Spiritual Thoughts: In the First Year of his Papacy. Pope Benedict XVI. Washington, DC: US Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 2007. 128 pages. Paperback. ISBN 1-57455-765-7. $9.95.
Pope Benedict XVI has been pope for two years. He has had mighty big shoes to fill. His predecessor was the third longest reigning pope in history. Only St. Peter and Pope Blessed Pius IX were popes longer than Pope John Paul II. Some would like Pope Benedict to give his predecessor the title "the Great." Pope Benedict has already put his predecessor on the fast track to sainthood which reached concluded the diocesan phase of the canonization process on John Paul's second anniversary of death, April 2, 2007.
This little book of Pope Benedict's thoughts was compiled by Lucio Coco. This present book is the American edition of this book which has been published with the permission of the Vatican into various languages. Pope Benedict is an intellectual and this shows through these quotes quite vividly. These quotes are not dry as one might expect from an academic professor. He speaks from the heart. Pope Benedict over his first year as pope covered many different subjects. He talked about the Eucharist, ecumenism, St. Benedict, relativism, secularism, suffering, pain, death, peace, obedience, liturgy, hope, faith, love, catechesis, education, war, the priesthood, freedom, spirituality, theology, Scripture, the Church Fathers, Lent, mercy, life, death, resurrection, Mary, St. Joseph, family, marriage, the religious life, modernity, Pope John Paul II, his election, fear, morality, Christmas, Easter, and especially about God and Jesus.
There are 175 quotes given. Coco divides the quotes by months in which they were spoken or written. He then begins the quote with a title or theme. This is followed by the quote which varies in length from one sentence to a short paragraph. The quote is then cited from where and when it was spoken or written. Some quotes are from the same occasion. The book concludes with a subject index. After reading the quotes one might want to look up the whole document or source that it came from. Many of these are on the Vatican's website, www.Vatican.va.
Catholics interested in what Pope Benedict has to say will be interested in this book. Those looking for a source for meditation may enjoy this book too. Non-Catholics will find a quick source for the spiritual thoughts of Pope Benedict XVI in this book.