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Homilies for friends

· Volume XII of the Opera Omnia [complete works] of Joseph Ratzinger ·

The Italian edition of Volume XII of Joseph Ratzinger's Opera Omnia, edited by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is now on sale in bookshops.  It is entitled Annunciatori della Parola e Servitori della vostra gioia. Teologia e spiritualità del Sacramento dell'Ordine (Città del Vaticano, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, 982 pages, € 55). The book is a collection of scientific studies, meditations and homilies – from 1954 to 2002 – on the service of bishops, priests and deacons. We are publishing in advance passages from three homilies: one given in 1978 at the Mass for the 70th birthday of Bishop Ernst Tewes, and the other two delivered in 1955 and in 1962, on the occasion of the first Mass of his priest friends.n They are lively and moving texts in which personal anecdotes alternate with citations of famous writers, such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and the great Russian writer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The French pilot once wrote in a letter to a general: “There is only one problem in the world. How can we give men  spiritual significance, spiritual concern? How can we ensure that they create something here on earth that resembles a Gregorian chant. You understand, we can no longer live on refrigerators, on politics, on scales or on crosswords. It is no longer possible”! And in his book Le Petit Prince [English title: The LittlePrince ] he says “How incomprehensible is the world of grown-ups, of wise people. We only understand machines, geography and politics. But we no longer understand what is essential – light, clouds, the sky and its stars. Solzhenitsyn instead describes the cry of anguish of a Communist in one of Stalin's prisons: “We shall once again need churches in Russia  and men whose pure life will bring these churches back to life and turn them into places for the soul”. Indeed, man does not live on refrigerators and budgets alone, the young Joseph Ratzinger writes; when he tries to do so he becomes all the more desperate and his life becomes all the emptier”.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 25, 2020