Customer Reviews


21 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars probably not for "beginners" but still excellent
I came to this book--or, rather, interview--as a person feeling the pull to Catholicism. This was probably not the best book to read this early in the journey to Rome, since it presumes something of a knowledge of the Church and its "crisis" in modern times, particularly after Vatican II--unlike, say, an introduction to Catholic theology or liturgy. In that...
Published on February 5, 2003 by Yalensian

versus
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Showing its Age
This book is a report of an interview conducted by an Italian journalist of then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1984. Because its focus is on the state of the church, much of its content very much dates to the 1984 era, and is not so relevant for today.

For example, at the time this was written, LeFevbre and his followers were not yet in schism, there was no Tridentine...
Published on September 26, 2005 by G. Weidman


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars probably not for "beginners" but still excellent, February 5, 2003
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
I came to this book--or, rather, interview--as a person feeling the pull to Catholicism. This was probably not the best book to read this early in the journey to Rome, since it presumes something of a knowledge of the Church and its "crisis" in modern times, particularly after Vatican II--unlike, say, an introduction to Catholic theology or liturgy. In that respect, then, not being a Catholic, I was probably limited in what I could take from the book.
Nevertheless, I found it extremely fascinating and worthwhile. For starters, Ratzinger's understanding of the Church speaks directly to why I was drawn to it in the first place. He conveys a sense of the Church's community of believers, the communion of saints, emphasizing the very important communal aspects of the Catholic faith and suggesting that theology is not just a matter for individuals and academicians and "theologians"--it is pursued as a community. He describes this community, this unity quite wonderfully, I think: "harmonic wholeness."
His description as the Church going up against the powerful cultural forces of our time was also quite convincing and appealing. Indeed, the Church stands virtually alone against the tide of permissivity. Ratzinger discusses the difficulties the Church was facing in the mid-1980s, from feminism and liberation theology to the dangers of extreme individualism. His proposed solutions are probably not surprising to those familiar--among others: not an abandonment of Vatican II but a discovery of its true spirit; a re-affirmation of traditional doctrines (such as the Virgin Mary); a recognition that the Church is not democratic but sacramental and hierarchical instead; and a restoration of the virtues of motherhood and virginity.
All in all, a great survey of the Catholic Church's position in the modern world, which deals with problems as well as possible answers. Moreover, Ratzinger speaks, either directly or indirectly, to the problems facing the world in general, and his solutions could just as easily be applied in that broader context. This book, then, in many ways, transcends its intended Catholic audience--a true achievement.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Valuable for any Concerned Catholic, October 8, 2001
By 
Jonathan A. Boulineau (Columbus, GA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
In this interview, Cardinal Ratzinger, perhaps the second most influential person in the Catholic church, shows everyone to be wrong about him. He is less conservative than the conservatives think and progressives fear. Ratzinger is an example of how the Catholic church is something entirely different, such that you cannot fit it's mission into a 'progressive' or 'conservative' form. Rather, there is simply Catholicism. Ratzinger's main goal is to make us, progressives and conservatives, understand that Vatican II cannot be ignored, but must exert its full affect upon the Church.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Candid and Cool, November 18, 2005
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
Several years after its publication, this remains the best single introduction to the man now pope. It also would be something of a classic even had Cardinal Ratzinger not become pope. The 2 book-length interviews which followed, by Peter Seewald, are also interesting, but Messori's edges them out for its conciseness and organization, plus the fact Messori is an informed Catholic who does not have to wade through doctrinal positions unfamiliar to him.

Certainly this is sort of an elevated dialogue -- Ratzinger is, primarily, an intellectual and theologian. Every book under his name, even the few devotional ones, are in that vein and it comes with the territory. That said, he speaks as plainly and directly as he can, and -- for an upper level churchman -- is remarkably candid and does not dodge controversy. This quality, plus the fact that Ratzinger was a major player in Vatican 2 -- is what gives the book historical value with or without his recent election.

The topics covered are very wide ranging -- though most concern the state of the Catholic church, not Christian or Catholic theology in general. Overall, it might be called a report card on Vatican 2, with mixed grades. Here, Ratzinger clearly stated his continuing thesis that the council has not yet been implented properly or in its wholeness. All positions are stated rather openly and without rancor but cooly. The startling things he states thus give the reader a sort of double-take. For instance, he is convinced that civilization at present is in a grave and unprecedented crisis on many fronts, and the future hardly certain. He thus does not really echo John Paul II's motto, "Be not afraid" in every conceivable sense. In the sense of the ultimate goodness of God and the triumph of redemption afforded by Christ, sure. But on a temporal level, Ratzinger's view is that nations and peoples, at any historical moment, possess and exercise will to accept or reject those gifts. Doubtless this is a view seared into his being from having been brought up under the Nazis. And he sees disturbing general parallels to that disaster in what the entire European civilization is doing at present. His spooky discussion concerning the Fatima message only underscores this viewpoint. For afficionados of that event, his 1 and 1/2 pageworth of dry discussion of the 3rd secret prophesy, in this book, constitutes the only cogent, authoritative official description of that subject (as compared to the vision released some years later, with JP 2's interpretation attatched, and which Ratzinger's "official" and generalistic commentary --likewise very dry -- noted was not a matter of faith).

Ratzinger is no romantic. His sometimes terse observations, so casual and so comfortably delivered, can be quite numbing in their realism and impact. What is done in history is done; to the extent the council failed, for instance, it needs be remedied, but there is no going back. Thus while generally conservative in viewpoint he is no believer in "restorations" or "returns" to a prior situation. Indeed he sees the council as part and parcel of a general historical crisis in the west; deviations and mis-interpretations are not merely an intra-Catholic issue. Indeed the nature and causes of this historical crisis in western civilization is the main personal ingrediant he brings to the table.

All in all, this is a book that once read, a thoughtful reader will return to on several occasions. His papal name only doubly underscores the point of view which emerges throughout these friendly chats -- connecting the two dots (Saint Benedict, the cornerstone of western Christian civilization in his Catholic view, and Benedict XV, pope at the time of the start of its endgame) which are the most passionate focus of this otherwise -- to all outward appearances -- most urbane academician.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and timely, April 21, 2005
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
One of the best lines about the new Pope I have heard so far is "guess what-he's a Catholic".

The Ratzinger Report offers insight into this great man, his philosophy, his faith and his vision.

In this book Cardinal Ratzinger expresses his concerns about the modern world. Although I am in not complete agreement with all of his ideas (such as his opinions of liberation theology which although his criticisms of it are well taken I believe the churches stand could have been modified could have been modified to accommodate both a continuation of the struggle for the poor of Latin America while at the same time condemning Marxism) he presents them well. This book show a man dedicated to preserving the main essence of Catholicism and to continue to make it a refuge and alternative to the excesses of the modern world while at the same time building bridges of understanding to other faiths. It seems as though some of the most important "bridge-buiding projects" that the church will have to undertake is not with other religions or some exotic lands but to the West which actively does its best not to understand the Catholic church and obscure its message.

The book is a both a call of alarm and a message of hope. I believe hope is the quality that shines through most in this book.

One of the great messages of this book is that Catholicism is a faith not dictated by a hierarchy but a dialogue between the clergy and the faithful. These are not sentiments that would be expressed by a "hard liner". This book show the new Pope to be not the rigid conservative many have unfairly made him out to be.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on this new Pope. I suggest that anyone with a fair mind who wishes to express an opinion about the new Pope have an informed opinion and read this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The position of the church today. Great book, May 15, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
This book is an interview of Cardinal Ratzinger by journalist Vittorio Messori. Questions vary from ecumenism to liberation theology, Ordination of women to the issue of vocations to religious life. It is a great insight of the Catholic Church in modern days. Cardinal Ratzinger also gives some personal information about his being raised in nazi Germany.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and interesting, but not the best in the Ratzinger interview series., June 10, 2006
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
I have greatly enjoyed those volumes of Ratzinger's interviews that have been translated into English and published by Ignatius Press; "God and the World," "Salt of the Earth," and "The Ratzinger Report." However, I believe that with respect to the other two books, "The Ratzinger Report" falls short.

Is this an insightful book? Yes. Does this shed light on the thought of Joseph Ratzinger in the mid-80s? Yes. Is this as good as the other, later interviews? I'd argue No.

There are several factors that play a role in my opinion. The first is that this is an interview composed by a different reporter than the other two. The Second is the format in which it is written (prose vs. Q&A). The Third is the depth and length of the book. This is a much shorter volume with questions that do not delve as deep into the mind of Ratzinger as the other books.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to be a formal or informal scholar of the theological and social thought of Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). However, if you have read the other two interview books, be prepared for a significant difference.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect place to start learning about the Pope's views, June 18, 2005
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
To celebrate the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI's reign, I decided (along with, doubtless, millions of other people) that it was best to catch up a bit on the new Pope's intellectual legacy. The Ratzinger Report is a perfect place to start. In this interview, Ratzinger frankly speaks his mind to an Italian reporter in their historic 1984 meeting. An analysis of the historical fallout and correct interpretation of Vatican II dominate the beginning chapters. The remainder of the book constitutes a logical segway from the historical significance of the Second Vatican Council to the underlying and transcendent identity of the Church. He then brings the discussion back to a particularization of general principles in the context of such "hot topic" questions as the what constitutes valid liturgical reforms, what are the effects of moral relativism, as well as a description of the true role of the Church in the modern world. The book ends with an overview of Ratzinger's position on Liberation Theology. In this section, as with the rest of the interview, this book serves as an excellent presentation of the Pontiff's position on the most fundamental of church issues as well as the most contemporary - which, after all, are just two sides of the same Truth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right on target; a great diagnosis of the problems, January 31, 2006
By 
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
In 1985 I was a fairly recent returnee to the Church after several years of disinterest and non-attendance. The Church in America was obviously in trouble-even I could tell that. Odd priests with strange behaviors and weird homilies. Theologians writing articles and books viciously hostile to "Rome"-they always seemed to refer to the Pope as "Rome". I eagerly looked forward to the publication of this book, and devoured it when it appeared. Alas, my pastor, an apparently grown-up man and a theologian himself, angrily, red-faced, denounced the book from the pulpit and insisted that "Rome" had no right to interfere with the teachings of the American Church. "Rome" had no knowledge of conditions and circumstances here in America and should just butt out. That's not an exact quote-it was 20 years ago, after all-but his words were very much to that effect.

Over the years I've heard that same sort of thing many, many times. It has presented me (and everyone else) with a choice. Do I follow the increasingly popular "American" way or do I follow the Pope? My choice is the latter.

This book, 20 years old as it is, puts the matter very plainly. The issues haven't changed. The dissenters in Europe and America have simply grown more subtle and evasive. I highly recommend this book if you want a thorough grounding in what the tension between "Rome" and the dissenters is all about.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Showing its Age, September 26, 2005
By 
G. Weidman (Fairfax, Va United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
This book is a report of an interview conducted by an Italian journalist of then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1984. Because its focus is on the state of the church, much of its content very much dates to the 1984 era, and is not so relevant for today.

For example, at the time this was written, LeFevbre and his followers were not yet in schism, there was no Tridentine Indult, the charismatic movement was just fully coming to the attention of Rome (how quickly it faded!) the neo-traditionalist movement (which included many of the people who tried charismatic worship and declined it) was not even acknowledged, there is no discussion of World Youth Day, the Soviet Union still controlled much of Eastern Europe, and Liberation Theology was still ardently discussed in Latin America. Vatican II was only 20 years old when this document was written; it is now 40 years old.

That so many things have changed since 1984 radically affects the relevancy of this book. An entire chapter is dedicated to Liberation Theology, but John Paul II, espeically with his silencing of Leonardo Boff, pretty much eliminated LT from relevancy. Each of the other issues I listed above significantly affect the content of this book.

The result is that this book is useful for understanding HOW the current Pope thinks about things, but of very little use to understand WHAT he thinks about the church today. The church today is very different, in relation to the issues discussed in this book, than it was in 1984.

The format of the book is a little puzzling to American readers. We are accustomed to a certain dispassion among journalist, and clear categories of reporting, analysis, and opinion among journalistic works. This book takes a much more Italian approach to journalism, with the author reordering many of Ratzinger's responses in order to construct post-hoc themes that were not so well developed during the interview. The reporter regularly mixes in reporting of what Ratzinger said, his own analysis of those statements, and his own opinions. As a result, is not always clear whether Ratzinger or the reporter is speaking, as they are often in great agreement.

There are many other books by and about Ratzinger available. Few of them have such a catchy title, but it seems likely that just about any of them will provide a better view into who the new Pope is, and what he thinks.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!!!, August 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Ratzinger Report (Paperback)
I was asked to read only a section of this book to clarify a question I had. The section was in the middle of the book. The book was so good, I read from the middle to the end and then started at the beginning. It does much to help you understand faith and how it should apply to our daily lives.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa42e9e1c)

This product

The Ratzinger Report
The Ratzinger Report by Pope Benedict XVI (Paperback - August 1, 1987)
$12.95 $11.29
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.