Benedict XVI: His Life and Thought

Benedict XVI: His Life and Thought

by Elio Guerriero


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In these pages Benedict XVI shares his story for the first time since his retirement from the papacy. Joseph Ratzinger is widely recognized as one of the most brilliant theologians and spiritual leaders of our time. Born in Germany in 1929, he lived through Nazism, war, and Communism, like John Paul II, who after his surprising election in 1978, insisted on having Ratzinger at his side for his whole twenty-seven-year pontificate.

When Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005, he took the name Benedict XVI. He opened a path of purification for the Roman Catholic Church at a time when it was shaken by financial and sexual scandals. He has repeatedly said that Europe must return to its Christian roots and build a new humanism for the twenty-first century.

Benedict XVI was misunderstood by many, and in 2013, he astonished the world by resigning from the papacy. Many saw this gesture as a sign of the decline of Catholicism, but it was the opposite: it was a seed sown in the hope of bringing the Church a younger, more vigorous leadership in the face of so many daunting challenges.

Elio Guerriero, who for many years has had an ongoing relationship with the Pope Emeritus, presents a thorough, well-rounded portrait of the brilliant intellectual and humble man of the Church whom many more have come to love and respect since his resignation. This book includes a Foreword by Pope Francis, and contains the first interview of Benedict XVI since the end of his pontificate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781621641834
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Pages: 715
Sales rank: 209,689
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Elio Guerriero, theologian, philosopher, and historian, is the longtime director of Communio, and editorial manager at Jaca Book and Edizioni San Paolo. He edited the Italian edition of the History of the Church directed by A. Jedin. His other books include Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Drama of God, and Saint Giana Molla: Wife, Mother, and Doctor.

Table of Contents

Foreword Pope Francis 13

Introduction 15

I In Germany during the Third Reich 21

The Ratzinger family 21

Beloved Bavaria 24

The Church as a living space 26

Joseph's first years 29

The ascent of Nazism 33

The policeman's strategy 36

At the seminary 41

Toward world war 47

Joseph goes to war 50

II Path to the Priesthood 57

Back to everyday life 57

Freising, the city on the hill 59

Philosophical formation 64

The years in Munich 68

New horizons of the mind 74

A course without respite 79

Priestly ordination 81

The care of souls 83

Return to Freising 88

"People and House of God in Saint Augustine" 92

III The Teenager of Theology 99

Toward an academic career 99

Bonaventure, Joachim of Fiore, and the theology of history 102

The drama of the Habituation 110

Professor at the College of Philosophy and Theology in Freising 113

Evil in the world: Reinhold Schneider and Hermann Hesse 114

Christian brotherhood 118

Professor in Bonn 121

The God of faith and the God of the philosophers 124

The challenge of a personal God 128

The departure of Vater Joseph 130

Professor friends 131

His first students 135

IV In Rome for the Council 139

Meeting with Cardinal Frings 139

The purpose of the council 145

Arrival in Rome 149

The first session 152

Transfer to Minister and the second session 157

The third session 166

The concluding session 169

The solemn conclusion of the council 175

V The World Turns Its Back On God 181

Professor in Münster 181

Can the Christian scandal be eliminated? 183

The council tested by the faithful. Conference at the Katholikentagin Bamberg 187

Tübingen 193

Introduction to Christianity: Best-seller around the world 195

Return to Bavaria 204

Regensburg, city on the Danube 207

The professor and his students 210

VI Joy Over a Renewed Encounter with Theology 215

At home hi a new place 215

The International Theological Commission 216

Communio: A program for the theology and the life of the Church 218

Jews and Christians, one covenant 224

Eternal life: The soul is indispensable 229

Eschatology 232

VII Archbishop of Munich 251

Upsetting news for Germany 251

A surprising nomination 252

Cardinal at age fifty 256

Pastoral care 258

The year of the three popes 275

Difficulties with theologians 279

The journey to Poland and the Synod on the Family 283

The visit of John Paul II to Munich 286

"It was not easy for me to decide. The pope wants me in Rome." 287

VIII First Years in Rome 289

In the service of the universal Church 289

Ecumenism 298

The unity of the Church 305

The schism of the Lefebvrites 315

IX Inquisitor or Defender of Simple Believers? 323

Liberation theology 324

Theology and government of the Church 333

The dialogue with theology 346

Friendship with Communion and Liberation 350

X "A Turning Point for Europe?" 361

The Europe of the revolutions 361

A catechism amid protest and plebiscite 370

Between private and public life 380

The cross is Germany 383

A new report on the faith 389

Relations between Jews and Christians 395

XI Anno Domini 2000 399

The cardinal's seventieth birthday 399

The life of the Gospel in the world: The movements 402

The liturgy 405

The Jubilee Year 2000 413

Christianity and the world religions 421

XII This Life Is Very Hard 427

The Christian roots of Europe 427

On the way to Jesus Christ 436

Approach to monasticism 440

Pedophile priests 444

Dean of the Sacred College 446

United by geography, love of Christ, and friendship: Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger 448

Nostalgia for Germany 450

A very efficient dean 454

XIII Saint Corbinian's Bear Stays in Rome 459

The conclave 459

My program is to do God's will 463

The beginnings starting from Europe 469

World Youth Day in Cologne 475

A promising start 481

XIV The Difficulties of Governing 489

The Secretariat of State 490

The Regensburg speech 493

Appointments of bishops 500

Marcial Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ 504

Pedophile priests again 507

The movements 508

The Mass in Latin 509

XV The Last Vatican II Pope 515

The first encyclical on love 516

The call to holiness 522

Diocesan beatifications 523

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the saints 525

Pope and theologian of holiness 530

The Year of Saint Paul 536

Christian hope 538

XVI A New Humanism for the Twenty-First Century 543

Europe 544

Latin America 558

Catholics in China 560

The United States of America 564

World Youth Day in Sydney 568

Humanism for the third millennium 569

The Courtyard of the Gentiles 577

XVII The Church in the Tempest 579

Once again the Lefebvrites 580

Where is the secretary of state? 583

Africa: The "obscured" journey 585

The Year for Priests 588

The scandal of the pedophile priests 591

Anglican converts to Catholicism and the pope's trip to England 602

The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization 607

XVIII I Must Resign 609

Blessed John Paul II 610

One cannot renounce God: a new visit to Germany 611

The Door of Faith 615

Vatileaks 617

The last journeys 624

The book on Jesus 628

I must resign 637

XIX Mater Ecclesiae 647

In Peter's enclosure 647

In the name of Saint Benedict, Saint Augustine, and Saint Bernard 650

Benedict and Francis 653

The legacy of Pope Benedict 657

Appendix: Resignation and Relations with His Successor: An Interview with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 663

Bibliography 669

Subject Index 681

Name Index 697

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