Pope Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity

Pope Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity
Pope Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity
by Marc D. Guerra.

Routledge, October 2013.

In Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity, distinguished scholars from North America and Europe examine Pope Benedict XVI’s searching reflections on the challenges and prospects facing modern Western society. For more than five decades, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI has made the subject of the continued health and vitality of Western civilization a focal point of his reflections. From his early (1968) Introduction to Christianity to his later (2005) Values in a Time of Upheaval, the Pope has argued that the preservation of the social, political, scientific, and spiritual way of life that characterizes modern Western societies hinges upon our rediscovery of the unique roots and distinctive nature of Western civilization.

Focusing on Pope Benedict XVI’s nuanced account as to why the modern West cannot currently afford to forget or neglect its premodern Hellenic and Christian roots, this book will interest religious and nonreligious people who are concerned about the future of democracy and religion in contemporary Western societies.

This book was based on a special issue of Perspectives on Political Science.

Marc D. Guerra is associate professor and director of graduate programs in theology at Ave Maria University. He is the author of Christians as Political Animals (ISI Books, 2010) and editor of Reason, Revelation, and Human Affairs; Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome; and The Science of Modern Virtue: Essays on Descartes, Darwin, and Locke.

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.

A School of Prayer: The Saints Show Us How to Pray

Reason: Open to God A School of Prayer: The Saints Show us How to Pray

Ignatius Press (March 2013)

Prayer is essential to the life of faith. In this superb book, based on Pope Benedict's weekly teaching, he examines the foundational principles of the life of prayer. Believers of various backgrounds and experience in prayer-from beginners to spiritually advanced-will be enriched by this spiritual masterpiece.

Benedict begins considering what we can learn from the examples of prayer found in a wide range of cultures and eras. Next, he turns to the Bible's teaching about prayer, beginning with Abraham and moving though Moses, the prophets, the Psalms to the example of Jesus. With Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict considers not only the Lord's teaching about prayer, but also his example of how to pray, including the Our Father, his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, and prayers on the Cross. The prayers of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the early Church are also explored. Benedict also draws on insights from spiritual masters, the saints, and the Church's liturgy. He challenges readers to live their relationships with God "even more intensely, as it were, at a 'school of prayer'."

Although Benedict provides a sweeping survey of great figures of prayer, his discussion centers on Jesus Christ and even invokes him in the study of prayer. "It is in fact in Jesus," writes Benedict, "that man becomes able to approach God in the depth and intimacy of the relationship of fatherhood and sonship. Together with the first disciples, let us now turn with humble trust to the Teacher and ask him: 'Lord, teach us to pray' (Lk 11:1)."

A Reason Open to God: On Universities, Education and Culture

Reason: Open to God A Reason Open to God: On Universities, Education, and Culture
Catholic University of America Press (July 2013)

With clarity and wisdom, Pope Benedict XVI sets out his vision for Catholic higher education in this first and only collection of his major addresses on the topic.
  • What is the mission and identity of a Catholic university?
  • What are the responsibilities of administrators, teachers, and students in Catholic institutes of higher learning?
  • Where does the central theme of "love of God and others" fit into academia?

The pope's most important statements on the nature of the university and its cultural and educative tasks are brought together in this volume. Featured are the various speeches he has given to university audiences since his pontificate began. Also included are select addresses on education and culture, themes that go to the heart of the mission of the university, and that possess a value for society as a whole. Throughout these addresses, the pope presents 2,000 years of lived tradition with a striking freshness. His response to the contemporary challenges in Catholic higher education will have an enduring historical impact.

Reviews

The Word Made Love: The Dialogical Theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI

Reason: Open to God The Word Made Love: The Dialogical Theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI
by Christopher S. Collins.

Liturgical Press, February 2013.

In The Word Made Love, Christopher Collins identifies in the structure of Ratzinger s thought the presentation of God as one who speaks and who ultimately speaks Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Humanity s posture before God is one of hearing and responding. For Ratzinger, then, dialogue is the basic structure of all reality, and the Christian vision articulates the radical transformation that happens when we enter into this divine dialogue. Collins argues that this dialogical, communicative structure is a distinctive aspect of Ratzinger s thought and a unique contribution to the renewal of theology in our day.

Christopher S. Collins, SJ, is assistant professor of theology at Saint Louis University. He is a former parish priest on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, as well as a high school instructor at both Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, Arizona, and Jesuit College Preparatory in Dallas, Texas.

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

Reason: Open to God 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.

Habemus Papam! Pope Benedict XVI

Habemus Papam! Pope Benedict XVI
(Manga Hero, 2012)

Habemas Papam! Pope Benedict XVI is the story of an extraordinary young man who thought he was ordinary. Young Josef Ratzinger faces a number of challenges growing up in German Bavaria: all he wants to do is learn, but the Nazis keep closing down his schools. His father, Captain Ratzinger, a retired police officer, has been trying to stay one step ahead of the Nazis, but as Josef grows older, Germany moves towards war, and every German youth must serve in the army Hitler has taken over. Little does Josef realize that the plan God has for him goes beyond books and the academy - and even beyond Germany! This graphic novel about the life of Pope Benedict XVI is an expanded version of Gabrielle Gniewek's book that was officially published for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain, and distributed to 300,000 people. Also included is a nine page appendix with fun facts about the Holy Father, his vehicles, and the Swiss Guards.

Additional Info

  • Habemus Papam! Pope Benedict XVI is published by Manga Hero and is available on Amazon.com.
  • Regina Doman is a Catholic wife, mother, author and editor. She is a graduate of Franciscan University and owner of Chesterton Press. Find out more about her at reginadoman.com.
  • Sean Lam is a professional artist specializing in American-style comic books as well as Japanese anime and manga. He has previously illustrated Paul: Tarsus to Redemption and Judith: Captive to Conqueror, among others for Manga Hero. His past works include the 480-page single volume manga It Takes a Wizard. He is a graduate in graphic design from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore.

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'".

Reviews and Related Links

My Brother, The Pope

My Brother, The Pope My Brother, the Pope
Ignatius Press (March 2012)

It wasn't always the case that Msgr. Georg Ratzinger lived in the shadow of his younger brother, Joseph. Georg was an accomplished musician, who for over 30 years directed the Regensburger Domspatzchor, the world-famous boys choir of the Regensburg cathedral. Brother Joseph was a brilliant young professor, but mostly known in German academic circles.

Now Georg writes about the close friendship that has united these two brothers for more than 80 years. This book is a unique window on an extraordinary family that lived through the difficult period of National Socialism in Germany. Those interested in knowing more about the early life of Benedict XVI will not be disappointed. They will also learn of the admirable character and inspiring example of the parents, and see how the Catholic faith can shape not just a family, but an entire culture-in this case, that of Bavaria.

Georg's reminiscences are detailed, intimate, and warm. And while they begin with the earliest years of the Ratzinger family, they continue right up to the present day.

Reviews

Benedict XVI's Reform: The Liturgy Between Innovation and Tradition

Benedict XVI's Reform: The Liturgy Between Innovation and Tradition Benedict XVI's Reform: The Liturgy Between Innovation and Tradition
Ignatius Press (April 2012)

When Benedict XVI reestablished the celebration of the older Latin Mass, voices of protest rose up from many sides. The widespread fear was-and is-that the Pope had revealed himself as the reactionary defender of tradition that many have accused him of being since he was the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the former Holy Office.

Defenders of Benedict XVI have responded to these objections by explaining that the use of the Tridentine Rite is not a "step backward" to pre-Vatican II times, but rather a step forward. Now the Church can see what the older rite offered in terms of beauty, reverence, and meaning and perhaps desire more of those elements in the ordinary form of the Mass.

A professor of theology and liturgy, the author of this book explains the motives behind the Pope's decision to allow two forms of the Mass. He does this by turning to the Pope's own theological and liturgical writings, but he also draws from his experiences on various Church commissions and in offices of the Roman Curia.

Joseph Ratzinger: Fundamental Speeches from Five Decades

Joseph Ratzinger: Fundamental Speeches from Five Decades Joseph Ratzinger: Fundamental Speeches from Five Decades
Ignatius Press (March 2012)

While a professor of theology and throughout his rise in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Joseph Ratzinger again and again delivered important speeches over the course of five decades at the Catholic Academy of Bavaria (1963-2004). The broad spectrum of topics from the primacy of the papacy to the moral foundations of western society demonstrated not only his breadth of knowledge but also his prescience, for these issues remain important for both the Church and modern man.

The fundamental speeches in this volume are arranged thematically. And before each one is a brief introduction written by Dr. Florian Schuller, the director of the Catholic Academy of Bavaria in Munich, who also contributed the foreword.

Holy Men and Women Of the Middle Ages and Beyond

Holy Men and Women Of the Middle Ages and Beyond Holy Men and Women Of the Middle Ages and Beyond
Ignatius Press (March 2012)

While a professor of theology and throughout his rise in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Joseph Ratzinger again and again delivered important speeches over the course of five decades at the Catholic Academy of Bavaria (1963-2004). The broad spectrum of topics from the primacy of the papacy to the moral foundations of western society demonstrated not only his breadth of knowledge but also his prescience, for these issues remain important for both the Church and modern man.

The fundamental speeches in this volume are arranged thematically. And before each one is a brief introduction written by Dr. Florian Schuller, the director of the Catholic Academy of Bavaria in Munich, who also contributed the foreword.

Dogma and Preaching: Applying Christian Doctrine to Daily Life

Dogma and Preaching: Applying Christian Doctrine to Daily Life Dogma and Preaching: Applying Christian Doctrine to Daily Life
Ignatius Press (October 1, 2011)

This volume is an unabridged edition of Dogma and Preaching, a work that appeared in a much-reduced form in English, in 1985. The new book contains twice as much material as first English edition.

"Dogma", for many people, is a bad word. For the well-informed believer, it shouldn't be. Dogmas are truths revealed by God, which should enlighten the minds, guide the choices, and gladden the hearts of Jesus' disciples, including pastors, deacons, and lay teachers. But, as Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), notes in the foreword to this book, "The path from dogma to proclamation or preaching has become very troublesome." Finding ways to relate the content of the Church's dogmas to everyday life can be challenging for today's preachers and teachers. Some people find the task so daunting that they leave dogma out. As a result, they wind up presenting something other than the Church's faith and speak in their own name, offering perhaps unwittingly merely their own, subjective ideas, rather than the Word of God.

In Dogma and Preaching, the theologian and priest Joseph Ratzinger provides (1) a theory of preaching for today; (2) application of this theory to some themes for preaching drawn from the Church's dogmas; (3) meditations and sermons based on the liturgical year and the communion of saints; and (4) some thoughts regarding the decade after the Second Vatican and Christianity's seeming irrelevance. Ratzinger insists that sound preaching should rest on three pillars -- Dogma, Scripture, and the Church Today, the contemporary situation in which the Church finds herself. He shows that the proper understanding of the Church, her dogmas, the nature of faith, and the contemporary world allow the proclaimer-believer to remain faithful to the Church's mission and life-changing message.

Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion

Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion
Ignatius Press (October 1, 2011)

To receive Jesus in Holy Communion is to enter into a lifelong friendship with him.

In this beautifully illustrated book, Amy Welborn, well-known author and blogger, introduces Pope Benedict's profound yet simple answers to various questions put to him by children in Rome who had recently made their First Holy Communion.

Pope Benedict's answers, and the children's wonderful questions concerning this very important spiritual occasion in their young lives, provide inspiring text for this beautiful gift book for First Communion.

Doctors of the Church

Doctors of the Church Doctors of the Church
Our Sunday Visitor (September 27, 2011)

They are saints and teachers, monks, priests, bishops, and nuns. They faced opposition and exile. They lived in periods of confusion and conflict.

Their teachings and insights not only brought peace and understanding to the Church of their time, but continue to anchor the Church of today. They brought clarity to the fragments and simplicity to the complex.

They used speeches, documents, poems, and songs to reach the people of their time. Now Pope Benedict XVI explores the lives and significance of thirty-two of the Doctors of the Church like no one else can. Taken directly from the pope's addresses in his weekly audiences, Doctors of the Church is an incredible journey through time to better understand these individuals who explored and explained the critical questions of the Church.

---Who is Christ?
---How do we know Christ?
---How do we act as Christ's disciples?
---How are we in Christ?

Great Christian Thinkers: From the Early Church Through the Middle Ages

Great Christian Thinkers: From the Early Church Through the Middle Ages Great Christian Thinkers: From the Early Church Through the Middle Ages
Augsburg Fortress Publishers (July 1, 2011)

In brief portraits, Pope Benedict XVI offers engaging, perceptive, and edifying sketches of some of the great thinkers and writers of Christianity, from early Christianity through the high Middle Ages. Pope Benedict discusses notable theologians from East and West but also many figures whose primary witness was as ascetics, poets, mystics, and missionaries. Always with an eye to their deepest religious convictions and struggles, the Holy Father presents these great thinkers importance for the church and for Christian life today.

Holy Women

Holy Women Holy Women
Our Sunday Visitor (June 28, 2011)

Women have always played a unique and critical role throughout Scripture which has continued through today. In his weekly addresses, Pope Benedict XVI expertly and thoughtfully explores the life stories of 17 such holy women.

From St. Hildegard of Bingen to St. Teresa of Avilla to St. Joan of Arc and many more in between, each one brings a fresh experience and example of faith that is still relevant today. These models of prayer, faith, and action will help you gain a fuller understanding of Church history as well as personal faith.

Bring your faith to life with the spark of history as told by the pope himself.

Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgy

Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgy Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgy
Gracewing Publishing (May 2, 2011)

A prominent and inescapable feature of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate is the importance which has been given to the sacred liturgy, in its actual celebration, as well as in the pope's Magisterium and theological writings. Not only have we witnessed the reappearance of many elements used in older, but recently-abandoned papal liturgies, but also what amounts to be the virtual liberation of the 'Old Latin Mass'. This has come as a great surprise to many people in the Church, some of whom almost regard it, and the pope's liturgical theology, as a betrayal of recent liturgical reforms. On the other hand, others have viewed these liturgical changes, and the emphasis which Pope Benedict places upon the liturgy in the life of the Church, as positive developments, leading to a more correct understanding of the Second Vatican Council within 'the hermeneutic of continuity' and reform, and the notion of 'organic development'. But, in the midst of conflicting interpretations, how are we to understand these developments and Pope Benedict XVI's re-affirmation of what we now call the usus antiquior? In this book Dr Anselm J. Gribbin explores these and other related questions by examining the liturgical theology of Pope Benedict XVI in his magisterial teachings and writings, particularly in the post-synodal exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, and The Spirit of the Liturgy. Gribbin, in an extensive, and detailed analysis, indicates that the liturgical theology of Pope Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger points the way forward for the Church in the field of liturgy. He also addresses the fundamentally important question of the relationship between the liturgical writings of Pope Benedict XVI as a theologian, and his Magisterium as the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church, and that the latter is best understood with recourse to the former.


Dr Anselm J. Gribbin, O.Praem., was born in Glasgow, and is a religious in the Abbey of Tongerlo, Belgium. He studied at St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, and received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge. A specialist in Late Medieval History, he has made a particular study of the Premonstratensians and Carthusians, and the liturgical practices of this period. He is a socius member of the Historical Commission of the Premonstratensian Order, and his publications include a co-edited volume of the acta of the archbishops of Canterbury in the English Episcopal Acta Series.

Great Teachers

Great Teachers Great Teachers
Our Sunday Visitor (March 28, 2011)

Discover the greatest teachers of the Faith as Pope Benedict XVI highlights their essential role during a time of scandal and strife in the Church.

Focusing specifically on the 13th-century founding of the Franciscans by St. Francis of Assisi and the Dominicans by St. Dominic, the pope said personal holiness led the two saints to preach and to help actualize a return to Gospel poverty, a deeper unity with the Church, and a new movement of evangelization, including within the European universities that were blossoming at the time.

The Franciscans and Dominicans followed in the footsteps of their founders and demonstrated that it was possible to live evangelical poverty, to live the Gospel itself, without separating themselves from the Church, he said.

Their example continues to be relevant today as we struggle with a culture that focuses more on having than on being, and look to emulate those holy people who chose to live very simply.

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
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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Holiness is Always in Season

Holiness Is Always in Season Holiness Is Always in Season
Ignatius Press (March 1, 2011)

For a Christian, the way to reach perfection is to strive for holiness. What is true perfection? Christ's words are clear, sublime and disconcerting: "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." To have God as our model is a dizzying thought! Yet the Church reminds us that, "All the faithful, whatever their condition or state in life, are called by the Lord to that perfect holiness."

The Church teaches us that holiness is not the concern of a privileged few, nor does it only pertain to Christians of the past. Holiness is always a call to every Christian of every age, a challenge for anyone who wants to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI says: "Holiness never goes out of fashion; on the contrary, with the passage of time it shines out ever more brightly, expressing man's perennial effort to reach God." Mother Teresa of Calcutta wrote: "Holiness is not something for the extraordinary; it is not a luxury of the few. Holiness is the simple duty for each one of us."

The saints are our models and teachers in the ways of holiness. They show us that holiness is possible for us, since they experienced the same difficulties and weaknesses we do, yet persevered in achieving sanctity. The world of saints is a world of wonders, and in this book Pope Benedict XVI helps us to enter into that world.

This inspiring volume presents the Pope's numerous reflections on many saints arranged according to the calendar year. He shows how the life of each saint has something unique to teach us about virtue, faith, courage and love of Christ. Dozens of saints are covered in this wonderful spiritual book. The Pope exhorts us through their lives, "Be holy! Be saints!"

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.

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“Pope Benedict XVI’s theological work and his pastoral and spiritual writings are here placed in the perspective of the mystery of Christ. Father Emery de Gaal has beautifully and exhaustively clarified the fundamental interpretative key to the Ratzinger texts and to the life of Pope Benedict XVI.”

-- Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago

“He was already one of the most important theologians of the past century before his election to the papacy as Benedict XVI in this century. But now Joseph Ratzinger must count as perhaps the most important postconciliar theologian, bar none. de Gaál gives us the most comprehensive study of the pope’s theology now available. But even more, he places the pope’s thought in the context of the revolution in Catholic theology that started well before Vatican II and has continued on to this day: the revolution that abandoned neoscholasticism and shifted its focus to Christology. That story is indeed a dramatic one, and here it is dramatically and comprehensively told. This book is a ‘must purchase’ for every theological library – and for all admirers of that perhaps greatest of great theologians, Joseph Ratzinger.”

—Fr Edward T. Oakes, S. J., Chester & Margaret Paluch Professor of Theology, University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary

“Father de Gaál’s work is indispensable for anyone who wishes to understand the Christocentric shift in the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI and in contemporary theological anthropology generally. It is the deepest analysis of the topic currently available.”

— Tracey Rowland, Professor and Dean, John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne, Australia

The Virtues

The Virtues The Virtues
Our Sunday Visitor (October 2010)

"...The truly great thing in Christianity, which does not dispense one from small, daily things but must not be concealed by them either, is this ability to come into contact with God."

---Pope Benedict XVI

One of the greatest teachers of our day, Pope Benedict XVI has frequently spoken about the pursuit of virtue. In these selections from homilies and addresses, the Holy Father draws on the lives of saints, the Catechism, and common experiences to bring us into a deeper understanding of the virtues and how to cultivate them in our own lives so that we can grow closer to the Lord.

Allow Pope Benedict XVI to instruct you on nurturing all the basic Christian virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity, called the Theological Virtues and Prudence, Fortitude, Justice, and Temperance the Cardinal Virtues.

A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1803)

Heart Speaks to Heart: Sermons and Addresses of Benedict XVI in the UK

Heart Speaks to Heart: Sermons and Addresses of Benedict XVI in the UK Heart Speaks to Heart: Sermons and Addresses of Benedict XVI in the UK

Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd (September 2010)

In advance of his historic visit in September 2010, Pope Benedict XVI prepared several important addresses on religion and society, on education, and on the contribution made by the Catholics of the United Kingdom to the story of the Church.

Heart Speaks to Heart collects together the complete texts of all the sermons, talks and addresses given during his four-day visit to Britain, which reaches its climax with the ceremonies at Cofton Park in Birmingham for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.