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Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times - A Conversation with Peter Seewald

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  760 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Taken from a recent week-long series of interviews Pope Benedict XVI had with veteran journalist Peter Seewald, this book tackles head-on some of the greatest issues facing the world of our time. This is no stern preachment or ponderous theological tract, but a lively, fast-paced, challenging, even entertaining exchange.
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published November 24th 2010 by Ignatius Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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4.28  · 
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 ·  760 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Sharon Mollerus
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My full review is here:

A beautiful conversation ... a very urgent judgment on the times, almost apocalyptic without being at all sensational, and yet full of hope and stretching out a hand to every person. For beleaguered Christians, he shows this sinful, humbled Church, redeemed and united to Christ, to be an oasis, a Noah's ark, especially as lived in the liturgy.
Jeff Miller
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have sometimes wondered as a convert what it would be like to have been a cradle Catholic and to have studied and lived the faith throughout my life. To have fully interiorized the faith. Oh and If I were a lot more intelligent I would get a idea of this what this would be like by the Pope’s latest book Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times by the answers he gives.

This is the third interview book he has done with Journalist Peter Seevald who talked with the pope f
Joseph R.
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: catholic, read-2011
You've got to love an interviewee, who, when asked if he still believed what he believed as a child, gives this answer:

I would say: Simplicity is truth--and truth is simple. Our problem is that we no longer see the forest for the trees; that for all our knowledge, we have lost the path to wisdom. This is also the idea behind Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, which shows how the cleverness of our age causes us, ironically, to overlook the essential, while the Little Prince, who hasn't the fainte
Julie Davis
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Better to See The Pope With: Reviewing Light of the World
... We are sinners. But we should not take the failure to live up to this high moral standard as an authoritative objection to the truth. We should try to do as much good as we can and to support and put up with each other. ...

I remember reading Salt of the Earth, Seewald's first book of interviews with the Pope when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. At the time I was impressed by the straight forward honesty, clear sight, and mixture of com
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
For the condom discussion and SO MUCH MORE. Both Peter Seewald and Pope Benedict are impressive.
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely beautiful and profound book. This book is the third interview between Peter Seewald, a German journalist whose interactions with then-Cardinal Ratzinger helped bring him back to the Church, and Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. The book is full of wonderful insights, penetrating analysis, and the words of one who has come to know and love Jesus. The man revealed in this interview is at once warm, pastoral, funny, humble, and inspiring. Pope Benedict is the consummate tea ...more
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing

This was a great book. It is not often that we get this close to the Pope. We are given here a rare opportunity to listen to the Pope speaking to us about the things that we would ask him ourselves.

Having read the other interview books that then Cardinal Ratzinger did, I was greatly looking forward to reading this book. I have always been a big fan of Joseph Ratzinger now Pope Benedict XVI. I have read most of his books. He has a rare gift of being able to take complicated things and make them
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
El sueño de todo reportero: poder entrevistar a un papa sin un guión escrito. Es la primera vez que un papa concede una entrevista informal tan larga. En ella se tratan los temas que más polémica han causado en el pontificado del papa alemán: el escándalo de la malinterpretación de la lección de Regensburg entre los musulmanes, las críticas a la posición del papa respecto a los condones a propósito de una visita a África, la crisis de los abusos sexuales y el levantamiento de la excomunión a alg ...more
Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Pope Benedict's willingness to openly discuss any topic is unprecedented. This is his 3rd book-length interview with Peter Seewald, and it includes beautiful passages on many topics... all off the top of his head, of course. However, compared to "Salt of the Earth" or "The Ratzinger Report," this book didn't give my highlighter quite as much of a work-out.

This book also includes the passage about condoms that sent the mainstream media into a frenzy of wishful thinking (that he "approved the use
Kevin de Ataíde
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
In his most recent book-length interview, Papa talks about contemporary issues and the Faith from his own perspective. His view from the summit of the hierarchy of the Roman Church he describes as unique, receiving as he does the experience of the Church from all over the globe. This allows him to make clear statements about, for example, the futility of trying to solve the AIDS problem by throwing millions of dollars of prophylactics at it. The book is valuable as a portrayal of a gentle and ve ...more
Dec 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual
I knew little about our current Pope, so was curious to read. I was surprised how accessible it was. The Q & A format made it an easy and quick read.
There were some quotes I liked.
"Simplicity is truth -- and truth is simple. Our problem is that we no longer see the forest for trees; that for all our knowledge, we have lost the path to wisdom" (p. 167). Also,
"There needs to be a new realization that being human is something great, a great challenge, to which the banality of just drifting alo
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Friends with saints, begging and thankfulness, joyful, 1% scandals, obscure God’s love, dismiss truth, opinion of majority, new intolerance in name of tolerance, simplicity is truth and truth is simple, 25% support to aids victims, holy hour, 500yr cycles, a hunger of spirit, not what they say but why they say it, 21 councils, man tragic actor of own plays, lecture add story to change pace, silence is wisdom’s first reply, know cross is to know self, faith/reason, world losing standards and valu ...more
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Light of the World was a surprisingly easy read. Compared to much of Pope Benedict XVI's (Joseph Ratzinger) much more scholarly works, this was a personal encounter with him. I thought the range of questions asked by Peter Seewald covered the necessary and relevant topics, plus a few in there for fun (about clothes and movies). Many times I found myself coming across such succinct yet informative answers, that I wanted to buy the book for many friends who had questioned me on those same things.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I feel really close to Pope Benedict as I am reading his thoughts on numerous topics. Peter Seewald asks penetrating and thought provoking questions. He doesn't hold back any punches, yet Pope Benedict doesn't hesitate to respond respectfully and thoughtfully.

My favorite answer is when Peter Seewald asks: How does Pope Benedict pray?

".....Naturally, I always pray first and foremost to our Lord, with whom I am united simply by old acquaintance, so to speak......"
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. It gives great insight into the Pope's thinking. He is a very thoughtful man. He makes decisions with grace. The best quote of the book is on page 52 "With that we are basically experiencing the abolition of tolerance, for it mean, after all, that religion, that the Christian faith is no longer allowed to express itself visibly." How true!
Carlos Torres
I found B16 to be open and warm in this interview. I think you get to peer into the heart and mind of a very spiritual and wise man who is close to God. I have a different view of B16 after reading this.
Kevin Heldt
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Overall, it was pretty good. Some of the questions/answers were especially illuminating.
Kevin Hughes
Nice little book... I enjoyed getting to know the pope a little bit. Nothing groundbreaking, though.
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent view of one of the most astute theologians of the 20th century. It reveals a face of Pope Benedict the media often ignores, that of a caring pastor
Robert Hernandez
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
Unbelievable the amount of wisdom expressed by the Pope in such a few words. Long live the Pope.
Sep 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash, read-in-german
Unglaublich schlecht. Der Ex-Papst ist ein Meister der schwammigen Formulierungen, der substanzlosen Begriffe und Verdrehungen von historischen Entwicklungen.
Auf die Frage, wie beispielweise die notwendige Umkehr konkret (!) erfolgen soll, antwortet er, dass "man Gott wieder an die erste Stelle" setzen und seine Worte "als Realitäten in das eigene Leben hereinleuchten" lassen sollte (S.83). So konkret kann Benedikt werden. Und das wohlgemerkt im Jahr 2010, als von den Worten Gottes schon so vie
Antonio Gallo
L'uomo Papa

Ho appena finito di leggere questo libro che è una lunga intervista ad un Uomo che oltre ad essere un prete è anche uno scrittore, uno studioso, un teologo che si trova anche ad essere il Capo di una delle più grandi comunità religiose del mondo in veste di Papa.

Divisa in tre parti questa "conversazione", come l'ha sottotitolato l'editore, il libro si legge in maniera scorrevole, come una qualsiasi intervista-conversazione nella forma di scrittura di comunicazione moderna. L'intervist
Je lis donc je suis
I find Joseph Ratzinger to be the best kind of Church leader. He has the courage to communicate (gently) difficult messages about western culture as well as to own up to the even more difficult shortcomings of the Church (that exist to the same degree in my protestant tradition, but are more invisible due to its congregational structure). I find his more quiet but thoughtful demeanor perhaps much more approachable than his "rock star" predecessor who I also greatly respected. I came back from my ...more
Tet Rivera
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books I've read so far. This gives insight not only to the great mind of Cardinal Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI) but also to the beauty of the faith that is founded on reason and love. This honest conversation speaks of the need for and the basis for seeking the truth -- of an enriching the faith by seeking understanding, but most of all, of the basis for the Christian hope.

Being a Catholic who had once lost the fervor for living the faith, basically because I
Jorge Reyes
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Posiblemente pudo no haber pedido perdón por situaciones que son enteramente humanas, llenas de respetos humanos, y sin embargo lo ha hecho, se ha puesto al nivel de los lastimados, los heridos ha llorado y empatizado con ellos.
El diálogo que sostiene Peter Seewald con Benedicto XVI sobre los signos de los tiempos, fe, sociedad, amor, y temas varios de suma importancia para no solo los católicos nos da un ápice de lo que significa la labor de tan gran líder moral para muchas religiones. Habrá lo
Matthew Green
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review is going to be quick and simple: read this book!

This interview really gives an insight into the personality of Pope Benedict XVI and his views on a wide range of topics relevant to Catholics today. The interviewer asks intentionally provocative questions from both sides of the spectrum (from “conservative” to “liberal”) and almost tries to tease the Pope into making radical statements, to which Benedict replies with his extraordinary modesty and balanced approach to controversial que
Agustín Héctor
De verdad no hay párrafo sin despendicio de la conversación con Joseph Ratzinger, porque ayuda a tener un conocimiento de la persona, el intelectual y el jerarca. Me queda un gran sabor de boca sobre los planteamientos como el relativismo dentro de occidente, la verdad, el espíritu, la iglesia como comunidad no como institución, el plantar cara ante la crisis interna y sus posibles soluciones, en como de la adversidad o crisis se ve el lado positivo de la renovación, cambio y fortalezas. De verd ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Content marred by format.

A contrarian at heart, I have always appreciated JR's keen intellect, passionate faith, and effusive benevolence. I question many of the tenets he propels, but I truly believe he tried - and is still trying - to bring about a better world..

Nevertheless, I could have done without the dogmatic interviewer, and often scanned over the drossy prompts to reach the core material.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
This was really good, and I'm not Catholic. The translation from the German was a little awkward in places and a basic knowledge of Catholic vocabulary helps, but overall a great insight into the personality and faith of Benedict, a man I highly respect. Out of the two books I've read about the Pope (the other being The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church), this one was better.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: _eng, spiritual, _reviewed
Vote: 4,25

A really amazing book in which by means of brief and very clear answer the Pope led you to understand what is the Christianity and what are the real problems of our world.

In addiction He address with clarity all the major issues of the Catholich Church with his characteristic love for the truth.

I strongly reccommend it to anyone who wish to understand better what are the real positions of the Pope on many important issues.

I really liked this book!
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Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) was the 265th Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the head of the Catholic Church. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and too ...more
“It is obvious that the concept of truth has become suspect. Of course it is correct that is has been much abused. Intolerance and cruelty have occurred in the name of truth. To that extent people are afraid when someone says, "This is the truth", or even "I have the truth". We never have it, at best is has us. No one will dispute that one must be careful and cautious in claiming the truth. But simply to dismiss it as unattainable is really destructive.
(...) We must have the courage to dare to say: Yes, man must seek the truth; he is capable of truth. It goes without saying that truth requires criteria for verification and falsification. It must always be accompanied by tolerance, also. But then truth also points out to us those constant values which have made mankind great. That is why the humility to recognize the truth and to accept it as a standard has to be relearned and practiced again.
The truth comes to rule, not through violence, but rather through its own power; this is the central theme of John's Gospel: When brought before Pilate, Jesus professes that he himself is The Truth and the witness to the truth. He does not defend the truth with legions but rather makes it visible through his Passion and thereby also implements it.”
“The intellectual climate of the 1970s, for which the 1950s had already paved the way, contributed to this. A theory was even finally developed at that time that pedophilia should be viewed as something positive. Above all, however, the thesis was advocated-and this even infiltrated Catholic moral theology-that there was no such thing as something that is bad in itself. There were only things that were "relatively" bad. What was good or bad depended on the consequences.
In such a context, where everything is relative and nothing intrinsically evil exists, but only relative good and relative evil, people who have an inclination to such behavior are left without no solid footing. Of course pedophilia is first rather a sickness of individuals, but the fact that it could become so active and so widespread was linked also to an intellectual climate through which the foundations of moral theology, good and evil, became open to question in the Church. Good and evil became interchangeable; they were no longer absolutely clear opposites.”
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