Without Roots came to be because of the chance encounter of Joseph Ratzinger and Marcello Pera as they both gave lectures at the Pontifical Lateran University. Once each read the others lectures they realized that they were arriving at the same conclusion for the restitution of Europe's future but coming from very different backgrounds. The conclusion is, "the only thing worse than living without roots is struggling to get by without a future." (Pera: xii)
The theme of the book is judging Europe's past as a cohesive identifier of the culture that was once so great. European culture was born out of Christianity, namely Catholicism, and the current idea of culture is to wipe away any vestiges of a Christian past. To do this, argues Pera and Ratzinger, would be for Europe to lose its identity entirely. Both men speak to issues such as politics, philosophy, and the American model of the separation between Church and State. Pera talks at length about Islam and its unrelenting nature in the face of relativism and political pressure. The audience is those interested in European politics, culture, and Christianity.
The strength of the book has to be the resounding authority and diversity of background with which both men approach the subject at hand. Joseph Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI, perhaps the most authoritative voice on Catholicism in Europe. Marcello Pera is a secularist and the President of the Italian Senate. The challenges might be that Joseph Ratzinger does not give a rebuttal to all the thoughts posed by Pera, claiming his scope lies only in Theology and not politics-for this I respect him and also would love to know what he thinks on subjects like American politics and Islam.
I highly recommend this book. It is enlightening and rare because of the secularist and Catholic arriving at the same conclusion concerning Europe's roots. Also, as an American, if gives me a lot to ponder on our own system of government and the affects Europe has had on the USA.