Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Tell the Publisher!
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger [Paperback]

John L., Jr. Allen , John L. Allen Jr
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback --  
Paperback, 3 May 2005 --  

Book Description

3 May 2005
On Tuesday 19th April 2005: white smoke signals the election of a new Pontiff, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. Reprint of Cardinal Ratzinger with a New Preface, revised title and jacket. The elevation of Joseph Ratzinger to the Papacy has raised more questions than it answers about what the future holds for the world's one billion Roman Catholics. Seasoned Vatican watcher, John L. Allen Jr is ideally placed to answer these questions tracing Ratzinger's story from his Bavarian routes (including a spell in the Hitler Youth movement), his support for Vatican 11, and the unique relationship he shared with John Paul 11 whilst number two in the Catholic Church. Whilst a Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger never failed to polarise opinions, attracting adoration and opprobrium in equal measure He is certain to continue to do so whilst Pope. This book needs to be read by Catholic and non-Catholics alike to understand the mind of a man who now has one of the most powerful roles on earth.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (3 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826417868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826417862
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,511,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

"A fair and unfailingly interesting account of one of the most controversial figures in religion today." -- The Irish Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John L. Allen has worked for the National Catholic Reporter in the US and is CNN Vatican analyst. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The man who would become pope 22 Nov 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
As one commentator has pointed out, this is not in fact a new book on the current pope, Benedict XVI, but rather a biography of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would succeed to the papacy in the spring of 2005. In the year 2000, when this book was published, Ratzinger had been working with Pope John Paul II for decades, and seemed in some ways to be reaching a point of retirement. John Allen, a veteran Vatican observer, noted in this text that the succession of Ratzinger was unlikely, even then. Perhaps that helps to add the ring of truth to Ratzinger's own words of gratitude and surprise after his election.
Unlike several of the 'instant history' texts that appeared shortly after the papal election (and, to be fair, some are worthwhile; Allen himself produced one reasonable text entitled 'The Rise of Benedict XVI'), this one had a much longer timeframe for production. Allen was able to do a good amount of research and interviewing to get behind the public image of Ratzinger, variously called the Vatican Enforcer and God's Pit-Bull.
Joseph Ratzinger is a difficult man to pin down in terms of ideology and spirituality. He grew up in the midst of Nazi oppression in Germany, and during the second world war was even pressed into service as a Hitler Youth (something which, by the time Ratzinger was old enough in the early 1940s, was compulsory for all boys in Germany). He reacted against this right-wing tyranny by embracing theological and academic liberalism; his early work is decidedly left-wing in many respects, as Allen points out. However, the shifts in the tide of international theological thought generally, and Roman Catholic thought and practice specifically, left Ratzinger adrift in some ways, a state his logical and organised mind would not tolerate.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful introduction to the pope 15 Oct 2006
By Helen Hancox TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This new edition of the book Cardinal Ratzinger - The Vatican's Enforcer Of The Faith, first published in 2000, was released shortly after Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope, with a new Publisher's Preface. It is an excellently written, in-depth study from his youth growing up in the shadow of Nazi Germany until the year 2000. Allen's meticulous research, undertaken over many years, bears fruit in the way the new Pope's life-history is set out. Not merely painting a portrait of the man today, Allen also describes the changes of opinion and thought of this great theologian from a `reformer' at the time of Vatican II to a conservative Cardinal. This book is an excellent resource for those wishing to understand the history of the new Pope, the way in which his life experiences have changed his view of his own personal history, and the way in which they have shaped his dealings with the church.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Pope Benedict XVI 26 Jun 2011
By june
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for a friend for Christmas and she has really enjoyed reading it and would reccommend it to anyone wanting an insite into the world of Pope Benefit XVI.
june
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is a biography of the German cleric born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927. John Allen Jr. is a journalist for the 'National Catholic Reporter' and in this book traces Ratzinger's rise to prominence as a cardinal during the Second Vatican Council as a firm proponent of Vatican II's progressive theology an opponent of tradition. The author then uses documents to outline the pope's conservative theological views on controversial subjects as the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

This book was originally titled 'Cardinal Ratzinger' and should have been left with that title. Though I suggest all read this book for another point of view, by no means let this be the only book you read. Allen himself wished to re-write what he wrote but the publisher went ahead with his original biased writings. Before you make up your mind be sure to read Ratzinger's own writings in their complete form and draw your own conclusions.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't read this book; wait for Allen's revised biography 3 May 2005
By K. A. de Souza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is quite unfair, as Allen himself has acknowledged. As his journalism has matured, Allen has intended to write a significantly reworked biography. He now has the chance, and it is in the works from Doubleday. Please wait for it! John Allen is now definitely the best Eenglish language journalist covering the Catholic Church, but this has been the case for only the last three or four years in my opinion. I would strongly recommend his recent work (e.g. All the Pope's Men), but this particular book is not worth a read. All that follows is a section from Allen's column of April 26, 2005:
"Six years ago, I wrote a biography of the man who is now pope titled Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith. In the intervening period, I have learned a few things about the universal Catholic church and how things look from different perspectives. If I were to write the book again today, I'm sure it would be more balanced, better informed, and less prone to veer off into judgment ahead of sober analysis.
This, I want to stress, is not a Johnny-come-lately conclusion motivated by the fact that the subject of the book has now become the pope. In a lecture delivered at the Catholic University of America as part of the Common Ground series, on June 25, 2004, I said the following about the book:
"My 'conversion' to dialogue originated in a sort of 'bottoming out.' It came with the publication of my biography of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, issued by Continuum in 2000 and titled The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith. The first major review appeared in Commonweal, authored by another of my distinguished predecessors in this lecture series, Fr. Joseph Komonchak. It was not, let me be candid, a positive review. Fr. Komonchak pointed out a number of shortcomings and a few errors, but the line that truly stung came when he accused me of "Manichean journalism." He meant that I was locked in a dualistic mentality in which Ratzinger was consistently wrong and his critics consistently right. I was initially crushed, then furious. I re-read the book with Fr. Komonchak's criticism in mind, however, and reached the sobering conclusion that he was correct. The book - which I modestly believe is not without its merits - is nevertheless too often written in a "good guys and bad guys" style that vilifies the cardinal. It took Fr. Komonchak pointing this out, publicly and bluntly, for me to ask myself, 'Is this the kind of journalist I want to be'? My answer was no, and I hope that in the years since I have come to appreciate more of those shades of gray that Fr. Komonchak rightly insists are always part of the story.
After Ratzinger's election as Benedict XVI was announced, I had hoped to have the opportunity to write a new preface for the book contextualizing some of the views it expresses. Unfortunately, the publisher in the United States, for reasons that I suppose are fairly obvious, had already begun reprinting the book without consulting me. Hence it is probably already appearing in bookstores, without any new material from me.
I can't do anything about that, although the British publishers were kind enough to ask me to write a new preface, which I have already done, so at least the damage will be limited in the U.K.
What is under my control, however, is a new book for Doubleday (a Random House imprint), which I hope will be a more balanced and mature account of both Ratzinger's views and the politics that made him pope. It has been in the works for some time and I hope it will be worthy of the enormity of the story, and the trust of those who elect to read it."
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Still may be worth a skim 11 May 2005
By Andrew S. Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Having read and been impressed by the excellence of John L. Allen's two recent books about the Catholic Church, "Conclave" (2002) and "All the Pope's Men" (2004), I had no hesitation in hurrying out and securing a copy of "Cardinal Ratzinger" as soon as I heard of the subject's elevation to the papacy. Ouch! Fascinated as I was by the apparent wealth of information and documentation in these pages, I needed an asbestos bookmark to survive the heat of Allen's judgment of the man.

I am therefore most indebted to other reviewers on this page who report news I apparently missed, that Allen has backed away from this book and its lack of "sober analysis." It's good to see that the insightful, balanced, Allen of his later works is the true man, and my respect for him rises still further for his honesty in admitting that things got a little out of control the first time around.

Still, I would argue that this book is still worth a read because not all of Ratzinger's critics have made the same journey. "Cardinal Ratzinger" not only transmits Allen's own strong feelings at the time, but the judgments of many others throughout the length of Joseph Ratzinger's long career. Allen may have changed his mind, but he's just one (albeit prominent) man; the criticisms leveled here -- to say nothing of the invectives hurled by others -- aren't going away. Allen's new bio will no doubt be a far better book. But if you want to experience at least some of the strong feelings Benedict XVI and his pre-elevation legacy have generated, this may still be a worthwhile place to start.

Just bring your awareness of how the author's opinions have matured, and a good pair of oven mitts.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very useful, if deeply flawed 4 Aug 2005
By Kathy F. Cannata - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Allen wrote this five years ago, but the publisher (Continuum) threw a new cover and title on it ("Pope Benedict XVI").

Allen is CNN's Vatican analyst and the senior Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, a far left outfit (pro-gay ordination and marriage, pro-birth control, no loyalty oaths for Catholic clergy and teachers, clergy marriage, etc.).

Allen starts off gracious and even-handed. But once past the pleasantries, he constructs a relentlessly negative attack on Ratzinger. Everything is painted very black and white, with Ratzinger playing the role of Darth Vader. Interestingly, Allen himself publicly repented of his unjust approach shortly after the book appeared, but the publisher would not allow him to make revisions or write a new preface (that costs money, and might not as neatly correspond to Continuum's view of the Universe, where people like Ratzinger suffocate puppies and cut down trees and hate women).

So Allen is writing a new bio., which is b supposed to be just as liberal, but a lot fairer to Ratzinger.

There are a few challenges to pinning down Ratzinger's precise views. For the last twenty-plus years Ratzinger has spoken as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he the coordinator of a large working group.

A few tidbits:

* His parents were named Joseph and Mary.

* On the Hitler Youth thing: Allen makes much of the fact that Ratzinger's father did not joined any armed uprising against Hitler and get martyred, and that Ratzinger's scant memories of certain Hitler atrocities local to his Bavaria are improbable. But clearly - Ratzinger's dad was very anti-Hitler. Ratzinger (18 at the time the War ended) was drafted into the Hitler Youth late, and doesn't seem to have participated in meetings at all.

* His favorite theologians: Augustine, Bonaventure, Guardini (quite liberal), von Balthazar (portrayed as right-wing, but essentially a Catholic Barthian). Allen portrays Ratzinger's preference for Augustine to the detriment of Aquinas as a horror, because of Augustine's alleged grim view of human nature. See pp. 3, 35-42.

* Ratzinger believes that the best antidote to political totalitarianism is ecclesial totalitarianism. He believes the Catholic Church serves the cause of human freedom by restricting freedom in its internal life, thereby remaining clear about what it teaches and believes. (pp. 3ff.) (Personal note - I think ecclesiastical totalitarianism, when we have approached it in history, is generally just as repressive and evil as its political counterpart, but sometimes I think it still should be the goal anyway. I think an evil, repressive church may in some way be a burden we are called to endure in our cross-bearing. The Christian [and OT] Church has always done more evil than good in the world, but it did this to our Savior too, and maybe its God's plan that we endure it to learn what it means to be in Christ. Let's stop pretending, however, that the Church is good for the world - the Democrats, homosexuals, etc. are not hallucinating; we do hurt them and each other. The Lion's Club does not treat their members, and outsiders, anywhere near as poorly as we often do.)

* Allen asserts that Ratzinger is politically conservative, but gives no evidence for it other than Ratz.'s social conservativism. His former boss, Pope JPII, was socially conservative but fiscally liberal. Pope JPII's anti-Communism was matched by equal anti-Capitalism.

* Long section on his great-uncle Georg Ratz. - fierce critic of the `ultra-montanism' (strong papal authority) our Ratzinger now advocates, anti-Semite, excommunicated progressive, etc. He was born 85 years before Joseph.

* Nice portrait of the four Bavarian towns in which Ratz. grew up. Shocking the extreme government regimentation - couldn't do even minor work on your home without a permit, could not fish, plant a garden etc. "Such regimentation helps explain why most Germans after 1933 did not feel themselves to be living in a totalitarian state, as the level of government intrusion in their lives was not much different from the time before Hitler came to power." (p. 11). Shocking to hear such a political liberal admit this.

* Beautiful section on Ratz falling in love with the drama of the liturgy as a child (p. 13).

* Got from Guardini the conviction of the Church as `Mystical Body' (I thought that was Paul, I Cor. 12, no?). Guardini saw it as a model navigating between two extremes: the Catholic Neo-Scholastic definition of the Church in purely institutional terms and the liberal Protestant Congregationalist understanding of the Church as social contract. The Vatican II Young Turk progressives (that Ratzinger was a prominent part of) all embraced this model. But they took it in two different directions. More on that in a bit.

* Both Balthasar and Rahner agreed that the old two-story model of nature and grace, which saw grace as `added on' by God to nature, was insufficient. Rahner saw God as the driving force inside all nature. But Balthasar argued for an analogy of being in which human beings share a common ground with God but remain distinct.

* Balthasar cautioned against the obsession with the historical Jesus, warning against becoming a Jesus-ian instead of a Christ-ian.

* Balthasar's favorite theologian - Origen (yuck). Ratz disagrees.

* Back to Vatican II. Allen notes that Ratz was among the young progressives there, along with Rahner, Congar, Kung, Schillebeeckx. After getting his appointment at the University from the extraordinary efforts of his friend Kung (whom Ratz later prosecuted and had silenced!), Ratz made a turn to the right in the aftermath of some radical student protests in 1968-9. These protests were blasphemous and Marxist, yet were supported by most Catholic clergy and faculty.

* Allen argues that there were germs of his conservativism in his Vatican II and pre-1968/9 self. At Vatican II there were two allied but distinct impulses of reform present. The liberal `aggiornamento' was a drive to modernize the Church and conform it to cultural standards. The conservative `ressourcement' was also progressive but it was a call to reform the Church by `returning to the sources' (Bible and Church Fathers). (see p. 57). It seems to me that these two impulses roughly correspond to our Protestant liberal and neo-orthodox trends of the 1920s-60s. Ratz was more ressourcement than aggiomento.

* In 1972 the split in the young progressive camp was formalized by Ratz, du Lubac, Walter Kasper, Karl Lehmann, and Balthasar's break from their fellow young Turks in founding Communio, a competing journal to the Concilium that Ratz helped found with Kung, Rahner, Metz, etc. (pp. 84, 91).

* Allen's crypto-animosity for Ratz peeks out for a second in the 2nd paragraph of p. 91 and other places where he assumes evil motives for Ratz's theology - that the change of heart is about his personal grab for power and not sincere theological development.

* Ratz thinks rationalist Adolf von Harnack and existist. Bultmann are the two cornerstones of flawed modern Christology (read more p. 96).

* Ratz loves Augustine's quote "Inasmuch as anyone loves Christ's Church, to that degree he possesses the Holy Spirit." (p.99). I love that quote and have used it a lot too. It is convicting.

* "Ratz says a recovery of Platonic/Augustinian emphasis on individual salvation is a necessary corrective to the corporate and social eschatologies. Here Ratz mentions liberation theology by name...." (p. 101).

* Ratz the teacher: reported that local German townsfolk would go top Ratz's early morning theology lectures at the university on their way to work. He spoke as a priest first, and a prof. second. (p. 103).

* When Ratz switched universities his grad students would go with him. In Germany loyalties are to the prof not the university.

* All Ratz's ex-buddies who he later persecuted on behalf of the Vatican-- turns out they are kind of jerks (though Allen minimizes this). Rahner, for example, made no effort to reconcile with Ratz before his death in 1984; Kung publicly (in print) compared Ratz and the Congregation to the Inquisition and the KGB (p. 126).

* Kung traveled as far left after Vatican II as Ratz traveled right. Somehow Allen thinks Ratz's drift right is inexcusable, but Kung's equal drift left is a sign of his intellectual growth and honesty.

* Ratz "The Christian believer is a simple person: bishops should protect the faith of these little people against the power of intellectuals." (p. 130). YES.

* In the late 60s arch-liberationist heretic Leonardo Boff was aided by Ratz, who helped him get his first publisher. (p. 138).

* Great, concise critique of Gutierrez and liberation theology in general by Ratz in 1983, p. 153. As good as Ronald Nash, in two paragraphs.

* Notre Dame comes off as way to the left of Ratz, which surprised me.

* The section on studies of gay clergy pp. 198ff. is SHOCKING. The frankness with which some of the gay priests troll for sex partners is staggering. We all know 20-40% of Catholic clergy have gay inclinations, but the descriptions of their acting on that is tragic.

* According to quotes Allen provides, Ratz. Believes that people of other faiths can be saved on the basis of their good works pleasing God. (p. 218, for example). Allen, of course, does not think Ratz goes far enough on this.

* Allen consistently paints Ratz as more conservative than Pope JPII.

* Ratz think Neo-Scholasticism that has dominated the Catholic Church lends itself to a too Western view of the world, and that we need more Eastern (Orthodox) influences. (p.226).

* Protestant ecumenism? The Catholic Church, of course, says Protestants are separated brethren. But when a Protestant wishes to become Catholic he must be re-baptized, and clergy must be re-ordained (meaning our sacraments and ordinances are invalid), though the reverse is not true where Catholics become, say Presbyterian. Leo XIII said Anglican ordination is `absolutely null and utterly void." Anyway, Ratz has read lots of Luther (p. 231) and is friends with Lutheran Pannenberg, When asked about the prospects for unity with the Lutheran Church he said "As soon as there is A Lutheran church, we can discuss it."

* Long before the Passion film, Ratz wisely said to Jews "all sinners (not just Jews) are the authors of Christ's passion." (p. 250). I'd go further and as a Calvinist say `all believers who have sinned are the only ones who sent him to the Cross." Further, he reminds Jews (who unlike Christians have no doctrine of forgiving the unrepentant), that "Jesus blood raises no calls for retaliation but calls all to reconciliation."

* Ratz believes Christianity fulfills Judaism (p. 250). He raised controversy by saying, on the eve of a major Jewish-Catholic dialogue meeting in 1987, that Jews could be fully true to their heritage only by becoming Christian (p. 251). The meeting was canceled in protest.

* Pope JPII said to a meeting of Muslims "Your god and ours is the same." (p.252). But Ratz warns that Muslims see the Christian West as very weak, and that at its core Islam is undemocratic. The implication: Islam then will use democracy in the West to gain power, but once in power will abandon democracy.

* Allen think Ratz's stance can be summarized by an obsession with Rom. 12:2 "not being conformed to the spirit of this age." (p. 262).

* Ratz doesn't like Kant's numenal / phenomenal distinction (p. 263).

* Sometimes Allen's facts seem questionable. Was it 163 theologians (p. 282), or 130 (p. 283) who signed the protest against the Pope in 1989?

* The Matthew Fox case shows how radically at odds Allen's vision for the Church is with Ratz's. Allen celebrates Fox's New Age heresy as fresh investigation. (pp. 287ff.). Fox, of course, proves part of Ratz's point about him when in 1992 he publicly protests the Vatican's decision on him in a schismatic fashion. Allen misses the irony of these protests (Kung, Rahner, etc.) every time. Its somehow OK for theologians and priests to publicly attack their church, its bishops, its popes, but its not OK for those popes to render sober judgments against these rebels. Then again, this is the spirit of the age: people in the church don't see much wrong with a parishioner writing a libelous letter about the session or pastor and circulizing it to everyone, but they are shocked and want explanations when a session disciplines a wayward parishioner. I don't get it. Radical democracy? Class wars?

* Ratz thinks in `centuries." He's not worried sp much about winning today's battles, as he is being faithful to the unchanging deposit of faith and setting the church on the right trajectory for the future. (p. 293).

* Next conclave: now in the past. Publisher should have cut this chapter if they were going to re-title it for his ascension to the throne of Peter. Allen predicts there is no way Ratz will ever be Pope.
26 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Simply a smear book 26 April 2005
By Jackie Tortorella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was not familiar with the author when I grabbed this book, or I might have been tipped off. He writes for the National Catholic Reporter, commonly known as the National Catholic "Distorer" because of its extremely liberal slant. Mr. Allen is clearly no fan of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (at the time it was written), and is no doubt dismayed that he is now Pope Benedict XVI. I will admit to not finishing this book. It was so distasteful and disrespectful that I could not read past the first 120 pages, although I really tried to finish it. I don't like to write negative book reviews, but if an author is so willing to write a negative book like this, he deserves a bad review. If Pope Benedict XVI were a dissident who was trying to distort the teachings of the Church, I could understand someone's writing a book to point out his errors. But there are no theological errors Allen can point to here...he can only pontificate his liberal views as though he had authority or even credibility. Not recommended.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The man who would become pope 19 Nov 2005
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As one commentator has pointed out, this is not in fact a new book on the current pope, Benedict XVI, but rather a biography of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would succeed to the papacy in the spring of 2005. In the year 2000, when this book was published, Ratzinger had been working with Pope John Paul II for decades, and seemed in some ways to be reaching a point of retirement. John Allen, a veteran Vatican observer, noted in this text that the succession of Ratzinger was unlikely, even then. Perhaps that helps to add the ring of truth to Ratzinger's own words of gratitude and surprise after his election.

Unlike several of the 'instant history' texts that appeared shortly after the papal election (and, to be fair, some are worthwhile; Allen himself produced one reasonable text entitled 'The Rise of Benedict XVI'), this one had a much longer timeframe for production. Allen was able to do a good amount of research and interviewing to get behind the public image of Ratzinger, variously called the Vatican Enforcer and God's Pit-Bull.

Joseph Ratzinger is a difficult man to pin down in terms of ideology and spirituality. He grew up in the midst of Nazi oppression in Germany, and during the second world war was even pressed into service as a Hitler Youth (something which, by the time Ratzinger was old enough in the early 1940s, was compulsory for all boys in Germany). He reacted against this right-wing tyranny by embracing theological and academic liberalism; his early work is decidedly left-wing in many respects, as Allen points out. However, the shifts in the tide of international theological thought generally, and Roman Catholic thought and practice specifically, left Ratzinger adrift in some ways, a state his logical and organised mind would not tolerate. Ratzinger reconstructed his theology in such a way that is difficult to determine; it is very conservative in many respects, but is far from the knee-jerk style he is often accused of having, and it is far from being closed-minded (Benedict XVI's meeting with Hans Kung recently shows this openness and mind for inquiry).

One of the drawbacks of this text is that Allen draws his own theological agenda in perhaps a bit further than an aiming-toward-objectivity history should display. Allen is to be given credit for his self-identification on many issues, but this serves to muddle the analysis a bit at times. Perhaps this shows itself most directly in the work on liberation theology, but still this is a perspective that is useful and helpful, and Allen adds important information that might not otherwise be accessible outside the more rarified world of professional theologians.

For those who want deeper insight into the man who Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI is, this book is a worthwhile text, particularly if it is taken as one of several books that explore the pope's theology in more detail, and from different perspectives. As a stand-alone text, it presents Pope Benedict XVI in a less than sympathetic light theologically, so caution is advised in such a reading.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback