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Milestones: Memoirs, 1927-1977

Publisher: Ignatius Press • 2005 • 156 pages

Many people are familiar with the later career of Joseph

Ratzinger ? recently elected Pope Benedict XVI — when he served

under Pope John Paul II as Prefect for the Congregation for the

Doctrine of the Faith. But eventful though that quarter-century

was for Ratzinger, the preceding half-century was in many ways

more dramatic and consequential. In Milestones: Memoirs 1927-

1977, the future pope himself tells the fascinating story of his

early family life, the years under Nazi oppression in Germany,

and his part in World War II — including how as a teenager he

was forced to join the Hitler Youth and the German army, from

which he then risked his life to flee. He also recounts his

calling and ordination to the priesthood, the intellectual and

spiritual formation he received, his early days as a parish

priest, his role as an expert at the Second Vatican Council, his

experience as a popular university professor and theologian, and

his appointment as Archbishop of Munich-Freising in Germany.

Written before he became pope in 2005, Milestones remains a

valuable road map to the man?s mind and heart. It dispels the

media myths and legends, and it reveals the real Benedict XVI —

a man of the Church who loves God and humanity, a scholar, a

theologian, a teacher, and a humble pastor with deep compassion

and profound spiritual insight.

“Here is Cardinal Ratzinger at his most surprising. Who

imagines him a teenager risking his life escaping a Nazi forced-

labor camp? Or a doctoral candidate shattered by rejection of his

dissertation? Or a priest telling of ‘the sufferings necessary

for the priestly ministry . . . those dark nights that alone can

give full shape to the radical assent a priest must give’?

Milestones, rich with theological insights as are all his works,

gives us finally Ratzinger the person. He is a joy to meet.” -?

JOHN CARDINAL O?CONNOR, former archbishop of New York

“A very personal, compelling narrative of a life that continues

to have inestimable influence in shaping the mission of the

Catholic Church. A rare mix of candor and charity, this book is

an opportunity to know personally one of the truly great figures

of our time. It should not be missed.” — Fr. Richard John

Neuhaus, Editor, First Things

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