00 7/16/2009 3:50 AM
Benedict XVI: Best-selling author

I am cross-posting this item here as an intro to an old item I came across tonight which I had missed when it came out in 2008, but which was a surprising etenrprise article to come out in the UK newspaper Daily Telegraph (which was responsible for floating the initial 'Pope wears Prada' canard and whose headline announcing Cardinal Ratzinger's election as Pope was 'God's Rottweiler").

Who tops Italy's best-seller list this week -
surpassing a weeks-long fictional bestseller?

Adapted from

So only "four cats have the courage and patience to listen to the words" of Benedict XVI!

Then who has been buying Caritas in veritate which, in less than a week climbed to the top of Italy's best-seller list, ahead of a novel that had been the chart-topper for weeks?

"Italians are in search of values and reference points - and they show this
by their mass acquisition of Benedict XVI's new encyclical".

LEV, the Vatican publishing house, printed an initial 530,000 copies in Italian, augmented by at least another half a million distributed as supplements to Avvenire and Famiglia Cristiana. Not to mention the texts published by Italy's 150 diocesan newspapers.[And with so many giveaways, people are still buying the commercial edition!]

The supplement that came with the Wednesday (July 8) issue of L'Osservatore Romano has already become a collector's item.

[Frankly, I am happily surprised by the popular interest in Caritas in veritate - a very 'technical' text compared to the 'pure' theology and philosophy of the first two encyclicals. But then, the popular success of thw first two encyclicals was a great big surprise to everyone as well. Not to mention Sacramentum caritatis, the post-Synodal exhortation on the Eucharist.

Since when have papal documents - teaching papers! - ever been best-sellers competing up there with 'regular books'? Only with Benedict XVI!]

Here's the old article:

Pope turns out to be
one of Italy'best-selling authors

By Malcolm Moore in Rome

June 6, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI has emerged as one of Italy's most popular authors, after selling more than 2.5 million copies of his latest book in just over a year.

The sales of Jesus of Nazareth, the first part of a two-volume biography of Christ, has convinced Helder, the largest Catholic publisher in Europe, to reprint a series of Benedict's earlier scholarship.

The book came eighth on last year's bestseller chart in Italy, despite costing £15.50, and outsold the latest releases by Paolo Coelho and Wilbur Smith. Over £1.6 million in royalties has gone to the Ratzinger Foundation, the Pope's charity which gives bursaries to poor students.

The popularity of the Pope [since when has the Telegraph acknowledged any 'popularity' for Benedict XVI?] to the has also helped sales of his two encyclicals, God is Love and Saved by Hope. Around three million copies of the two works have been sold.

The Pope said thatJesus of Nazareth represented his "long interior journey" in search of "the face of the Lord".

He began the work before his election in 2005, and wrote the final six chapters "using all my free moments" afterwards. The British edition of the book is published by Bloomsbury, the publishers of Harry Potter.

The Pope's previous career as a senior theologian means there is a vast back-catalogue of his work that publishers are eager to capitalise on.

Before becoming the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Benedict had penned 132 books, monographs and commentaries.

"We are going to reprint 13 volumes to start with," said Father Giuseppe Costa, an official at the Vatican's publishing house who is cooperating with Helder.

"There is a rich and extraordinary catalogue and today's readers are looking at it with growing interest," he added. "In the pope there is a strong point of reference, both for religion and culture."

I suppose we must be thankful that one newspaper, at least, has had to acknowledge objective facts such as actual book sales to concede that the Pope enjoys a popularity not one of this critics had expected and which many of them can't get to admit. Especially since the writer could simply not have written the item at all - it was an etenrprise story (some of his figures for the Italian book sales I had not seen before) and yet he wrote it, even if he really did not have a newspeg for it.

As FAther Z likes to say about the traditional Mass, brick by brick, we will get there...Brick by brick, some cnronic Benedoct detractors may well end up being Benaddicts.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/16/2009 3:51 AM]