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An Armchair Pilgrimage with Pope Benedict

One of the great things about having Benedict XVI as pope is that we now have a steady stream of Joseph Ratzinger books to enjoy. We have the pleasure of catching up with a long and prolific theological life — and one steeped in the Fathers. I’m presently enjoying Images of Hope: Meditations on Major Feasts. It’s the perfect remote preparation for the St. Paul Center’s pilgrimage to Rome in 2007. Key essays in the book are then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s guided tours of the ancient Roman catacombs and the patristic-era basilicas of St. Mary Major, St. Peter (twice), St. Paul, and St. Clement. And the Fathers are with him always, for every feast, in every holy site. “When we read the Church Fathers,” he says, “something important is added.” And: “we must return once again with the Church Fathers to the first Christmas.” This is a little book (just over a hundred pages), but beautiful, gorgeously illustrated with full-color artwork, packed with wisdom, insight, and even information — the fine details of history. If you can’t make an overseas pilgrimage to Rome, make one in your armchair with this lovely book from Ignatius Press.