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Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures Hardcover – February 14, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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The subtitle here refers to Ratzinger's new status as Pope Benedict XVI and to the sixth-century saint who helped preserve Christianity via the monastic order he founded after the fall of Rome. By associating the two Benedicts, it also suggests that their eras are alike, that the state of Europe indicated by the failure of the first pan-European constitution (withdrawn in 2005) to acknowledge Europe's Christian heritage is like that of the sixth century. In the first of the three lectures here, Ratzinger lays out the dangers of thoroughgoing official secularism and proposes to those outside the church that, regardless of their beliefs, they assume God exists--a form of Pascal's wager. The second explains why, regardless of secular laws, the church may not stop fighting abortion, euthanasia, and other challenges to the sanctity of each human life. The last expounds on the necessarily contingent and communal nature of faith. Each speech's close argument rewards careful attention and, though immediately addressed to Europe, applies to secular-spiritual clashes throughout the world. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger in 1927, served as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Churchfrom April 2005 through February 2013. Formerly he wasDean of the College of Cardinals, Prefect of theCongregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and President ofthe International Theological Commission. An outstandingtheologian and teacher, he was one of the founders, alongwith Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac, of theinternational Catholic journal Communio, and he hasalso enjoyed a distinguished teaching career at suchuniversities as T?bingen and Regensburg in his homecountry of Germany.

Brian McNeil is a native of the United Kingdom who now lives in Germany. He also translated Klauck's The Religious Context of Early Christianity.

Pera, formerly Professor at University of Pisa, is currently a senator of the Italian Republic.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 117 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (February 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586171429
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586171421
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Essex on November 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Non-Catholics and those of nominal faith might be more comfortable reading

"Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam"

by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and Marcello Pera first. The analysis is much the same but correctives, in the form of a return to a pan-European shared faith (by Pena--the head of the Italian Senate) and/or individual action (Benedict)will find a wider audience.

Either book is a must read for anyone commenting upon or interested in the current geopolitical scene. At the end of the 19th century, Dostoyevsky in "Notes from the Underground" and Pope Leo XIII in "On Socialism" (Quod Apostolici Muneris) warned where conflicts within Western Civilization were headed. 1917 and the horrors of communist and fascist totalitarianism were not adverted. Pera and Benedict are raising the same warning flags today. Is the problem as critical as they believe? Can a tragedy be averted? No one knows of course. But that there is a problem is irrefutable and these two book should not be ignored.

Recently purchased "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It" by Mark Steyn. Rated it three stars and that was being charitable as Steyn not only provides little hope but the witty prose his newspaper columns are, rightly, admired for is flat and tendentious when spead out over 256 pages.

Benedict and Pera, in contrast, explain why the west is unable to condemn evil and what can be done to ameloriate that failing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this book Cardinal Ratzinger studies the tension that arises when a split occurs between the state and religion. He tackles modern secularist notions, discusses abortion, and also addresses the notion that if not atheism, then perhaps agnosticism is the best position that man can hope for. The discussion he provides is well thought out and easy to grasp. You may not agree with everything he says, but the beauty and brilliance of the arguments put forth are undeniable.
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Format: Hardcover
Along with such classics as 'clash of civilizations' and 'rage and the pride' this book is a must read for anyone interested in the least bit in preserving their culture and faith in the face of the assault on the west by various non-western and supra-western cultures. For those who are pro partial-birth abortions, probably this book will be offensive because the Pope takes the Catholic church's view that abortion is immoral.

The central theme of this book is that the West is threatened by the new immorality of western moral relativism and that it is additioanlly partially threatened by the non-western immigrants who invade the west, however the greater danger is internal, the abandonment of religion and faith, and the denial of the fact that Christian roots are indigenous to Europe.

Many wont be able to stumach this book, and even some protestants will find the catholic overtones problematic. However it is an essential and important work.

Seth J. Frantzman
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just before he was elected pope, Joseph Ratzinger wrote a short book based on some lectures he had delivered. The lectures are about the conflict between traditional religious cultures and the rationalistic culture dominant in today's society. The contemporary political culture has grown from a desire to have a pluralistic society founded only on rational principles and that does not discriminate against any one. The ultimate value is the individual's right to self expression, as long as that does not harm the rights of others.

The difficulty arises when the value, and indeed the rational foundation of society, is detached from the Judeo-Christian roots from which it grew. Legitimate rights for women to continue professional work, have a good reputation, and maintain a reasonable lifestyle come into conflict with an unborn child's right to life. In practical application, the rights of the unborn are denied in favor of other's rights, resulting in a contradiction. Human rights are assumed to be assigned by the state and not belong to humans by their very nature. When the state assumes this power, it betrays the democratic ideals of the rationalistic culture since it allows the weak, powerless, and voiceless to lose their rights in favor of others in a position of power over those defenseless people. That's the law of the jungle masquerading as the law of reason.

Recognizing the fundamental equality of all men and women requires a higher commitment than reason can demand.

...the look I freely direct to the other is decisive for my own dignity, too. I can acquiesce in reducing the other to a thing that I use and destroy; but by the same token, I must accept the consequences of the way I use my eyes here.
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Format: Hardcover
A must read if you are interested in the recent and ongoing decline of western civilization. The causative factors are clearly delineated from many points of view, but always from the starting point of the pope's awesome faith and love for God and His Creation.

-Jeremy
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Benedict XVI is an outstanding theologian with insights that are relevant for anyone, regardless of their faith. He is also a gifted, elegant writer. He is capable of conveying complex philosophical concepts in a language that is crisp, clear and lively. This was a very inspirational read!
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