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Browse Books by Cardinal Ratzinger at:





Pope Benedict XVI Books


Introduction to Christianity
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Introduction to Christianity
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Ignatius Press - Paperback

In this remarkable elucidation of the Apostles' Creed, Cardinal Ratzinger, a highly regarded theologian, gives an excellent, modern interpretation of the foundations of Christianity. This profound treatment of Christianity's basic truths combines a spiritual outlook with a deep knowledge of Scripture and the history of theology. A solid and contemporary discussion of the fundamental Christian mysteries.

"Cardinal Ratzinger offers us a profound meditation on the twelve articles of the Apostles Creed. These reflections will challenge and expand one's knowledge of the Catholic faith. The Cardinal addresses and answers many of the modern objections to faith in God the Father and Creator, his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Catholic Church. This is solid food that must be eaten slowly, but it is very nourishing and worth the effort."
- Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review

The Ratzinger Report
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The Ratzinger Report
by Vittorio Messori
Ignatius Press - Paperback

Joseph Ratzinger, 58 years old, German, renowned theologian, Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the former Holy Office), which is the most important Vatican curial office, charged with the preservation and promotion of Catholic orthodoxy.

Vittorio Messori, 44 years of age, a writer and journalist whose books of religious essays are world-wide best sellers.

A Cardinal and a layman - meeting in the Tyrolean Alps for an interview of several days. Ratzinger responded with extreme candor to Messori's many questions - including the most controversial. It is the longest and most complete interview with a head of a Congregation whose name has been linked for centuries with mystery and secrecy.

Here is the complete text of a meeting many have called a "historical turnabout" in the Church. The roots of the crisis that has troubled Catholics in the twenty years since the Council are analyzed with forthright clarity by one of the most authoritative voices in the Vatican. Here is a clear and uncompromising report on the dangers that threaten the Faith, from one who every day receives the most reliable information from every continent. Yet Ratzinger's observations are as hopeful and balanced as they are clear-sighted, forcefully re-affirming the immense and positive work of Vatican II, whose genuine fruits this book provides a guideline for achieving.


Salt of the Earth
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Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium
by Peter Seewald
Ignatius Press - Paperback

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 candour 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.

"This is Cardinal Ratzinger at his free-wheeling best, virtually roving the world with theological and cultural analyses as pungent as they are dazzling. His candor is breathtaking."
-Cardinal John O'Connor

"One of the most arresting, enjoyable books I've read in years. The Joseph Ratzinger who emerges from these pages is amazingly frank and engaging-a man with a superb intellect but also with a simple, humble, generosity of spirit. He offers us tremendous encouragement."
-Archbishop Charles Chaput

"An absolutely fascinating book, like a personal visit with the Cardinal. It not only reveals much of the mind and personality of one of the key figures in modern Catholic history, but it clarifies better than anything I have read the origin of the present crisis in western civilization and in the Church."
-Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR


God and the World
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God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald
by Peter Seewald
Ignatius Press - Paperback

During his years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, well-known Vatican prelate Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger has given three in-depth interviews. The first two interviews have become bestselling books: The Ratzinger Report and Salt of the Earth. Because of the tremendous reception those books received, the Cardinal agreed to do another interview with journalist Peter Seewald, who had done the very popular Salt of the Earth interview. This third in-depth interview addresses deep questions of faith and the living of that faith in the modern world.

The interview took place over three full days spent at the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino in a setting of silence, prayer, and hospitality of the monks. For this meeting with the highly regarded Churchman, theologian, and author, the seasoned journalist, who had fallen away from the faith but eventually returned to the Church, once again provided a very stimulating, well-prepared series of wide-ranging questions on profound issues. The Cardinal responds with candor, frankness and deep insight, giving answers that are sometimes surprising and always thought provoking.

"When Cardinal Ratzinger, one of the Church's great wise men, sat opposite me in the Abbey and patiently recounted to me the Gospel and the belief of Christendom from the beginning of the world to its end, something of the mystery that holds the world together became more tangible. 'Creation itself', he said, 'bears within itself an ordered pattern from which we can understand the ideas of God - and even the right way to live.'"
- Peter Seewald


Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977
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Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Ignatius Press - Paperback

Rich in humor and culture, passion and love for the cause of God and of man, Milestones is the autobiography of one of the most influential men in the Catholic Church at the turn of the millennium. In his famous Apology, Cardinal Newman accounted for his conversion to Catholicism. In this biography, which in certain respects recalls Newman's masterpiece, Ratzinger tells of his family life, the years of the Nazi oppression and of the war, his extraordinary academic path, and his participation in the Second Vatican Council. Illustrated.

"Here is Cardinal Ratzinger at his most surprising. Who imagines him a teenager risking his life escaping a Nazi forced-labor camp? Or a doctoral candidate shattered by rejection of his dissertation? Or a priest telling of 'the sufferings necessary for the priestly ministry . . . those dark nights that alone can give full shape to the radical assent a priest must give'? Milestones, rich with theological insights as are all his works, gives us finally Ratzinger the person. He is a joy to meet."
-Cardinal John O'Connor, Archbishop of New York

"A very personal, compelling narrative of a life that continues to have inestimable influence in shaping the mission of the Catholic Church. A rare mix of candor and charity, this book is an opportunity to know personally one of the truly great figures of our time. It should not be missed."
-Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Editor, First Things

"A masterpiece of simplicity and clarity! It tells of the events of a life of inner depth and spiritual passion in the service of the Divine Truth."
-Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Author, Loving the Church

Spirit of the Liturgy
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The Spirit of the Liturgy
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Ignatius Press - Paperback

Considered by Ratzinger devotees as his greatest work on the Liturgy, this profound and beautifully written treatment of the "great prayer of the Church" will help readers rediscover the Liturgy in all its hidden spiritual wealth and transcendent grandeur as the very center of our Christian life.

In his own foreward to the book, Cardinal Ratzinger compares this work to a much earlier classic of the same title by Romano Guardini because Ratzinger feels that his insights here are similar with what Guardini achieved in his time regarding a renewed understanding of the Liturgy.

"My purpose here is to assist this renewal of understanding of the Liturgy. Its basic intentions coincide with what Guardini wanted to achieve. The only difference is that I have had to translate what Guardini did at the end of the First World War, in a totally different historical situation, into the context of our present-day questions, hopes and dangers. Like Guardini, I am not attempting to involve myself with scholarly discussion and research. I am simply offering an aid to the understanding of the faith and to the right way to give the faith its central form of expression in the Liturgy."
—Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger


A New Song to the Lord
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A New Song to the Lord
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Herder & Herder - Paperback

"Throughout the years of the Liturgical Movement, as well as at the outset of the Second Vatican Council's reform of the liturgy, it appeared to many as if striving for the correct liturgical form were a purely pragmatic matter, a search for the form of worship most accessible to the people of our time. Since then it has become increasingly clear that liturgy involves our understanding of God and the world and our relationship to Christ, the Church, and ourselves. How we attend to liturgy determines the fate of the faith and the Church. For this reason liturgical matters have acquired an importance today that we were unable to envision before.

"...Our entire search for the criteria of liturgical renewal ultimately culminates in one question: Who do the people say that the Son of Man is? (Matt. 16:14f.) .... Only a close connection with Christology can make possible a productive development of the theology and practice of liturgy."
- From the Preface


Called To Communion
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Called to Communion
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Ignatius - Paperback

"Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today is a precious gift of Wisdom. It explains how providential are the trials through which the Catholic Church is now passing. The need of the Papal Primacy to ensure Christian unity; the true meaning of the Priesthood as a sacrament and not a mere ministry; the necessity of the Eucharist as the Sacrifice of the Savior now offering Himself on our altars; the role of the Bishops as successors of the Apostles, united with the successor of St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome; the value of suffering in union with Christ crucified; the indispensable service of the laity in the apostolate - all these are becoming more clear and meaningful in the life of the Church. Called to Communion is a goldimine of insights, which brings out the development of Catholic doctrine in our day without surrendering one iota of the deposit of faith entrusted to the Church by her Divine Founder."
- Editor, The Treasury of Catholic Wisdom

"Since Vatican II there has been intense interest in the Church - her nature, her origin, her purpose. In this short book Cardinal Ratzinger offers us what he calls a 'primer of Catholic ecclesiology.' As a true theologian, he clarifies the nature of Church, bishop and priest, basing his remarks on Scripture and Tradition. The book offers penetrating insights into the Church from a profound thinker. This is Catholic theology at its best and as it should be."
- Editor, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

"In this 'primer of Catholic ecclesiology', Cardinal Ratzinger guides us through today's confusion about the faith back to the core from which the life of the Church unfolds: communion. At the end of the journey, we not only have a better grasp of the controverted issues of the day, but also a renewed understanding of the central mystery of the Church. Called to Communion is thus a powerful encouragement to the theological and spiritual renewal envisaged by the Second Vatican Council."
- Editor, Communio


God is Near Us
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God is Near Us: The Eucharist, The Heart of Life
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Ignatius - Paperback

The Second Vatican Council says, "We ought to try to discover a new reverence for the Eucharistic mystery. Something is happening that is greater than anything we can do. The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is the font from which all her power flows."

This profound statement about the Eucharist stands at the center of this book by Cardinal Ratzinger. He compellingly shows us the biblical, historical, and theological dimensions of the Eucharist. The Cardinal draws far-reaching conclusions, focusing on the importance of one's personal devotion to and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, for the personal reception of Communion by the individual Christian, as well as for the life of the Church. For Ratzinger, any transformation of the world on the social plane grows out of the celebration of the Eucharist. He beautifully illustrates how the omnipotent God comes intimately close to us in the Holy Eucharist, the Heart of Life.

"Not only does the Cardinal shed his customary theological light on many subjects, but as he does in other books, he applies his insights very directly to Catholic life and devotion. Coming at this time, this book is part of the effort of many to see the Eucharist restored to the center of Catholic piety and devotion."
-Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.


Many Religions, One Covenant

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Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, The Church and the World
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Ignatius - Paperback

In Many Religions, One Covenant, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spans the deep divides in modern Catholic scholarship to present a compelling biblical theology, modern in its concerns yet classical in its breadth. It is his classical mastery, his ressourcement, that enables the Cardinal to build a bridge.

Cardinal Ratzinger seeks to deepen our understanding of the Bible's most fundamental principle. The covenant defines religion for Christians and Jews. We cannot discern God's design or his will if we do not meditate upon his covenant.

The covenant, then, is the principle that unites the New Testament with the Old, the Scriptures with Tradition, and each of the various branches of theology with all the others. The covenant does more than bridge the gaps between these elements; it fills in the gaps, so that biblical scholarship, dogmatic theology, and magisterial authority all stand on common ground — solid ground.

"A book we have long awaited. By renewing the Church's appreciation of the new covenant, Cardinal Ratzinger proposes a fully integrated Christian life, with Christ at the center of the Scriptures, but also at the center of the Church today. For in the Eucharist he is still, as ever, fulfilling the old covenant and ratifying the new."
—Scott Hahn, Author, Rome Sweet Home

"A clear assessment of the covenants of God with his people. This timely book will improve dialog and understanding between all those who love and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—especially important as we enter the third millennium."
—Stephen K. Ray, Author, Upon this Rock





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