Key Writings of Pope Benedict XVI
- Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope) November 30, 2007
Benedict XVI’s second encyclical, explores Christian understanding of Hope, drawing from modern philosophy and the challenges of disbelief. He reminds Christians that redemption – salvation - has been offered to them through hope; that mankind, even amid great suffering, can face the present with confidence.
- Deus caritas est (God is Love) December 25, 2005
Benedict XVI’s first encyclical seeks to provide a deep reflection on the true meaning of love, agape (unconditional, self sacrificing love), through the teachings of Jesus, contrasting it with the ways that love is expressed in eros (possessive, often sexual love) in today’s culture.
- Sacrementum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity) February 22, 2007
Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission
Benedict XVI presents his discussion of the Holy Eucharist from the perspective of the Eucharist as “the food of truth,” God’s greatest gift to mankind, necessary for eternal life. He encourages the faithful to enthusiastically renew their commitment to the Eucharist, the sacrament of charity. He seeks to help Christians develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between the Eucharist, the liturgy and spiritual worship through an historical and theological discussion of the Eucharist as the very source of faith.
- Summorum Pontificum July 7, 2007
In the form of a Motu Propio, on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the reform of 1970.
This letter was written to clarify present day use of the Roman liturgy in Mass, specifically, the 1962 Missal, as it was used prior to 1970 and its relationship to the normal form of the liturgy in use today from the Missal published by Pope Paul VI, and in two later editions by Pope John Paul II. It also expands upon Pope John Paul II’s Motu Proprio, Ecclesia Dei, which sought to establish guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal.
- Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio June 11, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI reinstates the traditional papal election conclave requirement of attaining two-thirds majority in order to elect a new pope. This letter overturns John Paul II’s modification that, if after three days of deliberation by the College of Cardinals and a two-thirds majority is not reached, then a simple majority would prevail.
- Letter on the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Church’s relation to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate (In Our Time)
Pope Benedict writes to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, to acknowledge the anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Declaration, Nostra Aetate, which opened a new era of relations and reconciliation between the Vatican and the Jewish people. Benedict recalls Nostra Aetate encouraged Christians and Jews to leave past differences behind and overcome “prejudices, misunderstandings, indifference and the language of contempt and hostility,” and challenged all to appreciate and celebrate our shared heritage of faith in the One God, maker of heaven and earth…”
- For the approval and publication of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
June 28, 2005
Pope Benedict’s letter accompanied and introduced the Compendium, a “faithful and sure synthesis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The Compendium contains in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Catholic faith and is designed to increase understanding of the Church and its Catechism by all.
Pontifical Messages and Greetings
- Urbi et Orbi Apostolic Blessing Easter, 2007
Benedict XVI exhorts the faithful in his greeting to keep their faith. He reminds them of Thomas’ doubts and the temptation to disbelieve as Thomas did, in view of present day suffering, evil, injustice and death, in the many indiscriminate forms and victims it takes. He points out that Thomas’ disbelief is valuable to Christians because it allows Christ to reveal himself – and the wounds he has taken upon himself from an injured and suffering humanity - and still prevail.
- Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI to the Youth of the World on the Occasion of the 22nd World Youth Day, 2007
Written to youths on the occasion of 2007’s World Youth Day, Pope Benedict’s message is a call to love. In speaking to the young generation, our “future and hope of humanity,” he reminds them to love one another as Christ himself does, in spite of their sins, defined best in His death and resurrection. Benedict counsels the young to be aware of their obligation to bear witness to Christ’s love by loving their neighbors as themselves, to make the necessary sacrifices of self and remain true to their commitments. He cautions them to be vigilant and strong in faith by seeking Divine Grace through Mass and by sharing in the Holy Eucharist. Doing so, he says, will allow them to love unconditionally.
- Message to Youth on the Occasion of World Youth Day, Cologne, Germany August, 2005
Benedict XVI reinforces the World Youth Day theme of “We Have Come to Worship Him,” in his address by leading today’s youth to adore the Child who is God, whose love renews and transforms the entire world.
- First Greeting of His Holiness Benedict XVI (Address to the Members of the College of Cardinals) April 19, 2005
Benedict XVI’s greeting is one of humility in being chosen as the Lord’s instrument. He calls the Faithful to “move forward in the joy of the Risen Lord, confident of his unfailing help and that of His most Holy Mother.”
- “The Apostles” July, 2007
In this inspirational journey with the friends of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI demonstrates a profound, unbreakable continuity – built upon the foundation of the Apostles and alive in the succession of the Apostles - by which Christ is present today in His people and His church.
- “Jesus of Nazareth,” Volume I, on the life of Jesus Spring, 2006
In his first book as pope, Benedict XVI seeks to salvage the person of Jesus from recent “popular” depictions and to restore Jesus’ true identity as discovered in the Gospels. Through his brilliance as a theologian and his personal conviction as a believer, the pope shares a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of Jesus and invites Christians to encounter, face-to-face, the central figure of their faith.
Benedict XVI is currently working on Volume II which will cover Christ's passion, death and resurrection.