Friday, April 24, 2015

Ten Years Ago Today

In honor of all the tenth anniversaries in connection with Pope St. John Paul II and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, I am reading this collection of essential works by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict. Note the irony of the last paragraph of the publisher's description:

On April 24, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, the twenty-first-century successor of the Apostle Peter and the spiritual leader of more than one billion Roman Catholics. Who is this complex man whose office grants him sole charge of the world's largest religion? How will his tenure influence the future? The Essential Pope Benedict XVI answers these questions through carefully chosen selections from his homilies, interviews, theological essays, and articles on the crises facing the church today. This collection lays out Benedict's thinking and relates it to a variety of contemporary issues, including modern culture's abandonment of traditional religious values, social mores regarding conception and the sanctity of life, current challenges to the priesthood, and the Catholic Church's tenuous relations with other world religions.

First a brilliant peritus, or "expert advisor," to the Second Vatican Council and then archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger was appointed head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II in 1981. As Cardinal Ratzinger, the ex officio defender of church doctrine, he gained a reputation as a heroic guardian of the faith for conservatives and was held in suspicion by church liberals.

We cannot yet know what issues and events will define the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, but by any measure he will be seen as one of the most important theological voices of our time. This one volume is the best source for understanding the heart, soul, and agenda of this twenty-first-century successor to St. Peter.

Of course it will be years before historians evaluate the "issues and events" that "will define the reign of Pope Benedict XVI", but surely the restoration of the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Liturgy of the Roman Rite, continued healing and justice from the horrors of sexual abuse (he should get create for that!), and the establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate will be part of the story.

HarperCollins has provided this sampler from the book.

As we observe this great anniversary, news from Rome is that a library is being established in Pope Benedict's honor:

The Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Roman Library, dedicated entirely to the life and thought of Ratzinger as scholar and Pope, was officially announced. The study center is located within the Library of the Teutonic College and of the Roman Institute of the Gorres Society.

The announcement was made yesterday by Monsignor Stefan Heid, Director of the Roman Institute, during the presentation of the volume Benedict XVI, Servant of God and of Men, published in Italian by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana and in German by Schnell & Steiner Publishers, for the 10th anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger’s election as Pontiff on April 19, 2005.

Attending the event, which took place in the afternoon of April 20 in the church of the Teutonic Cemetery in the Vatican, were, among others, the brother of the Pope Emeritus, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, Cardinals Bertone, Farina, Koch and Muller, and Archbishops Farhat, Ganswein, Marra and Pozzo.

The Library, named after the Pope Emeritus, will open next September and will have, to begin with, some one thousand volumes in different languages and will be characterized as an open place to all those interested in the publications of and on Joseph Ratzinger, to know his life and to reflect on his Theology. Benedict XVI himself donated many of the volumes. Others, instead, were given by the Vatican Foundation that bears his name and that supported the initiative.

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