Just Ordered (Catholic Edition)

I decided this morning to start reading a book that’s been sitting on my shelf entitled The Pontificate of Benedict XVI: Its Premises and Promises, which was inspired, naturally, by the news of the Pope’s resignation from his office. I’ve also been sitting on some Amazon credit waiting for something to inspire me to spend it. Well, this momentous occasion did exactly that. I had two volumes from Scott Hahn ready and waiting to be purchased but I needed something to push me over the free shipping threshold so seven of the Pope’s volumes have done it!

I’ve long been aware of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s voluminous contributions to theology but I’ve never taken much time to read his work past a few papal encyclicals and his contributions to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So here are the books of his that I just ordered: 

Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church, and the World

The Spirit of the Liturgy

God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life

Introduction to Christianity, 2nd Edition

Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today

The God of Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Triune God

Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions

Here are the two from Scott Hahn:

Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI

Letter and Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy

I’m currently working through Hahn’s Kinship by Covenant and I’m very impressed. He’s a very clear writer and I can already tell that his insights are going to impact how I read the Bible.



9 thoughts on “Just Ordered (Catholic Edition)

  1. I was unaware of that volume edited by Rusch, but I’ve now ordered a copy. Thanks!

    As for the Pope of Rome Dr Benedict’s books, I plan to purchase (among others) The God of Jesus Christ, God Is Near Us, Heart of the Christian Life, and Dogma and Preaching in very short order.

  2. Nick be careful in reading Ratzinger it`s like reading Rahner he is a subtle writer who is always looking towards a Platonic/ Augastinian worldview. In Catholic parlance that is at the moment we live in a place of tears and that we will only reach our homeland in heaven where we will see God face to face, because our hearts long for God and will be never satisfied here in this world. For Catholics who are more Aristotelian/Thomist who see God is to be encountered in this world and that we are called to create heaven here on Earth can never be happy with the Benedict papacy. This is the challenge for the Cardinals in the next enclave do we choose the Platonic root where we disappear up our own arses, I apologise for the crudity of the language but that is the blunt truth or as a Church which is committed to the whole world open out and become a 21st Church where all can Mininster Man and Women, Gay and Straight, Married and Unmarried. If Ratzinger has shown the Catholic Church one modern view a Pope can resign, if a Pope can resign the Church can change in all the ways I have suggested, there is an alternative we stay with the status quo and die

  3. Andrew:

    I disagree with you. I’ve been reading Ratzinger for decades and he is nothing like Rahner! Likewise, to imply that Ratzinger thinks we can be satisfied with earthly realities strikes me as unfair. His harsh criticism of Liberation Theology makes it clear that for him such can never be the case. Finally, while Ratzinger is certainly a great fan of Augustine and certainly is more familiar with his work than Aquinas’, be careful not to pit Augustine against Aquinas as a matter of course. Recall that Aquinas was himself deeply influenced by Augustine. Indeed, Benedict points out that after Augustine the Catechism cites Aquinas more than any other doctor of the Church.

    Many have overblown Ratzinger’s preference for Augustine. In fact, in volume 2 of Jesus Nazareth he says that Aquinas’ treatment of Christ’s life in the Summa Theologiae is the closest parallel to what he attempts to offers readers (p. xvi). It is true that Ratzinger has said that he had difficulty penetrating Aquinas’ thought, but the Augustinian/Thomistic divide is often far too overplayed when it comes to Ratzinger. Indeed, Ratzinger recently spoke of Aquinas with great admiration (see the link above). Not surprisingly, then, many describe Ratzinger as an “Augustinian-Thomist”. Tracey Roland, at the John Paul II Institute, explains:

    “I would say that Pope Benedict is a Thomist insofar as he would probably agree with most of what St. Thomas wrote. However, he is not a Thomist in the sense of appealing to the authority of St. Thomas in his defense of the faith, focusing his scholarly endeavors upon the works of Aquinas or in the sense of using a scholastic methodology.

    “Rather, Pope Benedict is one of the many members of his generation who, while not disagreeing with the content of Thomist thought, believed that the scholastic presentation of the faith doesn’t exactly set souls on fire unless they happen to be a particular type of soul with a passion for intellectual disputation. He has said that ‘scholasticism has its greatness, but everything is impersonal.'”

    In contrast, with Augustine ‘the passionate, suffering, questioning man is always right there, and you can identify with him.'”

    On a personal note, if you doubt Ratzinger’s appreciation for Thomism, you ought to ask Augustine Di Noia, O.P., who has worked with Ratzinger closely since his days in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


    Here’s some advice. Read Hahn’s book first as it will offer a great introduction to Ratzinger’s thought. Then read Called to Communion. It’s a brief book but deeply profound.

  4. Mike I was replying to Nick and I gave a generalist understanding of Catholic Theology on the last 50 years. I agree with you to a degree in that like Tracy Rowland description of Ratzinger as an Augustinian Thomist. If you follow theological commentators such as Tracey Rowland you may see I was drawing with broad strokes. Ratzinger is in essence an idealist and essentialist whose derivations ultimately originate with Plato. My view is that being a subtle theologian is that Ratzinger is writing for those inside the Catholic Church as did Rahner he considers the Catholic Church prior to the magesterium of theologians accepting that the magisterium of the Church other theologians when in reality there is a equality. Ratzinger has not really as head of CDF and Pope accepted theological diversity which is at the heart of the Church just look at the errors he made over ecclesiology in his discussion with Kasper over the Local Church. I think you need to have wider understanding of Ratzinger`s philosophical roots in Plato to see his misgivings. Sorry to boast but I have a B.A. in Theology and trained as a Catholic Priest under top-class Dominican theologians at Allen Hall Seminary in London. I have also read Ratzinger`s actual work and that Rahner and Ratzinger both create the Rhine to flow into the Tiber

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