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The Essential Pope Benedict XVI: His Central Writings and Speeches [Paperback]

By John F. Thornton (Editor), Susan B. Varenne (Editor) & D. Vincent Twomey (Introduction by)
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Item description for The Essential Pope Benedict XVI: His Central Writings and Speeches by John F. Thornton, Susan B. Varenne & D. Vincent Twomey...

Culled from the writings and speeches of Pope Benedict XVI, this collection serves as a comprehensive introduction to the concerns that animate the agenda of this new pontiff.

Publishers Description

On April 24, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, the twenty-first-century successor of the Apostle Peter and the spiritual leader of more than one billion Roman Catholics. Who is this complex man whose office grants him sole charge of the world's largest religion? How will his tenure influence the future? The Essential Pope Benedict XVI answers these questions through carefully chosen selections from his homilies, interviews, theological essays, and articles on the crises facing the church today. This collection lays out Benedict's thinking and relates it to a variety of contemporary issues, including modern culture's abandonment of traditional religious values, social mores regarding conception and the sanctity of life, current challenges to the priesthood, and the Catholic Church's tenuous relations with other world religions.

First a brilliant peritus, or "expert advisor," to the Second Vatican Council and then archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger was appointed head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II in 1981. As Cardinal Ratzinger, the ex officio defender of church doctrine, he gained a reputation as a heroic guardian of the faith for conservatives and was held in suspicion by church liberals.

We cannot yet know what issues and events will define the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, but by any measure he will be seen as one of the most important theological voices of our time. This one volume is the best source for understanding the heart, soul, and agenda of this twenty-first-century successor to St. Peter.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   464
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 13, 2013
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0061128848  
ISBN13  9780061128844  

Availability  128 units.
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More About John F. Thornton, Susan B. Varenne & D. Vincent Twomey

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Church History
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Catholic

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Essential Pope Benedict XVI: His Central Writings and Speeches?

A Superb General Introduction to the Thought of Benedict XVI!!  Feb 23, 2007
When I received notice of this book's forthcoming publication, I had my doubts about its quality. I stand corrected in any initial hesitations the anticipation of this volume lent me. I am very pleased with the work done by Thornton and Varenne (two rather `unknowns' in the world of Ratzinger scholarship). This is by far the best general summary of the thought of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI available today! Divided into eight categories of his writings, this book surveys a significant portion of Ratzinger/Benedict's work.

The Introduction by D. Vincent Twomey, SVD, is truly priceless. I cannot say enough about how on-target these remarks are. Perhaps the most striking comment for me can be found in the first paragraph of his intro: "Students of theology who quoted him [Ratzinger] were punished by their liberal professors, and those professors who did quote him - he is eminently quotable - would not reveal their source, lest the quote be rejected." (xvii). This has been my own experience and a real shame indeed. Having been on both sides of the above-mentioned fence, I can relate the disappointment that comes in feeling that one has to preemptively screen Ratzinger-inspired comments due to the tendency for the audience to dismiss or ridicule the remark solely because of hearsay-based reputation assigned to the thinker.

It is my hope that this collection of easily accessible nuggets of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict's thought and insight might help the greater community of professional theologians, as well as "armchair theologians," take the work of a theological giant of our time more seriously.

I do have some critical remarks about this book. The first is the omission of some of the scholarly notes that should accompany the texts. In the preface, the editors explain the notes' absence as allowing better flow and access of the material to the unscholarly: great in theory and intent, poor in practice. I found that to be disappointing. While the editors insist that their omission of contextual introductions to each passage was intended to make the book "about the author" and not "about the editors," I feel - as someone well versed in the theology of Ratzinger - that the novice reader of the material will not have a full appreciation for the snippet outside of its original context. Even a page-long intro providing some background to each document would have sufficed. The book is already 512pp why not another 40 or more elucidating pages?

All in all, I am overjoyed at this work. I certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the theology of our current pontiff. While this is not a scholarly survey of the thinker's work (see Aidan Nichols, OP, "The Thought of Benedict XVI" for a more academic survey), I am happy to see a popular publishing company (HarperCollins) take this field seriously and make available a valuable resource accessible to all.

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