Why was Joseph Ratzinger chosen as the 264th successor to St. Peter?
Dec 18, 2008
78, Ratzinger was far and away the most well known, the most respected and in some circles the most feared cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Ratzinger was an insider. He is a man of keen intellect and an extremely influential theologian. Aside from the fact that he really did not want the job it appeared very unlikely that the College of Cardinals would turn to Ratzinger as the successor to John Paul II. Conventional wisdom seemed to suggest that a "compromise" candidate would likely emerge from the conclave. In "The Rise of Benedict XVI" long time Vatican observer John Allen Jr., a highly respected correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, examines the reasons why Ratzinger would ultimately become the overwhelming choice of the 115 voting members of the college of Cardinals. Allen contends that the most obvious reason was that Ratzinger was simply the best man for the job. Aside from his obvious qualifications as a prominent theologian, Ratzinger had been a top official at the Roman Curia for nearly a quarter century. Among the handful of Cardinals who would ultimately be considered, Ratzinger alone possessed the gravitas to be an important player on the world stage. Additionally, his impressive performance at the funeral of his predecessor would only serve to enhance his stature among those who were witnessing that historic event. It would take just four ballots for his colleagues to come to a decision. Joseph Ratzinger would become the next pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. In the pages of "The Rise of Benedict XVI" John Allen discusses at length what Catholics might expect from the forthcoming papacy. As someone whose full-time beat is the Vatican, Allen is in a rather unique position to make such assessments. Clearly, one of Pope Benedict's priorities will be to stem the tide of relativism in Europe. I found it quite interesting that in his writings the new Pope has often considered the very real possibility that the Roman Catholic Church might actually have to contract for a period of time in order to remain faithful to its teachings. He appears to be a man who is quite capable of taking bold steps when such actions are called for. In addition, Pope Benedict is expected to pay close attention to the needs of the millions and millions of faithful Catholics in the southern hemisphere. It is in precisely in this portion of the world that the Catholic Church is thriving. Many observers were even calling for the election of a pope from South America or perhaps even from Africa. While that did not happen this time around expect that these regions will exert considerably more influence in Rome than they have in the past. The new pope is also expected to address any number of other important issues including curial reform as well as the sexual abuse crisis in the United States. Serious and continuing dialogue with the leaders of other religions also appears to be a top priority for the new pope. "The Rise of Benedict XVI" is essential reading for any Catholic interested in learning more about our Holy Father. Newspaper accounts are simply not enough. John Allen is clearly optimistic that Joseph Ratzinger will turn out to be the right man for the job. There is so much at stake here. After reading this book I am much more comfortable with his selection. See if you agree. Highly recommended!
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.