- Guest Op-Ed: Fighting for the soul of Europe. Rorate Caeli 3/29/16. The following guest Op-Ed was penned by a newly ordained diocesan priest, writing under the name Monsieur l'Abbé, comparing the pontifical approaches to Islam of Pope Francis and his predecessor:
At the heart of the juxtaposition of the Easter Vigil of 2008 and this year’s Holy Thursday is the radical difference between the two possible approaches to the problem of Islam in Europe. In 2008, Benedict XVI personified a Church that was confident in her identity. For him, the Church is the only force that can offer transcendence to a secular Europe ... Even before his election to the Papacy, Joseph Ratzinger had an exceptional understanding of Europe and its relationship to Islam. Experiencing the extremism of National Socialism and Communism in Europe during his lifetime, Ratzinger knew what was at stake in the fight for Europe’s heart. The invasion of Islamism is the next battle that Europe is fighting, and Ratzinger has offered a unique perspective as to how the battle could be won. ...
In contrast to Ratzinger’s immersion in European culture, Jorge Borgoglio grew up in Peronist Argentina in a milieu that saw itself as independent of European interests and more civilized than the rest of Latin America. Since his election in 2013, the pope’s preference for ministry to the “peripheries” and the marginalized has left Europe as an undefended afterthought.
- Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is “slowly, serenely fading” but remains "very lucid". Breitbart.com. 03/24/16. Joseph Ratzinger is “an old man, of course, but very lucid. Unfortunately, it’s become difficult for him to walk and he needs to use a walking frame,” Georg Gaenswein said in an interview with the Italian magazine BenEssere.
- Full text of Benedict XVI's recent, rare, and lengthy interview Catholic News Agency. 03/17/16:
In a recently published interview on issues of justification and faith, Benedict XVI has addressed issues of mercy and our need for forgiveness, salvation through the cross, the necessity of baptism, and the importance of sharing in Christ's redeeming love.
The discussion with Fr. Jacques Servais, SJ, took place ahead of an October, 2015 conference in Rome studying the doctrine of justification by faith.
Benedict's answers, originally in German, were read aloud as a text at the conference by the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein.
They were later published as the introduction to a book in Italian on the conference texts and conclusions, titled “Through Faith: Doctrine of Justification and Experience of God in the Preaching of the Church and the Spiritual Exercises,” by Fr. Daniel Libanori, SJ.
- See also: Benedict and Francis are more Lennon-McCartney than Frazier-Ali, by John Allen Jr. Crux 03/19/16. "As Benedict sees it, he inherited the emphasis on mercy in recent papacies from St. John Paul II, laid out the intellectual case, and then handed it on to Francis, who’s taking the message to the streets."
- The Law of Benedict, by Samuel Gregg. The Public Discourse 03/16/16. Pope Benedict XVI often ventured into venues historically hostile to the Judeo-Christian tradition. A new collection of essays discusses many of these speeches, probing the relationship of reason to religion, the West, and natural law. A review of Pope Benedict XVI's Legal Thought: A Dialogue on the Foundation of Law.
- Three years ago brought history’s greatest act of papal humility, by John Allen Jr. Crux 02/19/16. "Pope Benedict XVI, shown here in 2012, was the first pope to renounce his powers as the result of an honest self-examination."
- The silent reform of Benedict XVI's papacy Catholic News Agency 02/11/16. In his new book on Benedict XVI, Vatican journalist Marco Mancini argues that while the retired pontiff became known for his shocking resignation three years ago, his real legacy began far earlier.
Christ’s Descent into Hell: John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Theology of Holy Saturday, by Lyra Pitstick.
Eerdmans (May 17, 2016) 144 pages.
Pope John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) both held Hans Urs von Balthasar in high regard. Many assume that their praise of Balthasar indicates approval of his controversial theology of Holy Saturday, but this book by Lyra Pitstick shows that conclusion to be far from accurate.
Pitstick looks at what John Paul II, Ratzinger, and Balthasar have in fact said regarding the creedal affirmation that Christ “descended into hell,” and she shows that there are radical differences in their views. She then addresses a number of important questions that follow from these differences.
This careful, concise exploration of what three of the twentieth century’s most famous Catholic theologians had to say about Christ’s descent into hell provides an accessible take on a difficult point of theological debate.