Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine : General Audiences, 7 March 2007-27 February 2008

Front Cover
Ignatius Press, 2008 - Religion - 195 pages
2 Reviews

Following his best selling book, Jesus of Nazareth, and his talks published in Jesus, the Apostles, and the Early Church, Pope Benedict'sChurch Fathers presents these important figures of early Christianity in all their evangelical vitality, spiritual profundity, and uncompromising love of God. Benedict tells the true story of Christianity's against-all-odds triumph in the face of fierce Roman hostility and persecution. He does this by exploring the lives and the ideas of the early Christian writers, pastors, and martyrs, men so important to the spread of Christianity that history remembers them as "the Fathers of the Church."

This rich and engrossing survey of the early Church includes those churchmen who immediately succeeded the Apostles, the "Apostolic Fathers": Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyon. Benedict also discusses such great Christian figures as Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, the Cappadocian Fathers, as well as the giants John Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine. This book is a wonderful way to get to know the Church Fathers and the tremendous spiritually rich patrimony they have bequeathed to us.


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Christian Church has been blessed with a long and noble history, filled with thoughtful and heroic witness of many courageous and saintly individuals. Unfortunately, many of those figures have not been prominently studied and reflected upon in recent years, and even centuries. This is particularly the case with the early Church fathers - the saints and martyrs who have built the Church and the orthodox Christian faith that we partake in today.
This book is made out of lectures given by the Pope Benedict over the course of several months. Each one of the Church Fathers is represented with one or two lectures, devoted to his life and the most significant theological teachings. We are taken into the world of early Christianity and various challenges and struggles - both physical and theological - that the early Christian community faced. This book is a useful reminder that the orthodox Christian faith has been shaped and elucidated by many thoughtful and courageous individuals who oftentimes faced very serious and harmful persecution. The book ends, unsurprisingly, with five lectures dedicated to St. Augustine. Pope Benedict is well known to be particularly fond of this great saint and theologian, and his own writings are deeply imbued with Augustinian thought and sensibility.
Aside from the obvious historical and theological value, this slender tome is of particular relevance for the Christians in the modern world. We live in the age that is increasingly hostile to the Christian thought and ethics, and it can be tempting to give in to despair or adopt a siege mentality and withdraw from the world entirely. However, it is important to remember that the early Church faced a very similar set of circumstances, and the lesson from that era are incredibly relevant for the situation that we find ourselves in today. For that reason alone this book carries incredible value for all practicing and thoughtful Christians who want to have their voices heard in the contemporary society.

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Joseph Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927 in Marktl am Inn in the state of Bavaria, Germany. Ratzinger entered the minor seminary in Traunstein, in 1939 and in 1943 along with the rest of his seminary class he was drafted into the Flak [anti-aircraft corps]. In 1944 he was released from the Flak and returned home only to be drafted into labor detail under the infamous Austrian Legion. In the spring of 1945 Ratzinger deserted the army and headed home but when the Americans arrive at his village shortly thereafter, he was identified as a German soldier and incarcerated in a POW camp for a brief time. Following his release he re-entered the seminary. In 1951 Joseph was ordained into the priesthood and began lectures as a full professor of fundamental theology at the University of Bonn. From 1962-65 Ratzinger was present during all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council as a peritus, or chief theological advisor to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne, Germany. . In 1977 Joseph Ratzinger was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and on June 27 elevated to Cardinal of Munich by Pope Paul VI. In 1981 Ratzinger accepted Pope John Paul II's invitation to take over as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in 1986 he was appointed head of a 12-member commission responsible for drafting the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Ratzinger was elected vice dean of the College of Cardinals in 1988. In 2002 Pope John Paul II, approved his election as dean of the College of Cardinals. On April 8, 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger presided over the funeral of Pope John Paul II. On April 19, 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Bishop of Rome on the fourth ballot of the conclave and took the name Benedict XVI.

Bibliographic information