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Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church [Paperback]

By Benedict XVI (Author), Dr Graham Harrison (Translator) & Salvator Attanasio (Translator)
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Item description for Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church by Benedict XVI, Dr Graham Harrison & Salvator Attanasio...

Cardinal Ratzinger speaks candidly and forcefully about the state of the Church in the Post-Vatican II era. Here is the complete text of a meeting many have called a "historical turnabout" in the Church. The roots of the crisis that has troubled Catholics in the twenty years since the Council are analyzed with forthright clarity by one of the most authoritative voices in the Vatican. Here is a clear and uncompromising report on the dangers that threaten the Faith, from one who every day receives the most reliable information from every continent. Yet Ratzinger's observations are as hopeful and balanced as they are clear-sighted, forcefully re-affirming the immense and positive work of Vatican II, whose genuine fruits this book provides a guideline for achieving.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ignatius Press
Pages   197
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.06" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.67"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 1987
Publisher   Ignatius Press
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0898700809  
ISBN13  9780898700800  
UPC  008987008095  

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More About Benedict XVI, Dr Graham Harrison & Salvator Attanasio

Pope Benedict XVI Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus XVI; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is Pope emeritus of the Catholic Church, having served as Pope from 2005 to 2013. In that position, he was both the leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II, celebrated his papal inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005.

Ordained as a priest in 1951 in his native Bavaria, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian by the late 1950s and was appointed a full professor in 1958. After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities—the last being the University of Regensburg, where he served as Vice President of the university in 1976 and 1977—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such, the primus inter pares among the cardinals. Prior to becoming pope, he was "a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century" as "one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals"; he had an influence "second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions" as one of John Paul II's closest confidants.

He was originally a liberal theologian, but adopted conservative views after 1968. His prolific writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many Western countries. He views relativism's denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He taught the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love. Pope Benedict also revived a number of traditions including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position. He renewed the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, viewing the use of beauty as a path to the sacred, promoted the use of Latin, and reintroduced traditional papal garments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics". He has been described as "the main intellectual force in the Church" since the mid-1980s. Several of Pope Benedict's students from his academic career are also prominent churchmen today and confidantes of him, notably Christoph Schönborn.

On 11 February 2013, Benedict announced his resignation in a speech in Latin before the cardinals, citing a "lack of strength of mind and body" due to his advanced age. His resignation became effective on 28 February 2013. He is the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so on his own initiative since Pope Celestine V in 1294. As pope emeritus, Benedict retains the style of His Holiness, and the title of Pope, and will continue to dress in the papal colour of white. He was succeeded by Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, and he moved into the newly renovated Mater Ecclesiae monastery for his retirement on 2 May 2013.

Pope Benedict XVI was born in 1927.

Pope Benedict XVI has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Benedict XVI
  2. Bioethics & Culture
  3. Communio Books
  4. Fathers (Our Sunday Visitor)
  5. Publication
  6. Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought
  7. Spiritual Thoughts

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Inspirational
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Reviews - What do customers think about Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church?

Insightful and interesting, but not the best in the Ratzinger interview series.  Jun 11, 2006
I have greatly enjoyed those volumes of Ratzinger's interviews that have been translated into English and published by Ignatius Press; "God and the World," "Salt of the Earth," and "The Ratzinger Report." However, I believe that with respect to the other two books, "The Ratzinger Report" falls short.

Is this an insightful book? Yes. Does this shed light on the thought of Joseph Ratzinger in the mid-80s? Yes. Is this as good as the other, later interviews? I'd argue No.

There are several factors that play a role in my opinion. The first is that this is an interview composed by a different reporter than the other two. The Second is the format in which it is written (prose vs. Q&A). The Third is the depth and length of the book. This is a much shorter volume with questions that do not delve as deep into the mind of Ratzinger as the other books.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to be a formal or informal scholar of the theological and social thought of Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). However, if you have read the other two interview books, be prepared for a significant difference.

Right on target; a great diagnosis of the problems  Feb 1, 2006
In 1985 I was a fairly recent returnee to the Church after several years of disinterest and non-attendance. The Church in America was obviously in trouble-even I could tell that. Odd priests with strange behaviors and weird homilies. Theologians writing articles and books viciously hostile to "Rome"-they always seemed to refer to the Pope as "Rome". I eagerly looked forward to the publication of this book, and devoured it when it appeared. Alas, my pastor, an apparently grown-up man and a theologian himself, angrily, red-faced, denounced the book from the pulpit and insisted that "Rome" had no right to interfere with the teachings of the American Church. "Rome" had no knowledge of conditions and circumstances here in America and should just butt out. That's not an exact quote-it was 20 years ago, after all-but his words were very much to that effect.

Over the years I've heard that same sort of thing many, many times. It has presented me (and everyone else) with a choice. Do I follow the increasingly popular "American" way or do I follow the Pope? My choice is the latter.

This book, 20 years old as it is, puts the matter very plainly. The issues haven't changed. The dissenters in Europe and America have simply grown more subtle and evasive. I highly recommend this book if you want a thorough grounding in what the tension between "Rome" and the dissenters is all about.
Candid and Cool  Nov 19, 2005
Several years after its publication, this remains the best single introduction to the man now pope. It also would be something of a classic even had Cardinal Ratzinger not become pope. The 2 book-length interviews which followed, by Peter Seewald, are also interesting, but Messori's edges them out for its conciseness and organization, plus the fact Messori is an informed Catholic who does not have to wade through doctrinal positions unfamiliar to him.

Certainly this is sort of an elevated dialogue -- Ratzinger is, primarily, an intellectual and theologian. Every book under his name, even the few devotional ones, are in that vein and it comes with the territory. That said, he speaks as plainly and directly as he can, and -- for an upper level churchman -- is remarkably candid and does not dodge controversy. This quality, plus the fact that Ratzinger was a major player in Vatican 2 -- is what gives the book historical value with or without his recent election.

The topics covered are very wide ranging -- though most concern the state of the Catholic church, not Christian or Catholic theology in general. Overall, it might be called a report card on Vatican 2, with mixed grades. Here, Ratzinger clearly stated his continuing thesis that the council has not yet been implented properly or in its wholeness. All positions are stated rather openly and without rancor but cooly. The startling things he states thus give the reader a sort of double-take. For instance, he is convinced that civilization at present is in a grave and unprecedented crisis on many fronts, and the future hardly certain. He thus does not really echo John Paul II's motto, "Be not afraid" in every conceivable sense. In the sense of the ultimate goodness of God and the triumph of redemption afforded by Christ, sure. But on a temporal level, Ratzinger's view is that nations and peoples, at any historical moment, possess and exercise will to accept or reject those gifts. Doubtless this is a view seared into his being from having been brought up under the Nazis. And he sees disturbing general parallels to that disaster in what the entire European civilization is doing at present. His spooky discussion concerning the Fatima message only underscores this viewpoint. For afficionados of that event, his 1 and 1/2 pageworth of dry discussion of the 3rd secret prophesy, in this book, constitutes the only cogent, authoritative official description of that subject (as compared to the vision released some years later, with JP 2's interpretation attatched, and which Ratzinger's "official" and generalistic commentary --likewise very dry -- noted was not a matter of faith).

Ratzinger is no romantic. His sometimes terse observations, so casual and so comfortably delivered, can be quite numbing in their realism and impact. What is done in history is done; to the extent the council failed, for instance, it needs be remedied, but there is no going back. Thus while generally conservative in viewpoint he is no believer in "restorations" or "returns" to a prior situation. Indeed he sees the council as part and parcel of a general historical crisis in the west; deviations and mis-interpretations are not merely an intra-Catholic issue. Indeed the nature and causes of this historical crisis in western civilization is the main personal ingrediant he brings to the table.

All in all, this is a book that once read, a thoughtful reader will return to on several occasions. His papal name only doubly underscores the point of view which emerges throughout these friendly chats -- connecting the two dots (Saint Benedict, the cornerstone of western Christian civilization in his Catholic view, and Benedict XV, pope at the time of the start of its endgame) which are the most passionate focus of this otherwise -- to all outward appearances -- most urbane academician.
Great book  Oct 2, 2005
This is a great book written by a Great person. But only some one with lot of knowledge in Theology can understand and appreciate it.
Showing its Age  Sep 26, 2005
This book is a report of an interview conducted by an Italian journalist of then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1984. Because its focus is on the state of the church, much of its content very much dates to the 1984 era, and is not so relevant for today.

For example, at the time this was written, LeFevbre and his followers were not yet in schism, there was no Tridentine Indult, the charismatic movement was just fully coming to the attention of Rome (how quickly it faded!) the neo-traditionalist movement (which included many of the people who tried charismatic worship and declined it) was not even acknowledged, there is no discussion of World Youth Day, the Soviet Union still controlled much of Eastern Europe, and Liberation Theology was still ardently discussed in Latin America. Vatican II was only 20 years old when this document was written; it is now 40 years old.

That so many things have changed since 1984 radically affects the relevancy of this book. An entire chapter is dedicated to Liberation Theology, but John Paul II, espeically with his silencing of Leonardo Boff, pretty much eliminated LT from relevancy. Each of the other issues I listed above significantly affect the content of this book.

The result is that this book is useful for understanding HOW the current Pope thinks about things, but of very little use to understand WHAT he thinks about the church today. The church today is very different, in relation to the issues discussed in this book, than it was in 1984.

The format of the book is a little puzzling to American readers. We are accustomed to a certain dispassion among journalist, and clear categories of reporting, analysis, and opinion among journalistic works. This book takes a much more Italian approach to journalism, with the author reordering many of Ratzinger's responses in order to construct post-hoc themes that were not so well developed during the interview. The reporter regularly mixes in reporting of what Ratzinger said, his own analysis of those statements, and his own opinions. As a result, is not always clear whether Ratzinger or the reporter is speaking, as they are often in great agreement.

There are many other books by and about Ratzinger available. Few of them have such a catchy title, but it seems likely that just about any of them will provide a better view into who the new Pope is, and what he thinks.

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