Book Reviews: My Brother the Pope, and Two Statues

My Brother the Pope book by Georg Ratzinger

My Brother the Pope book by Georg RatzingerMy Brother, the Pope

By Georg Ratzinger and Michael Hesemann

Reviewed By Zane Knauss

It was June, 1961, and the two Ratzinger brothers, Georg and Joseph, were, on the same day, newly ordained as priests in the Roman Catholic Church. There was a parade down Main Street and each brother celebrated a Mass in the church of Saint Oswald.

All of this and more is detailed in a captivating new book titled “My Brother, the Pope”, written by Msgr. Georg Ratzinger in collaboration with Michael Hesemann and translated by Michael Miller.

Father Georg Ratzinger’s younger brother, Josef, became Pope Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005.

It is revealed that the brothers decided to become priests in their pre-teen years. The decision to take the name Benedict had nothing to do with honoring previous Benedicts. The name just sounded nice to a young man bent on becoming a priest, never mind the thought of becoming a pope.

After their ordination, the brothers headed off in different directions in the church. Georg veered toward music and became a gifted choral director and organist. Joseph moved into the highest ranks of religious education, accepting professorships in major Catholic education institutions and developing a strong voice in Catholic teaching with his writing, lecturing and administrative position in the Vatican by appointment of Pope John Paul II.

The brother of Pope Benedict gingerly sidesteps ecclesiastic decisions, concentrating instead on the particulars of their early family life and their current, close relationship.

These two brothers truly love each other. They carve a full week from their individual schedules every year and spend it together somewhere, playing catch up with news of family and friends.

This book is an affectionate wave from the heart to his beloved younger brother, who just happens to also be his pope.

Two Statues book by Brian Kennelly Two Statues

By Brian Kennelly

Reviewed By Karla Consroe

From the opening sentence to the closing phrase, “Two Statues” is a captivating, compelling, and charming story. Brian Kennelly’s choice of words and tone leads the reader to believe she is actually listening to the story unfold as told by Buck Washington and Father Paul Moore.

These two narrate the phenomenon that occurs in Rhode Island and South Carolina that intertwine their lives and those of Father Peter Davis and Walter Henderson.

It’s a tale that chronicles the journey of faith and friendship, and how belief can be a blessing and a burden.

Father Peter faces a crisis of faith that threatens to make him choose whether or not to remain with the church. Father Paul is his friend and colleague at Assumption College in Worchester, Mass., and tries to help Father Peter remain with his vocation. Before Father Peter can finalize his decision, he and Father Paul are sent to Our Lady of the Sea Church in Jamestown, R.I., to investigate an apparition involving a statue of Mary.

Buck Washington, in his mid-60s, relocates from Gable, S.C., to Edisto Island after the death of his only relative, his brother. He is drawn to the area by the idea that the ocean and solitude can ease his loss.

His neighbor, Walter Henderson,has also led a solitary life. In time, Buck discovers the source of the grief that has emotionally handicapped Walt for the majority of his life. Then, they witness a Marian apparition at Walt’s church, Our Lady of the Sea on Edisto Island.

These separate occurrences, over 1,000 miles apart, bring the four together and knit the loose, broken threads of two lives into a wondrous tapestry of life and redemption, with the help of their friends.

Kennelly is a captivating storyteller and a welcome newcomer in Catholic writing.