Last Testament: In His Own Words
Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
For the first time ever, the story of Pope Benedict XVI’s historic resignation is being chronicled in his own words - with Last Testament: In His Own Words. This one-of-a-kind book provides a unique insight into the thoughts and experiences of one of the most influential religious leaders of our time. Drawing from an unprecedented series of interviews with Peter Seewald, Pope Benedict speaks candidly about his life before and during his papacy and gives an intimate look at topics such as corruption within the Vatican, clerical sex scandals, and the challenges that he faced while reforming papacy. The revelations contained in this book offer an invaluable resource for those interested in understanding more effectively the complexity underlying modern Catholicism, making it both politically relevant and spiritually edifying. By embodying a professionalism coupled with sincerity, Last Testament is sure to make a lasting impact on readers of all faiths looking to gain greater perspective into unanticipated history as seen through its primary source - His Holiness himself.
In these interviews, Benedict discusses such wide-ranging controversies as:
- The "Vatileaks" case in which his butler leaked some of his personal letters that alleged corruption and scandal in the Vatican
- The presence of a "gay lobby" within the Vatican and how he dismantled it
- His alleged Nazi upbringing
- His attempts at cleaning up the "dirt in the church" (clerical sexual abuse)
- The mysterious private secretary "Gorgeous George"
On a more personal level he writes with great warmth of his successor Pope Francis, who he admits has a popular touch, a star quality which Benedict himself has lacked. Much controversy still surrounds Pope Benedict's Papacy--in this book he addresses these controversies and reveals how at his late age, governing and reforming the Papacy and particularly the Vatican, was beyond him.
"The most sincere interview which Benedict XVI has given . . . It is gripping from the very beginning . . . An exquisite conversation between two people who know each other, like each other, and have mutual respect for one another . . . A fantastic book which should not be overlooked by any open-minded Catholic who wishes to learn from our great tradition but also wants to progress with the Church." - The Catholic Times
"Throughout there are moments of breathtaking candor . . . it's stunning to realize you're reading the inner thoughts--and confessions--of a former pope now speaking without the weight of that papal mantle . . . The portrait here is one that deepens and defends the place of Benedict in history." - Chicago Tribune
"There are beautiful moments in the book." - The Huffington Post
"The most revealing book yet on Benedict XVI . . . Seewald has gathered in perhaps the finest harvest yet. For more than a decade I have read everything I can about Benedict XVI, but I was amazed by the revelations in this new book." - Catholic Herald
"Joseph Ratzinger has certainly been a great theologian . . . Last Testament [is] revealing about who this underrated man really is . . . He bears comparison with the greatest doctors of the Church." - Prospect
"Prophetic and important analysis. The Testament is a fascinating read for this and so much more, and there is a consistent note of joyful and solid faith which is an inspiration." - Joanna Bogle, The Catholic World Report
"I can't begin to describe the influence that the writings of Joseph Ratzinger have had on me . . . but suffice it to say that this beautiful and compelling book may well be the final gem in the crown of his work that we've all been waiting for." - Paul Senz, The Catholic World Report
"[Last Testament] deepens our sense of the personality, gentleness, humor, and subtlety of the pope emeritus." - First Things
Originally a liberal theologian, he adopted conservative views after 1968. His prolific writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many Western countries. He views relativism's denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He taught the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love. Pope Benedict also revived a number of traditions, including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position. He strengthened the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, promoted the use of Latin, and reintroduced traditional papal garments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics". He has been described as "the main intellectual force in the Church" since the mid-1980s.
With the death of Pope Benedict, I felt this was the perfect book to read, and I was right. It is handled in a Q/A format because it is an interview, and it covers everything from Ratzinger's early life to his papacy and resignation. It answered a lot of the questions that I had about this holy man, and it filled in a lot of gaps that I was wondering about his personality and character. I definitely recommend it if you want to more fully understand and appreciate Pope Benedict