A Good Place to Start

PILGRIM FELLOWSHIP OF FAITH. The Church As Communion. By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI); edited by Stephan Otto Horn and Vinzenz Pfnur; translated by Henry Taylor (Ignatius Press, P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, Colo. 80522, 2005), 379 pp. PB $17.95.

Pope Benedict XVI, the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, is a professor, scholar and author of many books and articles. This volume, for example, includes a bibliography of 79 pages of his many different publications. When he accepted the appointment from John Paul II in 1982 to become the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he set as a condition of his acceptance that he be allowed to publish his own views on theological issues of his own choice. John Paul II, himself a professor and author, agreed to that stipulation.

Over the past twenty‑five years Ignatius Press has published about a book a year by Cardinal Ratzinger. The new pope, therefore, has a long paper trail of what he thinks about many different issues that are current in Catholic theology.

The present volume offers a collection of articles and letters by Cardinal Ratzinger during the past twenty years or so. They have been edited by two of his former students and were published in 2002 on the occasion of the Cardinal’s 75th birthday. It is what is called in German a “Festschrift” on the occasion of his birthday. Such books are common in Germany and are usually edited by associates or former students of the professor in question.

Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith gathers together articles and talks by the Cardinal on the nature of theology, communion and fellowship, Eucharist and liturgy, ecclesiology, church movements and ecumenism. When speaking about the ecclesiology of the Constitution Lumen Gentium of Vatican II, he makes some very helpful observations about the meaning of the famous “subsistit” in number 8.

If a reader of HPR would like to learn more about the theology of Pope Benedict XVI, who characterizes himself as an “Augustinian,” this volume is a good place to start. But it should be read in conjunction with his famous, best‑selling The Ratzinger Report (Ignatius Press, 1985). These two books will give the reader an insight into the thinking and character of Pope Benedict XVI—the 265th Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.

Kenneth Baker, S.J.
Ramsey, N.J.

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