- Hardcover: 260 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books (March 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465049354
- ASIN: B000MKYKCC
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,620,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, And the Splendor of Truth Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 1, 2006
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"Catholic Matters" provides the serious Catholic with the "Splendor of Truth." Neuhaus shares his own journey to full truth, from being a prominent Lutheran minister to a priest in full communion (contrast to conversion) with the Catholic Church. Neuhaus notes that Protestant churches are hemorrhaging and are now "sideline churches." On the other hand, the Catholic Church is not on the sidelines. It is the Church of Jesus Christ with the Spirit guiding it from beginning to end, and the end is not yet.
Neuhaus' call to action centers on the need for a robust, obedient Catholic Church. The alternative to obedience is a cacophony of Christians making it up as they go along as we experience today with a storm of different and conflicting ideas claiming to be the truth. "Confronted by such claims, we necessarily say `sez who?" And the response we get is that many people today acknowledge no authority but him/herself based on the authority of a tradition of Enlightenment rationality. This has now collapsed into incoherence.
A Church based in Christ and Truth offers the solution for our times. "The Church of Jesus Christ `subsists' in the Catholic Church....(and) if Christ intended a definite form for his Church and if one wants to be obedient to Christ's intention, then one should belong to the form of the church that most fully embodies that intention - The Catholic Church."
"Catholic Matters" includes sections on the Church's teachings on human sexuality, love, fidelity, marriage, the discipline of celibacy, and the adventure of living fully the culture of life; today's morality; unfaithful and ineffective preaching; Catholic dissidents who are suffering from "from delusions of self-importance;" Thomas Aquinas and distinctions between eternal law, natural law, positive law, and Divine law; and what has made the Church distinctive.
Neuhaus concludes that the "silly season is almost over and the initiative today is with the center. There are growing and vibrant networks of young professionals excited about being Catholic. The discontinuant left is dying because there is no successor generation."
But adds Cardinal Ratzinger's (prior to becoming Pope) caution, "We must brace ourselves for a time of deepened indifference and heightened hostility. Paul writes to Timothy that he has to proclaim the word "in and out of season," when it is popular and when it is despised. The task of the Church is not to be successful but to be faithful." In the final analysis, "Catholic Matters."
This book is a wonderful collection of essays, with Neuhaus 's convert's love of Mother Church shining from every page.
He has that wonderful ability, rarely found outside the pages of Newman, Ratzinger and a few others, to argue convincingly for a difficult or controversial position. Now and then he lapses into sarcasm when dealing with liberal views, but at least he tries hard to hide this.
His erudition, generosity and wisdom is a pleasure to experience, and I will certainly buy and read more of his books.
The book begins and ends in Rome, in April 2005, with the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Neuhaus then discusses his conversion to the Catholic Church, the theological background of the Lutheran Church in which he was raised, the Second Vatican Council and various failures of leadership within the Church following Vatican II. The discussion frequently returns to the subjects of primacy of conscience, concerted efforts to undermine the teaching power of the Magisterium and the more than twenty-six year effort of John Paul II (Neuhaus calls him "John Paul the Great") to implement the determinations of the Council in the face of opposition by certain Catholic theologians and the public news media.
Neuhaus adopts the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola that "we should think with the Church," which helps put into perspective that the Church must be judged over a span of centuries and not just within the lifetime of any one individual or group of individuals. He supports his views in clear language, often supported by references to recognized Church fathers, such as Aquinas, Augustine and Ignatius. In response to those persons who would define a large number of American Catholics as being outside the Church, Neuhaus says, "That is a Protestant way of thinking, and I decline to go along with it. I did not become a Catholic in order to be a Protestant." He argues that, despite the conflicts, there is a continuing and identifiable community that is the Catholic Church.
The book concludes with Neuhaus' notes taken while he was co-host of the EWTN network television coverage of the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. Readers will not be surprised to find that Neuhaus' discussion of the conflicts within the Church continues through his Rome Diary.
It is a very interesting presentation of a complex subject.