Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"First New Book by Pope Benedict XVI..."

...comes from Ignatius Press in October 2005. Get the story here. The topic? Jesus Christ. The real Jesus Christ:
Though Jesus Christ is as popular as ever – as evidenced by recent books, films and news articles, many wonder whether this "popular" Jesus is an accurate rendering of the true Jesus of Christianity. So many articles and books ask "Who was Jesus Christ?" And yet, the Jesus they construct seems somehow incongruent with the Jesus of Christianity. The "popular" Jesus makes no demands and never challenges people. Everything and everyone is okay with him, under all circumstances. In fact, even though many see the "pop" Jesus as representing God, they don't perceive him as making any judgment upon their actions or lives.

But this "phantom" Jesus is not a real figure, according to Pope Benedict XVI.

"On The Way To Jesus Christ" – the newest book by Pope Benedict XVI which will be released exclusively by Ignatius Press in October 2005 – is about the true Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels, who is "quite different, demanding and bold." This Jesus is controversial, inconvenient, and brings an often unpopular – and largely unfollowed – message.

Ignatius Press is releasing a total of four new books by Pope Benedict XVI this year.

"The articles (in 'On The Way To Jesus Christ') ... are all meant to be attempts to approach Jesus," says Pope Benedict XVI. "(They are) a search for his authentic, undiminished figure." He goes on to say, "The crisis of faith in modern times began with a modified way of reading Sacred Scripture – seemingly the sole scientific way. The question of how we should read the Bible is inseparably bound up with the question about Christ. I hope that this book, with all its imperfections, can still be a help on the way to Jesus." The Pope indeed uses Scripture to present an authentic portrait of Jesus Christ.
The Reasonable and Foolable have worked so hard to release the user-friendly Jesus 2.0. The "nice guy" and "great teacher" and "revolutionary corpse" and "compassionate includer" identities of the Savior liter the airwaves and bookshelves. Jesus Seminar scholars enjoyed semi-celebrity status in the mid-nineties. Dan Brown's hatchet-job "historical" thriller The Divinci Code plays the more radical of these delusions for the x-file starved and conspiratorial buffs. Any effort to comfort the folks into enjoying their Jesus within the privacy of their own private lives; the Reasonable do not fear this Jesus.

Now along comes that Fool, Pope Benedict XVI. He ruins all their clever plans. He has the unmitigated gall to actually take Catholicism seriously. He's actually Catholic! What horror! Now he publishes a book that reminds everyone of what the Reasonable have desperately tried to get everyone to forget: Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. His Gospel challenges our complacity, convicts us of sin, and offers us the salvation won by his blood. This Jesus Christ accepts no exclusively private devotion. He wants to be our among the people. He wants us to proclaim him before all. Jesus Christ will not be satisfied until his blood has washed clean all of humanity. His disciples, the members of his church--his body--bring his presence out into the public sphere. The Reasonable shudder. The Fools cheer.

So is it October yet? How about now? How about now?