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Godís Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church (Large Print Edition)
Author: George Weigel
Publisher: HarperLargePrint 
Pages: 563
 
Godís Choice was not quite what I expected. It doesnít take a detailed look at Joseph Ratzinger, the new pope, until after the first 300 pages. Prior to that we get a narrative of the last days of Pope John Paul II, the worldís reaction to his death and funeral Mass, and a detailed account of the conclave, the process of electing the new pope. Though itís partially instructive about Ratzinger and the Church, the first half serves as a fitting memorial to one of the most popular popes of all time. 
 
Weigel writes as an admirer and as one who has a firm grasp of the subject matter. The detail and analysis are amazing. Anyone wanting to know the state of the Catholic Church and the current issues facing it will benefit from reading this book. Without delving too deeply into doctrinal issues, it shows that the new pope will stay the course set by John Paul.
 
The average person may find some of the detail and subject matter a bit tedious. It could have been more concise, but Catholics, academics, clergy and those who want to know as much as possible will not be disappointed. Weigel knows and understands the issues so well that he anticipates how the new pope will act. He even provides some wise counsel. 
 
The book leaves the impression that Joseph Ratzinger was the best choice for the job. Itís hard to imagine a better successor. He knows the Catholic Church and is able to represent and work with all the different members. Heís not as charismatic as John Paul, but as the author points out, it was personal integrity and his ability to face challenge that drew people to the former pope. Pope Benedict has the same qualities. 
 
The media characterization of Benedict as "Godís Rottweiler" is unfair. Though conservative doctrinally, a humble servant is a more accurate depiction. Ratzinger had no desire to be pope. He would have been content to retreat to teaching and studying after the death of John Paul. Weigel portrays a man that is serious about reforming the church but does not seem himself as an absolute monarch. He knows that he too is subject "to Christ and his word." 
 
Michael Dalton
February 18, 2006
 

 
 

 

 
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