Action Alert!

Benedict XVI | What You Need to Know

While posts every document and address of Pope Benedict XVI, good materials giving an overview of the life and thought of the current pontiff are hard to come by. We will update our recommendations as more become available.

None of the readily-available Internet biographies of Joseph Ratzinger before he became pope is very thorough, and not much has been added since his election, but this is still the best place to start for a quick overview.

Understanding the key ideas which will shape Benedict's pontificate will put you ahead of the vast majority of commentators, but the work is not for the faint of heart. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome, gave a remarkable address to his priests offering a thorough analysis of these ideas in one strenuous sitting.

Getting at what Benedict is teaching (rather than what he is thinking) is much easier. The Pope's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, is a wonderful treatment of the love of God. It is more accessible than you might think, and the second half can be used as spiritual reading.

Essential Perspective

  1. A Short Biography
  2. The Leading Ideas of Benedict XVI
  3. Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love)