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Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger

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This book is the only existing biography of Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in southern Bavaria. Comprehensive in scope and intimate in content, it provides a vivid blow-by-blow of the controversies that have wracked the Catholic Church during the past twenty years: Liberation theology, birth control, women's ordination, inclusive langu This book is the only existing biography of Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in southern Bavaria. Comprehensive in scope and intimate in content, it provides a vivid blow-by-blow of the controversies that have wracked the Catholic Church during the past twenty years: Liberation theology, birth control, women's ordination, inclusive language, "radical feminism," homosexuality, religious pluralism, human rights in the church, and the roles of bishops and theologians. <br/><br/>One man has stood at the dead center of all these controversial issues: Joseph Ratzinger. A teenage American POW as the Third Reich crumbled and a progressive wunderkind at the Second Vatican Council, Ratzinger, for twenty years, has been head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (until 1908 known as the Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, or Holy Office). The book goes a long way toward explaining the central enigma surrounding Ratzinger: How did this erstwhile liberal end up as the chief architect of the third great wave of repression in Catholic theology in the twentieth century? <br/><br/>Based on extensive interviews with Ratzinger's students and colleagues, as well as research in archives in both Bavaria and the United States, Allen's account shows that Ratzinger's deep suspicion of "the world," his preoccupation with human sinfulness, and his demand for rock-solid loyalty to the church run deep. They reach into his childhood "in the shadow of the Nazis" and reflect his formative theological influences: Augustine, Bonaventure, and Martin Luther rather than the world-affirming Thomas Aquinas. In his words, Ratzinger affirms that "What the church needs today as always are not adulators to extol the status quo, but men whose humility and obedience are not less than their passion for the truth; . . .men who love the church more than the ease and the unruffled course of their personal destiny."-Joseph Ratzinger (1962)>


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This book is the only existing biography of Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in southern Bavaria. Comprehensive in scope and intimate in content, it provides a vivid blow-by-blow of the controversies that have wracked the Catholic Church during the past twenty years: Liberation theology, birth control, women's ordination, inclusive langu This book is the only existing biography of Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in southern Bavaria. Comprehensive in scope and intimate in content, it provides a vivid blow-by-blow of the controversies that have wracked the Catholic Church during the past twenty years: Liberation theology, birth control, women's ordination, inclusive language, "radical feminism," homosexuality, religious pluralism, human rights in the church, and the roles of bishops and theologians. <br/><br/>One man has stood at the dead center of all these controversial issues: Joseph Ratzinger. A teenage American POW as the Third Reich crumbled and a progressive wunderkind at the Second Vatican Council, Ratzinger, for twenty years, has been head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (until 1908 known as the Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, or Holy Office). The book goes a long way toward explaining the central enigma surrounding Ratzinger: How did this erstwhile liberal end up as the chief architect of the third great wave of repression in Catholic theology in the twentieth century? <br/><br/>Based on extensive interviews with Ratzinger's students and colleagues, as well as research in archives in both Bavaria and the United States, Allen's account shows that Ratzinger's deep suspicion of "the world," his preoccupation with human sinfulness, and his demand for rock-solid loyalty to the church run deep. They reach into his childhood "in the shadow of the Nazis" and reflect his formative theological influences: Augustine, Bonaventure, and Martin Luther rather than the world-affirming Thomas Aquinas. In his words, Ratzinger affirms that "What the church needs today as always are not adulators to extol the status quo, but men whose humility and obedience are not less than their passion for the truth; . . .men who love the church more than the ease and the unruffled course of their personal destiny."-Joseph Ratzinger (1962)>

30 review for Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger

  1. 5 out of 5

    Monica Aho

    A quick, easy read that gives the basics in understanding Pope Benedict, which I read in honor of his U.S. visit

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    During the funeral of John Paul II, one voice on CNN came through clearly. John Allen quietly gave commentary and corrected misconceptions of the funeral liturgy and Catholic teaching. John Allen is best known for his years as a reporter with the National Catholic Reporter. In his 2001 biography of Pope Benedict XVI, Allen gives us a glimpse of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who was one of Pope John Paul II's most influential advisors. But who is this man? Allen presents a portrait of a man that conse During the funeral of John Paul II, one voice on CNN came through clearly. John Allen quietly gave commentary and corrected misconceptions of the funeral liturgy and Catholic teaching. John Allen is best known for his years as a reporter with the National Catholic Reporter. In his 2001 biography of Pope Benedict XVI, Allen gives us a glimpse of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who was one of Pope John Paul II's most influential advisors. But who is this man? Allen presents a portrait of a man that conservative Catholics embrace as their champion. Ratzinger raises the ire of liberal Catholics around the world. But who is this man? Until his election to the Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The purpose of this office is present the Catholic faith to its own Church. It is not to explain it to those outside the Catholic Church. That is for others to do. The prefect is to call Catholics to be faithful. But who is this man? John Allen turns to Benedict's own writings and reflections, the documentary evidence, and develops a balanced portrait. In Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith, Allen examines his relationships with radical student movements, his colleagues, and the extreme theological movements on the right and left. Allen presents the issue clearly: "Reaction to Ratzinger is often uncritical, driven more by emotion and instinct than sober reflection. Progressives do not read his books, they disregard his public statements, and they assume every position he takes is based on power politics. Conservatives revere most of what he says as holy writ, often spouting mindlessly without penetrating to the principle or value he seeks at stake. Neither response takes Ratzinger seriously." Obviously that time is long past.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    Allen is CNN's Vatican analyst and the senior Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, a far left outfit (pro-gay ordination and marriage, pro-birth control, no loyalty oaths for Catholic clergy and teachers, clergy marriage, etc.). Allen starts off gracious and even-handed. But once past the pleasantries, he constructs a relentlessly negative attack on Ratzinger. Everything is painted very black and white, with Ratzinger playing the role of Darth Vader. Interestingly, Allen him Allen is CNN's Vatican analyst and the senior Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, a far left outfit (pro-gay ordination and marriage, pro-birth control, no loyalty oaths for Catholic clergy and teachers, clergy marriage, etc.). Allen starts off gracious and even-handed. But once past the pleasantries, he constructs a relentlessly negative attack on Ratzinger. Everything is painted very black and white, with Ratzinger playing the role of Darth Vader. Interestingly, Allen himself publicly repented of his unjust approach shortly after the book appeared, but the publisher would not allow him to make revisions or write a new preface (that costs money, and might not as neatly correspond to Continuum's view of the Universe, where people like Ratzinger suffocate puppies and cut down trees and hate women). So Allen is writing a new bio., which is b supposed to be just as liberal, but a lot fairer to Ratzinger. There are a few challenges to pinning down Ratzinger's precise views. For the last twenty-plus years Ratzinger has spoken as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he the coordinator of a large working group.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robert Christian

    Allen is great, but this is not as balanced as it should be. Not his best.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kensy Joseph sj

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roger Buck

  8. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Scholl

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joe Keough

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ash

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  12. 4 out of 5

    Liam

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melody

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael Freeley

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alessandra

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Posner

  18. 4 out of 5

    brian clark

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Faithful

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jack Doherty

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Blosser

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sister Janet

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emil Anton

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Soto

  26. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ancient Weaver

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rosina

  29. 4 out of 5

    Billy McCoy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Duddy

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