Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, writes eloquently and persuasively about how one can live as a serious Christian in today’s secular world. He talks in depth about the true meaning of faith, hope, and love—the love of God and the love of neighbor. He also discusses at length the crucial importance of a lived faith, for the believer himself as well as for witnessing and striving to bring faith in line with the present age, which has veered off into rampant secularism and materialism. He passionately encourages the reader to practice a deep, abiding Christian faith that seeks to be at the service of humanity.
What It Means to Be a Christian includes essays derived from sermons preached to college students toward the end of Vatican II. They are remarkable, among other reasons, for their insights into the ongoing Christian struggle to understand and realize in action “what it means to be a Christian.”
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- Preface by the author
- Three sermons preached in the cathedral at Muenster
- Title: What It Means to Be a Christian
- Author: Joseph Ratzinger
- Translator: Henry Taylor
- Publisher: Ignatius
- Publication Date: 2006
- Pages: 86
About Joseph Ratzinger
Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI, is one of our time’s most revered Catholic prelates, scholars, theologians, teachers, and authors. He has spoken on many crucial subjects, including sexual consumerism, modern gender roles, marriage, the priesthood, and the future. As a teenager, he studied classical languages and, in 1939, entered the minor seminary in Traunstein. Though he was drafted into the German antiaircraft corps in 1943, he reentered the seminary in 1945, when World War II ended. 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 received his doctorate in theology in 1953, from the University of Munich. Starting in 1959, Ratzinger taught theology at the University of Bonn.
At 35, Joseph Ratzinger was appointed chief theological advisor to the archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joseph Frings, and he maintained that title for four years. 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, in June 1977, was elevated to cardinal. 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, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to be the 265th pope. He took the name Benedict XVI, after St. Benedict of Nursia. Since that time, he has continued to receive worldwide respect and has been a spiritual influence to Christians and non-Christians alike.