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Adult -- Truth and Tolerance by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

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  • mwittlans@aol.com
    Check to see if this title is already in your library s catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 20, 2005
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      Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is,
      put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right
      away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

      Title: Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions
      Author: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, translated by Henry Taylor
      Publisher: Ignatius Press
      Date Published: October 2004
      ISBN: 158617035X
      Price: 15.95
      Comments: Written by the future Pope Benedict XVI


      From amazon.com:
      Customer Reviews

      The Theology of the New Pope, April 19, 2005
      Reviewer:Robert W. Kellemen (Taneytown, MD United States)
      Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a precursor of his
      Papacy in "Truth and Tolerance." A deep thinker, he maintains a zeal for
      enforcing Catholic Orthodoxy.
      Even as the cardinals who elected him prayed before the conclave, Ratzinger
      urged them to cling to church tradition and warned about the dangers of
      abandoning it.

      "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled
      today as a fundamentalism," he said Monday. "Whereas relativism, which is letting
      oneself be tossed and 'swept along by every wind of teaching,' looks like the
      only attitude acceptable to today's standards."

      "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize
      anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and
      one's own desires," he warned.
      "Only someone who knows tradition is able to shape the future," said the Rev.
      Thomas Frauenlob, who heads the seminary in Traunstein where Ratzinger
      studied and regularly returns to visit.

      These are the views, presented in philosophical and theological language,
      found in "Truth and Tolerance." If you are looking for a post-modern book
      suggesting that all ways lead to Christ, you will not find it here.

      Instead, you will find a well-reasoned, respectful Catholic examination of
      what truth one finds in Scripture and what truth one finds apart from Scripture.
      And you will find a prominent Catholic view of how those holding to the
      Catholic faith ought to view and interact with those outside the church.

      Reviewer: Dr. Robert W. Kellemen, author of "Soul Physicians" and "Spiritual
      Friends."




      What is truth and why does it matter?, February 1, 2005
      Reviewer:Glutton for books
      I bought "Truth and Tolerance Christian Belief and World Religions," because
      I thought that since it was written by Cardinal Ratzinger, who is Prefect of
      the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome, that it would be an
      articulation of the Catholic Church's position in regard to the relevancy of other
      religions for helping people along the path of salvation. If that is what you
      are looking for, don't buy this book, because it does not focus on this type of
      doctrine and will not help you. Francis Sullivan's book "Salvation Outside the
      Church," is probably still the best book on that subject, even though it is
      more than ten years old and many papers have been presented by the Vatican
      since its publication. This book instead explores the role of what an individual's
      concept of truth should play in society.

      By "truth," Ratzinger refers to the values that an individual holds as
      reference when making decisions. He states that "heaven begins on Earth." And he
      does not confine the people who are able to realize "truth" to Christians, nor
      even only believers in any sort of Divinity; agnostics and atheists are capable
      of this discernment to a degree too.

      Being Christian, he believes that Christianity embodies truth in the fullest
      sense; that God is love and we are all called to know God as love and to
      spread His love. But he admits that no approach is perfect, since only God is
      capable of perfect knowledge of truth and love, and people are unable to understand
      God perfectly. He concedes that Christianity has been susceptible to
      "diseases" in the past, such as the mentality that allowed to Crusaders to shed so
      much blood in Jerusalem.

      The book is not an easy read. It is very philosophical and written in a style
      that is a cross between a philosophical text book and legal writing. The
      first section of the book briefly outlines and seeks to categorize different
      approaches of faith. The majority of the essays are from lectures that he has
      given, and the thoughts are not outlined as clearly as they are in most works
      presented as papers.

      First, he outlines three ways of moving beyond myths, which have been
      observed in human history as schools of faith: mysticism, monotheistic revolution,
      and enlightenment.

      Monotheism is further divided into three models: spiritual monism of India,
      universal Christianity, and Islam. I am not quite sure why or if he decided
      that Islam's approach is separate from Judaism, in the model. Judaism's place is
      not well articulated. Islam is introduced as having a different concept than
      universal Christianity because Islam believes itself to be the final revelation
      "beyond Judaism and Christianity;" and that there is one God. But
      Christianity believes in a Trinity. According to this logic, I would think Judaism would
      be closer to Islam. Perhaps, it is the finiteness of the plan that leaves
      Islam unto itself. The model is not mentioned again, ad this was the biggest lack
      of clarity I found in the book. It did not impact my comprehension of the rest
      of the book, because the book is a collection of related topics, rather than
      a study based on incrementally important chapters.

      Next, he discusses a little bit about approaches universal Christianity used
      as frameworks for validating (or invalidating) the elements of truth that are
      inherent in religions. These include: inclusivist, exclusivist, and pluralism
      approaches.

      He spends much time defining the terms he talks about, which makes the book
      dry, but for the persevering reader, deeper insight is introduced for concepts
      such as truth, democracy, freedom, and responsibility; words that have become
      over used and empty by society at large, in the second part of the book.

      An individual or society's collection of religious beliefs are referenced in
      the word "truth." He posits that people who have more freedom, have more
      responsibility to make decisions with reference to truth in their life, in order to
      make the world a better place. He does not believe that it is possible to
      create a utopia, but that we actively seek to make the world better in relative
      to its current state.

      The book occasionally mentions Christian teaching, but not any more often
      than it pulls from examples of Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, as well as
      from philosophers such as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Hegel, Kant, Marx, and many
      others. He emphasizes the importance of not only reading "empty philosophy,"
      but to study the issues that matter in life: such as concepts of truth that
      explore the meaning of life and that help us to better discern the consequences
      of our decisions. Rather than promote any one perspective of values, Ratzinger
      uses the book to exhort the reader to acknowledge whatever values s/he has
      that are true and to implement them in society to improve the world, with as
      much freedom as our lives give us the ability to do.


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