At this writing (April 19, 2007), Pope Benedict XVI has been the pontiff for two years. He has had mighty big shoes to fill; his predecessor was the third longest reigning pope in history. Only St. Peter and Pope Blessed Pius IX were popes longer than Pope John Paul II. Some would like Pope Benedict to give his predecessor the title “the Great,” and he has already put John Paul II on the fast track to sainthood; the diocesan phase of the canonization process concluded on John Paul’s second anniversary of death, April 2, 2007.
This little book of Pope Benedict’s thoughts was compiled by Lucio Coco. This American edition has been published with the permission of the Vatican, along with various other languages. This pontiff’s intellectualism shines through in these quotes vividly; these are not the dry remarks one might expect from an academic professor. Benedict speaks from the heart.
During his first year as pope, Benedict covered many different subjects: the Eucharist, ecumenism, St. Benedict, relativism, secularism, suffering, pain, death, peace, obedience, liturgy, hope, faith, love, catechesis, education, war, the priesthood, freedom, spirituality, theology, Scripture, the Church Fathers, Lent, mercy, life, death, resurrection, Mary, St. Joseph, family, marriage, the religious life, modernity, Pope John Paul II, his election, fear, morality, Christmas, Easter, and, especially, God and Jesus.
Coco divides the 175 quotes by the months in which they were spoken or written, leading each quote with a title or theme. The quote varies in length from one sentence to a short paragraph, and the place and time in which it was spoken is cited (some quotes are from the same occasion). The book concludes with a subject index; after reading the quotes, one might want to look up the whole document or source that it came from. Many can be found on the Vatican’s website, www.vatican.va.
Catholics interested in what Pope Benedict has to say as well as those looking for a source for meditation will appreciate this compendium. Non-Catholics as well can find a quick source for the spiritual thoughts of Pope Benedict XVI here.