Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Considering Benedict XVI's theology and papacy on his 94th birthday, by MIchael Sean Winters. National Catholic Reporter 04/16/21.
  • Pope Benedict XVI, the Anchor That Kept Germany Rooted in Christ, by Fr. Raymond J. de Souza. National Catholic Register 04/21/21. In the late evening of his life, Ratzinger/Benedict can be understood as the Catholic Church’s singular, multi-generational response to the reforming agenda of German theology.
  • Benedict XVI ‘grateful’ to Pope Francis for year of St. Joseph, by Elise Ann Allen. Crux News 04/03/01. Speaking with the German newspaper Die Tagespost, Benedict XVI said, "I am naturally particularly pleased that Pope Francis is so aware of the importance of Saint Joseph."
  • The life, faith, and struggle of Joseph Ratzinger: An interview with Peter Seewald, by Carl Olson. Catholic World Report 04/15/21. The veteran German journalist discusses his new biography of Benedict XVI, and reflects in detail on Ratzinger’s childhood, personality, education, and role in key Church events:
    CWR: What sort of access have you had to him over the course of that time?

    Seewald: I was not a fan of his, but I asked myself the question: Who is Ratzinger really? He had long since been pigeonholed as the “Panzer Cardinal”, the “Great Inquisitor”, a grim fellow, therefore, an enemy of civilization. As soon as one blew this horn, one could be absolutely certain of the applause of journalist colleagues and the mainstream audience.

    CWR: What was different about you?

    Seewald: I had studied Ratzinger’s writings in advance and especially his diagnoses of the times. And I was somewhat stunned to see that Ratzinger’s analyses of the development of society had been largely confirmed. In addition, none of the contemporary witnesses I interviewed, fellow students, assistants, companions, who really knew Ratzinger, could confirm the image of the hardliner, on the contrary. With the exception of people like Hans Küng and Jürgen Drewermann, his notorious opponents. Of course, I also wanted to see for myself, on site, in the building of the former Holy Inquisition in Rome.

    CWR: That was an unforgettable moment?

    Seewald: Yes. The door to the visitors’ room, where I was waiting, opened and in stepped a not too tall, very modest and almost delicate-looking figure in a black cassock, who extended his hand to me in a friendly manner. His voice was soft and the handshake was not such that one had broken fingers afterwards. This was supposed to be a Panzer Cardinal? A prince of the Church greedy for power? Ratzinger made it easy for me to strike up a conversation with him. We sat down and started talking. ...

  • Ratzinger's Way: A Review of Benedict XVI: A Life: Volume One: Youth in Nazi Germany to the Second Vatican Council 1927–1965, by Samuel Gregg. The Public Discourse 01/24/11.
  • The Constantinian heathenism of the Church: Ratzinger and the crisis of our time, by Larry Chapp. Catholic World Report 02/04/21. The vapid lunacy of the post-conciliar Church was the product of the hollow and merely forensic “faith” of the pre-conciliar Church.
  • Pope Benedict’s ‘Conscience Is Clear’ Regarding His 2013 Resignation, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 03/01/21. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI speaks candidly on several topics including his decision to resign, Joe Biden's presidency, and Pope Francis traveling to Iraq in a new interview with an Italian newspaper. [Full Interview Here (Italian-English translation)].

Monday, January 25, 2021

Pope Benedict Roundup

News

  • Benedict XVI, the pandemic, first Christmas without his brother Vatican News. 01/14/21:
    "Benedict XVI’s brother, during these Christmas holidays — the first after his death — has made himself felt in some way: we have, in fact, listened several times to CDs, not only to Bach's Christmas Oratorio, but also to concerts with Christmas carols, performed by the Regensburger Domspatzen, the choir that Georg Ratzinger directed.” Archbishop Gänswein added: “For Benedict, this absence is a wound that has caused him pain during these holidays, but he also told me that he felt the Lord's consolation, in the certainty that his brother now lives in His embrace."
  • Pope Francis and Benedict XVI receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine 01/14/21.
  • Pope Benedict’s secretary reflects on awful 2020 with German Magazine 01/01/21:
    Gänswein, who hails from the Black Forest region of Germany, is prefect of the Papal Household, but has been on leave from his duties as prefect since February in order to be able to dedicate his time exclusively to the former pope as Benedict XVI's private secretary.

    Since the election of Pope Francis in 2013, Gänswein had worked in both roles, commuting between two offices – until the stress took its toll. The archbishop suffered from acute hearing loss in 2017 and is now living with a severe case of tinnitus. In late January of last year, Pope Francis informed Gänswein he should devote his time and energy entirely to his role as secretary to Benedict. “For this purpose, he released me from my service in the prefecture. My duties there have been reassigned for an indefinite period”, Gänswein said.

  • Retired Pope Benedict XVI declines inheritance of his late brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger Catholic News Service. 11/02/20.
  • Benedict XVI distances himself from embattled Catholic community Catholic News Agency. 10/25/20:
    he German magazine Herder Korrespondenz reported Oct. 25 that the Pope Emeritus had taken the step regarding the Catholic Integrated Community.

    Referring to the group by its German initials, IG, Benedict told the publication: “Obviously I was not informed about some things in the inner life of the IG, or even deceived, which I regret.”

    He had given the group ecclesiastical recognition during his time as archbishop of Munich and Freising, from 1977 to 1982.

  • Australian professor and French philosopher win Ratzinger Prize Catholic News Agency. 10/02/20:
    Former Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, president of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation, announced Thursday that the 2020 award would be shared by Tracey Rowland and Jean-Luc Marion. ...

    The award recipients were selected by Pope Francis, based upon the recommendations of a committee composed of five members: Cardinal Angelo Amato, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of of Regensburg.

    The Ratzinger Prize was launched in 2011 to recognize scholars whose work demonstrates a meaningful contribution to theology in the spirit of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Bavarian theologian who became Benedict XVI.

  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Becomes Oldest Pope In History 09/04/20:
    At the age of 93 and nearly five months, Benedict XVI officially became the oldest pope in history on Friday, even if the record is complicated by the fact that he stepped down in 2013 and holds the status of "pope emeritus".
  • Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter Marking St. John Paul II’s Birth Centenary National Catholic Register 05/15/20. Editor’s Note: Here is the full text of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s letter marking the centenary of the birth of St. John Paul II. The English translation of this letter, dated May 4, was released May 15 by the Polish bishops’ conference.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI is seen in a file photo praying with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger in his private chapel at the Vatican. The Vatican announced June 18, 2020, that Pope Benedict XVI, who is 93, traveled to Germany to visit his ailing older brother, who is 96. (Credit: CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters.)

Commentary

  • Pope Benedict XVI's prayer for the protection of life in the womb 01/22/10. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated a special prayer vigil at the beginning of Advent for the protection of unborn life. He wanted to stress the need to support women in their pregnancies and to hold up the dignity of every human person.
  • The life, faith, and struggle of Joseph Ratzinger: An interview with Peter Seewald, by Carl E. Olson. 01/13/21. The veteran German journalist discusses his new biography of Benedict XVI, and reflects in detail on Ratzinger’s childhood, personality, education, and role in key Church events.
  • Benedict XVI Warned Us Years Ago of Dangers Ahead, by Joseph Pronechen. National Catholic Register 01/02/21.
  • New cardinal sees clear continuity between Benedict XVI, Francis Crux 11/09/20.
    "Pope Francis wants to bring the Church back to the radicality of the Gospel," Cardinal-elect Augusto Paolo Lojudice said in an interview with Crux, adding that for him, Francis’s "pontificate and his magisterium are the logical consequence of that of Pope Benedict XVI."
  • "Flavors of Home": Benedict XVI's favorite restaurant in Rome Catholic News Agency. 10/03/20:
    To Notari, the quiet and gentle Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was just another patron at the little Austrian restaurant he manages a few steps from the Vatican.

    "There was this regularity of this cardinal, who always arrived with a look of humility, very reserved, and went downstairs with his little bag," he told CNA.

    Notari is the long-time manager of Cantina Tirolese, a restaurant of two floors, which since 1971 has served traditional German and Austrian dishes to its mostly Roman clients — and to a few cardinals. ...

    Notari remembers that Ratzinger liked to order a dish called frittatensuppe, which is a traditional German plate of beef broth with strips of a thinly cooked mixture of egg, flour, and milk similar to a French crêpe.

    "And he drank aranciata," he said with a smile, referring to a popular Italian orange soda usually known by the brand name Fanta.

  • Joseph Ratzinger: Theological Reformer, by George Weigel. First Things 05/06/20:
    As he turned 93 on April 16, Joseph Ratzinger remained one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented men of consequence in recent Catholic history. I doubt the Pope Emeritus minds; he’s probably impervious to calumny, having had it visited upon him for over a half-century. This kindly man may feel a measure of compassion for the small minds that continually tell untruths about him and his theology. But he has better things to do than fret about his detractors: dwarves ineffectually tossing pebbles at a serene giant. ...

  • Continuity in particularity: Cardinal looks at Pope Francis, Benedict XVI, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 09/01/20:
    Between Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI, there is “continuity of magisterium and particularity in pastoral style,” but even more, there is “a living communion of affection,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

    What retired Pope Benedict XVI once described as the importance of “newness and continuity” in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council compared to the past also can be seen in comparing the teaching of the two popes, Parolin wrote in the introduction to “Una Sola Chiesa,” (“Only One Church”).

    The book, released Sept. 1, demonstrates continuity by presenting excerpts of general audiences talks from Pope Benedict and Pope Francis on the themes of church, family, prayer, faith and mercy. ...

Recent / Forthcoming Books By Pope Benedict XVI

On Love: Selected Writings
Ignatius Press (January 21, 2021). 149 pages.
In these homilies, most of which are previously unpublished, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, addresses the theme he has celebrated, pondered, and witnessed by his life more than any other: love. For him, love is the vital nucleus of the Church and to serve Christ is above all a question of love: "Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep" (Jn 21:15–17).

Love is also the quest of every human being on the journey toward eternity. He beautifully states, "Christianity is a movement, a journey; it is not a theory, a sum total of doctrine; Christianity is life, it is a vital impetus that carries us toward true life. . . . Someone who has found love can say: I have found life."

Arranged by the liturgical seasons of the Church year, the homilies predate the author's pontificate. The earliest dates from 1970 while he was still a professor of theology. Thus, this collection traces the way Joseph Ratzinger has been enamored of the love of God throughout his years of serving the Church.

Signs of New Life: Homilies on the Church's Sacraments Signs of New Life: Homilies on the Church's Sacraments
by Joseph Ratzinger.
Ignatius Press; None edition (March 15, 2020). 125 pages.
At life's many crossroads, the Sacraments of the Church continually bring people into contact with the saving work of God: Baptism, Confirmation, Confession, Holy Eucharist, Matrimony Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick. The celebrations of the Church always offer an opportunity to announce the faith and deepen our understanding of it. Signs of New Life gathers a selection of fourteen homilies by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) on each of the Seven Sacraments, as well as an additional two texts on the theme of the Church more broadly. Ratzinger endeavored as a theologian to develop an understanding of the Sacraments in new ways and to make fruitful the participation of others in the celebration of them. Many of his homilies refer to individual Sacraments and connect them with a profound interpretation of Scripture and of the Christ event. The Scriptural passages interpreted in each homily are listed at the start, so that this volume can also be used for Scriptural meditation and spiritual reading. This book is intended to help us grasp more profoundly the essence of the Church and to aid us in celebrating and proclaiming the Sacraments as that which they truly are: signs of the new life in Christ.
Seeking God's Face: Meditations for the Church Year Seeking God's Face: Meditations for the Church Year
by Elio Guerriero.
Cluny Media (February 18, 2020). 154 pages.
"Seek out the Lord and his might; constantly seek his face.” This concise admonition from the Book of Psalms captures the impetus of Seeking God’s Face. In these meditations, Joseph Ratzinger reflects upon the major feasts and the Sundays of the year, inspired by Scripture, the Church Fathers, and the lives of the saints. The seasons of Advent and Christmas receive particular attention, with an address on the mystery of suffering, a sermon on the “Word Made Flesh,” and a consideration of the contribution of St. Francis of Assisi to Christmas celebrations, which join “The Lesson of the Christmas Donkey” by Pope John Paul I in honoring the birth of Jesus Christ, in whom we encounter the very face of God. Originally published in English in 1982, Seeking God’s Face shines with a spirit of joyful wisdom and serves as a source for much fruitful meditation on the central mysteries of the Catholic faith as they are celebrated over the course of the Church calendar.
Western Culture Today and Tomorrow: Addressing the Fundamental Issues Western Culture Today and Tomorrow: Addressing the Fundamental Issues
Ignatius Press (October 15, 2019). 170 pages.
ell known for his important scholarly contributions to dogmatic theology and biblical commentary, Joseph Ratzinger has also been an insightful, shrewd analyst of political modernity and its discontents. This work reveals Ratzinger's keen insight into the fundamental challenges confronting the twenty-first-century West.
Recent / Forthcoming Books About Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI: A Life: Volume Two: Guardian of the Faith, Pope, Pope Emeritus 1965–The Present Benedict XVI: A Life: Volume Two: Guardian of the Faith, Pope, Pope Emeritus 1965–The Present
by Peter Seewald.
Bloomsbury Continuum (October 12, 2021). 400 pages.
Benedict XVI: Volume One offers insight into the young life and rise through the Church's ranks of a man who would become a hero and a lightning rod for Catholics the world over. Based on countless hours of interviews in Rome with Benedict himself, this much-anticipated two-volume biography is the definitive record of the life of Joseph Ratzinger and the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI.

Volume I follows the early life of the future Pope, from his days growing up in Germany and his conscription into the Hitler Youth during World War II to his career as an academic theologian and eventual Archbishop of Munich. Volume II, to be published in 2021, will cover his move to Rome under Pope John Paul II, his ascension to the papacy, and his controversial retirement and news-making statements under his successor, Pope Francis I.

This necessary companion to Benedict's own memoir, Last Testament, is the fullest account to date of the life of a radical Catholic leader who has continued to make news while cloistered in retirement in the Vatican gardens.

Benedict XVI: A Life: Volume One: Youth in Nazi Germany to the Second Vatican Council 1927–1965 Benedict XVI: A Life: Volume One: Youth in Nazi Germany to the Second Vatican Council 1927–1965
by Peter Seewald.
Bloomsbury Continuum (December 15, 2020). 512 pages.
Benedict XVI: Volume One offers insight into the young life and rise through the Church's ranks of a man who would become a hero and a lightning rod for Catholics the world over. Based on countless hours of interviews in Rome with Benedict himself, this much-anticipated two-volume biography is the definitive record of the life of Joseph Ratzinger and the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI.

Volume I follows the early life of the future Pope, from his days growing up in Germany and his conscription into the Hitler Youth during World War II to his career as an academic theologian and eventual Archbishop of Munich. Volume II, to be published in 2021, will cover his move to Rome under Pope John Paul II, his ascension to the papacy, and his controversial retirement and news-making statements under his successor, Pope Francis I.

What Does it Mean to Believe?: Faith in the Thought of Joseph Ratzinger What Does it Mean to Believe?: Faith in the Thought of Joseph Ratzinger
by Fr. Daniel Cardo.
Ignatius Pr (November 6, 2018). 715 pgs.
The testimony and teachings of Joseph Ratzinger on the act of faith are particularly urgent for the Church today. Doctrinal confusion and other signs of crisis experienced by believers find their root in a crisis of faith. Understanding what it means to believe is more than an academic exercise; rather, it is a necessary step for authentic renewal in the Church.

In What Does it Mean to Believe?, Fr. Daniel Cardó outlines the different insights of Joseph Ratzinger on the act of faith—understood as a personal, integral, and ecclesial act. Cardó provides an organic view of the rich contribution made by the Pope Emeritus in his many theological works.

What Does it Mean to Believe? is also an invitation to appreciate the mind and the faith of one of the greatest theologians of our time.

The Experiment of Faith: Pope Benedict XVI on Living the Theological Virtues in a Secular Age The Experiment of Faith: Pope Benedict XVI on Living the Theological Virtues in a Secular Age
by Matthew J. Ramage.
The Catholic University of America Press (March 23, 2020). 304 pages.
Pope Benedict XVI memorably remarked that the Christian faith is a lot like a Gothic cathedral with its stained-glass windows. From the outside, the Church can appear dark, dreary, and worn with age—the crumbling relic of an institution that no longer speaks to men and women living in our modern world. Indeed, for many people today, Christian morality with all of its commandments appears to be a source not of life and joy but instead of suffering and oppression. Even within the Church, many wonder: why should I submit to ancient doctrines and outdated practices that restrict my freedom and impede my happiness?

In this timely and original book, his third exploring the riches of Benedict XVI's vast corpus, theologian Matthew Ramage sets out to meet this challenge with an in-depth study of the emeritus pontiff's wisdom on how to live Christian discipleship in today's increasingly secularized world. Taking as his starting point Benedict's conviction that the truth of Christianity—like the beauty of a cathedral's glorious windows—can be grasped only from the inside, Ramage draws on Benedict's insights to show how all Christians can make the "experiment of faith" by living the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity in daily life. Along the way, he shares his personal reflections on how Benedict's wisdom has helped him to navigate difficulties in embracing the faith and provides a way forward to those struggling to live as disciples in a way that is intellectually serious without remaining merely intellectual. In so doing, he also presents a highly nuanced yet accessible approach to defending the truth of the gospel in a world where life in Jesus Christ tends to be seen as unfulfilling, irrelevant, or just one lifestyle choice among others.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pope Benedict Roundup

Upcoming Published Works by and about Pope Benedict XVI

From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Churchby Benedict XVI (Author), Robert Cardinal Sarah (Author)

Ignatius Press (March 12, 2020). 152 pages.

The Catholic Church faces a major crisis and the turmoil in priestly ministry is at the heart of it. "The priesthood is going through a dark time," write Pope Emeritus Benedict and Cardinal Robert Sarah. “Wounded by the revelation of so many scandals, disconcerted by the constant questioning of their consecrated celibacy, many priests are tempted by the thought of giving up and abandoning everything."

In this book, Pope Emeritus Benedict and Cardinal Robert Sarah give their brother priests and the whole Church a message of hope. They honestly address the spiritual challenges faced by priests today, including struggles of celibacy. They point to deeper conversion to Jesus Christ as the key to faithful and fruitful priestly ministry and church reform.

From the Depths of Our Hearts is an unprecedented work by the Pope Emeritus and a Cardinal serving in the Vatican. As bishops, they write “in a spirit of filial obedience” to Pope Francis, who has said, "I think that celibacy is a gift for the Church... I don’t agree with allowing optional celibacy, no."

Responding to calls for refashioning the priesthood, including proposals from the Amazonian Synod, two wise, spiritually astute pastors explain the biblical and spiritual role of the priesthood, celibacy, and genuine priestly ministry. Drawing on Vatican II, they present priestly celibacy as more than “a mere precept of ecclesiastical law”. They insist that renewal of the Church is bound to a renewed understanding of priestly vocation as sharing in Jesus’ priestly identity as Bridegroom of the Church.

This is a book whose crucial message is for clergy and laity alike.

Witness through Encounter: The Diplomacy of Benedict XVI by Bernard J. O'Connor St. Augustines Press; 1 edition (January 20, 2020). 386 pages.
Appealing to dialogue is often just a safe way of referring to something negative, or at best blandly neutral: the avoidance of conflict, the denial of similarity, not stirring deep-seated disagreement, etc. When Bernard o’Connor says pope Benedict XVI facilitated dialogue, however, he means something quite positive, very much tangible and certainly transformative. In providing an account of the pope’s interactions with various groups of the international community, O’Connor attempts to convey Benedict XVI’s diplomacy as encounter, where even in the sphere of international relations exhortations to “dialogue” are invitations to see more clearly and be moved as much as move.

To dialogue is to embrace, revise perception such that our approaches to the great questions of our day are not simply shared but correct. As O’Connor writes, “Pope Benedict attempts to promote the outlook that a renewed emphasis upon objective, critical and structured philosophical reasoning positions practice, diplomatic and otherwise, to regain its lost foundation and framework. the quest for integrity, if nothing else, should motivate our fidelity to academic pursuit, to intellectual investigation, and to rigorous interdisciplinary inquiry. so influenced, practice will then reject what is arbitrary and be guided by what is time-tested and enduring.”

O’Connor illustrates true dialogue emerging from the encounter, and in turn provides scores of characteristics of this encounter as it unfolds in papal diplomacy. In providing scores of addresses and speeches to various bodies, O’Connor presents pope Benedict XVI as an example of effective diplomacy that treats the meetings on the world stage as engaging in true dialogue. encounter is the true basis of dialogue and one that allows it to open to what is truly a catalyst for change toward cooperation––witness, both personal and collective. As o’Connor shows, “where there is authentic encounter, as meeting in mutual trust, what arises is context for witness.” If authentic even the diplomatic encounter has the means to deepen and transform one’s being.

Witness Through Encounter intends to fulfill multiple needs. the diplomatic approach exemplified herein is singular and worthy of study among political scientists, sociologists, philosophers and diplomats eager to embrace a worldview that is more personal than simply humanistic. this work will also be useful in inter-religious settings. An additional advantage of O’Connor’s presentation of Benedict XVI’s diplomatic approach, his witness through encounter, is that it contains insight valuable to the scholar alongside the resources used.

Joseph Ratzinger and the Healing of Reformation-Era Divisions by Emery de Gaál (Editor) (Author), Matthew Levering (Editor) Publisher: Emmaus Academic (November 1, 2019). 408 pages.
Edited by Emery de Gaál and Matthew Levering, Joseph Ratzinger and the Healing of Reformation-Era Divisions examines Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI's manifold contributions to Catholic-Protestant theological reflection. The collection opens with an introduction comparing Ratzinger's approach to ecumenism to that of Karl Rahner. Rahner argues that the structural uniting of Protestants and Catholics should take place now without worrying about doctrinal differences. In contrast, Ratzinger argues that unity in Christ requires probing the doctrinal differences and seeking a deeper understanding of the reasoning of each side—on the grounds that the truth of the Gospel that each side desires to preserve will ultimately be the basis for the only kind of Christian ecclesial unity worth having, namely, a unity of the basis of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Detailed essays follow, treating a number of loci including papal primacy, ecumenical principles, liturgy, evangelization, Mariology, Christ's birth and the celebration of Christmas, public theology, Christocentrism, Martin Luther, charity, conscience, missiology, justification, the reception of Ratzinger/Benedict in Radical Orthodoxy, and Scripture and Tradition. These essays run the full gamut of Ratzinger/Benedict's major themes and preoccupations.

Ten of the essays are by Catholic scholars, and seven by Protestant scholars. Contributors include many of the world's leading Ratzinger experts, and the volume opens with an essay by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, Director of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute in Regensburg, Germany.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Amid JPII Institute controversy, Benedict XVI meets with recently dismissed professor Catholic News Agency 08/05/19:
    Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI met last week with a recently dismissed professor of moral theology at Rome’s Pontifical John Paul II Institute, amid ongoing controversy regarding recent changes to the Institute.

    Benedict XVI invited Monsignor Livio Melina to meet with him in on August 1, a source close to Melina told CNA.

    The pope emeritus “wanted to receive Prof. Mons. Livio Melina at a private audience. After a long discussion of the recent events at the Pontifical Institute John Paul II, he granted his blessing, expressing his personal solidarity and assuring him of his closeness in prayer.”

    Melina, who was president of the John Paul II Institute from 2006 until 2016, was dismissed from the institute after the recent promulgation of new statutes, or rules of order, for the graduate school, and a decision to eliminate the chair of moral theology which Melina held.

  • Benedict XVI takes short trip outside Vatican, visits towns outside Rome, by Claire Giangravè. Crux 07/27/19:
    ... While it was heartening for people to see Benedict, 92, outside the Vatican walls, the wheelchair that followed him around wherever he went served as a constant remainder of the emeritus pope’s advanced age.

    Archbishop Georg Ganswein, longtime secretary to the retired pontiff, made sure that Benedict was always well hydrated during his evening escapade.

    The pope’s last stop was in Frascati, yet another small town in the Castelli Romani area, where he was welcomed by the local bishop, Raffaello Martinelli, for a private meeting and light supper.

  • "Pope em. Benedict XVI is Surberg's first honorary citizen" Traunsteiner Tagblatt 07/05/19:
    Benedict recently received a delegation from the village on Surberg, near Traunstein, when he was made an honorary citizen. Benedict spent his formative years in the hamlet of Hufschlag, near Trainstein. He regarded it as his hometown.

    The Mayor, Mayor Josef Wimmer, presented him with the honorary citizenship certificate at Mater Ecclesiae. Benedict spent half an hour chatting with him and a small group in his sitting room.

  • Pope Benedict XVI speaks in new interview: ‘There is one pope, he is Francis’, by Gerard O’Connell. America 06/28/19:
    “The adversaries of Bergoglio, often conservatives desperately seeking a word of Benedict that would sound as a criticism of Bergoglio, have unfailingly heard [from Benedict] that ‘There is one pope, he is Francis.’”

    That sentence contains one of only a small number of quotations from the 92-year-old Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI found in a long article in the weekly magazine Corriere della Sera, Italy’s best-selling daily, published on June 28.

    The other significant quotation from Benedict regards church unity, in which he says: “The unity of the church is always in danger, for centuries. It has been throughout its entire history. Wars, internal conflicts, centrifugal pushes, threats of schism. But in the end, the consciousness that the church is and must remain united has always prevailed.

  • “The Pope” brings drama of Benedict and Francis to stage, by Charles Collins. Crux 06/14/19. Anton Lesser as Pope Benedict XVI and Nicholas Woodeson as Cardinal Bergoglio in "The Pope", at the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton, England.

  • Benedict XVI turns 92, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic Herald 04/16/19.

  • How Joseph Ratzinger saw past the Church’s established structures, by Fr. Raymond Souza. 12/13/18.

  • Pope urges continued studies of the writings of Pope Benedict XVI 11/17/18:
    Pope Francis this morning met with members of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation on the occasion of the eighth Ratzinger Prize.

    In his address, he highlighted the need to continue to study the writings of Pope Benedict XVI and appreciate the contributions of women in theology and “Christianly inspired arts”.

    The winners of this year’s prize are: German Catholic theologian Marianne Schlosser, a medieval specialist of Saint Bonaventure and professor of the theology of spirituality in the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Vienna since 2004; and Swiss architect Mario Botta who built many sacred buildings and various churches.

    Addressing an "affectionate and grateful thought to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI", Francis said that "his is a spirit that views the problems of our time with awareness and courage, and knows how to draw, from attention to Scripture in the living tradition of the Church, the wisdom necessary for a constructive dialogue with today’s culture."

    As for the Ratzinger Prize going to a woman, the pontiff noted that "it is very important that the contribution of women to the scientific field of theological research and that of the teaching of theology — for so long considered almost exclusive territories of the clergy — be recognized more and more.

Upcoming Books

The Theology of Benedict XVI: A Protestant Appreciation

There's no doubt about Benedict XVI's theological legacy. He's been at the center of every major theological controversy in the Catholic Church over the last fifty years. But he remains a polarizing figure, misunderstood by supporters and opponents alike.

A deeper understanding of Benedict's theology reveals a man dedicated to the life and faith of the church. In this collection of essays, prominent Protestant theologians examine and commend the work of the Pope Emeritus. Katherine Sonderegger, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Carl Trueman―among others―present a full picture of Benedict's theology, particularly his understanding of the relationship between faith and reason and his pursuit of truth for the church. The global Christian faith can learn from Benedict's insight into the modern church and his desire to safeguard the future of the church by leaning on the wisdom of the ancient church.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: "The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse"

"The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse" - a previously unpublished essay from Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.
On February 21 to 24, at the invitation of Pope Francis, the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences gathered at the Vatican to discuss the current crisis of the faith and of the Church; a crisis experienced throughout the world after shocking revelations of clerical abuse perpetrated against minors.

The extent and gravity of the reported incidents has deeply distressed priests as well as laity, and has caused more than a few to call into question the very Faith of the Church. It was necessary to send out a strong message, and seek out a new beginning, so to make the Church again truly credible as a light among peoples and as a force in service against the powers of destruction.

Since I myself had served in a position of responsibility as shepherd of the Church at the time of the public outbreak of the crisis, and during the run-up to it, I had to ask myself - even though, as emeritus, I am no longer directly responsible - what I could contribute to a new beginning.

Thus, after the meeting of the presidents of the bishops' conferences was announced, I compiled some notes by which I might contribute one or two remarks to assist in this difficult hour.

Having contacted the Secretary of State, Cardinal [Pietro] Parolin and the Holy Father [Pope Francis] himself, it seemed appropriate to publish this text in the Klerusblatt [ a monthly periodical for clergy in mostly Bavarian dioceses].

My work is divided into three parts.

In the first part, I aim to present briefly the wider social context of the question, without which the problem cannot be understood. I try to show that in the 1960s an egregious event occurred, on a scale unprecedented in history. It could be said that in the 20 years from 1960 to 1980, the previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely, and a new normalcy arose that has by now been the subject of laborious attempts at disruption.

In the second part, I aim to point out the effects of this situation on the formation of priests and on the lives of priests.

Finally, in the third part, I would like to develop some perspectives for a proper response on the part of the Church.

Reactions and Commentary

  • Benedict and His Critics, by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller. First Things April 2019:
    At age 92, Benedict XVI is capable of deeper theological reflection than his critics, who lack respect and are ideologically blinded. He is able to get closer to the source of the fire that has set the Church's roof ablaze. The catastrophic fire in Paris, in one of Christendom's most venerable houses of God, also has a symbolic meaning: It makes us appreciate again the work of good firefighters, instead of blaming them for the water damage done in the course of extinguishing the flames. Rebuilding and renewing the whole Church can only succeed in Christ—if we get our bearings by the Church’s teaching on faith and morals.
  • The Ratzinger Diagnosis, by George Weigel. Catholic World Report 04/24/19. "Have any of the progressive critics engaged Ratzinger’s argument? No."
  • Editorial: Benedict XVI’s essay is both insightful and incomplete, by Carl E. Olson. Catholic World Report 04/11/19. "The essay titled “The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse” contains several perennial themes but sidesteps the elephants in the Church."
  • How Benedict’s Essay Supports Francis’ Call For ‘Zero Tolerance’ – Analysis, by Ed Condon. Eurasia Review 04/12/19:
    ... Some prominent bishops have insisted on distinguishing between the sexual abuse of minors and sexual misconduct between adults, arguing that potentially consensual sexual misconduct by clerics should not be accorded the status of a major crime. In light of Benedict’s essay, some are likely to see in that approach the juridic framework that Benedict described as guarantorism ["in which the rights of the accused seemed to be afforded the central concern of the canonical process, often at the expense of victims, restorative justice, and the public good"].
  • Benedict Speaks, by R.R. Reno. First Things 04/10/19:
    ... The tone of the document is his usual one, that of calm and matter-of-fact statements. Overall, it’s more testimony than analysis, testimony from a man who lived through cultural convulsions and theological betrayals. And it’s a faithful man’s testimony of God’s enduring love.
  • Benedict and the Scandal, by Charles J. Chaput. First Things 04/11/19:
    Toward the end of his own 1970 essay, Augusto Del Noce noted that “an enormous cultural revision will be necessary in order to really leave behind the philosophical processes that have found expression in today's sexual revolution.” The bad news is that too many of today’s Catholics seem to lack the will and ability to pursue that task. The good news is that some of our leaders still have the courage to speak the truth.
  • More thoughts on Benedict XVI’s 6000K word essay on The Present Crisis, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. 04/12/19:
    Apart from all the business about pedophilia and crises, etc., Benedict gets down to it, I think, when writes of the loss of Mystery, the Mystery in liturgical worship and the Mystery of the Church. For Ratzinger, and he even from the years I had the privilege to speak often with him, and for me, everything comes from and flows back to our sacred liturgical worship, which must bring us into transforming contact with Mystery, much as Moses left the tent of meeting shining so brightly his face could not be looked at. If we recognize the connect of Cult, Code and Creed, then even reflection on law reveals the Mystery of God, as does more obviously doctrine. Encountered rightly, they transform. However, after lamenting a loss of Mystery, Benedict poignantly turns inside out a phrase of his perennial spiritual guide, Romano Guardini, a phrase which in his earlier writings Ratzinger called a “standard quotation in German Catholicism”. Mind you, just as Christ’s quotes of the prophets were instantly recognized by 1st century Jews, the German clergy, Benedict’s immediate audience will get this. Guardini, writing between the wars and during the rise of the Liturgical Movement wrote positively, “An event of incalculable importance has begun; the Church is awakening in [people’ s] souls.” On the contrary, Benedict herein mourns that a negative event of incalculable importance has begun, namely, “The Church is dying in [people’s] souls.”

    The last 50 years have borne that out and, in fact, the necrotic effects are accelerating, which makes them daily more obvious.

    What could be the take away from this somewhat rambling collection of observations and Ratzingerian tropes? This may be Benedict’s prophetic call to those who are listening. We are seeing the Church experience a Job-like testing. If Christ endured a Passion, the Church must endure a Passion as well. The Passion reveals the radical, unfathomable depths of God’s love. We must learn to recognize this love, and manifest it. We are going to experience painful but purifying down-sizing. We must creatively form places where the Faith and love can “dwell”, habitats of Faith.

  • Benedict's letter about sex abuse crisis is a regrettable text, by Michael Sean Winters. National Catholic Reporter 04/11/19.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Benedict XVI: His Life and Thought, by Elio Guerriero

Benedict XVI: His Life and Thought, by Elio GuerrieroBenedict XVI: His Life and Thought
by Elio Guerriero.
Ignatius Pr (November 6, 2018). 715 pgs.

In these pages Benedict XVI shares his story for the first time since his retirement from the papacy. Joseph Ratzinger is widely recognized as one of the most brilliant theologians and spiritual leaders of our time. Born in Germany in 1929, he lived through Nazism, war, and Communism, like John Paul II, who after his surprising election in 1978, insisted on having Ratzinger at his side for his whole twenty-seven-year pontificate.

When Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005, he took the name Benedict XVI. He opened a path of purification for the Roman Catholic Church at a time when it was shaken by financial and sexual scandals. He has repeatedly said that Europe must return to its Christian roots and build a new humanism for the twenty-first century.

Benedict XVI was misunderstood by many, and in 2013, he astonished the world by resigning from the papacy. Many saw this gesture as a sign of the decline of Catholicism, but it was the opposite: it was a seed sown in the hope of bringing the Church a younger, more vigorous leadership in the face of so many daunting challenges.

Elio Guerriero, who for many years has had an ongoing relationship with the Pope Emeritus, presents a thorough, well-rounded portrait of the brilliant intellectual and humble man of the Church whom many more have come to love and respect since his resignation. This book includes a Foreword by Pope Francis, and contains the first interview of Benedict XVI since the end of his pontificate.

Elio Guerriero, theologian, philosopher, and historian, is the longtime director of Communio, and editorial manager at Jaca Book and Edizioni San Paolo. He edited the Italian edition of the History of the Church directed by A. Jedin. His other books include Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Drama of God, and Saint Giana Molla: Wife, Mother, and Doctor.

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Benedict XVI defends resignation and title ‘pope emeritus’ in private letters Catholic News Agency 09/01/18:
    In newly-surfaced letters from Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus has defended his abdication, and warned that continued anger at his decision risked undermining the papal office. The private correspondence, excerpts from which were carried in a German newspaper, was reportedly addressed to Cardinal Walter Brandmüller.

    According to the letters, Benedict said he understood "the deep-seated pain" the end of his papacy caused the cardinal and others. At the same time, the pope emeritus wrote, he recognized that for some people the pain had “turned into an anger that no longer merely concerns my resignation, but increasingly also my person and my papacy as a whole.”

    [...]

    Addressing the ongoing dissatisfaction some individuals had with both his resignation and his subsequent life as "pope emeritus" - a title not previously used - Benedict cautioned that these sentiments were undermining the effectiveness of the petrine ministry.

    "In this way the pontificate itself is being devalued and conflated with the sadness about the situation of the Church today," he wrote

  • Bond between Benedict, Francis runs through Italy’s ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’, by John Allen, Jr. Crux News 06/07/18:
    As Tantardini ministered to the youth he helped to convert, he realized the vast majority had absolutely no background in religious practice at all, so in 2001 he decided to put together a brief collection of the simplest Christian prayers along with everything somebody needs to know to make a good confession. The result, Chi prega si salva (“Who Prays is Saved”), went on to become the Italian equivalent of Chicken Soup for the Soul – one of the most popular brief spiritual books ever published, though in Tantardini’s case arguably with greater substance.

    One admirer of Tantardini and his book was Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who wrote a preface for a new edition of Chi prega si salva in early 2005, shortly before his election to the papacy. Benedict is actually a big fan of the ciellini, as members of Communion and Liberation are known – he celebrated Giussani’s funeral Mass, and members of a related group of consecrated lay women, Memores Domini, nicknamed the German pontiff’s “guardian angels,” still run his household.

    Another big admirer of Tantardini is Pope Francis, who considered him a close friend in Rome when the future pope was the archbishop and cardinal of Buenos Aires. For his part, Tantardini told friends he was carrying Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina “in his heart” as his candidate for pope in 2005. When Tantardini was ailing before he died in 2012, Bergoglio performed a confirmation Mass as a favor and urged everyone to pray for his good friend.

  • Analysis: Benedict XVI’s unpublished letter- God is key to understanding human rights, by Andrea Gagliarducci. Catholic News Agency (05/14/18).

  • Even as pope, my teacher Joseph Ratzinger always wrote back, Elisabeth Haggblade shares fond memories of corresponding with the Pope Emeritus in America Magazine, 06/11/18. "He never left a note I sent unanswered."

  • Pope praises retired Pope Benedict's writings on faith and politics, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service (05/07/18):
    "Liberating Freedom: Faith and Politics in the Third Millennium" is a collection of essays written over the course of several decades, including during Pope Benedict's eight years as pope. It is scheduled to be published in Italian by Cantagalli in May 11. The website Vatican Insider posted Pope Francis' preface May 6 and Vatican News posted an English translation the next day.

    Pope Francis said that when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger worked alongside St. John Paul II, "he elaborated and proposed a Christian vision of human rights capable of questioning on a theoretical and practical level the totalitarian claim of the Marxist state and the atheist ideology on which it was based."

    Pope Francis said the contrast Ratzinger saw between Christianity and Marxism or communism definitely was not the focus on the poor and the need to fight inequality.

    "We must learn — once again, not only at the theoretical level, but in the way we think and act — that alongside the real presence of Jesus in the church and in the sacrament, there exists that other real presence of Jesus in the little ones, in the trampled of this world, in the last, in whom he wants us to find him," Pope Francis quoted the cardinal as writing.

  • And last but not least (even though it's from last year), New ‘Pint-ifex’ beer honours Benedict XVI (11/1/17):
    An Ohio brewery has produced a specially-commissioned beer in honour of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The Bavarian-style hefeweizen, called Beer-nedict XVI: Pint-ifex Maximus, was launched at the conference of the Society for Catholic Social Scientists in Steubenville

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Vatican doctors photo of Benedict's praise for Francis, by Nicole Winfield. 3/13/18:
    The Vatican admitted Wednesday that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards.

    The Vatican's communications office released the photo of the letter on Monday on the eve of Francis' five-year anniversary. The letter was cited by Monsignor Dario Vigano, chief of communications, to rebut critics of Francis who question his theological and philosophical heft and say he represents a rupture from Benedict's doctrine-minded papacy.

    • The real story behind Pope Benedict’s strange letter, by Phil Lawler. LifeSiteNews.com. 03/14/18:
      First, Msgr. Dario Vigano sent the former Pope a set of new books on the theology of Pope Francis, asking for a favorable comment. That was in January.

      The former Pope declined to comment on the books. In fact he declined to read them, explaining that he was too busy. That was in February.

      But a month later, the Vatican press office made public the letter from Benedict, leading reporters to believe that Benedict had essentially endorsed the theological approach of Pope Francis, just in time for the 5th anniversary of his pontificate. ...

    • Vatican Reveals Full Text of Benedict XVI’s Letter to Msgr. Viganò National Catholic Register:
      Benedictus XVI

      Pope Emeritus

      Most Reverend Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò

      Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications

      Vatican City

      February 7, 2018

      Most Reverend Monsignor,

      Thank you for your kind letter of 12 January and the attached gift of the eleven small volumes edited by Roberto Repole.

      I applaud this initiative that wants to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice in which Pope Francis is just a practical man without particular theological or philosophical formation, while I have been only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today.

      The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences of style and temperament.

      However, I don’t feel like writing a short and dense theological passage on them because throughout my life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books I had read really well. Unfortunately, if only for physical reasons, I am unable to read the eleven volumes in the near future, especially as other commitments await me that I have already made.

      Only as an aside, I would like to note my surprise at the fact that among the authors is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate had distinguished himself by leading anti-papal initiatives. He played a major part in the release of the “Kölner Erklärung”, which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis splendour”, virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on questions of moral theology. Also the “Europaische Theologengesellschaft”, which he founded, was initially conceived by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Later, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians prevented this orientation, allowing that organization to become a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.

      I am sure you will understand my refusal and I offer you cordial greetings.

      Yours,
      Benedict XVI

  • Shirtless statue of Pope Benedict causes art sensation in Rome Crux 02/21/18:
    ... the technically remarkable sculpture has been the object of both criticism and praise, with some viewing it as desecrating the image of the emeritus pontiff while others judge it as an honest portrayal. For Jago, the work of art was never meant to be “derisive,” but rather a celebration of Benedict XVI, whom he considers to be a model for what every pope should be. "I consider this man to be the greatest theologian alive," he told Crux in a phone interview.

  • Simple advice from Benedict XVI on how to be a better mom or dad, by Kathleen N. Hattrup. Aleteia 10/31/17. An exhortation from a homily of Pope Benedict XVI at the 2012 World Meeting of Families. It’s worth reading a second time.

  • Pope Francis Makes Christmas Visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 12/27/17. Pope Francis visited Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Thursday afternoon to personally give his Christmas greetings to the Pontiff Emeritus at his residence.

  • Benedict XVI hails Cardinal Müller for defending ‘the clear traditions of the faith’ Catholic Herald 12/28/17:
    Marking the 70th birthday of German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, retired pope Benedict XVI has said that, even though the cardinal is no longer prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he will continue to have a public role of serving the Church.

    The retired pope wrote the introduction to a book of essays honouring Cardinal Müller on his 70th birthday on December 31 and in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of his priestly ordination in February.

  • Resigned pope creates ‘multiplied and divided’ authority, author says, by Claire Giangrave. Crux News, 10/16/17. "While many Catholics have easily adjusted to the dual existence of Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, undeniably another portion cannot help but compare the two papacies, or even express a preference for one style over the other."

  • Benedict XVI is weak but still following concerns of Church, says bishop Aleteia 10/03/17. A Coptic Catholic bishop of Egypt says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is now very weak at age 90, but still "aware of everything."

  • "On a word with Benedetto" FOCUS Magazine. 06/25/17. "Quiet and almost invisible, Benedict XVI spends his days in the gardens of the Vatican. FOCUS correspondent Eva Kallinger could speak with the pontiff off duty. Not about God - more about the world. About Mozart, green parrots and Beirut. And she learned that even a pope has homesickness." [Translated from German].

  • Pope Benedict’s Great Restoration, by Michael Brendan Dougherty. National Review 07/07/17. "Ten years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI issued a document that vindicated the arguments that Catholics like Buckley and me had repeated in safe company for years: that the Latin Mass that was common to almost all of Western Catholicism for centuries was never abrogated."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today

Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today by Joseph Ratzinger. Introduction by Gerhard Cardinal Müller. Forward by Pope Francis.

Ignatius Press (August 1, 2017). 392 pgs.

This inspiring collection of homilies delivered by Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) over six decades offers deep theological and historical insights on the meaning of the life and the witness of a Catholic priest.

When Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the Year for Priests in 2009, he did so in conjunction with celebrating the 150th anniversary of the death of John Vianney, the patron saint of all parish priests. Benedict's purpose for that special year is the same purpose of this book of homilies -- to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world. As St. John Vianney would often say, "The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus." This touching expression makes us reflect on the immense gift that priests represent, not only for the Church but for all mankind.

Contemporary men and women need priests to be distinguished by their determined witness to Christ. These homilies are meant to illuminate and to inspire priests to renew their commitment to "teaching and learning the love of God". The homilies cover a wide variety of important topics on the priesthood, all deeply rooted in Scripture, including acting in persona Christi, becoming an offering with Christ for the salvation of mankind, being there for God's mercy, and witnessing Christian joy.

"Every time I read the works of Joseph Ratzinger, it becomes clear to me that he pursued theology 'on his knees' and still does: on his knees, because we see that he is not only a preeminent theologian and master of the faith, but a man who really believes, really prays. We see that he is a man who embodies holiness, a man of peace, a man of God. And so he embodies in an exemplary way the essence of all priestly work: that deep rootedness in God."

--Pope Francis, from the Foreword

"In this volume, Joseph Ratzinger shows a path that leads out of the crisis into which the Catholic priesthood had fallen for lack of suitable theological and sociological rudiments and motivations. A rewarding reference work, not only for the scholarly theological definition of the sacrament of Holy Orders, but also for more in-depth, spiritual reflection on the vocation to the priesthood, for spiritual exercises for priests, and for preaching about the 'ministry of a new covenant', the 'ministry of the Spirit and of life' (cf. 2 Cor 3:6–8)."

--Gerhard Cardinal Müller, from the Introduction

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI to wish him a happy birthday Catholic News Agency. 04/15/17:
    On April 12 Pope Francis visited his predecessor Pope emeritus Benedict XVI at Vatican City’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery to honor two joyous occasions: the occurrence of Benedict XVI’s 90th birthday and the celebration of Easter which this year fall on the same day, April 16.
  • As Benedict turns 90, a rare glimpse into his joy-filled life, by Elise Harris and Martin Rothweiler. Catholic News Agency. 04/16/17. In a lengthy interview with EWTN's German television branch, Benedict XVI's closest aide describes how the retired pontiff is doing as he turns the milestone age of 90, giving a rare look into what life is like for the Pope Emeritus.

  • Scholars offer Pope Benedict birthday tribute, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service 04/14/17:
    Cards and letters have been pouring in, the German archbishop added, and certainly there will be some presents, including a “Festschrift” — a collection of essays celebrating the work of a well-known scholar on an important occasion — in this case Pope Benedict and his 90th birthday. …

    This year, the Vatican publishing house and the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation pieced together a “Festschrift” titled after the pope’s episcopal motto, “Cooperatores Veritatis” (Co-workers of the truth).

    It was written by all 13 winners to date of the “Ratzinger Prize,” an award to distinguished scholars in theology or related studies. They are an Anglican Biblicist, an Ambrosian priest, a French philosopher, a Polish theologian, a U.S. Jesuit, a Brazilian Jesuit, a Spanish theologian, a Cistercian abbot in Austria, a Lebanese scholar, a Greek Orthodox theologian, a French theologian, a German theologian and an Italian historian.

  • The Ratzinger revolution, by Tracey Rowland. Catholic Herald 04/13/17. "… This is just a short account of the many elements of an embattled Catholic culture that can be found in the mountains of publications by Ratzinger."

  • New book shows interest in Pope Benedict XVI is here to stay, by Claire Giangrave. 04/17/17:
    Interest in the retired pope shows no sign of slowing down as his essential contributions to the Church and theology continue to be relevant today.

    Three new biographies on the German pontiff have been published in Italy this week alone. Three collections of essays by the pope emeritus are also in the works. Italy’s public television, Rai, will air two one-hour documentaries on Benedict celebrating his life.

    Enthusiasm over the figure of Benedict XVI is not limited to Italy. All over the world symposiums, meetings and events take place focusing on the pope’s legacy. …

  • In Rome, a new generation of Benedict XVI scholars is on the rise, by Andrea Gagliarducci. Crux 03/02/17. "The theological legacy of Benedict XVI continues, four years after his pontificate came to an end."

  • Aide says Benedict in perfect ‘mental and spiritual’ health, by Ines San Martin. 02/11/17.

Commentary

  • Benedict XVI’s new text about Sacred Liturgy – The Russian Preface, by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. Fr. Z's Blog 04/17/17.

  • A Child of Holy Saturday: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Turns 90, by Matthew Bunson. National Catholic Register 04/15/17:
    Understandably, a great deal of focus has been paid over the years to the reflections, homilies and writings of Pope Benedict on Easter. But not only is there something deeply personal about Holy Saturday for Joseph Ratzinger the man, that day — when Our Lord was behind the massive stone at the entrance of the tomb, in utter darkness, his broken body stretched upon cold and unforgiving rock — brings essential hope to the Christian confronting the challenges of the modern age. That is a truth that Joseph Ratzinger has spent decades trying to impart.

  • Father Benedict XVI is a Friend of Jesus Christ, by Fr. Maurice Ashley Agbaw-Ebai. Crisis 04/17/17:
    As Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger developed this theme of friendship with Jesus Christ especially in his homilies at priestly ordinations in which he presided as Bishop of Rome. To be a friend of Jesus Christ invites one into a greater intimacy of knowledge and communion, for friendship demands intimacy and knowledge. Father Benedict’s new ministry of prayer on behalf of the whole Church certainly mirrors to us his fondness and intimacy with Jesus of Nazareth, the love of Benedict’s life.
  • Homage to Benedict XVI, Misunderstood Prophet of Our Times, by Andrea Gagliaducci. MondayVatican.04/17/17:
    Since Benedict ascended the mountain to live out the time of his prayerful intercession on behalf of the Church, the bitterness he felt during his pontificate when he spoke of the Second Vatican Council has been forgotten. Nevertheless, he felt the need to clarify that period of Church history since the beginning of the pontificate. In his first Christmas speech to Roman Curia back in 2005, he stressed that the Council have to interpreted through the lenses of continuity. That is: the Council was not a destructive spring, but a spring called to harvest new fruits. It was a renewal within continuity, not a genetically modified organism of faith, just as every year nature is renewed in spring. At the end of the pontificate during his last meeting with the clergy of Rome, he wanted to return to the notion once more, as if that was the thread of the whole pontificate. He said that there was a media Council and a real Council. And he noted that the media Council overtook the real Council. …
  • Benedict XVI at 90: Why his theology still matters, by Fr. Robert Imbelli. "Father Robert Imbelli takes a closer look at the thought of Joseph Ratzinger, and how for him the central fact of the Resurrection is Jesus Christ does not rise a disembodied soul, but bodily. Body not self-contained, but totally relational, totally gift, really present in Eucharist, poured out to embrace a humanity called to transfiguration."

  • Ratzinger on the Dialogue of Religions, by Eduardo J. Echevvaria. The Catholic Thing 04/06/17:
    My of us have been eager to forget the video where Pope Francis urges a dialogue among the religions present – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist. That video leaves the impression of a leveling out of the fundamental differences between these religions, suggesting a muting of the primary call to evangelize and proclaim the Gospel. Still, I think we can honor the pope’s motives here for dialogue, namely, encouraging the “maintaining of good fellowship among the nations.” (1 Pet 2:12) And, if possible, “as far as depends on one, to live at peace with all men.” (Rom 12:18)

    Joseph Ratzinger takes a very different stance regarding the question: “What, in concrete terms, is Christianity’s position in the dialogue of religions?”

  • Gospel and Law according to Ratzinger, by Eduardo J. Echeverria. The Catholic Thing 03/21/17.

  • How Pope Benedict XVI dealt with disagreement, by Dr. Edward Feser. 12/22/16:
    … This willingness to allow for diverse opinions wherever that is consistent with orthodoxy, and as far as possible to engage those who are critical of papal policy and teaching non-polemically and at the level of rational argumentation rather than by authoritative diktat, plausibly stem from Benedict’s high regard for reason.
  • James Carroll’s Ratzinger, by Paul Baumann. Commonweal 11/29/16.
    "As a gifted writer himself—and a theologically literate one—Carroll might be expected to appreciate Ratzinger’s gifts as a theological writer of uncommon power and lucidity. Yet that aspect of Ratzinger’s “moral perception” is ignored. Rather, what is most striking about Carroll’s depiction of Ratzinger and the church is how it is pitched to satisfy every prejudice his largely liberal, secular New Yorker readership presumably has about Catholicism. … For Carroll and his audience, the institutional church is simply an authoritarian bogeyman, an enduring source of anti-Semitism, a corrupt patriarchy, an anachronism. Except for Pope Francis, of course.
  • Benedict’s ‘Last Conversations’: Reshaping the Ratzinger Legacy?, by Massimo Fagioli. dotCommonweal 09/14/16:
    A trio of sympathetic books published since May hint at the effort to shape the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI. While the portrayal emerging may appeal neither to those who’d hoped for the pope emeritus to reclaim traditionalism nor to those seeking a fuller embrace of the current pope, it might yet help consolidate support behind Francis while isolating the worst of the para-schismatic fringes.