Pope Benedict XVI was known as one of the greatest theologians of modern times, and his writing style remains pleasantly readable and clear.
A prolific author, he wrote 66 books and many briefer works, so there are many options!
Have you ever wanted to read some of his many wonderful writings, but weren’t quite sure where to jump in?
Here are a few suggestions about where to start reading Pope Benedict’s writings.
If you’re pressed for time …
Check out his Wednesday audiences on the lives of the saints. These relatively brief reflections introduce readers to so many great and significant figures in Christian history, and help readers understand his overall writing and thought.
If you enjoy a more academic approach …
Check out his book Introduction to Christianity, one of Cardinal Ratzinger’s most important and widely read books.
In it, he unpacks the meaning and significance of the Apostles’ Creed and the foundations of Christianity. The conclusion of this journey through Christian history is that the place for faith is in the Catholic Church.
If you love liturgy and the Holy Mass ,,,
The Spirit of the Liturgy is his greatest work on the Liturgy, a profound and beautifully written treatment of the great prayer of the Church. In it, he discusses fundamental misunderstandings of the Second Vatican Council’s intentions for liturgical renewal, the essence of worship, the Jewish roots of Christian prayer, the relationship of the liturgy to time and space, sacred art and music, and the active participation of the faithful in the Mass.
If you want to learn more about Jesus and Scripture …
You will love Jesus of Nazareth, his effort to restore Jesus’ true identity as discovered in the Gospels. The publisher’s description is spot-on: “Through his brilliance as a theologian and his personal conviction as a believer, the Pope shares a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of Jesus and invites us to encounter, face-to-face, the central figure of the Christian faith.”
If you’re wondering what were the last things he wanted to share with the world before his death …
Check out What Is Christianity?, a collection of his final writings, compiled in his last months on earth and published after his death. In it, he reflects on various saints and cultural issues facing the Church.