Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI

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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.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

These texts provide accessible overviews of Pope Benedict's theological foundation, a foundation that influenced his priesthood as a young cleric and continues to direct his thinking as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike many other recent popes, Benedict has been deeply influenced by the teachings and writings of St. Augustine, which have flavored his understanding of issues of morality, politics, ecclesiology, worship, and history. Here, Rowland (political philosophy & continental theology, John Paul II Inst., Melbourne, Australia) brilliantly identifies the subtle influences between Benedict and his theological peers and speculates on the direction of his pontificate. Her work is more theoretical than Thomas E. Woods Jr.'s Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass, which provides a useful handbook in understanding the reasons why Benedict restored the Missal of 1962 as well as commentaries on the liturgy's actual actions. Woods's book, with its practical focus, is better suited to lay worshipers, though it nicely complements Rowland's more academic text. Both are recommended for select theological collections.
—John-Leonard Berg

From the Publisher

"The pope's deep and passionate love for the adventure of theology shines through this text, which is geared to the reasonably educated lay reader. Not only papal enthusiasts but also libraries and professional theologians will want to have this book." --Theological Studies

""Both intellectually sophisticated and yet aimed at the ordinary educated reader...Provides valuable insight into how an influential contemporary theologian and--perhaps--other members of her circle view the development of contemporary Catholic theology and Ratzinger's role in it." --The Thomist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199570348
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,433,081
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tracey Rowland is Dean and Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Continental Theology of the John Paul II Institute, Melbourne, Australia, and Member of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: His Eminence George Cardinal Pell     x
Introduction     1
Ratzinger and Contemporary Theological Circles     17
Gaudium et spes and the Importance of Christ     30
Revelation, Scripture, and Tradition     48
Beyond Moralism: God is Love     66
The Structure of the Communion     84
Modernity and the Politics of the West     105
Liturgy since Vatican II     123
Conclusion     144
The Subiaco Address (Conclusion)     156
The Regensburg Address     166
Notes     175
Bibliography     197
Index     207
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