In these pages Benedict XVI shares his reasons for retiring from the papacy in 2013 in an interview with the author. Many saw his astonishing retirement as a sign of the Church's decline, but he intended it as a seed sown in the hope of bringing the Church a younger, more vigorous leadership in the face of daunting challenges.
Among those challenges are the financial and sexual scandals that continue to undermine the Church's mission. When Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005, he opened a path of purification for the Church, while calling upon the Western world to return to its Christian roots and to build a new humanism for the twenty-first century, and his call for renewal is still relevant.
Widely recognized as one of the most important theologians and spiritual leaders of our time, Joseph Ratzinger served throughout the papacy of John Paul II as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both men had witnessed how atheistic philosophies and war had ravaged twentieth-century Europe, and they shared in the effort of revealing to modern man his need for God, for redemption in Jesus Christ.
"This extensive biography of my predecessor Benedict XVI is welcome: it offers a comprehensive, reliable, and balanced account of his life and of the development of his thought. All of us in the Church owe a great debt of gratitude to Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI for the depth and balance of his theological thought, which he has always lived out in service to the Church up to the highest positions of responsibility."
— Pope Francis, from the Foreword
"Here is a biography crafted by an able and well-informed expert. It is always a joyful and illuminating experience to read of some yet unknown detail in the life and work of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. The Church, the world, and history will continue to appreciate this great man more and more with the passage of time."
— Francis Cardinal Arinze, Author, The Evangelizing Parish
"Elio Guerriero has produced the definitive biography of a man who certainly ranks as one of the three or four most consequential churchmen of the last one hundred years. Engagingly written, learned, and deeply insightful, this book sheds light, not only on the life of Joseph Ratzinger, but on the life of the Catholic Church in our turbulent time."
— Most Rev. Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles; Founder, Word on Fire
"Without a doubt, the most comprehensive book available on the life and thought of Pope Benedict XVI! An invaluable resource for historians, theologians, and anyone else who desires to study the life and legacy of a great Pope."
— Fr. Donald Calloway, M.I.C.,Author, Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon
"A helpful, informative, and accessible introduction to the life and thought of a modern Father of the Church, whose theological accomplishment will shape Catholic thought for centuries."
— George Weigel, Witness to Hope:The Biography of Pope John Paul II