Vatican Book Released: A Prequel to the Life of Jesus Christ

Can Pope Benedict Win 'Them' Over?
By @ibtimesau on

The battle to win those Catholics to be faithful to the Church and to make them remain as such remains for Pope Benedict as he and the other heads of the Catholic congregation grapple with allegations of sexual, physical and other forms of abuse of some members of the clergy.

The head of the Catholic Church, which counts more than five million faithful in Australia, has released on Wednesday the latest installment of a three-part book series that reflect on the life of Jesus Christ.

Notable for his denouncement of violence and the rehabilitation of the Jews in the eyes of the Church in the first two tomes, Pope Benedict XVI opted for a prequel treatment on the last of the volume titled 'The Infancy Narratives - Jesus of Nazareth'.

Initial printing of the latest work reached one million copies, Reuters, which will be distributed in 20 languages.

Reuter's initial review of the 137-page English version showed the pope employing the available details on Jesus' early life to deliver his one of his core messages - that the Catholic belief on immaculate conception or virgin birth is 'unequivocal'.

"It is God's creative word alone that brings about something new. Jesus, born of Mary is fully man and fully God, without confusion and without separation." Reuters quoted the pope as saying in the new book.

He reinforced the century-old Catholic teaching that Jesus was conceived without physical contact between a man and a woman but by the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit, part of the supposedly unified entity known in the Church doctrine as Holy Trinity.

Pope Benedict insisted that the accounts as provided by the gospels "are not myths taken a stage further. They are firmly rooted, in terms of their basic conception, in the biblical tradition of God the Creator and Redeemer."

While he admitted that there may be shades of contradiction when the Church teachings were pitted with the real world, the pope asserted that "God, with his truth, stands in opposition to man's manifold lies, his self-seeking and his pride."

And part of that reality, the pope pointed out, was Jesus humbly started his life with the company of common people - that of a group of shepherds together with the animals they keep.

"From the moment of his birth, he belongs outside the realm of what is important and powerful in worldly terms," Pope Benedict wrote.

The new book is released as Australia grapples with allegations of sex abuses that compelled the local Catholic Church leadership to rethink the manner it reacts and handles such controversies, impacts of which is absorbed mostly by the church, ABC said in a report.

The church's sexual abuse complaints policy will likely "be revised again as the commission progresses and of course when final recommendations are made," The Australian quoted a statement issued by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on Wednesday.

It refers to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which is set to be fully established following a consultation process spearheaded by the federal government.

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