A collection of essays by three giants of twentieth-century theology: Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Heinz Schürmann. Balthasar’s and Schürmann’s essays were written for the International Theological Commission. Schürmann examines how the New Testament’s teaching provides enduring moral norms for Christian conduct. Balthasar presents nine basic principles of the Christian moral life. Ratzinger, who originally wrote this essay as a series of articles for L’Osservatore Romano, addresses the relationship between faith and morality, and the place of the Church’s teaching authority with regard to moral issues.
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Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988) was a Swiss theologian, widely considered to be one of the most important Catholic intellectuals and theological writers of the twentieth century. Incredibly prolific and diverse, he wrote over one hundred books and hundreds of articles. He was nominated to be a cardinal of the Catholic Church, but died two days before his ceremony.
Heinz Schürmann (1913–1999) is the author of Praying with Christ and The Two Epistles to the Thessalonians from the New Testament for Spiritual Reading series. He studied theology and philosophy in Tübingen and in Rome and was ordained a priest in 1938. He joined the Catholic theology faculty at the University of Münster immediately after receiving his ThD in 1952.
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.