George Weigel was by for dinner the other night. He was in town to do the Today show and other promotions for his new book, God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church (HarperCollins) which was released this week. I read the manuscript in advance and can warmly recommend the book. And yes, I would say that even if George were not among my closest friends. It is, quite simply, the most thorough and readable account of the collaboration between John Paul and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and the legacy of the pontificate of the former and the prospects for the pontificate of the latter. He also has insightfully critical words, combining respect and candor, about the leadership of the U.S. bishops. (The title, by the way, is not meant to suggest as an article of faith that God chose Joseph Ratzinger to be pope. It is to suggest that God had a hand in the process of choosing, and that, as Benedict has said, we have the promise that God would not let anyone be elected pope who would destroy the Church.) If you want to understand what is happening in Catholicism, both in this country and the world, get a copy of God’s Choice.
Since the election, biographies and introductions to Pope Benedict XVI have been quite the rage. I'm curious to see what Weigel brings to the table to differentiate himself from John Allen Jr. (The Rise of Benedict XVI); Robert Moynihan (Let God's Light Shine Forth : The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI - founder/editor of Inside the Vatican) and Matthew Bunson (We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI (Our Sunday Visitor), along with a good number of others.
- EXCERPT: "A Pope of Quiet Suprises" Newsweek Nov. 7, 2005.
- VIDEO: Discussion at Princeton's Center for the Study of Religion Oct. 13, 2005. [RealAudio]