An article by Francis X. Rocca in the Wall Street Journal declared Pope Benedict XVI a “bestselling author,” recalling that he “wrote more than 60 books and numerous papal documents, including three encyclicals.”
Benedict XVI was a highly respected theologian and scholar, and while some of his writings are more technical and difficult to decipher for the average reader, many of his books are accessible to any Catholic.
1Jesus of Nazareth
During his pontificate Benedict XVI wrote a trilogy of books entitled Jesus of Nazareth. He explained that these three books were his “personal search ‘for the face of the Lord.'”
He explored the life of Jesus in three volumes, including From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection, and lastly, The Infancy Narratives.
Each book is a search to “restore Jesus’ true identity as discovered in the Gospels.”
2Introduction to Christianity
In his preface to this work originally published in 1968, Benedict XVI explained that “The question of the real content and meaning of the Christian faith is enveloped today in a greater fog of uncertainty than at almost any earlier period in history.”
He collected many of his lectures into a book with the purpose of helping “to understand faith afresh as something that makes possible true humanity in the world today, to expound faith without changing it into the small coin of empty talk painfully laboring to hide a complete spiritual vacuum.”
It is a great introduction to the faith that in many ways prefigures his work on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
3Spirit of the Liturgy
As a cardinal, Benedict XVI sought to honor Romano Guardini’s book Spirit of the Liturgy with his own thoughts on the liturgy and worship of God. He explained that, “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.”
The liturgy was one of Pope Benedict XVI’s most beloved subject and this book summarizes his own stance on the liturgical renewal of the past century.
Among his most popular publications are the several encyclicals he wrote while pope. These include God Is Love, Saved in Hope and Charity in Truth. His encyclicals were written in a very accessible manner and contain many deep spiritual truths.
Benedict XVI’s encyclicals remain among his most read works.
5‘In the Beginning…’ A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall
To conclude this list, many are discovering a collection of his homilies as a cardinal that were published under the title of In the Beginning…’ A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall.
In the book, Benedict XVI explores the book of Genesis and delivers a refreshing view of the creation story.