How Does The Pope Write?

J of Naz II

Jesus of Nazareth Part II is the much anticipated book from Pope Benedict XVI published by CTS. Many column inches will be used for earnest discussion on what the text says and means in the coming weeks, for now however, we want to look at the practicalities of its writing.

One may be forgiven for thinking that it is normal for the Pope to be a bestselling author, “After all,” they argue, “There are 1 billion Catholics in the world, who probably feel they ought to read his work because he is the Pope.”

Certainly, when the successor of St. Peter writes an account of the life of Jesus, even if, as the Holy Father has said on numerous occasions, it is a personal one, and not part of the Church’s Magisterium, people are going to expect and speculate a lot.

Major book number three

Following the success of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ released in 2007, ‘Light of the World hit bookshops and the headlines in November 2010. Now in March, the second part of Jesus of Nazareth is due but where does the Pope, who is a priest, a pastor and a head of state, find the time to do all this?

One possible answer is that for him, writing is not work, he does it in his spare time. For example, it was widely reported that the interviews with Peter Seewald, which make up Light of the World, were conducted during the Holy Father’s summer holiday at Castel Gandolfo.

In his own hand

This one too, is said to have been largely written in his leisure hours but amazingly by hand. The 83 year-old pontiff writes in small and close handwriting that is sometimes difficult to decipher, but he has help.

Her name is Birgit and she is a consecrated lay member of the Schoenstatt apostolic movement, a German Marian group formed in 1914. She has been helping the Holy Father since he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, typing up his manuscripts.

Spare a thought, and prayer for her when you enjoy the book in March.

If you are familiar with Italian, can read the interesting blog here.


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