Written over three decades ago, Cardinal Ratzinger’s profound treatise on the true meaning of Christian brotherhood is perhaps even more timely and important now as a clear statement on the biblical grounds for cooperation among believing Christians. In treating Christian brotherhood from the perspective of salvation history, Ratzinger opens up the meaning of both the Old and New Testament in this most essential area. After establishing the distinctively Christian sense of brotherhood (vis-á-vis Judaism, Hellenism, Stoicism, the Enlightenment, and Marxism), he shows how fraternal charity can only be perfected through God’s fatherhood, Christ’s divine sonship, and our brotherhood in Christ.
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The timely republication of this work opens up vistas that have been obscured recently by controversy and confusion. Cardinal Ratzinger’s treatment of election and rejection is like reading the surprising solution of a mystery story. This work is even more meaningful now when disunity leads to deep conflict within the Church.
—Benedict J. Groeschel, founder, The Office for Spiritual Development, Archdiocese of New York
Highly commended as a synthesis of ecumenism. It explains the author’s lifelong emphasis on what unites the followers of Christ, rather than what divides them as ‘separated brethren.’ With no compromise of Catholic principles, it explains how ‘the two communities—Catholic and Protestant’ are to ‘regard each other as sisters in the Lord . . . and individual Christians on both sides as brothers to each other.’
—John Hardon, author, The Catholic Catechism
Having read this book many times, I have found it to be invaluable in understanding the message of Scripture, the significance of the Catholic Church and Ratzinger’s theology. He has captured the very heart and soul of Scripture.
Joseph Ratzinger is one of the most revered Catholic prelates, scholars, theologians, teachers, and authors of our time. He has spoken on many crucial subjects, including sexual consumerism, roles of men and women today, marriage, the priesthood, and the future of the world. On June 29, 1951, Joseph Ratzinger was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Freising on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. He also received his doctorate in theology in 1953 from the University of Munich. Starting in 1959, Ratzinger taught theology at the University of Bonn.
After many years of teaching at several German universities, Ratzinger was appointed by Pope Paul VI as Archbishop of Munich and Freising in March 1977, and was elevated to cardinal in June 1977. In November 1981, Ratzinger was summoned by Pope John Paul II to Rome, where he was named Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and President of the International Theological Commission.
On April 19, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected to be the 265th pope. He took the name Benedict XVI, after St. Benedict of Nursia. As pope, he received worldwide respect and was a spiritual influence to Christians and non-Christians alike. In 2013, he resigned the papacy, becoming the first pope to do so in since the fifteenth century. He retired to a monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where he continues to study and write.