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128 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Very insightful and honest
I didn't really know what to expect when I picked up this little book, but it's much more than an analysis of Europe's problems. It includes thought and analysis by Pera (president of the Italian Senate and a non-Christian) as well as by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Both take a look at the effects relativism has had on European culture and offer...
Published on March 2, 2006 by John Allen

versus
2 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
A short book, with a short section by Ratzinger that reiterates Gelasius I, which if nothing else speaks volumes on the mindset of Benedict XVI. Otherwise, little that is noteworthy.
Published on May 20, 2009 by C. J. Skamarakas


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128 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Very insightful and honest, March 2, 2006
This review is from: Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (Hardcover)
I didn't really know what to expect when I picked up this little book, but it's much more than an analysis of Europe's problems. It includes thought and analysis by Pera (president of the Italian Senate and a non-Christian) as well as by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Both take a look at the effects relativism has had on European culture and offer their advice on how to shake the malaise that is covering the continent. In the process, they slice history into meaningful events and even give some great insight into the U.S. and it's spiritual, political, and cultural situation.

For Catholics, this is a brillant look into how Ratzinger/Benedict sees the world and the problems he is dealing with. His suggestion of the Christian minority "activist" is a compelling vision for the future in Europe and the U.S.

For non-Catholics, the history of relativism and how it exacerbates our problems with Islam is fascinating. To suggest this is merely "medieval thinking" is ignorance in the purest form. This is a philosophical meditation on where Western culture is and what that means for our future.

Highly recommended.
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76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, March 8, 2006
This review is from: Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (Hardcover)
Europe is dying. We know that birthrates in most European countries are near to 1. That means for every two people, one is produced since birth rates measure births from women. If one only measures the birth-rates of indigenous Europeans, not recent immigrants, they will find that in fact the number is closer to .25, that is for every four European Christian women only 1 will have a child.

Europe will not exist in 50 years. Instead Europe will be a majority Muslim. Not only is this a very real fact but the urban landscape of Europe is already almost a majority Muslim. Recent riots, violence and criminality have shown the dangers that are upon europe, also the rise of anti-semitism, racism, intolernace, religion and just plane hatred shows what is happening to Europe.

Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope, co-authored this sad soul searching text that explains how a Europe without a history, without 'roots' is likely to disappear and the disappearence of European people in Europe will mean a damage to the world, it calls into question those ideas like liberty, freedom, democracy, and equality that Europe have related to the world, like in 1940 it threatens a 'new dark age' in the words of Churchill. This is an insightful, wonderful read.

Seth J. Frantzman
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A convergence of ideas, September 13, 2006
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This review is from: Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (Hardcover)
The most remarkable thing about this little book is not so much the particular issues that are discussed in it. The last few years have seen an increased concern expressed by many Europeans (and others) about the direction in which that continent is headed. What is remarkable is that there is increasingly a convergence of ideas that point to the solution of Europe's long term ills. In this book two extraordinary intellectual giants (one a Pope and another a philosopher and the president of the Italian senate) present their views of those ills from an essentially the same vantage point. There is yet a hope that not everything is lost.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Reflection for a Culture on the Edge of Death, January 21, 2007
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Matthew K. Minerd (College Park, MD, USA) - See all my reviews
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This collection of essays stands as a testimony on behalf of the West as it drills itself into the ground of Relativism and apathy. Marcello Pera's lecture stands for me as a refreshing breeze coming from the heart of a Europe which has nearly completely bought into the destructive force of Philosophical Relativism. The very dangers of this school of thought are laid out well, as Pera reflects upon how it is freezing the West and is giving it atrophy as conviction dies. Surprisingly, the philosopher-senator also answers the problem of Islamic extremism and the need for response against it. However, Pera's primary focus is the refutation of relativism and the exposition of the ossifying dangers inherent therein.

The speech given by Pope Benedict (then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) focuses more on the cultural heritage of the West and its roots in the Mediterranean. In the face of the decline of the West, the Pope offers a positive assessment of the hopes for development by means of "energetic minorities," a topic which is fleshed out in somewhat greater detail in the correspondence included as an appendix to the essays. This idea remains as a hopeful focus against the semi-biologicistic view of culture as a birth-growth-death process which has no hope of breaking out of a death spiral. The continuity of Ratzinger's understanding of the West through history, a continuity which historically has braved storms of philosophical uncertainty by means of energetic groups (be they monastic, academic, or familial).

In view of the grim realities reflected on by both Ratzinger and Pera as they speak of the West's Fall, they both build a staunchly Christian-underpinning for Europe, an under-pinning which is necessary to have roots for the survival. This discussion is all-the-more convincing in light of Pera's atheism which still acknowledges the philosophical necessity of Christianity to combat relativism and restore the roots of the West.

This strong, sober, yet hopeful vision for the West which is a necessary read for us living in a crucial period of history for not only the Church, Europe, and the Extended West but for the entire world.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read, outstanding, November 24, 2006
By 
Scott Walker (Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (Hardcover)
The authors address what faces our world, bridging the gap between secularists and Christians. A joy to read, outstanding.

Marcello Pera: He tackles relativism, Christianity, the west, political correctness, and the clash of Islam. His thesis is a comparison of cultures; the deconstruction: to prove its purpose or foundation; the weakening of the church and Christianity; the paralyzed west. Pera is a professor and philosopher, and amazingly enough, agnostic. "In the age of relativism and silent apostasy belief in the true no longer exists; the mission of the true is considered fundamentalism, and the very affirmation of the true creates or raised fears."

Joseph Ratzinger: He discusses Europe and its borders; the failings, birth, influence and outflow of Christianity; the rise of secularism; God and Christ the foundation. Ratzinger sees the world clearly, and his boldness is refreshing. Is Europe on the decline and is the U.S. following suite?

Letter to Joseph Ratzinger from Marcello Pera: Marcello praises Joseph, and brings forth important questions, such as: Europe choosing a religious identity over a Christian; fearing intolerance; the double standards.

Letter to Marcello Pera from Joseph Ratzinger: Joseph answers some of Marcello's questions: the Catholic/Protestant secularism; the struggles of the church, losing their way; ethics and society. A look at problems from a different angle.

Wish you well

Scott
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Christian Perspective, May 7, 2006
This review is from: Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (Hardcover)
A very thoughtfully written book about our times. It successively points out the danger that Europe faces because of its turn away from Christ as the source of moral strength. It also discusses the dangers we face in America should we follow Europe. I enjoyed the historical background, the theological interface, and the policies we must pursue to keep our Christian conscience. A must read for all Christians.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing, productive exchange of ideas., July 27, 2008
Two highly educated and keenly intelligent people discuss crucial issues concerning the future of the Western world and they do it without the usual toxic, truth aborting injection of rigid, mindless ideolgy and its banal talking points. Ratzinger surprises by eschewing the expected cleric's Middle Ages scholastic approach to deliver a powerful, genuinely Christian analysis of the situation that even the most determined secularist would admire. Marcelo Pera is the only likeable secular thinker I have encountered and had the pleasure to study and admire. Pera is a true scholar so confident of his insightful opinions that he has no need to use the woeful tactics of sophistry so frequently employed by the insecure, immature and closed minds so common in the secular world. This record of brilliantly exchanged ideas is a vital read for seekers of truth about the world of today in the West. I yearn for the day when there is a plentiful sufficiency of thinkers like Ratzinger and Pera expressing themselves as they do in this book in the stead of the usual desert of scholarly irrelevancies we must endure.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Error unmasked, January 14, 2007
This review is from: Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (Hardcover)
This masters piece (plural, as it is a co-production) lays bare the misconceptions and errors in logic that lie at the root of dominant post-modern thinking today. The book centres around the problems in Europe, but is relevant wherever relativism and 'weak' thinking prevail. It shows us where subjectivism has led us away from reality and objective truth. The religious/atheist teamwork of Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) and Marcello Pera shows us a way out of the philosophical and cultural quagmire we find ourselves in today.

The importance of the book can hardly be overstated.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Without Roots, January 4, 2007
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This review is from: Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (Hardcover)
Excellent and concise analyses in this exchange between the authors, Marcello Pera and Joseph Ratzinger, of the causes and effects of moral malaise in the West, placed against the real and potential challenges of a militant Islam.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gets to the Root, May 29, 2008
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When 2 intellectuals from quite different socio-political and religious points of view come to the same conclusion on an issue of Global impact upon society...their conclusions warrant some REAL attention.

These lectures and letters between Ratzinger (Benedict XV) and Pera, present just such a monumentally cogent piece of work.

Importantly, both these great minds have a way of articualting their positions in straightforward, understandable terms which even the average reader can appreciate. No high sounding philosophical language...but solid philosophical and moral analysis.

If there is any issue that will impact every human being alive over the next few decades...it is the crisis of identity which this little book addresses. Time well spent, indeed.
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Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam
Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam by Pope Benedict XVI (Hardcover - February 13, 2006)
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