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Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man Paperback – November 1, 1988

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English
Original Language: French

About the Author

(1896-1991) A leading figure in twentieth-century RomanCatholicism. He was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul IIin the mid-1980s.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 443 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (November 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898702038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898702033
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Although not an easy read, this rich, beautifully translated book illuminates the nature of the "catholic" Church. De Lubac's thesis of the Church, that it should not simply be "a" religion, but the repository of "all" religion that inspires the human spirit, challenges the narrowness that stunts most religiosity these days. His fervent defense of orthodoxy, at the same time, rejects the watered-down pantheism or spiritualism that leaves spiritual seekers walking in circles. If all you know of the Church are the clinic protests and the nun gags -- especially if you're Catholic yourself -- read this book and expand your mind.
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Format: Paperback
"He who beholds the Church really beholds Christ" says St Gregory of Nyssa; "Any soul, in cultivating its vineyard, cultivates that of his neighbour as well. The two are so closely united that no one can do good or evil to himself without doing good or evil to his neighbour at the same time. Together you form but one single, universal vineyard" (Saint Catherine of Siena). These are but two of the many many quotes of the patristic age and of the middle ages that De lubac cites and explains to lead us to an inner understanding of the mystery of catholic and orthodox christianity. The effects of subjectivisim and individualism, so prevalent in our culture, can affect us all in insidious ways. De lubac points to the deep mystical social nature of the ecclesia catholica. This is a treasure to be read and re-read with the wisdom of the centures at one's finger tips, so to speak. The one irritant is that some of the footnotes are in latin, which is a little off putting.
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Format: Paperback
Fr de Lubac is known for his "rebellion" (tongue-and-cheek) against scholasticism, opting instead for a reading of early Church Fathers and doing theology through that lens, so-called Patrisitic theology. This book is essentially a synthesis of that concept, touching briefly on almost all areas of theology using the early Church fathers as guidance. Topics include the more standard ones like the Eucharist and the doctrine of God and Jesus, but there are also other ones that are less well known like the doctrine of salvation outside the Church. de Lubac has many quotes and whole chunks of writings from Origein, Cyril, Augustine, and many other Church fathers.

One aspect of the book that I was particularly interested in reading was a short section that de Lubac has on the interior life. It is my understanding that Fr. de Lubac had planned for most of his religious life to write an entire book devoted to the interior life, but never got around to doing so. This short section gave me a small glimpse into some of his ideas concerning the interior life and our relationship with God, though it could be argued that the whole book discusses our relationship with God in the sense of the interior life.

Although the book is a hard read (like all of de Lubac's books), it is very good and well worth it to devote some time to the writings of one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century.
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I am only beginning my studies in *Roman* Catholicism, but this book has certainly opened my eyes to some of the great riches and insights of a "catholic" way of thinking.
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.
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Format: Paperback
The idea that keeps recurring in this book is unity. Henri de Lubac brilliantly draws the theme of unity out of the sacraments, the Church, Dogma, etc, etc. What is refreshing about this book even though it is 60 years old is that unity is to be found within the Mystical Body of Christ, not like some heterodox theologians of today who believe unity is achieved by adhering to some pseudo progressive liberal political ideology.
An added bonus is a 75+ page appendix of excerpts from various works of famous Church Saints & Fathers.
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