Pope Benedict XVI: His Life and Mission

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9780786280537: Pope Benedict XVI: His Life and Mission
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A New York Times Bestselling Author

The election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the papacy shocks some and delights others. He is both an ardent intellectual and a driven traditionalist charged with leading a divided Catholic Church into a new era. Here Stephen Mansfield (The Faith of George W. Bush) tells the story of a youth who grew up in Nazi Germany and went from being a liberal theologian associated with Vatican II to a theological conservative who became Pope John Paul's closest ally.

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Review:

Stephen Mansfield's biography of Pope Benedict XVI is undeniably a brief, light read. Indeed, Mansfield's intention is not exhaustive detail, but a strong narrative thrust catching the salient points of the former Joseph Ratzinger's life. He traces this life from Ratzinger's earliest history growing up in Nazi Germany through his tenure as Pope John Paul II's appointed head for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), an organization tracing its lineage to, in popular terms, the Spanish Inquisition. This particular life's journey included polarizing events, such as Ratzinger's stint as a Hitler Youth in his early years, and later while at the CDF he was seen as nothing less than Pope John Paul II's personal enforcer of doctrinal conformity. Mansfield is particularly interested in finding the substance and character of the man who took this journey. From showing the heart Ratzinger had for the youth under his care in Bavaria early in his career, through a discussion of the religious history behind the name Benedict and why Ratzinger may have chosen it, and finally to an appendix where Mansfield turns from author to editor and gives us excerpts from Ratzinger's own writings and speeches, we are left with no doubt that Ratzinger is indeed as conservative as his predecessor and friend John Paul was. But by this point Mansfield has managed to give the new pope a life in the reader's mind beyond the two-dimensional portraits found in the press. We are left with the image of a restless, energetic pope who loves his God, who yearns for revival in his church and who, despite his conservative pedigree, is open to new voices, such as the Catholic charismatic movement.--Ed Dobeas

About the Author:

Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times–bestselling author of numerous books on history and leadership, including The Faith of George W. Bush and The Faith of the American Soldier. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee. His website is www.mansfieldgroup.com.

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Publisher: Tarcher, 2005
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