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Benedict XVI: The Man Who Was Ratzinger

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Michael S. Rose

In 40 years as a theologian, Joseph Ratzinger laid down a paper trail long enough for a Supreme Court's worth of judicial nominees. There is much, then, from which to prognosticate about what, as Pope Benedict XVI, he will do. Rose bases his forecasting … see full wiki

Author: Michael S. Rose
Publisher: Spence Publishing Company
1 review about Benedict XVI: The Man Who Was Ratzinger

Right into the thick of it

  • Feb 22, 2006
Many of the books that have shown up since the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as supreme pontiff have followed a predictable formula: recount the last weeks of John Paul II's life; provide a quick biography of the late pope; describe the process for electing a new pope, followed by the actual events of the funeral and conclave; provide a quick biography of the *new* pope; and then finish up with a summary of "the challenges facing the new leader of the world's largest church." I think I've read at least a half-dozen books that follow precisely that formula.

Fortunately, Michael S. Rose has skipped all that introductory material and has dived right into the controversy. I admit to not having read his other work, but I have checked out The New Oxford Review, the website of which he edits, from time to time, and have always come away thinking I needed to spend more time in those pages. Here, he's done an excellent job as a partisan for Pope Benedict XVI and the Church's traditional teachings on doctrinal matters. And "partisan" it clearly is. The Pope's many American critics are not going to find a warm, loving embrace within these pages. But readers sympathetic to him and what he is trying to achieve will certainly appreciate Rose's energetic defense of the man.

The best way to summarize Benedict's approach to the many controversies he has to deal with might be to quote these lines from a 1999 "notification" reproduced on page 102: "[T]he promotion of errors and ambiguities is not consistent with a Christian attitude of true respect and compassion: Persons who are struggling with homosexuality, no less than any others, have the right to receive the authentic teaching of the Church from those who minister to them." Rose does a very thorough job of showing how "the man who was Ratzinger" did as cardinal, and no doubt will as Pope, apply that standard on issues from homosexuality, to the remnants of "liberation theology," to inter-faith dialogue, and much more. With the theological and religious Left still hanging on to power and influence in the American church, I think Catholics (and outsiders) of a more traditional bent will not only enjoy, but learn and even draw strength from, Rose's uncompromising approach and vigorous style. This book won't be to every readers' taste, but some readers, I think, will find it exactly the bracing, inspiring read they're looking for.

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