Pope’s book on childhood of Jesus has family focus

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Vatican City, Nov 20, 2012 / 11:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict's third and final book on Jesus' life has been launched, and this time he delves into Christ's childhood.

“The Pope's book refers especially to the infancy of Jesus in the context of a family and focuses on family tradition,” said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi,  president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, at a Nov. 20 press conference.

“His words aren't just informative, they are also participative in the sense that they capture the reader and draw him in,” he added.

The book, titled “ Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives,” will be available on Nov. 21 in bookshops and will be released in nine languages in 72 countries.

The book launch was held at the Pius X Hall, just off Saint Peter's Square, and was presented by the two publishing houses in charge of its release, the Vatican Publishing House and publisher Rizzoli.

Hundreds gathered at the hall to hear Cardinal Ravasi and the director of the Vatican Publishing House, Father Giuseppe Costa. The two clergymen were also joined by theology Professor Maria Clara Bingemer of the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro and Paolo Mieli, the former director of the Italian national newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“Pope Benedict XVI talks about the spiritual path of Mary in relation to the 'yes' that she said to accepting God's plan for her,” Bingemer explained.

“Her response is free but not irrational,” she added. “Mary tries to understand the angel's announcement and remains master of herself. It's about an unconditional 'yes' to God's will.”

It focuses particularly on how Christ's infancy is relevant today and on the importance of the family.

The book is the Pope's third and final volume in his “Jesus of Nazareth” series. It examines the details and context of Jesus’ birth found in the Gospels, particularly focusing on his parents, the magi and Simeon.

Pope Benedict’s first book in the series was published in 2007. That work was dedicated to reflecting on the period from Jesus' baptism to his transfiguration. The pontiff said he penned the book as “an expression of his personal search for the face of the Lord.”

His second book, released in 2011, detailed the passion and death of Christ. Both books have been New York Times bestsellers.

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