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.


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.