The story of Pope Benedict XVI is one that all Christians should know better. This humble man, so misunderstood by the world at large, is described in a recent film documentary (Ignatius Press) as a man who has a "love affair with the truth." This is an apt description of a man who deeply loves Christ and the truth of the gospel.
From his childhood in Bavaria to his service as a parish priest Joseph Ratzinger always loved the truth. He resisted Hitler as a young teen and in time walked away from the German army when his actions could have brought about his death. His passion has always been for the life of the mind and his goal to be a writing/teaching professor of theology. Whereas John Paul II was a philosopher Benedict XVI is a biblical theologian. His teaching was widely praised by his students and his written work shows a profound clarity. But the academic Ratzinger eventually became a bishop and then a cardinal. His friend John Paul II wanted him to head up the congregation for doctrine so he eventually went to serve his church in Rome. His dream was to retire to his native land and finally write even more books. He thus refers to himself as a kind of reluctant pope.
Pope Benedict may be the most intelligent pope since the Protestant Reformation. There certainly hasn't been a pope with his background in academia and spiritual theology. But with his keen mind he also possesses a compassionate heart. To read him, and to listen to him, is to hear a tender heart for God and people. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his pursuit of truth, so far as I am concerned, is his love for ecumenism. His writing on this subject has often helped me to see more clearly the challenges and blesses of this endeavor.
If you know very little about Benedict XVI, or perhaps a lot, this video documentary Pope Benedict XVI: A Love Affair With the Truth (Ignatius, 2008, 56 minutes) will give you a humane and insightful insight into his life and career. I found it an extremely encouraging video. It is the only such resource we have on this pope.
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Dr. Armstrong – Thank you for this recommendation, and for your ecumenical mission. Blessings and Peace. KB
Thanks, John, as I am one of those who know very little about this pope. When I get done with work I’m going to watch the video.