Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pope Benedict Roundup!

  • The Marian Papacy of Benedict XVI, by John Allen Jr. (September 8, 2008):
    In part, perhaps, Mary has been a lightning rod precisely because she is such a uniquely Catholic figure. Catholics share Christ, the gospels, prayer and sacrifice, even the sacraments, with many other forms of Christianity. Yet even though other Christians treasure Mary in their own ways, she is strongly associated in the popular imagination with the Catholic church.

    Mary’s centrality in Catholic tradition may help explain why the last two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have been so committed to reawakening Marian devotion in the church. For both popes, defending Catholic identity in a highly secular age has been job number one, and nothing says ‘Catholic’ quite like the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  • Finding the Word in the word", by Tania Mann. (The Catholic World Report). "Throughout the Synod of Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the need to read Scripture under both a historical and a spiritual light."
  • September 2008: In an interview by Andrea Tornielli for the Italian newspaper Il Giornale, Pope Benedict XVI’s brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, revealed several unknown details from the childhood of the Pontiff, such as when he said one time that Benedict would be a good name for a pope, and that he never attended Hitler Youth meetings he was obliged to sign up for. Catholic News Agency has a detailed report.

  • October 2008: German publishing house Verlag Herder (in Frieburg) has embarked on the "Opera Omnia" -- a comprehensive publication of the works of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI. According to Sandro Magister, the organization of the works, previously published or not, will be determined by the Pope himself, together with the specific arrangement of each of the 16 volumes:
    Volumes I and II will include Ratzinger's undergraduate and doctorate theses, as well as other writings concerning Augustine and Bonaventure, the two doctors of the Church who are the subjects of his theses.

    Volume III will open with Ratzinger's inaugural conference as a professor: "The God of faith and the God of the philosophers," delivered in Bonn in 1959, followed by writings on faith and reason and the historical-intellectual foundations of Europe.

    Volume IV will open with the famous "Introduction to Christianity" of 1968. It will be followed by other writings on the profession of faith, baptism, following Christ, and the fulfillment of Christian existence.

    Volume V will collect writings on creation, anthropology, the doctrine of grace, Mariology.

    Volume VI will be on Christology, and will open with "Jesus of Nazareth," the only work in the collection that was written and published after the author's election as pope.

    Volume VII will collect the writings on Vatican Council II, including notes and comments from that period.

    Volume VIII will deal with ecclesiology and ecumenism.

    Volume IX will collect essays on theological epistemology and hermeneutics, in particular on the understanding of the Scriptures, Revelation, Tradition.

    Volume X will open with "Eschatology," published in 1977, followed by other writings on hope, death, resurrection, eternal life.

    Volume XI is the one that has been published first, in the past few days. It is entitled "Theology of the Liturgy."

    Volume XII, dedicated to the doctrine of the sacraments and to the ministry, will be entitled "Proclaimers of the Word and Servants of Your Joy."

    Volume XIII will collect the many interviews conducted with Joseph Ratzinger, including the ones published in book form, with Vittorio Messori in 1984, and with Peter Seewald in 1996 and 2000.

    Volume XIV will collect homilies from before his election as pope, many of which are little known and previously unpublished.

    Volume XV will open with the book "My Life," published in 1997, followed by other writings of an autobiographical and personal nature.

    Volume XVI will close the series with a complete bibliography of the works of Joseph Ratzinger in German, plus a comprehensive index of all the preceding volumes. The individual volumes will also be equipped with detailed indexes.

    The Preface to the nitial volume of the Opera Omnia is available online, courtesy of Sandro Magister.

  • On November 12, a group of Joseph Ratzinger's former doctoral and postdoctoral students, known as the Schülerkreis (Circle of Students), gathered in Munich for the first event of the Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI Foundation. The official launching ceremony begun with sung vespers in the chapel of the Catholic Academy in the evening, followed by a paper delivered by Professor Siegfried Wiedenhofer entitled “Key Issues in the Theology of Professor Dr. Joseph Ratzinger” and a podium discussion on “Ratzinger as Theologian and Teacher.”

  • November 2008: An Italian foundation has created five Middle Ages-style copies of Benedict XVI's first encyclical, one of which was given him as a gift, reports Zenit News Service:
    Marilena Ferrari, president of the Italian Franco Maria Ricci Foundation, presented the Pope on Monday with one of the handwritten manuscripts of "Deus Caritas Est" in Latin.

    The five unique copies are reminiscent of monastic scripts prepared in the Middle Ages, and were made using the materials and techniques of those centuries, Ferrari explained to the Pope, according to L'Osservatore Romano.

    This initiative is part of the foundation's "Civilization of Beauty" cultural project, which aims to "promote a cultural renewal that gives back to beauty its central place as an ethical and aesthetic value."

New Books By / About Pope Benedict XVI
  • Pope Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait, by Peter Seewald (Ignatius Press, October 2008)
    In the person of Pope Benedict XVI, one of the most significant of Europe's intellectuals is heading-up the Vatican. The journalist Peter Seewald, who has known Ratzinger since 1992, conducted the "longest interviews in church history" with him, for two books which were best-sellers world-wide, Salt of the Earth and God and the World.

    Now he describes these intensive encounters in detail for the first time, and draws a portrait of this brilliant theologian who has put his life entirely at the service of the Catholic Church. Above and beyond that, this book is also the story of a long dialogue which changed Seewald's life.

    Many people are trying to understand who Benedict XVI really is. On one point they are all agreed: in the person of Joseph Ratzinger, the chair of Peter is occupied by one of the most brilliant minds in the world. Peter Seewald's portrait of Benedict recounts details about the personality and life of Benedict which were hitherto completely unknown.

    See also: "A Revolutionary of the Christian Type", (Preface).

  • The Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine, by Pope Benedict XVI. (Ignatius Press, October 2008):
    This rich and engrossing survey of the early Church includes those churchmen who immediately succeeded the Apostles, the "Apostolic Fathers": Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyon. Benedict also discusses such great Christian figures as Tertullian, Origen, and Cyprian of Carthage, the Cappadocian Fathers, as well as the giants John Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Leo the Great, and Benedict of Nursia, the Pope's namesake.

On a Lighter Note ...