This work features the most discussed topics of the life of the Church, treated with unique frankness and depth by the Church's spiritual and theological leader. In this collection of essays, theologian Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, tackles three major issues in the Church today-the nature of the Church, the pursuit of Christian unity, and the relationship of Christianity to the secular/political power.

The first part of the book explores Vatican II's teaching on the ...

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Church, Ecumenism, and Politics

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This work features the most discussed topics of the life of the Church, treated with unique frankness and depth by the Church's spiritual and theological leader. In this collection of essays, theologian Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, tackles three major issues in the Church today-the nature of the Church, the pursuit of Christian unity, and the relationship of Christianity to the secular/political power.

The first part of the book explores Vatican II's teaching on the Church, what it means to call the Church "the People of God", the role of the Pope, and the Synod of Bishops. In part two, Ratzinger frankly assesses the ecumenical movement-its achievements, problems, and principles for authentic progress toward Christian unity. In the third part of the work, Ratzinger discusses both fundamental questions and particular issues concerning the Church, the state and human fulfillment in the Age to come. What does the Bible say about faith and politics? How should the Church work in pluralistics societies? What are the problems with Liberation Theology? How should we understand freedom in the Church and in society?

Beneath a penetrating analysis on these important topics by this brilliant teacher and writer, both concise and also surprising, is revealed the passion of a great spiritual leader. The result is an exciting and stimulating work, which can be provoking, but never boring.

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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940000955666
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 329 KB

Table of Contents

Foreword     9
On the Nature and Structure of the Church
The Ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council     13
The Church as the Body of Christ     13
The image of the Mystical Body
Eucharistic ecclesiology
The collegiality of the bishops     20
Church as People of God     23
Modern variations on the "People of God" concept     29
The Primacy of the Pope and the Unity of the People of God     36
The spiritual basis for primacy and collegiality     36
Collegiality as the expression of the "we" structure of the faith
The interior basis for the primacy: Faith as responsible personal witness
Retrospective proof: The martyrological structure of the primacy     42
The witness structure of the primacy as the necessary consequence of the opposition of world and Church
Toward a concept of the primacy understood in martyrological terms
Conclusion: A view of the situation in Christendom
Questions about the Structure and Duties of the Synod of Bishops     51
The synod of bishops according to the new Code of Canon Law     52
Nature and purposes of the synod
Additional provisions
Questions about synodal reform     57
Unusable models
A clarification of fundamental elements of the Church's constitution
Concluding reflection: Why hold synods?
Ecumenical Problems
Problems and Prospects of the Anglican-Catholic Dialogue     69
Introduction: Agreed statements and the position of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith     69
The fundamental problem of the dialogue: The authority of tradition and the central organs of unity     72
Preliminary note on the status of the discussion
The authority of tradition
The universal Church and her central organs as the prerequisite of tradition
Tradition and belief
Tradition can never be concluded
Tradition and Eucharist
Conclusion: Prospect for the future     87
Appendix     90
Review of the debate over my article     90
Two fundamental motifs of modern ecumenical theology and their problematic nature     93
The "conciliarity" of the Church
Traditionibus or sola scriptura? A new ecumenical formal principle
Luther and the Unity of the Churches: An Interview with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger     100
Appendix     121
On the Progress of Ecumenism: A letter to Theologische Quartalschrift, a periodical published in Tubingen     132
Church and Politics
Fundamental Questions
Biblical Aspects of the Theme of Faith and Politics: A Homily     143
Theology and Church Politics     148
What is theology?     148
Church and theology     153
The notion of "Church politics"     155
Church politics and theology      158
Conscience in Its Time: A Lecture Given to the Reinhold Schneider Society     160
Nature and importance of conscience     163
Las Casas and the problem of conscience     165
Dimensions of the Concept of Freedom: Church-State-the Eschaton
Freedom and Constraint in the Church     175
The concept of "freedom" in modern intellectual history     176
The starting point in the fundamental approach of the Enlightenment
Freedom through institutions
Freedom through the logic of history
The modern concept of "freedom" in the life of the Church     182
Toward a definition of freedom
Applications of the modern understanding of freedom in the Church
Notes on the biblical concept of freedom     186
Conclusions on the subject of freedom and constraint in the Church     190
A Christian Orientation in a Pluralistic Democracy? On the indispensability of Christianity in the Modern World     193
The three roots of the contemporary threat to democracy     195
Self-criticism of the political influences of Christianity     200
The indispensability of Christianity in the modern world     203
Europe: A Heritage with Obligations for Christians     209
Counterimages to Europe     210
Back before Europe
Escape into the future
Positive components of the concept of Europe      215
The Greek heritage
The Christian heritage
The Latin heritage
The heritage of the modern era
Theses for a future Europe     219
Eschatology and Utopia     223
The chiliastic model     226
The model of the Great Church: Synthesis of eschatology and "utopia"     228
The utopian city of the monks     233
The evolutionist design of Teilhard de Chardin     235
Freedom and Liberation: The anthropological vision of the Instruction Libertatis conscientia     239
The question about the fundamental conception of freedom     240
Ethos and history
Anarchy and obligation
Practical consequences
The contribution of the Bible     247
Exodus and Sinai
The universalization of the Exodus through Christ and its consequences
Political rationality-utopia-promise
Closing remarks: Likeness to God and freedom     255
Sources     257
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