The Pope’s Book a Wake-up Call


Over the past few weeks, here at CTS Catholic Compass, we have pointed you squarely in the direction of Pope Benedict’s book Jesus of Nazareth II. Now as it is being read, people are beginning to see that it is far more than just a scholarly work on Biblical exegesis.

For example, the Holy Father condemns religious violence, calling it a “Favourite instrument of the anti-Christ” and he also calls for vigilance, when he discusses the episode in the garden of Gethsemane.

The disciples sleep as Christ suffers his agony and for Benedict, this is not just an unlucky moment for Peter, James and John, it is an important warning to us all that we can close our eyes when faced with evil.

It was once said that all that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing, or as the Pope says, become spiritually slothful.

“Across the centuries, it is the drowsiness of the disciples that opens up possibilities for the power of the Evil One. Such drowsiness deadens the soul, so that it remains undisturbed by the power of the Evil One at work in the world and by all the injustice and suffering ravaging the earth.

In its state of numbness, the soul prefers not to see all this; it is easily persuaded that things cannot be so bad, so as to continue in the self-satisfaction of its own comfortable existence.”

The relevance of the Gospel

Here we have a clear warning about the situation in which we live. It is an important part of what Benedict is trying to achieve with this book, making it clear that the Gospel is alive today and it is far more than just something to be studied and or admired.

We are being told to respond to Christ’s words, “Listen, anyone who has ears.” (Matthew 11:15)

As for the particular evils we should be awake too; Deacon Nick Donnelly has done a better summary than I could. Click here to read his post.

In the new book, Benedict XVI also writes concerning what forms the basis for Christian unity when he discusses Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper – more on that soon.

Of related interest:

Part 1 Jesus of Nazareth Vol. I – Pope Benedict successfully corrects certain erroneous tendencies in modern biblical scholarship which have diminished our confidence in the reliability of Scripture and in our ability to know Jesus through it.
Lent Lent: Walking towards the Resurrection – Pope Benedict’s illuminating and probing Lenten reflections on the season’s scripture and liturgies culminate in the greatest treasure of all: our personal participation in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Via Dolorosa Via Dolorosa with Pope Benedict XVI – Well-known Gospel passages, prayers and beautiful illustrations are powerfully drawn together in these probing meditations on suffering, the cross, the place of evil and sin in our world.

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