I did a Vatican Letter today on 10 texts I think are fundamental for understanding Pope Benedict XVI and his approach to his ministry. For those who want to click and read, here are the links:
1. His inaugural sermon in 2005.
2. Part 1 of his first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est.”
3. His 2005 talk to the Roman Curia on Vatican II.
4. His improvised sermon on baptism in early 2006.
5. His Q and A with young people a year after his election.
6. His lengthy interview with German reporters.
7. His address on faith and reason in Regensburg, Germany.
8. His letter to Chinese Catholics last year.
9. Sections 16-31 of his second encyclical, “Spe Salvi.”
10. His audience talk on St. Augustine last January.
Of course, this is a subjective list and is bound to be incomplete. I asked some colleagues what they thought should be on it, and they had their own ideas.
Italian reporter Sandro Magister, for example, whose blog pays careful attention to the pope’s words, agreed with me about the Regensburg address and the 2005 Roman Curia speech, but also suggested the pope’s January talk to the University of Rome— the one he didn’t get a chance to deliver after the visit was canceled because of protests. And among the pope’s homilies, Magister liked the one from Epiphany 2008, when the pope spoke eloquently about God and the “hope of history.” Yeah, I probably should’ve included that one.
Any other suggestions out there?