Written in late 2004, shortly before Joseph Ratzinger’s election as Pope Benedict XVI, this book addresses the serious issues concerning the new European Union and the drafting of a European Constitution, events with far-reaching consequences for the West and, indeed, the world.
The main questions Cardinal Ratzinger raise include: How did Europe originate and what are its boundaries? Who has the right to call himself European and be admitted into the new Europe? What about the spiritual roots of Europe and the moral foundation she is founded on?
Ratzinger sees the lack of focus on these fundamental questions in the formation of a new Europe as a grave problem for the future of Europe and the world. Europe’s link to America and the rest of the world make these questions and reflections by the current Pontiff of critical importance in facing the future together.
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Ratzinger is at his finest—not writing above our heads as with some theological works, but as a teacher warning us about the inevitable consequences of our behavior. . . . Ratzinger explains how the refusal of Europeans to accept their Christian roots is contributing to a declining culture. The text examines models of government, specifically the two totalitarian regimes of the previous century and insists that we allow the state to provide moral guidelines once again. Finally, a good argument against the acceptance of Turkey into the EU is explained, drawing on the ancient history of this continent we call Europe today and how Christianity forged those boundaries, cultural identities and systems of faith. This is a call to return to the moral center; a faith based civilization that was once great but has recently shunned the core that made it so. This is an example of how man—s enlightenment and greatness should be accepted as gifts from God and therefore attributed as such.
—Deacon Brandon B. Justice, SFO, MA, Archdiocese of Washington DC
Joseph Ratzinger is one of the most revered Catholic prelates, scholars, theologians, teachers, and authors of our time. He has spoken on many crucial subjects, including sexual consumerism, roles of men and women today, marriage, the priesthood, and the future of the world. On June 29, 1951, Joseph Ratzinger was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Freising on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. He also received his doctorate in theology in 1953 from the University of Munich. Starting in 1959, Ratzinger taught theology at the University of Bonn.
After many years of teaching at several German universities, Ratzinger was appointed by Pope Paul VI as Archbishop of Munich and Freising in March 1977, and was elevated to cardinal in June 1977. In November 1981, Ratzinger was summoned by Pope John Paul II to Rome, where he was named Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and President of the International Theological Commission.
On April 19, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected to be the 265th pope. He took the name Benedict XVI, after St. Benedict of Nursia. As pope, he received worldwide respect and was a spiritual influence to Christians and non-Christians alike. In 2013, he resigned the papacy, becoming the first pope to do so in since the fifteenth century. He retired to a monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where he continues to study and write.