Benedict XVI speaks to various issues relating to humanity today -- conscience, technological security, the origin of human life, the meaning of Sunday, Christian hope, and more.

As editor David L. Schindler notes, "Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) rarely writes on any churchly matter that does not manifest its implications for man and culture, and vice versa. Indeed, this indissoluble linking is one of the main distinguishing features of his theology." This is the second of three volumes; the first deals with themes relating to the Church, and the third volume is to focus on theological renewal.

Liberating Logos: Pope Benedict XVI's September Speeches

Liberating Logos: Pope Benedict XVI's September Speeches Liberating Logos: Pope Benedict XVI's September Speeches

St. Augustine's Press (15 Sep 2014).

Liberating Logos: Pope Benedict XVI’s September Speeches brings together six important addresses in one volume. The themes of these remarkable speeches are wide ranging: Benedict comments on the denaturing effects of Dehellenization, the true grounds of religious dialogue, the transpolitical and timeless nature of Christianity’s message, the relation of moral and political freedom to truth, the self-limitation of modern reason, and Europe’s and the West’s enduring Christian roots. Each speech offers an unwavering defense of the splendor and majesty of created human reason’s ability to know—and to be liberated by—the uncreated Truth.

The Logos as Reason, Word, and Love in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger

Liberating Logos: Pope Benedict XVI's September Speeches The Logos as Reason, Word, and Love in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger

St. Augustine's Press (15 Sep 2014).

The Logos as Reason, Word, and Love in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger explores the doctrine of the Logos as it can be found in the varied writings of Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). Specifically, it articulates that the Ratzingerian Logos-doctrine holds that the Divine Word is revealed to humanity through Reason, the Holy Scriptures and the life of Jesus, and through the love of God found reflected in the Christian Church and the beauty of human life and dialogue.

About the Author:

John J. Lynch is an Episcopal (Anglican) priest, teacher, author, and translator. Born in North Carolina, he graduated from Wake Forest University, and then served seven years as an Episcopal missionary in Honduras, teaching at a bilingual school and the diocesan seminary. He earned a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary and currently serves as rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church (Charles Parish) in Tabb, Virginia.

The Liturgical Vision of Pope Benedict XVI: A Theological Inquiry

Reason: Open to God
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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