Ratzinger begins by discussing his own life, including his family life, being a theology professor and writer, becoming a Bishop, Cardinal and the Pope's top authority on doctrine. He then discusses the problems of the Catholic Church today and talks about the challenges and hopes of the future of Church and the world at the beginning of the Third Millennium.
Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) is recognized as one of the most brilliant theologians and spiritual leaders of our age. As pope he authored the best-selling Jesus of Nazareth. Prior to his pontificate, he wrote many influential books important for the contemporary Church, such as Introduction to Christianity and The Spirit of the Liturgy.
When Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the Year for Priests in 2009, he did so in conjunction with celebrating the 150th anniversary of the death of John Vianney, the patron saint of all parish priests. Benedict's purpose for that special year is the same purpose of this book of homilies—to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world. As St. John Vianney would often say, "The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus." This touching expression makes us reflect on the immense gift that priests represent, not only for the Church but for all mankind.
Contemporary men and women need priests to be distinguished by their determined witness to Christ. These homilies are meant to illuminate and to inspire priests to renew their commitment to "teaching and learning the love of God". The homilies cover a wide variety of important topics on the priesthood, all deeply rooted in Scripture, including acting in persona Christi, becoming an offering with Christ for the salvation of mankind, being there for God's mercy, and witnessing Christian joy.