Pope

Pope Emeritus Benedict’s latest book will be called “Last Testament”

Bloomsbury announces November publication of English version

Book cover for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's Last Testament

Bloomsbury

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has a new book coming out next month, and it’s just been announced that the title of the English version will be Last Testament: In His Own Words.

Bloomsbury announced the publication of the 224-page hardcover book on its website:

Last Testament is nearest to an autobiography from the shy and private man who has remained “hidden to the world” in a former convent in the Vatican gardens. He breaks his silence on issues such as:

– The “Vatileaks” case in which his butler leaked some of his personal letters that alleged corruption and scandal in the Vatican (the butler remains in jail)
– The presence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican and how he dismantled it
– His alleged Nazi upbringing
– His attempts at cleaning up the “dirt in the church” (clerical sexual abuse)
– The mysterious private secretary “Gorgeous George”

On a more personal level he writes with great warmth of his successor Pope Francis, who he admits has a popular touch, a star quality which he has lacked. Much controversy still surrounds Pope Benedict`s Papacy–in this book he addresses these controversies and reveals how at his late age, governing and reforming the Papacy and particularly the Vatican, was beyond him.

Bloomsbury says that in the book, Pope Benedict, who was the Bishop of Rome from 2005-2013, addresses some of the controversies of his papacy “and reveals how at his late age, governing and reforming the Papacy and particularly the Vatican, was beyond him.”

But the book is also an autobiography—Pope Benedict starts by recalling his childhood in Germany under Hitler and the Nazis when he joined Hitler Youth under duress. It goes on to cover his early life as a priest and eventually his appointment as Archbishop of Munich. After becoming Pope, his account deals with the controversies that rocked the Catholic world—how he enraged the Muslim world with his Regensburg speech, what he did and did not do to stamp out the clerical sexual abuse of children, the Vatileaks scandal and more.

As was the case with some of his previous books, the new tome is a collaboration with German journalist Peter Seewald, who presents the Bavaria-born Pope’s thoughts in the form of an interview, according to AdWeek.

In June, Vatican Insider reported on the upcoming publication of the book, which in its Italian version is expected to be titled Ultime conversazioni (“Final Conversations”). Italian publisher Garzanti is expected to release it next month. Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera will be offering a preview of some of the contents, but Vatican Insider already reported that Benedict in the book “admits he knew about the presence of a ‘gay lobby’ made up of four or five people, in the Vatican. He says he managed to break this pressure group up.”

He talks about how he prepared his resignation in utmost secrecy and admitted that he was “surprised” when he learnt the name of his successor: he had some names in mind “but not his”. He speaks of “joy” he feels about the way in which the new Pope prays and communicates with the crowd and describes Francis the man and Francis the Pope, commenting on the things the two have in common and what distinguishes them.

Pope Emeritus recently turned 89 and celebrated the 65th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Shawn Neal

John Burger

John Burger is a news editor at Aleteia. He formerly worked at the National Catholic Register and Catholic New York in the Archdiocese of New York. He has also written for a wide variety of Catholic publications.