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Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI Hardcover – 6 Mar 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (6 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199207402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199207404
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 2.8 x 13.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,029,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Benedict/Ratzinger has shown himself to be more conciliatory in his leadership than many had exoected. Tracey Rowland's study, written for readers who are not necessarily theologians, helps us understand why. (Paul Bishop Religion)

a book with an inspirational message. (Joanna Bogle. Catholic Times)

a fascinating book (Christopher Howse, Daily Telegraph)

an accessible survey of the theological landscape by an author completely at ease and in tune with her subject (Fergus Kerr, The Tablet)

[Rowland] has not only mastered a vast body of work in four languages but managed to write about it engagingly, in a style accessible to the general reader. (Christopher Pearson, The Australian)

Ratzinger's Faith is intelligent and fascinating. Although it is academic, it is accessible, clear and rarely dry. It is the sort of book that will help Catholics and non-Catholics who have encountered Ratzinger as Pope Benedict begin to understand why he does the things he does. (The Catholic Herald)

Professor Rowland's study of Benedict XVI's thought, drawn from his addresses and writings, is an important, notably intelligent and stimulating introduction. (Edward Norman, The Spectator)

Pope Benedict emerges from this book as a theologian of profound intellectual depth, clarity, and enterprise. (The Church Times)

Ratzinger's Faith is an intriguing look at a punchy pontiff. (Chronicle of Higher Education)

About the Author

Tracey Rowland is Dean and Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Continental Theology of the John Paul II Institute, Melbourne, Australia, and Member of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The Second Vatican Council (1961-1965) is often presented as a historic battle between 'progressive' bishops and their theological advisors who wanted to change Catholic teaching to more closely harmonize it with the social movements of the 1960s and 'conservatives' who remained wedded to the spirit of the Counter-Reformation era and who, at their most extreme, wanted no engagement at all between the Church and the world beyond her cloisters. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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This is a marvellous book. Buy it and relish the fact that you did. Rowland is a superb writer who makes complex theological concepts accessible. If you like Ratzinger now, you will love him after reading this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Surprisingly there were no other reviews of this book before I came along, so I thought I'd do the business.

Written by Tracey Rowland whom Cardinal Pell of Sydney calls "Australia's leading theologian", this book is dryer than grass in a year-long drought. It's very bookish and academic with many scholarly terms. I can see why Solomon (assuming he authored the book) wrote, "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body." (Ecclesiastes 12:11). The book began to tire me out in its first pages.

Pell states in his foreward that no, "No Pope in history has published as much high quality theology on such a variety of topics as Pope Benedict XVI". Actually, from some of the stuff I have read from his books, and some of the reviews, he just repeats much of the same stuff. And he's not very original.

Ratzinger likes Mozart and Bach. He should retire and go and play some. It will be greatest contribution to humanity!

The title of the review refers to the fact that Joey has (apparently) a penchant for silk and satin costumes, as stated in Murder in the Vatican: The CIA and the Bolshevik Pontiff.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x98e18678) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9817e0d8) out of 5 stars A profound grasp of the wide-ranging theological work of Pope Benedict XVI 12 Mar. 2008
By Alcuin Reid - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Associate Professor Tracey Rowland, Dean of the Melbourne John Paul II Institute, is described by Cardinal Pell in the foreword to this book as making progress towards "becoming Australia's leading theologian." Anyone who has read her 'Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II' will understand that she is a theologian of substance. Those who read 'The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI' will see why she is indeed becoming a leading theologian, not just in Australia but in the English-speaking world.

For her present work demonstrates a profound grasp of the wide-ranging theological work of Pope Benedict XVI and of the theological and philosophical schools within which and in contradistinction to which he has written. No one book can hope to encompass his theological achievement, but certainly one finds here a reliable and sympathetic introduction to it. For serious students of Catholic theology and indeed for those seeking an insight into Pope Benedict's vision of the Church's role in the modern world, this book is a must.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9817e12c) out of 5 stars the best introduction to Ratzinger out there 16 Dec. 2008
By Davie 44 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Of the recent "introduction" books out there on Benedict XVI, I found Rowland's introduction to be the best.

Rowland pulls together a wide range of material and synthesizes it quite well. Unlike Nicol's book, which just walks the reader through some early texts (where he seems to simply restate what Ratzinger just wrote) and other books which attempt to polemicize him needlessly, this one honestly looks at the controversial aspects of his insights, but not in a hysterical tone.

She moves from some of his earlier ideas into his later thought, again done thematically. I thought she also provided excellent insight into the general theological atmosphere in which Ratzinger wrote. She contextualizes in a straightforward manner that allows the reader to grasp the significance and deeper targets Ratzinger sets his sights on. One glaring omission in the text is handled deftly by Hahn in his book Covenant and Communion (2009). While Rowland covers the wide range of Ratzinger's thought, Hahn tackles Ratzinger's understanding of Scripture and synthesizes a tremendous amount of the pope's scholarship in order to develop the heart of Ratzinger's theology: a eucharistic/Christological/sacramental communio ecclesiology.

For those not versed in theology, Rowland will require some work. It is worth it. Those versed in the field will find this extremely insightful. It is a must read for those who want to delve into Benedict's work and gain some sense of coherence and direction.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9811e228) out of 5 stars Excellent piece of scholarship 2 Mar. 2009
By Danny Boy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Dr Rowland's second work is an excellent piece of scholarship. It introduces the reader to the major trends in Ratzinger's thought. Material is carefully synthesised and arranged in a thematic order. This work is obviously the result of a thorough read of Ratzinger's work. The author is to be commended for surveying his major ideas, including his more controversial ones, particularly those on the liturgy. Whatever you think of the current Pope, if you want to understand the blueprint for this papacy, this book is a must.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9817e3b4) out of 5 stars An excellent guide to Pope Benedict's thought and how it can impact on our present cultural crisis. 1 Mar. 2009
By Bernard Roach - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book brilliantly explains Pope Benedict's theological understandings, but more importantly for this reader, relates these to the dramatic debates occurring within the Church and the broader society. Thus, in explaining the relationship between theology and history and culture (indeed, the book notes there is no such thing as a theologically "neutral" state) it is particularly useful for those Catholics stranded within the outer reaches of the Anglo-sphere, such as Australia, where a new and decidedly aggressive post-Protestant secular liberalism now dominates the public space. Unfortunately, the fact that the modern state has its own secular theology and is also increasingly coercive has yet to penetrate the minds of many Catholic pastoralists and bureaucrats. Within Australia, one has only to look at how they let themselves be rolled on a compulsory national curriculum, which by its very nature will impose a world view at variance with a Catholic understanding of history, and which will ignore or minimize the vital rôle of Christianity in forming our society. How we wish that Dr Rowland's book could somehow be made compulsory reading for those guiding the future of Catholic institutions within this country.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9817e5f4) out of 5 stars Faithful Exposition of Ratzinger in Context 28 Feb. 2009
By Francis G - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Tracey Rowland has produced a work which should be of immense interest to both "fans" and "enemies" of the famous "panzer-Kardinal" now His Holiness Benedict XVI. This is so because she paints the theological landscape as it stood at the (now long ago) time of the Second Vatican Council. I am not aware of any author who has as skillfully and concisely achieved this difficult and complex task. It is also remarkable for the breadth of work which is synthesized and faithfully presented and unpolemically explained. Exception must be taken to this aspect of a another reviewer's attack on Mm Rowland, he has it would seem taken a shot at the messenger. Whatever the merit of the reviewers arguments it is with Pope Benedict that battle must be joined as Mm Rowland in almost every instance meticulously supports the assertions she makes with her subject's cited authority.

The Communion school of theology and its Ressourcement project would seem to be vibrant with not only the Holy Father but Cardinals Scola and Ouelet among others leading the cutting edge of a Christo-centric, Trinitarian and Nuptial reading within the Tradition. All of this can be said to have begun well prior to Vatican II - John Henry Newman emphasized the importance of being "deep in history" and led a recovery of interest in the Fathers which echoed to Przywara and Balthasar. To derrogate the importance of history in theology is to have failed to grasp the central and burning question facing theology in this and the later part of the last century. This is not to be anti-Thomas but to fossilise the Angelic doctor and to rely on Suarezian systematised parodies of his insights is not only absurd but does a great disservice to the man who was a disciple of St Augustine and whose Catena Aurea shows him to be deep in history and the tradition of the Fathers.

The forces of liberal secularisation are to the Church more grave a threat and as real as those she faced against the ideology of dialectical materialism during the Cold War. It is now secular post-modern materialism which threatens. History and our patrimony and identity are vital theological questions not only for the institution of the Church, the family and all Christians and persons of goodwill if we are to survive in a secular world which ignores with some justified disinterest mere bald statements of a dogma, doctrine, rules or even (pace, dear scholastic) down-pat syllogisms.

We do not abandon all the rules but our faith, but the faith of the Church is not moralism (merely a set of rules to be followed - a code of ethics): it is about being in love with a person (Deus Caritas Est). We accept the Church's teachings as true for they are His (the love of our heart) own, as Newman put it in his hymn. These teachings are His Church's, the mediatrix between Being and Time (Principles of Catholic Theology), and we accept them in love because the Church - the Communio Ecclesia - is His spouse(in history). We cannot save ourselves (Spe Salvi) and we cannot be saved by systems, rules, goods of flourishing (unless the good is Christ) or a school of theology, even noble Thomism, let alone other worthy -isms.

Anyone interested in the renewal of Catholic theology will find this book essential and compelling reading.
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