‘Bring People Closer to Jesus’: EWTN Offers Insightful ‘The Way of Benedict XVI’
FILM: Watch a must-see tribute to the late pope emeritus.
A must-see tribute to the late Benedict XVI is The Way of Benedict XVI from EWTN. Made in 2020, this insightful documentary is a thoughtful treat of timeless insights into the life and work of Father, Archbishop and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, his ascendance to the papacy, and his constant simplicity and humility through and through.
This film, chronicling one of the supremely important men in the Catholic Church in the last century, is beautifully photographed in Rome and Germany, with visits to locales quite familiar to Joseph Ratzinger. There is the home where he was born, another where he grew up, the church where he was baptized on a Holy Saturday and the cathedral in Munich where he was archbishop. Photos of him as a youngster and then as a young priest help viewers see him grow up and ascend in the Church.
Benedict’s beginnings in a simple and humble family remained with him and influenced him his entire life, viewers will discover.
Journalist Magdalena Ossandón, who wrote the script and also directed the film, interviews some of those who knew Benedict XVI. Their insights are presented with decorum and familiarity. At the same time, the filming is both artistic and beautiful, lending a gentleness to the places and events that reflect Benedict XVI’s character and personality.
His humility is frequently mentioned by those interviewed, from theologians to his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, and the writer Peter Seewald — this despite his being called, as noted in the film, “the Mozart of theology.”
Images of the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in 2005 are juxtaposed with Archbishop Gänswein sharing memories about the Benedict he knew so well.
As the film tries to answer the question, “Who is this man?” his biographer Seewald, who had a close relationship with Benedict for 25 years, explains, underscoring how he always found Benedict to be a “truly upright man” and easy to converse with.
His fundamental contribution is “trying to unite faith and reason.”
In one included speech, Benedict himself says, “Do not be afraid of Christ. He takes nothing away and gives you everything! When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Open, open wide the doors to Christ, and you will find true life.”
Seewald highlights how Benedict’s body of work was providentially suited for his time in the Church because, “in Benedict, we have a teacher who guides.”
Archbishop Gänswein similarly expresses that Benedict knew that “truth is a reality that had become flesh in Jesus Christ. Announcing the truth and bearing witness to that truth to the people was his great concern.” He believes Benedict’s “model has helped many people deepen their faith.”
Insights like these into Benedict’s “way” reflect his episcopal motto: “Cooperators of the Truth.”
During Seewald’s segments, Benedict is described as “swimming against the current as a defender of the faith,” for he “courageously confronted trends he himself considered wrong. He has been a great defender of the Catholic faith.”
One moving observation follows another in this documentary, which, though not filmed in English, has been dubbed masterfully.
Overall, Seewald sees what others also do — and viewers come to realize that Benedict’s final words (“Lord, I love you!”) attest to an entire life dedicated “to bring people closer to Jesus so they get to know Jesus.”
2pm ET on Saturday, Jan. 7
The film will also be available for purchase via EWTNRC.com and (800) 854-6316; Item: HDWB16.