"Joseph and Chico"

Joseph and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict XVI as Told by a Cat
Ignatius Press (March 2008)

In this beautifully illustrated book for children, Chico the cat describes the life of his "best friend", Pope Benedict, in this authorised biography of the Pope for young people approved by the Vatican.

"Dear Children, here you will find a biography that is different than others because it is told by a cat and it is not every day a cat can consider the Holy Father his friend and sit down to write his life story," the Pope's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, says in the foreword.

The Pope is known for his fondness of animals, especially cats, and Joseph and Chico is narrated by Chico, a real cat who took up with the Pope in his native Germany long before he became the Pope. Chico tells the story of the life of "my best friend" from his birth in Germany in 1927, through his days as a young man, priest, bishop and cardinal. With a colorful and sometimes amusing language, the author makes this funny cat tell us about the life of the young Joseph all the way up to his election as Pontiff on April 19, 2005. It recounts the Nazi era in Germany when the Pope was a teenager, calling the war years "one of the most dramatic and shameful times in the history of man". Later when he became Cardinal Ratzinger, Chico recounts how each time when the Cardinal returned to Germany from Rome for a vacation, the cat would run into his house and sit on his lap as he played the piano.


Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI, by Tracy Rowland

Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI
by Tracy Rowland. OUP Oxford (6 Mar 2008).

A popular reading of Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) is that he started out as a progressive but had second thoughts after the cultural revolution of the late 1960s. A more negative portrait is that of an ambitious and intellectually precocious young man who changed theological allegiances for the sake of promotion within the Catholic hierarchy. Now, in this probing book, Tracey Rowland offers a third reading, one that situates the thought of Pope Benedict within the intellectual history and academic circles of his time. The first serious assessment of the new Pope's theological vision, this thoughtful volume covers topics such as the interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict's relations with other important scholars and theologians, and his attitudes on moral and political theology, western culture, the structure of the Catholic Church, liturgy, and love. It has become a commonplace observation that Pope Benedict has been influenced by the thought of St. Augustine in contrast to many of his predecessors in the papacy who were much more strongly influenced by St. Thomas Aquinas. This work therefore addresses the topic of in what way Benedict is an Augustinian. The volume also includes a bibliography arranged thematically for those who want to explore his thought more deeply in a particular area. A penetrating account of the thought of the reigning pontiff, this volume offers a wealth of insight for everyone interested in Pope Benedict and the direction of the modern Catholic Church.