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Razing the Bastions: On the Church in This Age Paperback – April 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 103 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First American edition (April 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898704286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898704280
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In part this review is just to balance out the only other one here. I'm in the midst of reading through this book for the second time as I study for preliminary exams. I have found it to be winsome and intelligent. It is a very short book (~100 pages) that nonetheless contains a marvelous starting point for anyone wishing to understand the mindset of a pre-Vatican II theologian. Von Balthasar, along with thinkers like de Lubac, Karol Wojtyla, and Joseph Ratzinger, was a key voice in the Catholic Church's profound changes during the 60s. The author is a remarkably profound and well-read thinker, and he carefully balances between the ancient tradition of the Catholic Church and the modern thinkers who have shaped the world since the Enlightenment. Von Balthasar's argument is more with modernism than postmodernism, but much of his diagnoses and prescriptions for the Church are still valid today.

It will be obvious to anyone reading the previous review that it was written by someone with a particular ax to grind. I would just point out that it is filled with misreadings and errors of interpretation on many points and should be taken with a grain of salt. One needn't agree with a book to enjoy it and find it a valuable read.
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I purchased this book for a class. While not something I would recommend for beginners to theology, Hans does a good job of communicating the relationship between the Cathollic Church and the World in the early to mid 20th century. The Church came to realize that the world was changing and The Church needed to reexamine some of the ways in which it interacted with the world. Needless to say, Vatican II was the answer to this issue. Indeed, An interesting dip into history.
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7 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. Bellisario on January 7, 2012
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This book should be rated 5 stars if you are wanting to understand the current theological crisis on the Catholic Church today. I gave one star based on its actual contents.

In the introduction to the book, Cardinal Schonborn praises the work as being one calling for the Church to interpret the "signs of the age" "from the bed of historical sleep for the deed of today." These quotes were taken directly from the work itself. Schonborn kind of summarizes Balthasar's anti-middles ages attitude which pervades the work. He writes, "Certainly the medieval congruence of the world with the inner room of the Church is shattered. The Church stands as one body among many others." The Cardinal then, like the author of the work, speaks of the Church's alleged failures of the past including the Baroque period, as well as the attempted restoration during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In short, it seems that the Cardinal shares the views of the author which, makes the bold claim that the Catholic Church in the past has been a huge failure, and that it must essentially change and adapt to the modern age, or die. Although there may be some truth in the claim that the Church must be mindful of the age it finds itself in, the battle lines must be drawn as to how the Church should preach and communicate the life saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Anything short of proclaiming and defending this truth boldly is no solution at all. Unfortunately, as we will see, I believe the bastions that have been razed recently concerning the Church, are part of the reason why the Church is no longer relevant to the world today. In other words, these bastions that Balthasar tells us needed to be shattered, were in large part necessary to proclaiming the Gospel effectively.
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