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Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today Paperback – March 1, 1996
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Original Language: German
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A pretty good introduction to ecclesiology, Roman Catholic style. Say what you will about Benedict XVI - he is a very bright, learned man who writes well. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Eric L. Crump
It is a very deep understanding of the Catholic faith. It moved me to greater spiritually.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
As usual, Ratzinger draws us into the heart of the church and helps us better understand and love her.Published 13 months ago by Georgina Kaftan
Another treasure from Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger). Very insightful and urged me to search my soul. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Samuel D. Fink
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 morePublished 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on July 3, 2014 by Joseph T.