Monday, September 12, 2016

Pope Benedict XI: "The Last Testament: In His Own Words"

The Last Testament: In His Own WordsLast Testament: In His Own Words
by Pope Benedict XVI, Peter Seewald (interviewer)

Bloomsbury Continuum (November 15, 2016) 224pp.

Pope Benedict made history by being the first Pope in over 700 years to resign from office. The Catholic Church the world over was stunned. Worn out by corruption in the Church and by an endless series of clerical sex scandals, he decided that the resolution of all these problems was outside his power for a man of his age.

Last Testament is nearest to an autobiography from the shy and private man who has remained “hidden to the world” in a former convent in the Vatican gardens. He breaks his silence on issues such as:

  • The “Vatileaks” case in which his butler leaked some of his personal letters that alleged corruption and scandal in the Vatican
  • The presence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican and how he dismantled it
  • His alleged Nazi upbringing
  • His attempts at cleaning up the “dirt in the church” (clerical sexual abuse)
  • The mysterious private secretary “Gorgeous George”
On a more personal level he writes with great warmth of his successor Pope Francis, who he admits has a popular touch, a star quality which he has lacked. Much controversy still surrounds Pope Benedict`s Papacy--in this book he addresses these controversies and reveals how at his late age, governing and reforming the Papacy and particularly the Vatican, was beyond him.

Reactions to Last Testament: In His Own Words

  • Between the End of the Old World and the Beginning of a New One: Benedict XVI’s reflections, by Andrea Gagliarducci. Monday Vatican 09/12/16:
    Benedict XVI’s “Last Conversations,” the recently published book interview with journalist Peter Seewald is not only a sort of final chapter of the Pope Emeritus’s biography – he will soon turn 90 – the book is a clue to interpreting the Church that shows once more just how few people really understand the revolutionary impact of the pontificate that preceded Pope Francis’s. It was a quiet revolution, based on a unique awareness: how necessary it is today to announce and preserve the Faith. ...
  • Benedict says he did not expect papacy, accepted it as duty to cardinals, by Joshua J. McElwee. National Catholic Reporter 09/08/16.
  • Benedict: Pope Francis Better at Reforming Curia, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 09/08/16:
    "My weak point perhaps is a lack of resolve in governing and making decisions," he said. "Here, in reality, I am more a professor, one who reflects and meditates on spiritual questions. Practical governance was not my forte and this certainly was a weakness."

    Pope Francis, on the other hand, "is a man of practical reform," the retired pope said. His personality and experience as a Jesuit provincial and archbishop have enabled him to take practical organizational steps.

  • In new book, Pope Benedict XVI exudes a rare humility, by John Allen, Jr. Crux 09/08/16. "In a new book-length interview, presumably his last, with German journalist Peter Seewald, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI projects a humility rare for any world leader by candidly conceding that government was not his strong suit, despite the fact that he actually authored historic reforms."
  • Benedict reveals dissatisfaction with Paul VI's 'Humanae Vitae' National Catholic Reporter :
    "In the situation I was then in, and in the context of theological thinking in which I stood, Humanae Vitae was a difficult text for me," Benedict says in the book, to be published in the U.S. Nov. 3 by Bloomsbury under the title Last Testament: In His Own Words.

    "It was certainly clear that what it said was essentially valid, but the reasoning, for us at that time, and for me too, was not satisfactory," Benedict states.

    "I was looking for a comprehensive anthropological viewpoint," he continues. "In fact, it was [Pope] John Paul II who was to complement the natural-law viewpoint of the encyclical with a personalistic vision."

  • How Pope Francis' 'new joy' surprised Benedict XVI Catholic News Agency. 09/12/16:
    Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said he is satisfied with the papacy of Pope Francis and sees “no contradictions” between their pontificates.

    "Yes, there is suddenly a new freshness in the Church, a new joy, a new charisma that addresses the people, which is something beautiful. Many are thankful that the new Pope now approaches them in a new style. The Pope is the Pope, it doesn’t matter who it is," Benedict said in his newly published collection of interviews.


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