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Benedict XVI continues to astound people. In Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, they were told, the world was getting "God's Rottweiler" as Pope. Now, after Benedict's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est or "God is Love", many people are wondering if he isn't really the "Love Pope." God's Revolution by Benedict XVI (Ignatius Press, 2006), the collection of his World Youth Day talks and other addresses in Cologne, only adds to the amazement. Thoughtful readers will discover in its author far more than they bargained for. It's August, 2005. The newly elected Benedict XVI returns to his homeland, Germany, for World Youth Day-the spectacular event created by his popular predecessor, Pope John Paul II. All eyes are on the German pope in Cologne. "Will he relate to young people as John Paul II did?" The zealous loving welcome of more than a million young people provides the answer. Benedict XVI pulls it off-in his own way, with his own style, without missing a beat. His encounters with young people are magical, even mystical. His message-a straightforward presentation of the Christian faith aimed at answering the perennial questions of young people: Who am I? Where am I going? Is there Someone who can help? How can I make a difference in the world? Benedict XVI's answers to these questions all point to Jesus Christ and his teaching. He urges young people not to think that following Jesus requires abandoning anything of real worth. "Christ takes from you nothing that is beautiful and great," he declares. He dares young people to become "radicals"-to be part of "God's revolution." To commit themselves without reservation to Jesus Christ. "Only from God does true revolution come," he declares, "the definitive way to change the world." "It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom; the guarantor of what is really good and true," Benedict says. But God's Revolution also warns against abusing faith in God: "There are many who speak of God: some even preach hatred and perpetuate violence in God's Name. So it is important to discover the true face of God." "In Jesus Christ," the Pope declares, "who allowed his heart to be pierced for us, the true face of God is seen." God's Revolution isn't only for young people, for Catholics alone or even only for Christians. Benedict XVI's thoughtful and inspiring messages to the Jewish and Muslim communities in Germany are included. Speaking
Pope Benedict had a magical encounter with over one million youth at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany in August. He also had important separate meetings of significance with Jewish leaders, another with Muslim leaders, and a third Ecumenical meeting with Protestant leaders. This book includes all the texts of his talks to the youth over that five day period, as well as to these other groups in Cologne. The Pope's inspiring words and messages to the young people were enthusiastically received, and comprise an important collection of talks for young people everywhere, and indeed for all followers of Christ. This 20th World Youth Day had a new point of reference: Pope Benedict XVI. It was the first that Pope John Paul II had not been at. But this collection fittingly begins with John Paul's closing talk at WYD in 2004. Yet Benedict stamped this World Youth Day with his own personal style, with his gentleness and joy, and profound words about Christ's love that the youth responded to with great exuberance. The theme of this great gathering was "We Have Come to Worship Him." Throughout these talks and encounters with the youth, Benedict reenforced the meaning of this theme by leading us to adore the Child who is God, whose love renews and transforms the whole world. Radiating from this book, as from World Youth Day, is a sheer joy over the beauty of faith, the beauty of Christ and of our life in Christ. Reading this book reinforces the conviction that, in the person of Pope Benedict XVI, God has given the Church a great Teacher of the faith, and also a great Pastor who knows the way that can lead us to intimacy with God. His special charism seems to be his ability to combine universalopenness with Catholic identity, clear and comprehensive witness to the truth of Christ with the gentleness of fraternal charity.
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