Vatican City, 18th December 2015 – A month after the inauguration of the Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI Library, held on 18th November at the Teutonic College in the Vatican City, Maria Giuseppina Buonanno, journalist at Rizzoli Group, gives her own account of the event. Every day there are more books in the Library, donated by their authors and the publishing houses, among which there are the German Herder and Schnell & Steiner. Along with students and scholars who are visiting the Library, a lot of people have written letters to ask for information about it. Moreover, some volunteers are updating the Polish and Greek sections of the Library and German and Greek journalists have visited it with the aim to know more about its activities.
Maria Giuseppina Buonanno
On the top of the ladder a vision appears. The books in the shelves seem to look at people coming in. They speak to the heart and the reason of the visitors in 37 different languages. They are part of the Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI Library, inaugurated on 18th November at the Teutonic College in the Vatican City. 200 books have been donated by the emeritus Pope, others by the Vatican Publishing House or by their authors.
Joseph Ratzinger has written 102 books: most of them have been written before he was elected Pope on 19th April 2005. His works have been translated in about 70 languages. The Library was born with the aim to collect these books in the Vatican City and offer them to scholars and to all those concerned.
Ratzinger’s theological thought embraces a message that is addressed to all readers. His reflections concern theology and philosophy, they are addressed to the mankind and give light to the experience of man and God.
One of the most interesting books of the Library is Light of the world, written by Benedict XVI and Peter Seewald in 2010. It was translated even in Arabic and Armenian. The main topics of the book are: ecclesiastical celibacy, sexual abuses committed by religious people on minors, ecumenism, dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Hebrews, the resignation of the Pope.
Benedetto XVI – Servo di Dio e degli uomini was published by Lev to remember and to thank God on the 10th anniversary of Ratzinger’s election and it collects essays about the relationship between faith and reason that Ratzinger had analyzed, his friendship with John Paul II and his contribution to the Second Vatican Council.
The attention goes from a book to another. The words reflect the symbolic image of the Basilica and show a clear thought: Ratzinger Library wasn’t established only to institutionally give an order to the works of an important scholar of the Church.
The small book Benedict XVI used for a liturgical celebration and his trilogy dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth (from 2007 it has sold eight million copies in 163 countries) make visitors realize that the Library is not a museum. It is rather a “cure for the soul”, if we consider the definition cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi gave during the inauguration of the Library. It is not only a tribute to the Pope. Ratzinger himself humbly said to his closest friends that the Library could find its reason of existence in the “service”, fostering the dialogue between man and God.
In Ratzinger’s theological thought, the relationship between man and God is very strong. It gives a dazzling light to all his works; sometimes it leaves people confused, because they can’t understand and they stay away from it. Ratzinger examined human existence, life and the pursuit of happiness. In his three encyclicals (Deus caritas est, Spe salvi, Caritas in veritate,) Benedict XVI also wrote about feelings: love, hope, social justice.
The Library shows Ratzinger’s theological thought and gives birth to new considerations, discoveries, interpretations, divulgations. Its shelves will be full of new works about Ratzinger’s point of view on God, the mankind, the world. A new story about his theological thought will be written and told with powerful words.
When you leave the Library, you will definitely say: “I will go back”.