Books About Joseph Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI]

Innovation nnwithin Tradition: Joseph Ratzinger and Reading the Women of ScriptureInnovation within Tradition: Joseph Ratzinger and Reading the Women of Scripture, by Mary Frances McKenna.

Fortress Press (September 1, 2015) 272 pages.

is an exploration of the meaning and implications of Joseph Ratzinger's biblical interpretation of the women of salvation history. Mary Frances McKenna argues that Ratzinger's work, through his development and refinement of the church' tradition, brings the important role and significance of the female characters of Scripture to the fore by placing them at the heart of Christian faith. Explicating the pope emeritus's concept of a "female line in the Bible," which has a profound impact on the meaning and interpretation of the women of salvation history, the volume shows that this concept illustrates the practical value and creative nature of his approach to theology and biblical interpretation. Pivotal to the argument are questions around the findings on the notion of person, feminist theology, salvation history, and Mary, as well as the use of history in theology and biblical interpretation and the potential for the continuing development and deepening of the church's comprehension of the meaning of revelation. The book advances a constructive approach, in coordination with these questions, for a Trinitarian theology of society, addresses old theological issues anew, and provides a starting point for an interdenominational understanding of Mary.

Mary Frances McKenna is a tutor for the Centre for Marian Studies at University of Roehampton and chair of the relaunched Dublin (Ireland) branch of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She received her PhD at All Hallows College, Dublin City University, and her MA and BA in history at University College Dublin. She has published on the topic of faith and knowledge in relation to science and philosophy. This is a revision of a dissertation completed at All Hallows College, Dublin City University, Ireland under Tom Dalzell.

A Liberation Ecclesiology?: The Quest for Authentic Freedom in Joseph Ratzinger's Theology of the Church

A Liberation Ecclesiology?: The Quest for Authentic Freedom in Joseph Ratzinger's Theology of the Church

Peter Lang Pub Inc (April 29, 2015). 576 pp.

Freedom, one of the most potent ideals of the post-Enlightenment era, came to remarkable prominence in ecclesiology through the emergence of liberation theologies in the twentieth century. At the same time, Joseph Ratzinger - a German university professor - was appointed a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His interaction with the pioneers of the liberationist movement led him to engage directly with the Christian understanding of freedom and its significance. As a result, his interest in freedom as a theological question expanded from the 1970s onwards. This book explores whether the basis for a liberation ecclesiology can be attributed to Ratzinger in his own right. While the volume's focus is ecclesiological, the author also gathers together many strands of Ratzinger's core theological insights in an attempt to establish how he approaches an issue that is both provocative and highly topical. Ratzinger is a controversial and engaging figure, and this book is essential reading for those who wish to understand how he deals with a theological topic of ongoing concern to society in general and the Catholic Church in particular.
Resurrection Realism: Ratzinger the Augustinian Resurrection Realism: Ratzinger the Augustinian

Cascade Books (July 21, 2014).

In Resurrection Realism, Patrick Fletcher examines the key role played by Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013), in the lively twentieth-century debates over the resurrection. Since Ratzinger has repeatedly claimed to be a follower of Augustine of Hippo, whose theology of resurrection has been so significant in Western Christianity, this book begins by identifying the key characteristics of that theology before studying Ratzinger's theology of resurrection in detail, examining the original sources of both Ratzinger and his German interlocutors, in order to paint the clearest picture to date of Ratzinger's thought on the resurrection. Some issues dealt with include: the development of Ratzinger's thought, the question of Augustinian duality and Thomistic hylomorphism, the salvation of matter, and the nature and identity of the risen body.

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.

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.

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)."

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.


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.

Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI

Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI by John C. Cavadini (Editor).

University of Notre Dame Press (January 15, 2013).

Benedict XVI’s writing as priest-professor, bishop, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now pope has shaped Catholic theological thought in the twentieth century. In Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI, a multidisciplinary group of scholars treat the full scope of Benedict’s theological oeuvre, including the Augustinian context of his thought; his ecclesiology; his theologically grounded approach to biblical exegesis and Christology; his unfolding of a theology of history and culture; his liturgical and sacramental theology; his theological analysis of political and economic developments; his use of the natural law in ethics and conscience; his commitment to a form of interreligious dialogue from a place of particularity; and his function as a public, catechetical theologian.

This volume originated at a conference at the University of Notre Dame on the occasion of the pontiff and theologian’s eighty-fifth birthday. It provides an introduction to Benedict’s ecclesially grounded theology, articulated in his essays, monographs, and sermons, and also serves as a primer in the major concerns of Catholic theological discourse in the twentieth century.

Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI will be of interest to students in theology; those concerned with the development of a pastoral approach to theology that is simultaneously sophisticated in its thought; theological historians seeking to understand the place of Benedict vis-à-vis twentieth-century intellectual life; and general readers of Benedict’s work.

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
  • 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
  • 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.
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.


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.

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.

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.

* * *

"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

Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed

Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed by Tracey Rowland. T & T Clark International (July 2010)

This title presents an upper-level introduction to the thought and theology of Pope Benedict XVI. This Guide provides students of theology with a guide around the theoretical axes upon which the theology of Joseph Ratzinger revolves. It begins with a presentation of the key ideas in the works of his intellectual antecedents and contemporary interlocutors and then moves to an account of Ratzinger's responses to a number of theological crises. The work then moves to an account of Ratzinger's understanding of Christianity as an encounter with the Person of Christ and his placement of Christianity within the context of world religions in general. This theme is spread throughout his publications and recurs in the first encyclical of his papacy, Deus Caritas Est. This first encyclical will be treated in depth along with the second and third encyclicals which form a trilogy on the theological virtues (love, hope and faith). The work concludes with an assessment of the primacy of the transcendental of beauty in the theology of Ratzinger, his affinity with Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Augustinian motif of the relationship between love and reason. "Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed" are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.


Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy

Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy

Four Courts Press (June 2010)

Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy is the published proceedings of the first Fota International Liturgical Conference held in Cork, Ireland, in July 2008 and it aims to provide a general overview of some of the more important themes in Benedict XVI’s liturgical writings. It serves as a broad introduction to issues central to Benedict XVI's concern for authentic renewal of Catholic worship, according to the principles set out by the Second Vatican Council, and to his critique of liturgical innovations deviant from those principles. The book explores some of the formative influences on Joseph Ratzinger's liturgical vision and points to the consistent application of those critically assimilated influences over a spectrum of issues facing modern liturgical scholarship: the recovery of the sacred, the cosmic and eschatological dimensions of Christian worship, advocacy of continuity rather than rupture in the liturgical tradition; the need for historical and intellectual honesty in discerning development (as well as in areas such as vernacular translations of the core texts of the Roman Rite); and the renewal of genuine scientific exploration of the sources of the Roman Rite. The book is aimed at a professional and general audience. For the most part, it is easily accessible and plots the map for a series of more specific issues to be dealt with in the Fota Liturgical Conference Series.

Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal

Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal

Our Sunday Visitor (May 17, 2010)

"You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured."----- Pope Benedict XVI

The True Story

Since 1985, the Catholic Church in the United States has been living in the shadow of the clerical sexual abuse crisis. In 2002, revelations in Boston ignited an institutional nightmare. More recently, the scandal erupted in Ireland and spread across Europe. There is now a rush by some, both inside and outside the Church, to place direct blame upon Pope Benedict XVI.

There is no escaping the fact that Pope Benedict, as the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and now as pope, has played an historically pivotal and personal role in the Vatican's response to the crisis.

Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis is a groundbreaking, critically objective assessment of the criticism facing the pope as well as a review of his real response to the victims, abusers, bishops, media, and the millions of Catholics worldwide who continue to be justifiably horrified by the scandal. The first and foremost objective for this book is the truth no matter how difficult to face and letting the pope's record speak for itself.

"No one imagines that this painful situation will be resolved swiftly. Real progress has been made, yet much more remains to be done." Pope Benedict XVI.


The Social and Political Thought of Benedict XVI
by 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.


Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI By Scott Hahn. Baker Brazos Press (October 2009)

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's election as Pope Benedict XVI brought a world-class biblical theologian to the papacy. There is an intensely biblical quality to his pastoral teaching and he has demonstrated a keen concern for the authentic interpretation of sacred Scripture. Here a foremost interpreter of Catholic thought and life offers a probing look at Benedict's biblical theology and provides a clear and concise introduction to his life and work. Bestselling author and theologian Scott Hahn argues that the heart of Benedict's theology is salvation history and the Bible and shows how Benedict accepts historical criticism but recognizes its limits. The author also explains how Benedict reads the overall narrative of Scripture and how he puts it to work in theology, liturgy, and Christian discipleship.


Max and Benedict: A Bird's Eye View of the Pope's Daily Life
by Jeanne Perego (Author), Donata Casagrande (Illustrator). Ignatius Press (October 2009)

This lovely children's book is a sequel to Joseph and Chico, the international best seller that told the story of the life of Pope Benedict XVI from his youth to his election as the Pope. With the same award-winning author and illustrator, this lavishly illustrated book is aimed at children but in a way that even adults will enjoy. It takes up the story of Benedict XVI's new life as the Pope.

The narrator of this book is a blue rock-thrush that spends most of his time on the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica and in the Vatican gardens. The bird's scientific name is Monticola Solitarius, and it really lives in these places. His name is Max, and from his solitary perch, Max observes everything in the vicinity, and he is fascinated by one human in particular: the Pope.

Max tells readers what the Pope does on a typical day, and also about special moments in his life, such as the Pope's apostolic trips. The book provides a delicate portrait of the Holy Father's many responsibilities, and it helps us understand the Pope's important obligations that he always strives to carry out with love, faith and dedication.

Max talks about the Pope's private and public audiences, his meetings with heads of state, and with children, important liturgical moments, and the Angelus. He also describes more curious events, such as the blessing of the lambs and of a fire truck. He tells us about the moments that the Pope devotes to writing and prayer. Max flies to see the Pope at his Summer home, Castel Gandolfo, and is sorry he cannot accompany him on his important apostolic trips, but is happy each time the Pope returns to the Vatican. Max is also delighted when he sees the Pope relax a bit, playing the piano or strolling through the Vatican gardens. Max loves music, too, and many of his friends live in the Vatican garden.

Through this wonderful story, the author presents some of the fundamental ideas of Pope Benedict XVI, and the important daily life and activities of the successor of St. Peter, told in simple words that young readers can understand and enjoy.

Pope Benedict XVI: An Introduction to His Theological Vision
Paulist Press (March 2009)

From professor and scholar, to the Vatican’s enforcer of the faith and, finally, to the throne of St. Peter, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI has become for the world the public face of the Roman Catholic Church. Rev. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J.—the T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles—tells us he has been reading and studying Ratzinger’s work since 1969. With this book, Rausch provides a clear and concise overview of the pope’s life and theological vision on several levels: his Eucharistic ecclesiology, his theology of liturgy, his Christology and “his relentless refusal to reduce Sacred Scripture to mere history or literature.”

As Benedict’s writings on contentious issues within the church (e.g. liberation theology, women, homosexuality et al.) and the world (human rights, solidarity, religious pluralism et al.) reflect, Rausch notes that “[Benedict’s] tendency is to speak the way a university professor does, isolating difficulties with a particular clarity and force.” The author expresses concern, though, on the pope’s ability to read the signs of the times, as it were, as he seeks to “rearticulate Catholic doctrine in the context of secular culture.” -- America


Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait
by Peter Seewald. Ignatius Press (October 30 2008).

In the person of Pope Benedict XVI, one of the most significant of Europe's intellectuals is heading-up the Vatican. The journalist Peter Seewald, who has known Ratzinger since 1992, conducted the "longest interviews in church history" with him, for two books which were best-sellers world-wide, Salt of the Earth, God and the World.

Now he describes these intensive encounters in detail for the first time, and draws a portrait of this brilliant theologian who has put his life entirely at the service of the Catholic Church. Above and beyond that, this book is also the story of a long dialogue which changed Seewald's life.

Many people are trying to understand who Benedict XVI really is. On one point they are all agreed: in the person of Joseph Ratzinger, the chair of Peter is occupied by one of the most brilliant minds in the world. Peter Seewald's portrait of Benedict recounts details about the personality and life of Benedict which were hitherto completely unknown.



Christ, Our Joy: The Theological Vision of Pope Benedict XVIby Joseph Murphy. Ignatius Press (May 2008).

Noticing how often the new Pope had the topic of "joy" as the central theme of his many addresses, Murphy delved into the vast writings of the Pope, before and after his election to the papacy, and found that the theme of joy has pervaded all of his theology. Recognizing the Pope's invitation to joy as a key to understanding his basic theological vision, Murphy develops those ideas and writings in a creative way, and helps the reader to engage personally with the original and pastoral mind of Joseph Ratzinger, professor, pastor, and now Pope Benedict XVI.

This joy is nothing other than the joy of the Christian faith. Indeed, the "first word of the New Testament", says Pope Benedict XVI, "is an invitation to joy". The Gospel of Jesus Christ, he insists, is not a burdensome imposition but is truly "glad tidings" for mankind. Christianity is the key to true and lasting joy, the only joy that abides in the midst of life's anxieties and difficulties.

Written in a clear and engaging style, this book argues that joy is central to all of Pope Benedict's thought. All the other great themes of the Christian faith are intimately connected with it and radiate out from it. The world is in need of hearing once again the message of joy which Jesus Christ makes known.


Creation and Evolution: A Conference With Pope Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo
Stephan Otto Horn, S.D.S., and Siegfried Wiedenhofer | Translated by Michael J. Miller | Foreword by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn. Ignatius Press (May 2008).

In 2005 the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn wrote a guest editorial in The New York Times that sparked a worldwide debate about "Creation and Evolution". Pope Benedict XVI instructed the Cardinal to study more closely this problem and the current debate between "evolutionism" and "creationism," and asked the yearly gathering of his former students to address these questions.

Even after Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, he has continued to maintain close contact with the circle of his former students. The "study circle" (Schulerkrers) meets once a year with Pope Benedict XVI for a conference. Many of these former Ratzinger students have gone on to become acclaimed scholars, professors and writers, as well as high ranking Church prelates.

This book documents the proceedings of the remarkable conference on the topic of "Creation and Evolution" hosted by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 at the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. It includes papers that were presented from the fields of natural science, philosophy and theology, and records the subsequent discussion, in which Pope Benedict XVI himself participated.

"Ultimately it comes down to the alternative: What came first? Creative Reason, the Creator Spirit who makes all things and gives them growth, or Unreason, which, lacking any meaning, strangely enough brings forth a mathematically ordered cosmos, as well as man and his reason. The latter, however, would then be nothing more than a chance result of evolution and thus, in the end, equally meaningless. As Christians, we say: I believe in God the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in the Creator Spirit. We believe that at the beginning of everything is the eternal Word, with Reason and not Unreason."

-- Pope Benedict XVI

"Creation and Evolution is an extraordinary opportunity for the public to listen in on the conversation as some of the greatest minds in the Catholic Church -- theologians, philosophers, scientists, and Pope Benedict himself -- wrestle with one of the most thorny and far-reaching of topics. Participants clash repeatedly over what we really know about the forces that shaped life on earth, over what is data and what is hype, over what certain scenarios might mean even if they were true. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know where we might have come from and where we might be headed.

-- Michael J. Behe, Lehigh University, Author of The Edge of Evolution.

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. Oxford University Press, USA (March 6, 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.


Benedict of Bavaria An Intimate Portrait of the Pope and His HomelandIgnatius Press (March 2008).

An Intimate Portrait of the Pope and His Homeland Highlighting a little-known personal side of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, this book places him in the context of his homeland, Bavaria a place which the author, Brennan Pursell, has come to know well through extensive travel and study over the last twelve years. Explore the extraordinary brilliance of Pope Benedict's mind and the universality of his vocation within the context of his identity as a simple son of his beloved homeland, Bavaria. Includes color photos and a rare look at a day in the life of the Pope.

Joseph Ratzinger - Life in the Church and Living Theology: Fundamentals of Ecclesiology
by Maximilian Heinrich Heim. (Ignatius Press, October 2007). 500pp.

This is a major work on the theology of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, by a highly regarded German theologian, priest and writer. Since his election to the Papacy, Ratzinger's theology, and in particular his ecclesiology (theology of the Church), has been in the limelight of theological and ecumenical discussions.

This important work studies in detail Ratzinger's ecclesiology in the light of Vatican II, against the ongoing debate about what Vatican II really meant to say about the life of the Church, its liturgy, its worship, its doctrine, its pastoral mission, and more. Has his theology of the Church changed since Vatican II, or has it continued to develop consistently? Is the Catholic Church one church among many churches? Is she the object of hope or a historical reality?

Ratzinger the theologian figures centrally in this investigation, not as the former Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but as a thinker and as a writer


An Invitation to Faith: An a to Z Primer on the Thought of Pope Benedict XVI
Edited by Jean-michel Coulet. Ignatius Press (July 2007).

As soon as he was elected to the Papacy, Benedict XVI immediately challenged the relativism of our times that rejects God, that sees noting as definitive, and that, according to the Pope, sets as the ultimate yardstick the individual's own ego and desires alone. The Pope offers instead an opposing standard: Christ, the Son of God, the true man. The Pope's words are rousing and demand an examination of conscience. His words are meant for all.

With strong words, Benedict XVI invites us to place God at the center of our lives. Thus, this book is a selection of key words from the teachings of the Holy Father since he began his Pontificate, presented in alphabetical order. Each key word leads to an inspiring and insightful meditation from the Pope on various important spiritual themes and topics. Benedict XVI invites us in these words to become daily actors in the real revolution that comes from God and is called Love.

This volume is a handy little primer on the thought of the beloved Pontiff in which the reader can pick out any key word or topic form the alphabetical order of meditations throughout the book to meditate and focus on.

Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Ageby Fr. Vincent Twomey. Ignatius Press (April 2007)

Fr. Vincent Twomey, a former doctoral student of Joseph Ratzinger, and a long time friend of the Pope's, felt the need to respond to the common question he read and heard often after Ratzinger's papal election, "What kind of person is the new Pope?"

Twomey offers here a unique double-presentation of the man, Pope Benedict XVI -- a "theological portrait" that encompasses both an overview of the writings, teachings and thought of the brilliant theologian and spiritual writer, as well as the man himself, and his personality traits and how he communicates with others.

Since Ratzinger came in to the papacy already well known and highly regarded as one of the greatest theologians of our age, and having written so much on almost every theological subject touching on the faith, morality, the Church and State, it is important to know his mind on these topics and how he approaches the major spiritual and social issues of our times. Twomey shows his style is really the opposite of how he has been depicted in the past -- that he is indeed very pastoral and will first win the hearts of people who will then read for themselves his writings. His very first encyclical, God Is Love, underscores that approach.

Twomey shows that the secret to the serene dignified behavior of Benedict is that, as a man who is an accomplished pianist, he is open to beauty as much as truth, that he lives outside himself, and is not preoccupied with his own self. He also is a man that Twomey says "has the courage to be imperfect", showing he has a deep humility and strives for teaching the truth even when misunderstood or not presented as well as he would like.

Excerpts / Related Links


The Regensburg Lectureby James V. Schall, SJ.
St. Augustines Press (April 2007)

Overshadowed by the violent reaction and rioting throughout the world, the September 12, 2006, lecture by Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg, Germany, at the university where he once taught, is a multifaceted and brilliant speech that addresses the very nature of man’s understanding of a free conscience, his thirst for knowledge in both reason and revelation, his understanding of the limitations of the will, and the nature of his ability to understand his neighbor. It explains the Church’s historical claims that Christ himself is Logos (as the opening of John’s Gospel proclaims), a term meaning “word,” “logic,” and “speech.” One’s faith is to be grounded in a self-limiting God, Who does not capriciously change the rules on humans but Who reveals himself to our reason as well as our hearts. A God Who respects His own creation enough to give man free will, and thus a free conscience and an ability to fail; Who leads man, through both reason and revelation, to Himself, always in peace and never in violence; Who is a God of Life, not Death.

The lecture is a mere eight single-spaced pages of text, but it encapsulates not only theoretical history of the Church, but touches on the most poignant current problems the world witnesses, namely, the rise of terrorism and the confrontation between reason and will, between the Word and the Sword. Though incredibly timely, it is as timeless as the Gettysburg Address, Pericles’ Funeral Oration, Plato’s Apology, and Henry V’s Speech on St. Crispin’s Day. No doubt it will be studied and read for generations to come, not only by Catholics, not only by Christians, but by men of good will the world over.

So it is fitting that our world’s modern G.K. Chesterton – James Schall – has chosen to explicate this most-important work by the world’s premier theologian on the thorniest, most divisive questions of our day. Jim Schall, throughout the hundreds upon hundreds of books, articles, and reviews he has written, has always, like Chesterton, maintained a graceful and accessible touch, a clear and memorable style, that makes light work from heavy sources. He is the perfect person to explain both the central concepts and the importance of this amazing speech.


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.

Twenty-six professors from the Institute's various sessions express what in their understanding are the main themes of the document, approaching the topics raised by the Holy Father with different theological and philosophical perspectives; by so doing they have highlighted the significance and fecundity of the lines of thought suggested by the Pope. This book is offered as a path towards a fuller understanding of the profundity and richness of the love with which God fills us and wants us to communicate in our turn.

The Rule of Benedict : Pope Benedict XVI and His Clash with the Modern World
by David Gibson. HarperSanFrancisco (September 2006).

In this detailed examination, Gibson tells how Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, and why his ways of thinking about the church may not bode well for efforts to reform it in such areas as governance and opening the priesthood to women or married men. He paints the new pontiff as someone who is more interested in the personal piety of Catholics than their engagement with the world and issues of social justice. - Publisher's Weekly


God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church
by George Weigel. Harper Collins (November 2005).

George Weigel's bestselling biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope, set the standard by which all portraits of the modern papacy are now measured. With God's Choice, he gives us an extraordinary chronicle of the rise of Pope Benedict XVI as well as an unflinching view of the Catholic Church at the dawn of a new era.

When John Paul II lapsed into illness for the last time, people flocked from all over the world to pray outside his apartment. He had become a father figure to millions in a world bereft of strong paternal examples, and those millions now felt orphaned. After more than twenty-six years of John Paul II's guidance, the Catholic Church is entering a new age, with its bedrock traditions intact but with pressing questions to address in a rapidly changing world. Beginning with the story of John Paul's final months, God's Choice offers a remarkable inside account of the conclave that produced Benedict XVI as the next pope, drawing on George Weigel's unrivaled access to this complex event.

Weigel also incisively surveys the current state of the Church around the world: its thriving populations in Africa, Latin America, and parts of the post-communist world; its collapse in western Europe; its continued struggles in Asia; and the vibrancy of many aspects of Catholic life in the United States, even as the Church in America struggles to overcome its recent experience of scandal.


Thought of Pope Benedict XVI: An Introduction to the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger
by Fr. Aidan Nichols. Burns & Oates (June, 2005)

Aidan Nichols' timely book is the first full-scale investigation of Joseph Ratzinger's theology in its development from the 1950s to the present day.

It presents a chronological account of the development of Ratzinger's writing which reflects a wide range of historical and theoretical interests such as: Augustine's ecclesiology; early Franciscanism and the idea of salvation history; Christian brotherhood; the unfolding of the Second Vatican Council; commenting on the Apostles' Creed; explorations of the concept of the Church; preaching, liturgy and Church music; eschatology; the foundations of dogmatic and moral theology; the Church and politics; ecumenism, and the problem of pluralism. This book is a comprehensive introduction to a figure who is in his own right, quite apart from his significance in the politics of the Church, a major German Catholic theologian of the twentieth century.

This new edition provides an amplification of the existing chapters by reference to books and articles produced by Joseph Ratzinger between 1986/1987 and his election as Pope in 2005. This is especially important in the area of the Liturgy, where his 1999 study 'The Spirit of the Liturgy' takes further his critique of contemporary Western Catholic worship and his call for a new liturgical movement which would aim to 'reform the Reform'.

Nichols also includes two wholly new chapters devoted to (a) Ratzinger's writings on Judaism, Islam and other religions, as well as (b) secularization and the future of Europe.

Looking again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger
Edited by Alcuin Reid OSB. St. Augustine's Press (January 2004)

"What we previously knew only in theory has become for us a practical experience: the Church stands and falls with the Liturgy. When the adoration of the divine Trinity declines, when the faith is no longer appears in its fullness in the Liturgy of the Church, when man's words, his thoughts, his intentions are suffocating him, then faith will have lost the place where it is expressed and where it dwells. For that reason, the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever." -- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

But how, today, at the beginning of the third millennium, do we achieve "the true celebration of the Liturgy"? Is the answer a wholesale return to the traditional rites? Is it in accepting a wide diversity of divergent uses -- new, old and inculturated -- in the Roman rite? Or is it in seeking an official reform of the liturgical reform that followed the Second Vatican Council?

These are the issues that were discussed under the presidency of Cardinal Ratzinger at the conference held at the Abbey of Notre-Dame at Fontgombault from July 22-24 2001. This volume makes available in English translation the papers from that conference -- papers which inform and challenge, and which make a significant contribution to the consideration of the question of the Liturgy in our day.