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Peter Seewald: ‘I know of few young people so alive, so curious and so modern as the Pope’

The German author talks about his hugely anticipated book, Light of the World

By on Friday, 19 November 2010

A series of candid interviews with Pope Benedict XVI will go on sale around the world next week in the eagerly anticipated book: Light of the World, The Pope, The Church and The Signs of the Times by Peter Seewald.

Mr Seewald, a German author and former magazine editor, has shared these brief comments about the book – the first ever to contain verbal interviews between a pontiff and a journalist.

Mr Seewald, how important do you think the book will be in helping people become better acquainted with the Pope?

Benedict XVI is still always falsely portrayed. Fundamentally, he is a very dear man and extremely lovable. Here is someone who is inexhaustible, a great giver. And if I’m honest, I know of few young people who are so fit, so productive, so alive, so curious and in a certain sense so young and as modern as this seemingly old man on the throne of Peter. This book contains not only an analysis of the crisis in the Church and society, but it is in some ways also a portrait of the Pope.

How much has the Pope changed since your last conversations with him?

Well to begin with, he’s quite simply gotten older. Aged 83 and leading the universal Church with 1.2 billion members is no trifling matter. Of course, this office has a tremendous aura, but the Joseph Ratzinger of earlier times is also the Joseph Ratzinger of today. He is like hard wood when it comes to the basic tenets of the faith – but he is also a shepherd, even more sensitive, humble and wiser now. Above all, he has kept his beautiful, subtle humor. Basically he is a very dear man, extremely lovable and his willingness to help others is positively touching.

You have said that some people will be upset by the book. What did you mean by this, and might this harm his pontificate?

This book will not fit well for many people, some because they will feel uncomfortable, their critical attitude to this Pope won’t change, and for others because this man does not correspond to their image of him as a reactionary. Conversely, Light of the World will make many people sit up – through his clarity, his truth, and ultimately through his prophetic words. It’s inconceivable to me that it would harm his pontificate. On the contrary, it will give us a new, unobstructed view of the Pope’s work and his great achievements so far. And it can help us in a world where so often the blind lead the blind, looking to find guidance. There is no doubt Pope Benedict is not only one of the greatest theologians, but also one of the greatest intellectuals and thinkers of our time. This book is a message to the world and the Church. And I think, as rarely before, it helps us come to understand not only the times in which we live, but also the core issues of the faith.

  • http://twitter.com/thereserita thereserita

    Yay B16!

  • The_Monk

    The Good Lord has given us a shepherd worthy of respect. PBXVI is a magnificent amalgam of a deep and lively mind tempered with perceptivity and wisdom, and love of God and man. We are fortunate to be in his see. The witness PBXVI bore of God to the English isles was grand and left the people smitten with his open and calm message.

  • Joyfully

    Peter Seewald did a wonderful interview in “Salt of the Earth”. It was like a delicious cherry pie; one particular bite, on divorce and remarriage in the Church, was especially tasty — never before had two pages of text so completely changed my understanding of Hope. Long live Benedict XVI…thank you Peter Seewald.

  • 8underourlady

    I'm excited to read this!!!

  • Ratbag

    Our beautiful, courageous, blessed and steadfast Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI simply…ROCKS!!!!!!!

    I, as one of your flock, love you to bits, Papa Benny!

    PS: You know, Mr Seewald's summing up of our Holy Father is exactly how I hoped it would be – and I can bet you PB has an infectious laugh, too!

  • Ratbag

    Our beautiful, courageous, blessed and steadfast Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI simply…ROCKS!!!!!!!

    I, as one of your flock, love you to bits, Papa Benny!

    PS: You know, Mr Seewald's summing up of our Holy Father is exactly how I hoped it would be – and I can bet you PB has an infectious laugh, too!

  • pedroerik

    God bless the Pope, and give him all health and strength to carry on. He is the best Pope I saw in my life.

  • Johntobin

    This book sounds wonderful.

  • RC

    Trust me young people are curious, you just haven’t been on TSR