The Fathers
Pope Benedict XVI
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Buy *The Fathers* by Pope Benedict XVI online

The Fathers
Pope Benedict XVI
Our Sunday Visitor
201 pages
August 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The publisher Our Sunday Visitor published Pope Benedict’s general-audience addresses on the Apostles and some of the early saints of the New Testament in 2007, and now they have published the Pope’s addresses on the Fathers of the Church made from March 7, 2007 to February 27, 2008. Unfortunately the collection is not complete, since the Pope gave more addresses on Church Fathers like St. Benedict, St. Gregory the Great, St. Leo the Great and others which are not included in this volume. Still, the addresses the Pope gave on some of the Church Fathers are collected here in a convenient single volume for people to read and learn more about the Fathers.

The Church Fathers helped to discern and relate the teachings of the Church. They are also part of what Catholics call “Tradition” - the teachings of the Church not contained in Scripture. For Catholics and other Christians, Scripture and Tradition hold “equal sentiments of devotion and reverence,” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (no. 81). Many of the Fathers of the Church helped to discern the Sacraments, moral teachings on social issues like abortion, the hierarchical structure of the Church, and which writings are considered Scripture and which are not, among other issues.

The Pope’s addresses can serve as an introduction into the study of the Fathers of the Church since he provides a biography and discussion on their works. The Church Fathers included in this volume are

  • St. Clement of Rome
  • St. Ignatius of Antioch
  • St. Justin, St. Irenaeus
  • St. Clement of Alexandria
  • Origen
  • Tertullian
  • St. Cyprian
  • Eusebius of Caesarea
  • St. Athanasius
  • St. Cyril of Jerusalem
  • St. Basil the Great
  • St. Gregory Nazianzus
  • St. Gregory of Nyssa
  • St. John Chrysostom
  • St. Cyril of Alexandria
  • St. Hilary
  • St. Eusebius
  • St. Ambrose
  • St. Maximus of Turin
  • St. Jerome
  • Aphraates
  • St. Ephrem
  • St. Chromatius
  • St. Paulinus
  • St. Augustine of Hippo
The date when each address was given by Pope Benedict is included in the footnotes. Most of these addresses were made at one general audience; some were delivered at more than one audience. Origen was covered at two addresses, as were St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom and St. Jerome. St. Augustine was covered in five addresses - not much of a surprise to those who know Pope Benedict’s educational background: he is an expert on Augustine. These addresses, on a level that general readers can appreciate, can serve as starting points into the study of the various Church Fathers.

Illustrations are notably absent; their inclusion could really have enlivened the book. The dust jacket, however, is quite colorful, with Carlo Crivelli’s image of Sts. Jerome and Augustine together. Ignatius Press is publishing what would seem from’s description to be the complete addresses delivered by the Pope on the Church Fathers. Perhaps Our Sunday Visitor should have waited to publish this book to include all the addresses; then it would have received a five-star rating instead of four.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., 2008

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