Thursday 16 August 2018

Benedict XVI - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky - CTS Biographies

Benedict XVI
CTS Biographies
Helena Scott
Ethel Tolansky
Catholic Truth Society

ISBN 9781860823398
First Edition 2005
Revised Edition 2010

Over the years I have read a handful of books by Pope Benedict, a few before his election and a few after. This however is the second book about him that I have read in as many weeks. This book is part of the CTS Biographies Series from the Catholic Truth Society. It is also the 7th book I have read by Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky over two months, and the 27th from CTS. I have loved all the biographies by Scott and Tolansky that I have read and this this one is one of the best. It was first published in 2005 after the election of Benedict XVI, and the revised edition of 2010 has an additional chapter with a brief look the first five years of his pontificate. The who also contributed on a book called 'A Pope of Surprises: The First Five Years of Benedict XVI's Papacy' that I will be reading soon that has a chapter for each of those first five years. But back to this specific volume. The description of the book is:
"Joseph Ratzinger was born in Catholic Bavaria in 1927 and witnessed war's 'gates of hell' in Nazi Germany.  After the war he became a priest and later a theologian, university professor and rising academic star.  He rose to prominence as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican and was elected Pope at 78 years old.  This booklet penetrates popular stereotyping to reveal the truth, complexity and thought of this very modest and pious theologian. Here we discover a 'humble and thoroughly kind man', a leading thinker very much in touch with this modern age.  Updated in 2010, the booklet evaluates the first 5 years of his papacy."
And the chapters are:

The Bells Ring out
Early life
Towards Priesthood
Academic Life and Vatican Council
Archbishop, Cardinal and prefect
Pope Benedict 

This book does a great job of introducing us to the life, election and early years of Pope Benedict XVI. The more I read about and by Benedict XVI, the more I want to read. And the more I appreciate the man, his faith, and his life of service. Writing about then cardinal Ratzinger deciding to leave the board of a literary magazine he was involved with, Ratzinger stated:
"I have always tried to remain true to Vatican II, to this today of the Church, without any longing for a yesterday irretrievably gone and without any impatient thrust towards a tomorrow that is not ours."
And he ended his relationship with the journal. Previously I was unaware that three different times he asked then pope John Paul II to leave his work at the Vatican and return to Academic work. His faith and devotion are encouraging. And the way he was portrayed in the media, looking back, is a disgrace. This volume will show you his faith, a faith based on reason and extensive study. Yes, he was an academic, but he always strove to understand the other side and was open to change. No matter what new responsibility was thrust upon him, he yielded to the call, and leading of the Holy Spirit. 

This book is a wonderful read, and though currently out of print, is worth the time and effort to track it down. It will challenge you and inspire. Another excellent read from the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Scott and Tolansky:
Pius XII
Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan
Benedict XVI

Josemaria Escriva
Alvaro Del Portillo

A Pope of Surprises: The First Five Years of Pope Benedict XVI's Papacy
Sophie Scholl and The White Rose: Resistance to the Nazis
Johann Gruber and Jacques Bunel: Victims of the Nazis

Books by Benedict XVI:

Way of the Cross Meditations and Prayers
Way of Calvary: Stations of the Cross 
Spiritual Masters Fathers and Writers of the First Millennium 
Spiritual Masters Medieval Fathers and Writers

Books About Pope Benedict:
Habemus Papam! Pope Benedict XVI - Regina Doman and Sean Lam
Benedict XVI - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
A Pope of Surprises: The First Five Years of Pope Benedict XVI's Papacy - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky

Be Saints! An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI - Amy Welborn and Ann Kissane Engelhart
Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion – Amy Welborn and Ann Engelhart
Take Five: Meditations Pope Benedict XVI - Mike Aquilina and Fr. Kris Stubna

Related Articles:
Daily Study Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI
Which popes do you have a devotion to and why?

Other CTS Biographies of Popes:
Pius XII - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Paul VI - Anthony Symondson
John XXIII The Universal Parish Priest - Josephine Robinson

John Paul I - Stephen Dean
John Paul II The Road to Sainthood - Jim Gallagher
Benedict XVI - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Pope Francis - Dushan Croos

Author profile and interview with Helena Scott.

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