Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium: An Interview With Peter Seewald
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, well-known Vatican prelate and head of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith, gives a full-length interview to a secular journalist on a host of controversial and difficult issues facing Catholicism and Christianity at the end of the millennium. Similar to his best-selling book interview in 1985, The Ratzinger Report, he responds with candor and insight, giving answers that are often surprising and always thought-provoking on a series of wide-ranging topics regarding the present and future state of Christianity.
Ratzinger begins by discussing his own life, including his family life, being a theology professor and writer, becoming a Bishop, Cardinal and the Pope's top authority on doctrine. He then discusses the problems of the Catholic Church today and talks about the challenges and hopes of the future of Church and the world at the beginning of the Third Millennium.
Insights into the new pope's direction
By FrKurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" - April 20, 2005
For those who want a keen insight into the life and formation of the new pope, Benedict XVI, most recently known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, this book is a must read. Most of the text is done as an interview with Peter Seewald, a German journalist, who does a question-and-answer format, but not in a choppy form. The answers are extended reflections, giving ample space to discussion of real, substantive issues of the church and the world.
The first section of the book concentrates on Ratzinger himself; the interview is nearly ten years old now, but the insights are still apropos to the man who is now the pope. Ratzinger did not look at the questions beforehand, and his responses, while not quite off-the-cuff, still have a spontaneity to them that is perhaps at odds with the more conservative image Ratzinger has come to bear. He is a conservative, to be sure, but in these pages along with other books, one may find a bit more compassion and humour than one might... read more
Striking Insights from a Modern Catholic Prophet
By Oswald Sobrino - December 17, 2003
Cardinal Ratzinger is cut from a different cloth than those mediocre prelates who are always eager to accommodate the mistakes of modern Western societies. This book is well worth reading because Ratzinger obviously places proclaiming the truth above his personal popularity. In my opinion, his most striking words have to do with the proper role of the bishop: to keep challenging Christians and others, to, as Augustine said, keep them from falling asleep. Ratzinger finds repulsive the mentality of "don't rock the boat" that seems to permeate too many dioceses. When church historians look back to the latter part of the 20th century, they will rightly note the pivotal role of Ratzinger in preserving the deposit of faith when so many high-ranking clerics and prominent theologians were so eager to compromise that same deposit of faith.
Gentle German Shepherd
By Mark Blackburn - November 5, 2005
A bumper sticker spotted this week on a mini-van emerging from a parking lot of a Catholic Church:
"I love my German Shepherd!" (beneath it, two words: "Benedict Sixteen.")
I wanted to second that emotion! And it's because of this interview, from ten years ago, which reminds me on its every delightful page, of my all-time favorite such book, from 17 centuries ago (correct) --- one of the treasures of the Eastern Church tradition.
Back in the fourth century a simple monk named John Cassian went to visit the so-called "Desert Fathers" - many of them saints, who performed miracles of spiritual understanding in the presence of Cassian and his friend Germanus. Cassian's young friend was positively hostile in his questioning of these saintly men. But his often rude and gratingly persistent questions elicited the most amazing replies!
Cassian's resulting book "The Conferences" was strong meat devoured by the first "Saint... read more