Book Review: St. Paul Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009 to be the Jubilee Year of Saint Paul commemorating his 2,000th birthday.  This has been a low key celebration it would seem except possibly in Rome and especially at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside of the Walls where St. Paul’s body is buried.  This short and small book though can be of help to those who would like to observe this jubilee.  This book contains short quotes from Pope Benedict.  These quotes have been selected from his writings, addresses, homilies and other sources since he has been Pope.

This book is part of the Spiritual Thoughts Series published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing.  There was a previous book by the Pope on spiritual thoughts about his first year as Pope entitled, Pope Benedict XVI:  Spiritual Thoughts (2007).  There are others in the series that are going to be published.  One is on Mary and another one on the saints.  This particular book on St. Paul has a preface by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who is the Vatican’s Secretary of State which is the person that ranks below the Pope in the hierarchy.  The introduction is by Fr. Edmund Caruana, O.Carm.  This book is an English translation of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana’s edition.  There are eight parts with an index at the end of the book.

The quotes from the Pope are short, usually only a few sentences.  There are 159 numbered quotes in this small book.  The pope covers the apostolic vocation of St. Paul, St. Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, St. Paul and the Holy Spirit, the Christian experience as St. Paul saw it, the Church of God, the Sacraments, and prayer.  The Pope quotes many times from the letters of St. Paul.  The quotes are followed by a citation as to where the quote came from and when.

General readers and the sophisticated person will enjoy this book.  These quotes can be used for retreats or as starting points for meditation or reflection.  One could look up the scripture that the pope is discussing and expand upon what he is writing about.  At the end of each chapter is space provided for note taking.  This small book is highly recommended to those looking for a low-key way to observe the Jubilee of St. Paul or who just wants to read quotes from Pope Benedict on St. Paul.

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