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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Gets Political in New Book

May 11, 2018. Retired pope illustrates the relationship between faith and politics in highly anticipated new book that features a foreword from Pope Francis.

A major theme of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI has always been that of the relationship between faith and politics. Pope Francis, in his foreword to the English-language edition of FAITH AND POLITICS, selected writings of Pope Benedict XVI that will be published by Ignatius Press on August 15, 2018, says, “[Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s] firsthand experience of Nazi totalitarianism led him even as a young student to reflect on the limits of obedience to the state for the sake of the liberty of obeying God.”

In FAITH AND POLITICS, Pope Francis further quotes from one of Ratzinger’s texts, addressing the conflict between Christianity and Marxism: “The state is not the whole of human existence and does not encompass all human hope. Man and what he hopes for extend beyond the framework of the state and beyond the sphere of political action.”

When Ratzinger worked alongside St. John Paul II, Pope Francis added, “He elaborated and proposed a Christian vision of human rights capable of questioning on a theoretical and practical level the totalitarian claim of the Marxist state and the atheist ideology on which it was based.”

Ratzinger has explored various aspects of the association between faith and politics in books, speeches, homilies and dialogues throughout his career, from his years as a theology professor to his tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and, most recently, as Pope Benedict XVI. The reader will find some of these texts collected in FAITH AND POLITICS. Titles such as “Politics and Truth: Jesus Before Pilate,” “Truth, Values, Power: Touchstones of Pluralistic Society” and “If You Want Truth, Respect the Conscience of Every Person” give some idea of the range of topics covered.

As Pope Francis concludes in his foreword, the texts presented in FAITH AND POLITICS “can help all of us not only to understand our present day and to find a sound orientation for the future but also to be a true and genuine source of inspiration for political action that places the family, solidarity and equity at the center of its attention and of its planning and, thereby, truly looks to the future with farsighted wisdom.”

“This is the only book that collates all of Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s most significant speeches and essays on political themes inside the one volume,” Professor Tracey Rowland, John Paul II Chair of Theology at the University of Notre Dame (Australia), says of FAITH AND POLITICS. “This book will be of enormous value for all Catholics involved in public life as well as for students of ethics and political theory. Ratzinger’s works have a classical quality whose relevance does not date. This is likely to be a standard reference work in the field of Catholic political theory and theology for generations.”

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