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Books

The Pope Benedict Code, by Joanna Bogle

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 Contents - Feb 2006AD2000 February 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Catholic schools: how much accountability? - Michael Gilchrist
Cardinal Arinze on the Liturgy: the Mass is not entertainment - Cardinal Francis Arinze
News: The Church Around the World
Catechesis: Latest research on Catholic school leavers - Michael Gilchrist
Education: Catholic Church and her schools face a 'wake-up call' - Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett
Liturgical Music: The spiritual impact of Msgr. Richard Schuler's priestly leadership and example - Fr John T. Zuhlsdorf
Priestly vocations: the key role of bishops - John Mallon
New Age paganism's creeping influence within the Church - Wanda Skowronska
Blessed Charles de Foucauld: seeking nothing but God's will - Dr Frank Mobbs
The Church of England: beyond satire? - Rev Peter Mullen
Letters: Clerical Celibacy (letter) - Fr Adrian Head
Letters: All Saints Day (letter) - M & L Morrissey
Letters: Ars priests retreat - Fr Robert Markey
Letters: Wrong chord? (letter) - John Daly
Prayer: The Abandonment Prayer of Charles de Foucauld
Letters: Beautiful music (letter) - Josephine Landsberg
Letters: Cardinal von Galen (letter) - Denise M. Cameron
Letters: Survival of the fittest (letter) - Arthur Negus
Letters: Evolutionism - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Intelligent design (letter) - Paul MacLeod
Letters: Homilies (letter) - Robert Prinzen-Wood
Letters: Catholic magazines needed in India - Fr A. Joseph
Letters: EWTN tapes available - Harry and Antoinette Zwaans
Books: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: The Pope Benedict Code, by Joanna Bogle - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: For the Life of the World:St Maximilian and the Eucharist, by Fr Jerzy Domanski - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: CATHOLIC FAMILY CATECHISM: Disciples' Edition and Apostles' Edition, Fr Tierney - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Events: Virtus - Retreat for Young Men
Events: Lecture on the Compendium of the Catechism - Msgr Peter Elliott
Books: Stimulating reading from AD Books
Reflection: The hidden treasure of the Holy Mass - St Leonard of Port Maurice
THE POPE BENEDICT CODE
by Joanna Bogle
(2005, Gracewing, 90pp, $18.95. Available from AD Books)

Joanna Bogle has been one of the most outspoken defenders of Christian truth in the United Kingdom, expressing herself fearlessly in newspaper articles, lectures and media appearances.

She explains the aims of her "Code" as "to present in an attractive way some of the important messages [Benedict XVI] has conveyed in this opening period of his pontificate" and "to offer some of the teachings of the Pope ... in a form that will enable Catholics and others to understand his message and relate it to their own lives."

As the author rightly points out, a pope, unlike the secular politician, does not have a "program", since his job is to be faithful to and hand on what was revealed to us by Christ. His task is to teach and safeguard true doctrine in the context of the times we live in, not to invent new ones.

However, within these constraints, a pope can "bring his own style and gifts", as Benedict has undoubtedly done, even in the short period since his election.

Basic continuity

Before presenting us with a series of extracts from Benedict's sermons, addresses and writings, the author provides a brief biography of the future pope.

Here, claims are examined that the earlier "liberal" Joseph Ratzinger later changed into a hard-line conservative. The Cardinal himself maintained that there was a "basic continuity" in his theology and Bogle quotes the explanation of a former student of Professor Ratzinger in support of this: "Is it too much to suggest that the changes in his thinking might best be interpreted as signs of maturity, of further reflection due to changing circumstances and broader experience, especially as Prefect of the Congregation?"

There are also revealing recollections from another former student of Professor Ratzinger, Fr Joseph Fessio SJ, founder of Ignatius Press, and from Fr Richard Neuhaus.

The overview, in addition, deals with the Pope's thinking on liturgy: "Liturgy can only attract people when it looks, not at itself, but at God, when it allows Him to enter and act. Then something truly unique happens, beyond comprehension, and people have a sense that more has taken place than recreational activity."

Following the biography, the author provides "snippets to give a flavour of what Pope Benedict has been saying in his first days and months in office", as well as "things he said and wrote as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."

These "snippets" (together with linking narratives and commentaries) are grouped under such key headings as the Eucharist, Sunday observance, confession, the Church, papal authority, the priesthood, ecumenism, the one true Church, sanctity of human life, catechetics, and young people and the Church's future.

In short, The Pope Benedict Code provides not only a convenient introduction to the life and thoughts of our new Pope but also a concise refresher course on Catholic teachings.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 1 (February 2006), p. 17

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