June 14, 2024
News Vatican

LEV-Rizzoli publish a collection of ten significant speeches by Benedict XVI

The Vatican’s publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV), along with the Italian Rizzoli, publish “With God you are never alone”, a collection of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s most pregnant speeches during his pontificate, with the Preface of Father Federico Lombardi, S.J..

By Lisa Zengarini

For the first time ten of Benedict XVI’s most momentous speeches during his pontificate have been published in one volume.  Titled “With God you are never alone” (“Con Dio non sei mai solo”), the book is published by the Vatican’s publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV), along with the  Italian Rizzoli, and hit the shelves on 9 January, just over a week after the Pope Emeritus’ death on 31 December 2022.

The Preface by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J.

The preface is penned by Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., former Director of Vatican Radio, Vatican TV, and of the Holy See Press Office, and currently president of the Vatican Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation.

The volume  proposes a limited selection of  the Pope Emeritus’ most significant discourses ranging from his historic speech to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005, the first year of his Petrine ministry, to his last General Audience on  27 February 2013 after he announced his renunciation, but does not include any of his magisterial writings or documents.

A significant selection

This  choice, explains Father Lombardi in his Preface,  is “necessarily reductive and to a certain extent questionable”, all the more considering Joseph Ratzinger’s prolific production and dense work, first as a theologian and then as Pope.  At the same time, he notes,  Benedict XVI’s thought is so coherent, and “organic” as a whole and in its development, “that its main lines can be grasped even starting from a limited choice of his texts”.

The texts selected have been pronounced in different times, places and contexts, addressing the main issues that underpinned his pontificate and entire theological thought:  from the relationship between faith and reason, to the ongoing search for God in the modern secularized society, to the question of the presence of God in the face of evil, to the reception of the Council. It also includes his homily  closing the the Year for Priests  (2009-2010), one of his numerous interventions on the subject of clerical sexual abuse, which emerged dramatically during his pontificate. 

Benedict XVI’ concern for Europe losing its Christian roots

Wherether in the Vatican, or at Westminster Hall in London, or in Paris (Collège des Bernardins), or in Germany (Berlin, Cologne, Auschwitz), all the discourses chosen for  the book were prounounced in a European country.

This, remarks Father Lombardi, is not coincidental: “The last ‘European Pope’ thoroughly knows the culture and history of his continent, and is convinced that it is no coincidence that the form assumed by the Christian faith in dialogue with reason was formed in Europe.“

A passion for dialogue between reason and faith 

What emerges distinctly from these ten great speeches is Benedict XVI’s passionate desire “to practice personally and to propose to all the lived dialogue between reason and faith as a necessary way for the good and salvation of each one and of the entire human family in the face of the dramatic challenges of our time”, concludes the preface.

“Pope Benedict poses to the men of our time the question whether the objective reason that manifests itself in nature, investigated and known by man’s subjective reason, does not presuppose a creative Reason that founds both, and recalls man’s responsibility before God and the recognition of the inviolable dignity of every human person, made in the image of God.”

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