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Faith and the Future Hardcover – March 30, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Hardcover, March 30, 2009

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Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (March 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586172190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586172190
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Faith and the Future is a small but powerful book that concisely introduces the contemporary reader to the best and, I'd argue, most socially- and politically-relevant of his thought in the 21st century. Here he especially examines the relationship between faith and hope, and what faith is (or should be) for the Christian today in the fallen world.

I would especially recommend this book to be read along with Pope Benedict's encyclical Spe Salvi as well as his older book, The Yes of Jesus Christ. But all in all, this is a must-read for Catholics and Christians alike seeking a deeper understanding of the relevance of faith for modern life.

An excerpt:
"We are now in a position to say that this faith is essentially related to the future, that it is a promise. It signifies the superordination of the future over the present, and the readiness to sacrifice the present for the sake of the future. It signifies life lived in the spirit of trust. It signifies the certainty that it is God who guarantees man his future. Thus it signifies a breaking out of the calculable, everyday world to make contact with what is eternal; it signifies man's interest in eternal things and in the Eternal. It signifies the bold realization that man can have dealings with the Eternal, and is not confined within a petty meanness of heart, that will not look beyond its immediate surroundings nor give itself credit for the greatness which sees that there might be more to human life than bread for tomorrow and money for the day after tomorrow."
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Faith and the Future" brings together a series of radio addresses given by then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

I want to share one quote from the book because I think it serves as an excellent summary of the main thesis of the book:

"...I maintain that reflection upon history, properly understood, embraces both looking back into the past and, with that as the starting point, reflecting on the possibilities and tasks of the future, which can only become clear if we survey a fairly long stretch of the road and do not naively shut ourselves up in the present. Looking back into the past does not yield a prediction of the future, but it limits our illusion of complete uniqueness and shows us that while exactly the same did not happen before, something very similar did."

In the first chapter of the book "Faith and Knowledge", Pope Benedict XVI largely raises and acknowledges already asked questions of the faith. He doesn't really try to answer them in this chapter, but it's very helpful in that he asks a number of questions which I had never considered. I think it also demonstrates that great sense of care, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness of Pope Benedict XVI as a theologian and scholar.

The second chapter is titled "Faith and Existence" and it was extremely helpful in the treatment of Abraham as a model of faith for today. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I found this portion the book to be the most helpful and exciting to read.

The third chapter, "Faith and Philosophy", is largely a treatment of the major issues of philosophy that have shaped how we approach the faith.
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Format: Hardcover
My fear was that Faith and the Future would be relatively dated. But Joseph Ratzinger's 1970 work clearly shows the dictatorship of relativism was not just a fancy term he coined in 2005; quashing it has been his lifelong goal, especially after the 1968 revolution, of which this work is a refutation. Again and again Ratzinger does not shy from taking on man's rejection of God and here is one of his best. It is Ratzinger unleashed. There was a moment at its outset that he paints a scene so terrifyingly convincing against God it looks for a moment there is no way he is going to get out of his own corner. But it's a testament to Ratzinger the writer that he so deftly handles such a setup. "In no way is the adventure of human life to be mastered. It is the very toughness of this adventure that makes it beautiful." And: "The city of man is beginning to strike terror into our hearts -- it could become the tombstone of humanity." Finally: "The road to the moon is easier to find than the road to man himself." Written two years after the July 1968 moon landing, Ratzinger was predicting an era of unraveling; a prophet who would live through his own prophecy, Ratzinger would continue due battle with secularism through the end of his pontificate. A must for students of the Prophet from Bavaria.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had wanted to read Cardinal Ratzingers oft quoted vision of the future church in context. Had to plod through chapters I wouldn't normally have read to get there - but glad I did, as it gave me peace about what's going on in the church / world - how we've been here before and how GOD's got the big picture. The book stabilized me.
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Format: Hardcover
In 1969 the Cuyahoga River caught on fire in Cleveland. In itself, this was a relatively insignificant event; rivers had been catching fire in the US for decades. This time, however, international news coverage would lead to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of major environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act in 1972. Its iconic status lingers to the present day.

In the same year a German theologian gave a series of seemingly unremarkable radio addresses. If that German theologian hadn't become the 264th successor to St. Peter as Supreme Pontiff, these addresses would hardly have resurfaced as Faith and the Future. In the long run, will they have as much impact as the Cuyahoga river fire? Is it still too early to say?

Most quoted from the book: "From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge--a Church that has lost much. It will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. It will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices it built in its palmy days. As the number of its adherents diminishes, so will it lose many of its social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of its individual members. Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry, and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Alongside this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly." (p. 116)

Is the above overly Eurocentric? Does Pope Francis coincide with any of this?
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