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Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   202
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.33" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.87"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  1586171704  
EAN  9781586171704  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Fr. D. Vincent Twomey, a former doctoral student of Joseph Ratzinger and long time friend of the Pope, felt the need to respond to the common question he heard often after the papal election, "What kind of person is the new Pope?" So often Twomey had read false depictions of both the man and his thought, especially the image presented by the media as a grim enforcer. Twomey offers here a unique double-presentation of the man, Pope Benedict XVI - a "theological portrait" that encompasses both an overview of the writings, teachings and thought of the brilliant theologian and spiritual writer, as well as the man himself, and his personality traits and how he communicates with others. Twomey shows that the secret to the serene dignified behavior of Benedict is that he is open to beauty as much as truth, that he lives outside himself, and is not preoccupied with his own self. He also is a man that Twomey says "has the courage to be imperfect", showing he has a deep humility and strives for teaching the truth even when misunderstood or not presented as well as he would like.

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A Worthwhile Collection of Thoughts on Benedict XVI  May 21, 2007

As he explains in his Introduction, Fr. Twomey's short book is a collection of priorly published articles (some revised here) that endeavor to educate the reader about Pope Benedict XVI on several levels:

-- Included are an overview of the voluminous writings of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict that is more a listing than anything more comprehensive. The main text and numerous footnotes point to further reading in the source texts rather than going into detail. This abbreviation is frustrating at times; one wishes to follow up on the references, but who reading an introduction such as this would have the many cited works at hand?

-- Unlike some other contemporary theologians, Ratzinger himself has compiled a body of literature that is "unfinished." Twomey often makes reference to the tendency of Ratzinger to write unfinished "fragments" that toss out ideas with the intention that others join in and carry on the discourse.

-- Twomey, who has known the pope since he was a student of Professor Ratzinger over thirty years ago offers added insights into his teacher's character. For instance, Twomey emphasizes Ratzinger's classroom encouragement of frank, open discussion (a trait companionable to the tendency to write theology fragments that stimulate expansion).

-- Three chapters (out of five) of "Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age: A Theological Portrait" investigate Ratzinger/Benedict's theory of conscience which Twomey advises is not merely the popular narrow definition that might be termed an "excuse mechanism." Instead the pope concerns himself with a broader sense of conscience as alignment with higher, divine truth.

-- Indeed, the pope's own search for truth is an abiding theme of his life and therefore of Twomey's book. In concert with that, one chapter considers the question of Ratzinger's youth in Nazi Germany which had been a common topic in the news media upon his election to the papacy. Twomey systematically discounts accusations that Ratzinger was a willing participant in the Hitler Youth. Ratzinger found no truth in Nazism.

-- One of the two appendices consists of a sermon Pope Benedict gave in 2005. It provides a notable glimpse into the way he integrates various ideas to provide fresh windows of thought. The homily also happens to refer to the American priestly sex scandals, making it of further interest.

Although Twomey's brief introduction is definitely a series of fragments itself, it succeeds in piquing interest in further reading and so is recommended for those interested in understanding Pope Benedict and his scholarship and character.

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