An analysis of crisis in the Church and society, a portrait of the Pope.

Peter Seewald


Benedict’s XVI’s new book-length interview is coming.

From the Catholic Herald we have an interview with the papal interviewer:

Peter Seewald: ‘I know of few young people so alive, so curious and so modern as the Pope’ [Fascinating.]

The German author talks about his hugely anticipated book, Light of the World

By Edward Pentin on Friday, 19 November 2010

A series of candid interviews with Pope Benedict XVI will go on sale around the world next week in the eagerly anticipated book: “Light of the World, The Pope, The Church and The Signs of the Times” by Peter Seewald.

Mr Seewald, a German author and former magazine editor, has shared these brief comments about the book – the first ever to contain verbal interviews between a pontiff and a journalist.

Mr Seewald, how important do you think the book will be in helping people become better acquainted with the Pope?

Benedict XVI is still always falsely portrayed. Fundamentally, he is a very dear man and extremely lovable. Here is someone who is inexhaustible, a great giver[I can attest to that.  He would always give me both time and, when he had a new one, books.  I have a little shelf of his books signed that he sent down.  He would stand and answer (and ask) questions.  He is giving. ] And if I’m honest, I know of few young people who are so fit, so productive, so alive, so curious and in a certain sense so young and as modern as this seemingly old man on the throne of Peter. This book contains not only an analysis of the crisis in the Church and society, but it is in some ways also a portrait of the Pope.

How much has the Pope changed since your last conversations with him?

Well to begin with, he’s quite simply gotten older. Aged 83 and leading the universal Church with 1.2 billion members is no trifling matter. Of course, this office has a tremendous aura, but the Joseph Ratzinger of earlier times is also the Joseph Ratzinger of today. He is like hard wood when it comes to the basic tenets of the faith – but he is also a shepherd, even more sensitive, humble and wiser now. Above all, he has kept his beautiful, subtle humor. Basically he is a very dear man, extremely lovable and his willingness to help others is positively touching.

You have said that some people will be upset by the book. What did you mean by this, and might this harm his pontificate? [NB]

This book will not fit well for many people, some because they will feel uncomfortable, their critical attitude to this Pope won’t change, and for others because this man does not correspond to their image of him as a reactionary. Conversely, Light of the World will make many people sit up – through his clarity, his truth, and ultimately through his prophetic words. It’s inconceivable to me that it would harm his pontificate. On the contrary, it will give us a new, unobstructed view of the Pope’s work and his great achievements so far. And it can help us in a world where so often the blind lead the blind, looking to find guidance. There is no doubt Pope Benedict is not only one of the greatest theologians, but also one of the greatest intellectuals and thinkers of our time. This book is a message to the world and the Church. And I think, as rarely before, it helps us come to understand not only the times in which we live, but also the core issues of the faith.

I look forward to reading this, perhaps with a cup of coffee.

You might do us a favor and, even if you are not a Kindle user, go to the amazon site using my link above and clicking the link: Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book on Kindle.

And don’t forget the Holy Father’s second volume on Jesus of Nazareth.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Childermass says:

    Father, I’m so excited! I’ve been going through the smashing book-length interviews of Cardinal Ratzinger in chronological order, and I have to pinch myself to believe that we have a pontiff so brilliant and erudite yet so humble and spiritual! I don’t know how anyone can fail to love this gentle and holy man.

  2. Melody says:

    Ever since I heard his address to the the US (The first time I heard him speak in English) I’ve thought of him as a loving grandfather type.

  3. anna 6 says:

    I can’t wait for it!
    Amy Welborn has read it and will be blogging about it in advance of the release…

  4. Before you even posted this Father, I added both Light of the World and the Pope’s 2nd Volume of Jesus of Nazareth to my Amazon Wishlist earlier today. I hope to purchase both in the near future.

    I also ordered a Christmas gift pack of Mystic Monk coffee for my wife….today was a busy day of online browsing and shopping….I can’t wait to purchase and read both of these upcoming books.

  5. lucy says:

    Light of the World will be on it’s way to your possession in a few days. Enjoy !

  6. HighMass says:


    What wonderful statements about Our Dear LOVE Holy Father! Gosh one hopes he know how many of us LOVE and Pray for HIM. At this very moment oneThanks GOD and pleads with GOD (if it is GOD’S Will) to please Continue to send Pope Benedict Good Health and Joy, He is a Blessing !

    VIVA il PAPA!

  7. joan ellen says:

    I love Pope Benedict XVI. And also pray for him daily. This is just more good news. Thanks, Fr.

  8. oldCatholigirl says:

    Ditto to what joan ellen said.

  9. kradcliffe says:

    I’ve already pre-ordered the book! Did so as soon as I learned of it.

    As soon as the Holy Father came out on the balcony as our new Pope, I could tell he was a good man. I think my initial impression was something like, “Oh, he looks like such a sweetheart.”

  10. irishgirl says:

    This is great news! When I worked in the local Catholic bookstore we had books by-and about Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict on the shelves, including ‘The Ratzinger Report’ by Peter Seewald. Is Ignatius Press putting this out?
    I will always remember how excited I was when I saw him step out on the balcony of St. Peter’s as Pope. The people who were watching it just grumbled and turned away, having swallowed whole the media caricature of ‘Panzerkardinal’ and ‘Rottweiler’. I didn’t care what ‘they’ thought—I was overjoyed!
    I love our ‘German Shepherd’! May he live many more years!

  11. brianvzn says:

    I am very disturbed about an article I just read on a secular website regarding some of the comments the Pope makes in this book. I am hoping that these quotes were taking out of context and does not reflect a softening of the Pope’s stance on condoms. This article claims that the Pope says condoms can be acceptable in certain cases, such as for use by male prostitutes. Here is the link if anyone wants to read it.

  12. Randii says:

    I’m hearing the Pope said condom use is permissable in some cases. This would be an historic change for the church.

  13. robtbrown says:

    Randii says:

    I’m hearing the Pope said condom use is permissable in some cases. This would be an historic change for the church.

    In fact, no it wouldn’t. The prohibition against contraception (non abortifacients) is not simply biologism. Rather, it protects the sanctity of the marriage act. Saying that male prostitutes using condoms is justified is like saying that a drunk who regularly beats up his wife does less damage if he slaps rather than uses a clenched fist.

  14. MBinSTL says:

    @Randii, Jimmy Akin has the full context of the Pope’s remarks and some good commentary (along with some commentary from Dr. Janet Smith):

    The Pope Said WHAT about Condoms???

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