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Called To Communion [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is a book of wisdom and insight that explains how providential are the trials through which the Catholic Church is now passing. The need of the Papal Primacy to ensure Christian unity; the true meaning of the Priesthood as a sacrament and not a mere ministry; the necessity of the Eucharist as the Sacrifice of the Savior now offering Himself on our altars; the role of the Bishops as successors of the Apostles, united with the successor of St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome; the value of suffering in union with Christ crucified; the indispensable service of the laity in the apostolate - all these themes receive from Cardinal Ratzinger new clarity and depth.

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

Product Details

  • File Size: 212 KB
  • Print Length: 172 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0898705789
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049H9BYG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,603 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Communion with Church, Communion with Christ November 27, 2001
Of all Cardinal Ratzinger's works, this is my favorite. It touches upon issues of ecclesiology and sacramental theology. In short, Cardinal Ratzinger ties in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, with the Church. Through it, he explores God's covenant with His people. I have long noticed the various double meanings -- one sacramental, the other ecclesiological -- in much of our theological language. Words like "communion" and "Body of Christ" carry the double significance of our communion with one another, as well as our communion with Christ. This book explores both, tying them together in an easy to read, as well as understandable, format.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For a People in Search of Their Identity March 11, 2001
This is a little book which was not originally a book by intention. Yet it is held together by the internal theme of ecclesial self-identity. It is a little book with a big message.
In any sphere in order to know how something is to function, it is extremely important to understand its origin and purpose. It is no different with the Church. In a confused and confusing world there is need for such a book as this to re-establish and re-invigorate our ecclesial focus. ...And Christ Jesus is its essence and center.
CALLED TO COMMUNION is not necessarily the easiest read because a good part of it was originally directed at individuals(Bishops) who could be assumed to have had some prior knowledge of the subject matter. Still it is worth the time invested, for even the average reader interested in the Church as well, to search out the pearls of wisdom which are assuredly to be found within its pages.
As always the Cardinal writes from an admirably, profound knowledge and depth of faith.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenges Many Liberal Myths June 15, 2004
Theologically liberal Protestants and theologically liberal Catholics have distorted the New Testament witness by pushing a false opposition between the Kingdom of God and the Church. They have also ignored the New Testament evidence for the primacy of Peter as first bishop of Rome and for the priesthood of the New Covenant. Fortunately, Cardinal Ratzinger sets the record straight by showing that there is no opposition between the kingdom preached by Jesus and the Church founded by the same Jesus, by documenting the New Testament evidence for the Petrine primacy, and by pointing to the theology of the New Covenant's own priesthood present in the New Testament. All of this is done concisely, precisely, and clearly. This book should be read by any Christian interested in the Church and especially by Catholics. It is a primer on ecclesiology.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, thought provoking read July 23, 2001
I read this as an outsider of the Catholic Faith, but I found it very intriguing, nonetheless. Ratzinger's perspective on the essence and origin of the Church is impossible to dismiss, and the truth in this book, although it's doubtful that the author intended this, exposes huge problems in the (many) Protestant concepts of "church". Although the contents of this book were not originally intended to be presented in book form, the ideas are fluid and clear. A great book. 4 stars only because I'm not (at least not yet) Catholic, and, therefore, there wasn't much practical wisdom I could take from this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You too are called to communion November 19, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today starts off with three theology lectures for a course on universal vs. particular Churches for bishops in Brazil, followed by an address to the Synod of Bishops on the priesthood, a talk on ecclesial reform to conclude an annual meeting in Rimini, and finally a homily preached at a seminary in Philadelphia which is added to "clarify once more the spiritual orientation of the whole book" (from the Foreword). All of these events took place in 1990, but the material is as relevant, if not more so, today.

The stated goal in the Foreword of offering "a sort of primer of Catholic ecclesiology" to "bring clarity and help in the crisis of ecclesial consciousness" is fulfilled in spades. The nature of the book and the audiences it was directed toward originally does not allow Cardinal Ratzinger to go into the level of detail I would have like to have seen, but nevertheless he is quite successful at giving the reader a good overview of Catholic ecclesiology, particularly as it relates to the roles of bishops, priests, and the nature of true reform in the Church.

In the first chapter he establishes the origin of the Church in Jesus, of course, by using not only Gospel testimony, but also Paul's doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ, and the beginnings of Church functioning in the Acts of the Apostles.

Chapter Two deals with Petrine primacy and the unity of the Church. The author acknowledges the ecumenical difficulty of this question, but goes on to solidly show the status of Peter as "Rock", as head of the Twelve, and as keeper of the "keys" which he deals with at the greatest length of the three points.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The recent election of Pope Benedict XVI (previously Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) has caused there to be increased interest in his writings. "Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today" was originally written in 1991. In it, Cardinal Ratzinger attempted to offer a "primer of Catholic ecclesiology." It is composed of the texts from three different presentations that he gave during 1990: a theology course for bishops, the opening statement of the Synod for Bishops, and a speech given on the Church and ecclesial reform.

Ratzinger attempts to answer many questions in this volume. Among them are: What is the Church in the first place? What is the purpose of her existence? What is the role of the priesthood? and What can be done to reform the Church? While the text is intended for bishops and there are portions which would be of little interest to anyone else, there are many sections of "Called to Communion" of importance to the larger people of God.

In particular, his arguments for the primacy of the Roman bishops have many implications for ecumenical dialogue. He argues that both Paul and the Johannine tradition make the case for the primacy of Peter. He maintains that Paul introduces Peter as the first witness to the Resurrection. Because witness of that event is considered the prime criteria for apostleship, Peter gains special recognition because he was the first. One might question, of course, how the role of Mary Magdalene might fit into such a scheme since she was the first person the risen Lord actually appeared to. Regardless, one can agree with Ratzinger's assertion that Peter did "enjoy a special position in the circle of the Twelve."

An issue regarding succession does come into play, however, once Peter has died.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect
I just love it. Best phone cover I ever owned.
Published 1 month ago by virginiaduke
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for people who want to understand how God wants them to...
The author clearly and carefully teaches the reader the true meaning of faith as a theological virtue - but especially how faith interacts with service in the Church. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Like everything by Ratzinger, this is a must read!
Published 5 months ago by Rodrigo Berrios
5.0 out of 5 stars Ratzinger's Theology of the Church 101
I'm a big Ratzinger fan so I wasn't surprised to find that I loved this book. If you want a brief, but thorough introduction to theology of the Church this is the book for you. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Joseph Todisco
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it!
Very good but you have to have an interest in learning. This man is very intelligent. It is not light reading but well worth reading.
Published 16 months ago by Mookie McGuggins
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
More than a year after I completed this work I find myself returning to it over and over again. Ratzinger or Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is unmatched in his ability to explain and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Gregory Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today
I would want echo a phrase used by Fr. John Hardon, S.J. in his review of the book: "Called to Communion is a goldmine of insights." It's a small book. It's a great book. Read more
Published on July 5, 2012 by Josh Goode
5.0 out of 5 stars A real blessing
For those who have never read anything by Pope Benedict XVI (formerly Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger), I would really encourage you to do so. Read more
Published on January 14, 2011 by Justin Geldart
5.0 out of 5 stars What is the Church?
Anyone who has asked the question What is the Church? would do well to ponder this writing. If one has gone to many different fellowships over the years and wondered where the... Read more
Published on August 18, 2009 by J. Ashton
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to basics concerning the nature of Church and communion
For those familiar with Ratzinger's writings and their themes, this book will come as no surprise. Read more
Published on June 25, 2009 by Aquinas
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More About the Author

Born in 1927 in Germany as Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI has been head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005. A prolific author, theologian and university professor, Ratzinger served as an "expert" at the Second Vatican Council, and was tapped in 1977 by Pope Paul VI to lead the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In 1981, Pope John Paul II called him to Rome to head the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served until his papal election.

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