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Sodalitium Christianae Vitae - English / News  / Interview: Discover the legacy of Benedict XVI in the latest book by Gustavo Sánchez

Interview: Discover the legacy of Benedict XVI in the latest book by Gustavo Sánchez

Sodalite Gustavo Sánchez holding recent book on the legacy of Benedict XVI

In this interview, our brother Gustavo Sánchez shares the motivations behind his latest book: “ Benedict XVI. A doctrinal legacy for the 21st century ”, inspired by the news of the Pope’s transit at the end of 2022. The title of the book reflects his intention to explore and highlight the impactful teaching left by Benedict XVI, a task that he considers crucial for the understanding and application in Christian life.

In addition to exploring Gustavo’s personal connection with the Pope, in this interview we will delve into the relevance of Benedict XVI’s legacy in contemporary society and the Church.

The book can be purchased at the SUR Bookstore, located at Av. Pardo y Aliaga 683, San Isidro ( Buy online here ). Also at the Faculty of Pontifical and Civil Theology of Lima, you can contact the following email:

Talking with Gustavo

Thank you Gustavo for giving us your time to share these reflections with us.

What inspired you to write this particular book about Pope Benedict XVI? Do you have a special personal or academic connection to his legacy?

Immediately, the reason why I began to write this book was the news of his transit, which occurred on December 31st, 2022. Benedict XVI is a great Pontiff, and his greatness is not diminished – as some have indicated – by His resignation, rather, said act is an expression of incomparable humility and magnanimity. It is to highlight that greatness that I thought: it is worth showing, through a publication, what he has left us.

And what he has left us (which is why the title speaks of “legacy”) is an impressive teaching, of a value that we can barely perceive, and that with time and study we will be able to appreciate in all its dimension. It is worth knowing and applying the teaching of Pope Benedict to our Christian life.

However, beyond the immediate, the richness of Benedict XVI’s thought, whether as theologian Joseph Ratzinger or as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has accompanied me since my years of Sodalit training , and also when I taught. theology formally, for more than three decades at the Faculty. I feel that, as a theologian, I owe him a lot.

We know that you were able to meet Pope Benedict XVI in person. Can you share any special experiences or anecdotes you’ve had with him?

I met him in person in November 2016. That year he had published a book on his theology (See Gustavo Sánchez Rojas. Benedict XVI. A Pope in Dialogue. Lima; FTPCL 2016) and I had the blessing of giving it to him in his own hands .

Elderly and frail in appearance, he radiated overwhelming affection and sympathy, full of affection and cordiality. He asked me where he was from, and when I told him that he came from Lima and worked at the Faculty of Theology, he told me smiling: “ I am from the Faculty. In 1986 they gave me an Honoris Causa .” And certainly, he remembered the names of some teachers.

When I gave him my book, he immediately went to the index (a habit of someone who frequently deals with books) and leafing through it, he exclaimed: “ Big print! This way you can read better .” I remember that moment with immense gratitude to God for having given us a Pope as good as Benedict XVI.

How can Benedict XVI’s doctrinal legacy continue to be relevant in society and the Church?

The magisterial legacy of Benedict XVI, as well as his theological heritage, are relevant for society and the church today because they touch on the two most important realities that exist: God and man. In this, Benedict is a faithful disciple of his teacher Saint Augustine, who taught that only two things are fundamental, namely knowing God and knowing oneself (ie the human being). I think that few have taught these realities and have reflected on them theologically with the depth with which Benedict XVI has done so. It is enough to look at his encyclical Deus Caritas est (2005) to realize this. And the problems raised by the knowledge of God, the deepening of the revealed mystery of the Trinity, what we believe, etc., are well “theologized” in his Introduction to Christianity (1969), which he considered the most important work of he.

We know that God and man meet and are inextricably united in Jesus Christ. Therefore, in the person of the Lord Jesus we find the truth about God and at the same time the truth about human beings. His book Jesus of Nazareth (2007-2012) in three installments is fundamental in this regard, and although it is not a magisterial teaching, it expresses a grandiose theology and an intense love for Jesus Christ, and I think that there the Pope tells the Church and to the world: “Here is the answer to all questions, the solution to problems, the light that dispels the darkness!” I consider it to be a must-read work.

Why is Benedict XVI’s legacy important to our spiritual family?

We, as a spiritual family, are the fruit of the Second Vatican Council . And few have explained as well as Benedict XVI what the Council means for the Church and for Christian life today. In addition to the harmony between what Benedict teaches and what we want to live, there is the valuable guidance offered by Pope Ratzinger’s teaching on the best way to understand and apply conciliar teaching, what he calls “hermeneutics of continuity and reform”.

The teachings of Benedict XVI on the liturgy, and more specifically, on the Eucharist, are also very important. These are two aspects of the Christian life that touch us closely and where we can greatly benefit from what Benedict has left us. Finally, Benedict XVI’s teaching on reconciliation is of great depth, and in this we feel very identified with what the Pope says ( our spirituality is the spirituality of reconciliation ). I point out all this in the book.

What are the next projects or areas of research you plan to work on after the publication of this book?

I have already started a book on the doctrine of the Catechism of the Catholic Church , and I find it necessary to address this issue, since the teaching proposed by the Catechism is under attack today. If I can contribute anything to clarify what the Church teaches through this very important instrument, I would be very happy. And I would also like to publish two books on reconciliation. One that deals with this theme in Tradition, and another that touches on this same reality in some theologians of the 20th century. Of course there are more projects, and I pray to God to grant me time and strength to complete these works already begun.