Bishop Müller: Pope's Book Brings Focus Back to Christ

Says Faith Is Essentially an Encounter Between Persons

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ROME, MARCH 25, 2011(Zenit.org).- In an age of doubt and uncertainty, Benedict XVI has given the world a new book that directs people back to Christ, says the bishop of Regensburg, Germany.

Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller said this Thursday at the presentation for the Diocese of Rome of the second volume of Benedict XVI's "Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week -- From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection" at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The event was inserted into a three-part series at the cathedral of Rome titled "Dialogues in the Cathedral."

The bishop was accompanied by Italian philosopher and politician Marcello Pera, and the Pope's vicar for the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini.

Bishop Müller, 63, who has been the bishop of Regensburg since 2002, said that the current age is one of "growing doubts, of uncertainty," and that Europe finds itself "profoundly confused" about its Christian identity.

He stated that the Pope's book addressed the specific problems of a Europe "without a standard or goal, without a sense of where it came from or a future," as well as the "general crisis of the whole of humanity," by calling attention back to Christ.

"Only turning toward the God-Man can save us," he said. "All attempts at gratuitous self-redemption of man have sunk in the abyss of crime and violence, spiritual void and mortal tedium. The rejection of a God who acts in history and who today gives men his revelation results inevitably in the despair of having to remain unredeemed."

In "Jesus of Nazareth," Bishop Müller explained, Benedict XVI "develops the great scenes of the Passion, key scenes to understand the person of Jesus and his mission," and thus directs the reader to the only person "able to command the wind and the waves and to lead the ship of his Church to the safe port of eternity."

The prelate said the Pope's book "renders accessible the figure of Jesus to men who risk being overwhelmed by the storms of time and of history," and that it is "directly concerned with Jesus himself and, through him, with our relationship with God and the encounter with Jesus."

"The Christian faith is an encounter with a person," he added. "It is substantially and essentially a relationship between persons, and not between a person and an idea or moral law."

A testimony of love

In the course of the evening in the brightly lit papal basilica, Cardinal Vallini praised Benedict XVI for his "dense and demanding book," and for the clear treatment of the "central question of the Resurrection of Jesus, without which the Christian faith makes no sense."

The cardinal also praised the Pope for "having explained to us with convincing arguments the nature of Christ the Messiah."

"It has been said," he added, "that this book was not written by a professor but by one in love who offers the reader a moving testimony, and, after having read it, I think this is really true."