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From the bestselling author of Witness to Hope comes an inside account of the election of Pope Benedict XVI and an unflinching view of the Catholic Church at.
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Both the Pope and his new prefect respected Thomas and Thomists. They also wanted a wide-ranging theological conversation to shape papal teaching. It concerns his choice of one of the symbols Pope Benedict chose to include in his episcopal coat of arms when he was 'appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising: The image came from the legend of St. Corbinian, the first bishop of Freising, who, as the legend goes, was on his way to Rome when a bear attack his horse and killed it. Corbinian scolded the bear and made it haul the pack the horse was carrying all the way to Rome. The story reminded Ratzinger of Augustine's reflections on several psalms in which the great patristic theologian speaks of having become a draft animal--a "good sturdy ox to pull God's cart in this world," as Ratzinger puts it.

The paradox is that that was how the scholar, Augustine, who might have preferred not to be the bishop charged with pulling God's cart through history, came closer to God. Is this not an image of what I should do and of what I am? Augustine had put it, "A beast of burden have I become for you, and this is just the way for me to remain wholly yours and always abide with you. Aug 30, booklady rated it really liked it Recommended to booklady by: If on the other hand you've read Weigel's masterly Witness To Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II , it's possible to see this book as its conclusion and transition to the new pontiff.

But as I read and listened to the last debilitating days our Polish Pope spent on this earth in humble suffering, I was gently chastised, and the stage was set for the book's overriding theme, which is, come what may God will have His Way. And gradually I came to see the wisdom, even the necessity of such a beginning. Weigel is seeking to show through God's Choice how indeed -- strange and unexpected though it may have seemed to the world at large -- the selection of the Bavarian Cardinal as Pope was indeed Divine, and to do so he needed to set the stage. Roughly the book can be divided into thirds.

The first third deals with JPII's last days, his death, funeral and the conclave. Gradually Cardinal Ratzinger is introduced by Weigel and event-by-event he is shown to be the inevitable, the only, if the somewhat reluctant choice of his church to be their leader--the reluctance being mostly on his side. As a scholarly, quiet, professorial sort of priest, Cardinal Ratzinger tried to retire home to his library in Germany several times during JPII's pontificate and was not allowed to do so.

The middle third of the book provides a brief and rather unsatisfying biography of Pope Benedict. There are some amusing anecdotes, helpful spiritual insights and facts about the man himself. On the whole it is fascinating reading, but it only whets your appetite. My guess is Weigel plans a comprehensive biography of the reigning pontiff sometime down the road to complete the trilogy begun with Witness to Hope and continued here.

But the little that I did learn about the man was so enlightening, inspiring, encouraging and suprising, it left me wanting to know and read him more! The book concludes with a discussion of managerial, liturgical and inter-religious initiatives PBXVI will probably undertake during his years as pope, some of which have already been proven prophetic.

So as not to make the review too long, I have included quotes from the book under the audio edition. View all 5 comments. Jul 28, Gil Michelini rated it really liked it. Never one to disappoint, George Weigel gives new insights at least new to me about the pontificate of John Paul the Great.

God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI And The Future Of The Catholic Church

On the downside, while I learned several interes The title is a little misleading as at least half of the book is about Saint John Paul II. On the downside, while I learned several interesting facts about B16, based on the title, I was hoping for more. Oct 10, Joel rated it really liked it. I bought this book some years ago, closer to Pope Benedict's actual election, but only just got around to reading it.

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Eight years into Benedict's papacy, Weigel's book remains a valuable read. Weigel is a thorough, and thoroughly readable, historian. The first half or so of the book describes the state of the Church through John Paul II's papacy before it approaches the conclave itself. Weigel also includes a good, swift biography of Joseph Ratzinger prior to the conclave which I found a gr I bought this book some years ago, closer to Pope Benedict's actual election, but only just got around to reading it.

Weigel also includes a good, swift biography of Joseph Ratzinger prior to the conclave which I found a great companion to another book I read this year: God's Choice only dates itself in the last chapter, a chapter devoted to looking to the future. That chapter outlines various issues in the Church, both internal e. Vatican diplomacy and how the new pope might address those issues. Weigel teeters between what he thinks the pope might do based on his career and vocation in the Church thus far, and what Weigel would do if he had the reins.

But in the end, reading God's Choice so far after the fact, it doesn't matter: Write a customer review.

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Read reviews that mention john paul benedict xvi catholic church god choice pope benedict george weigel new pope joseph ratzinger pope john witness to hope cardinal ratzinger final days spends much craftsman of sentences fine craftsman paragraphs and he does offer relevant more than a decade sentences and paragraphs weigel offers last days. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. John Paul II will.

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Often insightful, Weigel certainly appreciates both popes. But Weigel offers little insights on the papal conclave and spends much of the book offering an overview of where things stood in for the church. As usual, Weigel is a fine craftsman of sentences and paragraphs and he does offer some strong insights. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful.

God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church by George Weigel

This is a wonderful overview of the Catholic Church around the world today, the legacy of Pope John Paul II, an account of how Benedict XVI became the new Pope, a brief but very fair account of his life, and a survey of how Pope Benedict may tackle the challenges for the Church ahead. His fluency enables him to write so well of matters of ideas as well as the concrete manifestations of those ideas in controversies of the past - and likely future. It helps that the author is not only well-versed in Pope Benedict's writings, but clearly sympathetic with the Pope's beliefs about the role of the Church, the meaning of Christianity.

Weigel is a believer and that is helpful in gaining a grasp of what these two popes have thought, been blessed by and found confounding over their long lives.


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I would strongly recommend this - although the concepts are often complex, he writes so easily that every sentence is readily understandable. He has such a strong grasp of what really does influence the Church today - in contrast, most journalists' writings seem very crudely to grasp at what matters and then to convey it in a cartoon-like style. You'll like this book!

Faith is a gift of God ~ Pope Benedict XVI~ Experiment with God

Although Weigel spends much time setting up the state of the Church upon Pope Benedict's election at least 50 pages discussing Pope John Paul II , the book provides a great discussion and analysis of the tasks Benedict needed to accomplish in his pontificate. Looking back at the obstacles and accomplishments Benedict faced and achieved, I believe Weigel got it right. One person found this helpful. During the supper John Paul asked him to write his biography so that people would get the true facts and gave him freedom to research in the Vatican archives.

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I have read almost all of George Weigel's works and found them to be outstanding, informative, accurate and simply a good read. In "God's Choice" I feel the title is misleading. I expected to see much more on the reasons for and methodology of Pope Bendict's selection as pontiff. Weigel thinks the current Pope needs to do about it and filler. If you are Catholic and try to keep up with the Pope's writings, decisions and his thinking in general, this is a great starting point.

For instance, his opinion of the Church's bigest threat is 'Realativism' which precipitated his notion that the Catholic Church is the intended way of Christianity. George Weigel's bestselling biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope , set the standard by which all portraits of the modern papacy are now measured. With God's Choice , he gives us an extraordinary chronicle of the rise of Pope Benedict XVI as well as an unflinching view of the Catholic Church at the dawn of a new era.

When John Paul II lapsed into illness for the last time, people flocked from all over the world to pray outside his apartment. He had become a father figure to millions in a world bereft of strong paternal examples, and those millions now felt orphaned.

After more than twenty-six years of John Paul II's guidance, the Catholic Church is entering a new age, with its bedrock traditions intact but with pressing questions to address in a rapidly changing world. Beginning with the story of John Paul's final months, God's Choice offers a remarkable inside account of the conclave that produced Benedict XVI as the next pope, drawing on George Weigel's unrivaled access to this complex event. Weigel also incisively surveys the current state of the Church around the world: