Saturday, June 07, 2008

Opera omnia

~from La Repubblica via Papa Ratzinger Forum
Joseph Ratzinger's 'opera omnia' (complete works) includes 130 titles comprising books, monographs and essays from his first publication in 1950 to the time he was elected Pope in 2005.

It is a monumental collection of works about the Catholic faith that will be reprinted soon in a special edition by Europe's largest Catholic publishing house, Germany's Herder, with the supervision and participation of the Vatican publishing House, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV), which holds the rights to everything written by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.

"The project will come to 13 volumes," said Fr. Giuseppe Costa, the Salesian director of LEV which will take charge of the Italian edition. "The first will come out by the end of this year and will be dedicated to Joseph Ratzinger's theological and liturgical works, and the rest will be released in 2009."

The collection will start with Ratzinger's doctoral thesis at the University of Munich, "The People and the House of God in St. Augustine' and end with the Meditations and Prayers written by Cardinal Ratzinger for the Good Friday Way of the Cross in March 2005.

"It is an editorial enterprise that is rich and extraordinary, which is of growing interest to a very diverse public of old and new readers who will find in Ratzinger's thought a secure religious and cultural reference point," said Fr. Costa, who added that it was not easy to gain the Pope's consent for the project.

One can believe that the Pope finally agreed because of the unprecedented sales registered by both his new and old books since he became Pope.

His last book [written as a book, not a collection of previously written texts], JESUS OF NAZARETH, has sold more than 2.5 million copies in Europe, and his two encyclicals have each sold more than 1.5 million copies in the Vatican's editions alone.

Another factor that must have weighed in was the fact that royalties from his book sales since the LEV acquired full rights in late 2005 have now come to more than 2 million euros.

At the Pope's wish, the royalties will be administered by the Ratzinger Foundation - established last year with offices in both the Vatican and Germany to be the custodian of the Pope's literary work. The funds will be used for charitable projects, including assistance to students for higher education.

The Foundation's members are former university and ecclesiastical colleagues and students of Ratzinger.

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