The Salt of the Earth is a set of interviews with Ratzinger back in the late 90’s when he was still a cardinal. The interviewer is Peter Seewald, a German journalist. In it, we hear from the man who is now the pope about a ton of issues both inside and outside the Catholic church. Ratzinger provides an insightful view of the state of the world today, and even predicts some of the financial and social calamaties that have come to fruition in the Western world. He seems to contradict at every page the view given of him by the secular news, that he is a hard-core heavy-handed blind traditionalist. Rather, he comes through as an intelligent, reasonable, and balanced man with a very clear understanding of the global situation and a very humble view of the pope’s role. Particularly encouraging is his refusal to accept power-oriented characterizations of people and positions in the church and the world. (Regarding papal infallibility, he says that the pope can only be considered infallible when he is acting in his official role as representative of the consensus of all the bishops of the Church, and it is for this reason only that his stamp of approval in these situations may be called “infallible”.)
A good read for anyone interested in where the new pope may be taking the Catholic church, or who may think that the pope is the anti-Christ. This should not be taken as an endorsement by me of the Catholic church or certain of its doctrines, but simply to say that it can be helpful to actually listen to someone before we cast judgement on what we heard they believe and do.