Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: The Virtues by Pope Benedict XVI

First, let me just say that I love Pope Benedict's writings.   They seem so much more accessible than the amazing writings of JPtheGreat (of whom I am an ENORMOUS fan and actually met one day in Rome!).  Pope Benedict, who is a career academician really knows how to write to his audience.  I was thrilled when Catholic Company had The Virtues as a reviewable item -- I quickly requested that one and here's my review:

The Virtues is an edited compilation of Pope Benedict's writings that mention the seven virtues of faith, hope, charity (love), prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance.  This is a great meditation book ... a book I'd pull out daily to read a snippet, spending almost a month (there is an average of 20 quotes per virtue) on each virtue. 

The quote include excerpts from Pope Benedict's encyclicals, homilies, specific-themed talks, and other chances he has had to teach the faithful about these virtues.

The first section of the book covers the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity:  first with a definition (from the Catholic Catechism) of each and then with their own quotes from Benedict's writings.  The theological virtues are those that are enfused from God -- the virtues that you will not see in the animal kingdom but only within the human species.  Then, the book moves on to the cardinal virtues (those that are "natural" virtues whether or not you believe in God): prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance -- again with an overview definition from the Catechism, but then moving on to specifics as mentioned in Pope Benedict's writings/talks.

This is a treasure trove of teachable moments for all who are trying to teach the Catholic Faith -- whether you're a mom/dad, a homeschooler or a Catholic school teacher, this book is for you!  We chose the virtue of charity/love as our theme for 2011 and this book fits perfectly into my need to teach/explain this theological virtue to my own kids!  This really is a wonderful meditative book, not heavy, but very attainable, that discusses these seven virtues ... definitely a book that will be well-used, well-read in our house!

Disclaimer:  This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Virtues . They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.


  1. Yes, I agree. Benedict XVI's writings are superb. Ask any openminded (meaning not only sola scriptura-fanatic) Protestant who converted to Catholicism because Benedict showed them what sola scriptura really means! I am one of those.

    What a great pope. A marvellous person and theologian. A highly talented pastor. A great teacher.

  2. Learning and living in rural Virginia - combined with Catholicism. Perfect! May I introduce to your readers the UK-based charity Catholic Concern for Animals which is now building up a branch in the USA? If you are still reading... you might like to read the book The School of Compassion: a Roman Catholic Theology of Animals, by Deborah M JOnes, published by Gracewing, and the much smaller booklet, Concern for Animals from a Catholic Perspective, published by the Catholic Truth Society (UK)