Only two months after his election, Pope Benedict XVI has published his first book. In it, he defends the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and says the Church will never accept abortion. He also expresses his dismay that Europe has seemingly rejected its Christian heritage.
"There is no such thing as ‘small murders’,” the Pope wrote. “Respect for every single life is an essential condition for anything worthy of being called social life.”
"The Europe of Benedict: In the Crisis of Cultures" includes three of his important texts, which he wrote before he was elected Pope, between 1992 and 2005 as as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The title of the 150-page book refers to St. Benedict. The 5th-century monk founded the Benedictine order and helped spread Christianity across the continent. Due to the great influence he had on European culture and the practice of the Christian religion, he was named the patron of Europe.
However, in his book the Pope comments on secularization of Europe. He criticizes a decision to exclude a reference to Europe's Christian roots in the EU constitution.
"Europe has developed a culture which excludes God from the public conscience in a way never before known to humanity," he writes.
The book was jointly published by the Vatican and an Italian publisher who had acquired rights to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's writings before he became Pope.