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Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man Paperback – November 1, 1988
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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I recommend this book. Its influence on modern Catholic spirituality is important. If you want to understand the Catholic Church and its basic theology of the 20th Century, you should read this book.
Pick this book up and savor it.
Criticism of the difficulty in reading de Lubac are somewhat unfounded in that, the important nuances that separates simplistic understanding of Church, theology, and doctrine from a more profound understanding often require complexity. I welcome the difficulty should it provide a greater insight into the meaning of Church as the Living Body.
Although written from a Catholic perspective, de Lubac's engagement of the patristic teachers transcends the Orthodox-Catholic-Protestant divide. I would challenge all those who are serious about faith, doctrine, theology, and ecumenism to explore this book and "entertain" the possibility of the meaning of Church - that which our fathers and mothers in the faith deeply understood and embraced.
Reviewed by: Dr. Jeffrey Wincel (D.Min), author of "Climbing The Mountain of God, The Path to Mystical Discipleship" , Surviving the Fall, America's Second Great DepressionDefying the Trend: Business Ethics and Corporate Morality from a Faith Perspectiveand "Defying the Trend, Business Ethics and Corporate Morality from a Faith Perspective."
For de Lubac, people are fundamentally *social* beings and the saving work of Christ is a saving work of humanity first, individuals second (hence the subtitle). The point of the Church is to be a witness to the common, shared humanity of man by bringing us all together into the body of Christ. The [Roman] Catholic church embodies this intention of God - that all would be one - more so than any other ideology, religion or church.
Interestingly enough, for de Lubac unity does not mean uniformity but, instead, presupposes difference. De Lubac does believe that the Holy Spirit continues to speak through the Pope today just as the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostles; given this, any notion of catholicity that denies the primacy of the the Papacy would not fit into de Lubac's vision. Although it is too easy and too common to place the community over and above the individual, de Lubac places the individual within the community by recognizing that the difference between individuals is what allows unity-within-difference to exist. The individual communes with God and with others; the point of the Church is to bring the people together, before God, and therefore also face to face with one another.
This, however, is also the first limitation of de Lubac's vision: it does not get into the *reality* of the divisions between the Churches that are Catholic - Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic - and does not really engage the reality of Protestantism/s/s/s/s/s/... De Lubac gives a beautiful vision of the Church as pure, undefiled and united. The reality of brining together the broken church is never explored, however.
The second problem with this book is the utter *lack* of translated footnotes! The book is probably half footnotes, many of which are simply left in Latin. It makes for a fairly maddening read at points, especially since it is obvious that de Lubac really knows his stuff. He is deeply rooted within the spirituality of [Roman] Catholicism; not being able to read who he thought was worth citing keeps the reader from being able to grasp the full depth and breadth of his thought.
De Lubac's writing is a fresh engagement with the Fathers of the Church, primarily, but he also engages Scripture and the Scholastics. He has a nearly 70-page appendix of citations from various works of the Fathers (and yes, they are all translated into English), which helps the reader understand better his view of the Church. Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man is a brilliant synthesis of ancient and new theology and ecclesiology that will help the reader gain a far greater insight into what it means to be an individual that is a part of the community called the Catholic (universal) church.