Friday, August 4, 2017

Benedict Up Close (Sophia Institute Press)

Paul Badde is a historian and journalist. Since 2000, he has been editor of Welt, a German newspaper, where he started as the Jerusalem correspondent, but is now The Vatican correspondent in Rome. He recently published a book entitled Benedict Up Close. The book begins with an editorial note, explaining what the book is and is not. The book is not a biography, nor was it ever intended to be. It is the articles written by Badde, which cover the approximately eight years of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy.

The book begins April 19, 2005 with the election of Pope Benedict XVI and announcement Habemus papam! The book ends on February 28, 2013 with his resignation from the papal office. Technically, there is one last article dated July 5, 2013 that talks about the encyclical Lumen Fidei, which was the encyclical that both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis had a part in writing. There are nine chapters, one for each calendar year he was in office. Each chapter's title highlights a particularly important event/decision that year in his papacy. They are as follows:

2005 - Habemus papam: Epochal Change in Rome
2006 - From Auschwitz via Regensburg to Turkey: The Minefield of Words
2007 - Dialogue in Brazil, China, and Austria - and about the Old Rite of the Tridentine Mass
2008 - An Anticipated, Initial Afterword: From Ground Zero in Manhattan to the Grotto of Massabielle at the Foot of the Pyrennes
2009 - Brouhaha about the Society of Saint Pius X, and Pilgrim in the Holy Land
2010 - Condoms, Cases of Sexual Abuse, and a Liturgical Work of Art in the United Kingdom
2011 - Ecumenism and Eclipse of God in Germany
2012 - Vatileaks, the Pope's Valet, and a Laboratory of Peace in Beirut
2013 - Farewell and Ascent on the Mountain of Prayer

Overall, I found this book to be an interesting read, even if it wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting something more story-like that had a better flow to it. Instead, I received a collection of articles with Badde reflecting on what he saw and experienced as his time as a correspondent. This covered large-scale events and happenings and also the day-to-day things that other media would have overlooked and did overlook, but Badde felt was important enough to cover. I appreciated the orderly way this book was composed, and think it was a great idea to have this compiled, so that it won't be lost as time goes on. I also appreciated his insight on different events and issues, as he saw more first-hand than common people like me, ever would.

This book was provided to me for free by Sophia Institute Press in exchange for an honest review.