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Showing posts with label BendictXVI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BendictXVI. Show all posts

Monday, 17 August 2020

Fathers and Writers of the First Millennium - Pope Benedict XVI - The Spiritual Masters

Fathers and Writers of the First Millennium
The Spiritual Masters
Pope Benedict XVI
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860827228
CTS Booklet B739


I love reading books from the Catholic Truth Society, and I love reading books by and about Pope Benedict XVI.  And this volume combines both those passions. Over the last few years I have read over 100 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. And several volumes by or about Pope Benedict XVI. The description of the book is:

“The ten catechisms in this richly illustrated volume take us back to the historical period immediately following the first Fathers of the Church.  Each of the Spiritual Masters described by Pope Benedict left their own mark on the Church’s culture and spirituality and helped in her growth.

John Climacus describes the ladder to heaven famously depicted in many icons but also present in the practical counsels he passes on to us in his writings. Bede the Venerable reminds us of the centrality of the Sacred Scriptures as a constant source of theological reflection.  St. Boniface, Apostle to the Germans and a great organizer, founded the monastery of Fulda in 743 which became the heart and the centre from which a new spiritual and religious culture spread.  A less well known writer from Provence was Ambrose Autpert, who transmits across the centuries his precious theological work on the struggle between good and evil; he was a great defender of sacred images and of the Assumption of Our Lady.  John Damascene was a figure of great importance in the history of the Universal Church and the Byzantine theology.  St. Theodore the Studite bore a vivid and coherent witness to Jesus in turbulent times. Rabanus Maurus was a monk whose writings help put us into contact with the wisdom of the ancients.  John Scotus Erigena excelled as a notable thinker and patriotic scholar.  Sts Cyril and Methodius were brothers united both in the Faith and blood who together committed their lives to missionary work and to sanctity.”

And the chapters are:
John Climacus
Bede the Venerable
Saint Boniface
Ambrose Autpert
Germanus of Constantinople
John Damascene
Saint Theodore the Studite
Rabanus Maurus
John Scotus Erigena
Saints Cyril and Methodius

The English edition of this book released in 2011, it is a translation from Italian that was released in 2009. There is a companion volume Spiritual Masters: Medieval Fathers and Writers that was released the same year. Both are currently out of print. And I am still trying to track down the second volume. This volume was an excellent read. And one I plan to return to and read again. It is also different than many of the books I read from the Catholic Truth Society.  It is a beautiful hard cover volume. With full glossy pages. Aver few pages is a 2 page color print, and often single pages prints of classic artwork. There are 26 illustrations in total and 5 of those are two page spreads. Each chapter is a translation of an audience given between 11th February 2009 and 17th June that same year. These ten reflections go deep into the fathers, their lives, and their meaning for us today. They each are examples to us today. 

I seldom keep physical books. I tend to pass them on to others. But this book is a pleasure to read and view that it has gone on my shelf of keepers. 

This is an excellent volume and well worth tracking down. 





Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.


Books by Benedict XVI:

Friday, 15 May 2020

Way of Calvary Stations of the Cross with Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Devotions

Way of Calvary Stations of the Cross with Benedict XVI
CTS Devotions
Pope Benedict XVI
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860827822
ISBN 1860827829
CTS Booklet D749


This year I read two different versions of the Stations of the Cross by Pope Benedict XVI. This one and also Way of the Cross Meditations and Prayers, that one was written by Benedict. This one was written by the Sisters of the Cross (Hermanas de la Cruz). Over the last few years I have fallen in love with the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. I have read over 150 in the last 3 years and have that many on my wish list. This specific book is out of print, and there is no digital edition currently available. It took me a while to track it down, but it was well worth it. I did not actually get my hands on it until the first week of Easter, but prayed this devotion the day it arrived. The description of this volume is:

“In these Stations of the Cross, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that to reflect on Christ’s suffering on the way of Calvary is to reflect on his love for us and his ultimate victory over death. The Holy Father’s words are accompanied by beautiful images of the stunning Spanish statues used during the celebration of the Via Crucis during the last World Youth Day in Madrid."

That world youth day was in 2011, and this booklet was published in 2012. In the introduction we are told:

“May this lesson stimulate in us an interior desire for conversion and a generous surrender to love, as God loves and in the ways that he wants of us. ‘Have the courage to risk with a pure heart – Benedict XVI recommended. Commit yourself to God and then you will see that your life becomes greater and full of light because life is not boring, but full of infinite surprises as the infinite goodness of God is without end.”

We are encouraged:

“In this time of prayer, we will accompany Christ in his journey to Mount Calvary to be Crucified.

Let us awaken our love, following close behind him. Let us keep a profound silence in the external environment and inside our minds, so as not to let thoughts that are foreign to this pious contemplation interrupt us.”

Following the stations is a section called ‘The wisdom of the cross’. It is an excellent reflection. And a wonderful final prayer. This devotion is very different from the other from CTS by Benedict XVI that I have read. There are also a couple other versions available, but out of print. They are now in my list to track down.

Another excellent devotion from the Catholic Truth Society. It is great for use during lent, or throughout the year. Well worth tracking down.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Link to other Lent Resources
For other books in the CTS Devotions Series click here.

Books by Benedict XVI:

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Way of the Cross Meditations and Prayers - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Devotions

Way of the Cross Meditations and Prayers
CTS Devotions
Pope Benedict XVI
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823350
CTS Booklet D673 


I had a different edition of this way of the cross many years ago. It was lent out and never returned. Over the last few years I have fallen in love with the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. I have read over 150 in the last 3 years and have that many on my wish list. This specific book is out of print, and there is no digital edition. It took me a while to track it down for a price I could afford. But it was so with. The description of this volume is:

“Benedict XVI's meditations and prayers are a powerful call to live the Way of the Cross as a school of faith, which teaches us to be like Christ. "Jesus himself interpreted for us the meaning of the "Way of the Cross", he taught us how to pray it and follow it: the Via Crucis is the path of losing ourselves, the path of true love."

This Way of the Cross was written by then Cardinal Ratzinger for the Good Friday procession around the Colosseum in Rome in 2005.”

We are informed that the illustrations in this volume are reproductions for the church of Saint Charles Borromeo, in London England. We are informed that these prayers and meditations were written at the request of then Pope John Paul II, by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. They were used for the Good Friday Via Crucis in the Colosseum in Rome. Within a month of delivering these prayers Ratzinger would be elected pope and select the name Benedict XVI.

This version of the stations of the cross has a profound spiritual depth. Of the many I have used over the year it is one of the most moving. With it’s focus and direction to the heart of the Eucharist this devotion is both pious and intellectual. 

Each of the stations is 4 pages. The prayers are moving. But it is the meditations that make this version stand out so much to me. I am very thankful to have a copy of this book, and am trying to track down some of the other versions of this devotion from Benedict XVI. 

A fantastic devotion to use during lent, or throughout the year.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Link to other Lent Resources.
For other books in the CTS Devotions Series click here.


Books by Benedict XVI:

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Confession Advice and Encouragement from Pope Benedict XVI - Fr Donncha Ó hAodha

Confession Advice and Encouragement from Pope Benedict XVI 
Fr Donncha Ó hAodha (Editor)
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860827952
CTS Booklet Do857


I love reading books by and about Pope Benedict XVI. Some of my favorite reads over the last few years have been these types of books. And that this is another title from the Catholic Truth Society that I tracked down only makes it better. Over the last few years I have read over 100 books from the Catholic Truth Society. And it seems with every book I finish; I find two or three more that I want to read. I have read one book by Father Donncha Ó hAodha, and there are a few others I wish to read. This book was edited and compiled by him from the writings, talks and addresses of Pope Benedict XVI.  The first six quotes in this volume are from Saint Pope John Paul II, and there are over 100 quotes from the works of Benedict XVI.

The description of this book is:

“For many today, Confession is a misunderstood part of the Catholic Faith. Some people do not see the need to ask for forgiveness, while others so not know why they should go to a priest: "Why can't it just be between me and God?"

But the sacrament of Confession is one that needs to be re-discovered. In this booklet, frequently-asked questions on confession are posed, with answers drawn from the teachings of the Holy Father: why the Sacrament matters, what its roots are in Holy scripture and Church teaching, and what good it can do for an individual person as well as for society as a whole.”


Often when I am asked about how serious I am regarding my Catholic faith I tell people the three most important aspects to me. The real presence in the eucharist, the communion of saints, and the sacrament of reconciliation or going to confession. It took me a while to track down a copy of this book. And though I typically do not keep help of physical books after I read them. This is one that is going on my ‘to keep’ shelf. 

The chapters in this little volume are:
The source of purification and holiness
The Sacrament of Confession
Going to Confession
The Sacrament of Confession and Evangelization
Endnotes.

There are total of 108 endnotes. The end notes from Benedict Xvi span from 2005 to 20111. And this book was published as a guide and resource for the Year of Faith 2012-2013. 

the book begins with these words:

“Benedict XVI repeatedly invites us to ‘rediscover’ the Sacrament of Confession as the powerful source of purification and holiness which it truly is. In his characteristically encouraging style, the Holy Father presents the Sacrament of Reconciliation to all the faithful as a treasure to be loved and cherished ever anew. This sacrament of healing brings the hope and joy we all so deeply need.”

This was an incredible little volume to read. And it is a book I will treasure. There are so many gems of wisdom contained. And the book flows and is engaging. Once I got going, I could hardly put the book down. It is another excellent read from the Catholic Truth Society!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.


Books by Benedict XVI:

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2020

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2020

This quarter I have read 96 books, which was one more than Q4 2019. It was a good start to the year. And may excellent reads. Seventy-Seven of those books were first time reads. And 66 received 5/5 stars. Only 15 were fiction and 51 were non-fiction. And 8 of those had been read before. I am reading at the pace of about a book a day. 

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the first quarter of 2020.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
1. Books by J.B. Midgley
link to all review of books by Midgley
2. Consecration to St. Joseph - Donald H. Calloway
3. Spiritual Warfare and the Discernment of Spirits - Dan Burke
4.  From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church - Pope Benedict XVI and Robert Cardinal Sarah
5. Epic Saints Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes - Shaun McAfee
6. CTS Biographies
7. Lenten Journey with Mother Mary - Fr. Edward Looney
8. CTS Great Saints
Saint Ignatius of Loyola - J.A. Philips
9. The Passion of St. Edward, King and Martyr - Goscelin of Saint-Bertin and Eric Sammons
10. Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross

Bonus:
In Conversation with God - Francis Fernandez
everyone's way of the cross - Clarance Enzler
Way of the Cross - Saint Josemaria Escriva
Sr. Elizabeth Prout - Sister Dominic Savio Hamer CP - CTS Saints of the Isles

Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. The Cassandra Curse - Fiorella De Maria
2. The Ghosts of Midgard Manor: And Other Stories - Roger Thomas
3. See No Evil - Fiorella De Maria - Father Gabriel Mystery Book 3
4. The Tattered Web - Roger Thomas - Watchful Sky Series Book 4
5. Stay With Me Series - Carolyn Astfalk
6. The Lucifer Ego - T.M. Doran - The Sequel to Toward the Gleam
7. A Channel of Your Peace - Veronica Smallhorn
8. A Conspiracy of Bones - Kathy Reichs - Temperance Brennan Book 19
9. Level 13 - Gordon Korman - Slacker Book 2
10. Dragon Assassin 7 Hidden Powers - Arthur Slade

Bonus:
Mystic Informant - Carissa Douglas - Douglings Adventures Book 1
Extreme Blindside - Leslea Wahl

My reading has been consistent at about a book a day over the last few years. I attribute part of it to Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now, removing all games but 1 brain game from my devices. And I now commute to work on a bus and read on the bus every day. Though I am working from home now because of Covid-19 This quarter was 80% non-fiction. There are so many great series I am reading from the Catholic Truth Society, I have had to make an effort to actually fit in some fiction.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are in the bonus section. It was no easy task making this quarter. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list


Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011
 

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
 
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2020
... 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

96 - 2019 January-March
392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996




Saturday, 14 March 2020

From the Depths of Our Hearts - Pope Benedict XVI and Robert Cardinal Sarah - Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church

From the Depths of Our Hearts: 
Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church
Pope Benedict XVI 
Robert Cardinal Sarah
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781621644149
eISBN 9781642291193
ASIN B084KTS8SP


There are few books that I can recall in recent history that causes as much of a kerfuffle in recent times. The closest would be Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within by Dr. Taylor R. Marshall. And in many ways the controversy surrounding this volume was even greater. The whole issues of Vatican claims that Pope Benedict XVI wanted his name removed from the volume. And the French publisher agreeing, and Ignatius standing firm and not doing so. And maybe that is the biggest sign that this book was desperately needed.  Two sons of the church wrote from their hearts, and from their experience on a topic that is a cause of great divide within the church. These men listened to the Holy Spirit and collaborated on this incredible volume. 

The book contains an introduction and conclusion that was jointly written by Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah. And each contributed another piece to the collection. And this English edition has an extensive excerpt from Sarah’s The Power of Silence. The sections in this edition of this book are:

Editor’s Note
What Do You Fear?
Introduction by the Two Authors
I The Catholic Priesthood
by Benedict XVI
II Loving to the End: An Ecclesiological and Pastoral Look at Priestly Celibacy
by Robert Cardinal Sarah
In the Shadow of the Cross
Conclusion by the Two Authors
Excerpt from The Power of Silence
More from Ignatius Press
Notes

Part of the description of this volume states:

“From the Depths of Our Hearts is an unprecedented work by the Pope Emeritus and a Cardinal serving in the Vatican. As bishops, they write “in a spirit of filial obedience” to Pope Francis, who has said, “I think that celibacy is a gift for the Church … I don’t agree with allowing optional celibacy, no.””

And it is a book most needed. Needed for the priests and bishops today. For the priests and bishops of tomorrow. And for the laity. Thirty years ago, in the confessional I was told all it was going to take for married priests was “a puff of white smoke”. That priest was wrong and looking back from a very different point in life I am thankful he was. 

This was a deeply moving book. It stirred much in my soul. Reminding me of my own periods of discernment of vocation. Even of my times away from the Catholic Church. The three greatest things in the Catholic church are, the real presence in the eucharist, the sacrament of confession, and priestly celibacy. In the Editor’s note we are informed:

“Astute readers of the pope emeritus will have no difficulty recognizing the style, the logic, and the wonderful pedagogy of the author of the trilogy dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth. The discourse is structured, the citations are abundant, and the argumentation is polished.”

And it is true as someone who has read several books by Pope Benedict XVI, and many books about him, it is easy to see his imprint upon this piece. And in the introduction the two state:

“In recent months, while the world was echoing with the din created by a strange media synod that overrode the real synod, we met together. We exchanged our ideas and our anxieties. We prayed and meditated in silence. Each of our meetings mutually strengthened and calmed us. Our reflections, conducted along different lines, led us to exchange letters. The similarity of our concerns and the convergence of our conclusions persuaded us to place the fruit of our work and of our spiritual friendship at the disposal of all the faithful, following the example of Saint Augustine.”

In the piece by Benedict XVI he sets clear definitions and descriptions of the roles of:

Apostolos
Episkopos
Presbyteros

One of the sections in that chapter that I keep thinking on is:

“At the time of Vatican II, this question of the opposition between ministries and priesthood became absolutely unavoidable for the Catholic Church as well. Indeed, “allegory” as a pneumatic transition from the Old to the New Testament had become incomprehensible. The decree of the council on the ministry and life of priests hardly deals with this question at all. Nevertheless, in the period that followed, it monopolized our attention with an unprecedented urgency, and it turned into a crisis of the priesthood that has lasted to this day in the Church.”

And Pope Benedict Xvi concludes his reflection by examining three biblical texts that should help clarify the notion of priesthood. And he concludes on a personal note:

“Thus, on that eve of my ordination, a deep impression was left on my soul of what it means to be ordained a priest, beyond all the ceremonial aspects: it means that we must continually be purified and overcome by Christ so that he is the one who speaks and acts in us, and less and less we ourselves. It appeared to me clearly that this process, which consists of becoming one with him and renouncing what belongs only to us, lasts a whole lifetime and continually includes liberations and painful renewals.

In this sense, the words of John 17:17 pointed out to me the way that I have walked throughout my life.”

And it is that personal aspect that is most evident in the piece by Cardinal Robert Sarah. He gives examples of the missionaries that led to his family’s conversion, and his own call to the priesthood. He writes of work as a priest traveling to areas that did not see a priest often and they joy and anticipation with witch they were received.  He states:

“What view of the priest will some isolated, poorly evangelized populations have? Is the intention to prevent them from discovering the fullness of the Christian priesthood? In early 1976, when I was a young priest, I traveled to certain remote villages in Guinea. Some of them had not had a visit from a priest for almost ten years, because the European missionaries had been expelled in 1967 by Sékou Touré. Nevertheless, the Christians continued to teach the catechism to the children and to recite their daily prayers and the Rosary. They showed a great devotion to the Virgin Mary and gathered every Sunday to listen to the Word of God.

I had the grace of meeting these men and women who kept the faith without any sacramental support, for lack of priests. They were nourished by the Word of God and kept their faith alive through daily prayer. I will never be able to forget their unimaginable joy when I celebrated Mass, which they had not experienced for such a long time. Allow me to state forcefully and with certainty: I think that if they had ordained married men in each village, the Eucharistic hunger of the faithful would have been extinguished. The people would have been cut off from that joy of receiving another Christ in the priest. For, with the instinct of faith, poor people know that a priest who has renounced marriage gives them the gift of all his spousal love.”

And it is from those experiences that he writes. He states:

“As a bishop, I fear that the plan to ordain married men as priests might generate a pastoral catastrophe. It would be a catastrophe for the faithful to whom they would be sent. It would be a catastrophe for the priests themselves.”

I found this volume deeply moving. I could not put it down. And I know I will return to it again and again. My own son has been saying for 6 years now that he will be a priest when he grows up. I plan on rereading this with him, within a year or two. 

This is a book all Catholics should read. No matter where they fall on the questions of married priests, female deacons, or to really stretch it female priests. This book is written from a place of love, of devotion, of service, and of grave concern for the future of the Catholic Church. We need to read it and heed its warnings. For our good, for the good of the priesthood, and for those who will come after us.


A must read for all Catholics in this day and age.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Robert Cardinal Sarah:
The Power of Silence
God or Northing
… 

Books by Benedict XVI: