|A thoughtful Pope Benedict|
© Mazur /www.thepapalvisit.org.uk
The book has been published in seven languages - German, Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Polish - and has nine chapters and an epilogue.
In an interview published by the "Osservatore Romano" Fr. Giuseppe Costa, director of the Vatican Publishing House which holds the copyright on the Pope's works, explains that there will initially be seven editions of the book with a print run of 1,200,000 copies, and that contracts have been signed with twenty-two publishing houses throughout the world. The work is also available in an e-book edition.
Fr. Costa dwells briefly on the history of the publication, recalling how nearly a year and a half ago Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, private secretary to Benedict XVI, consigned him the text, the last part of which was written in pencil "in the Pope's unmistakeable tiny handwriting".
On the subject of the translations, Fr. Costa explains how "the Italian, in particular, was not easy, because over the decades Joseph Ratzinger's books have been translated by various individuals and the challenge was to achieve a certain homogeneity of language. Furthermore, it was important to avoid the risk of the translations in the various languages failing to conserve, or even betraying, the author's ideas".
"Not all the publishing houses of the first volume have also printed the second", Fr. Costa notes. "The choice was made on the basis of various criteria including editorial and organisational structure, but also reliability. We chose publishers capable of promoting not just the book but also its contents".
In his preface the Pope announces a third book, which he intends to dedicate to the Gospel accounts of Jesus' infancy. This could not enter directly into the current volume, says Fr. Costa, which focuses on the figure of Jesus, His words and His actions. But, as the Pope writes in his preface, "I wish to remain faithful to my promise and present a small work on this subject, if I am granted the strength to do so".
Why not order your copy from the Diocesan Bookshop - email: email@example.com or telephone 01293 651165