The Christian Faith: In the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church Hardcover – 1 May 2001
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Top customer reviews
While the post-Reformation documents included are indeed Catholic Church documents, the ones before the Reformation are - of course - documents of the Christian church as a whole. Similarly, the ones before the schism of the Eastern and Western Christian churches are those of the 'original' Christian church.
Within this are found extracts from some of the most prolific encyclicals and exhortations of the Papacy such as "Fides et Ratio", "Pastores Dabo Vobis" and "Mystici Corporis" as well as documents ranging even from the Council of Nicea.
I don't tend to give 5 stars often, this is really an exquisite book.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is where you look up the non-scriptural references. Organized by topic you can read the development over time and come to recognize that the Church is a constantly reforming entity and that Vatican II was less radical than it was portrayed as by those on both the left and right.
The part on creeds includes both the one-liners from scripture as well as the multi-page Creed of the People of God by Pope JP2.
I agree with other reviewers that the print quality of the book is poor. I don't know if they wanted to save money, but both the paper and binding are inferior to most books. However, the content cannot be beat and the book is cheap when you consider the amount of information contained within it.
Finding out about how and when the Church developed its teachings is not a easy subject. This book gives paragraphs from Councils, Church Fathers and Papal Decrees, starting with the earliest and going upto the most recent.
Each chapter deals with a topic, e.g. chap 2 'Tradition and Scripture' gives an introduction, list of subsections and then the main part. In the main part you get paragraphs numbered like in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and name and date of the sources.
At the back chronological index of documents, Biblical index and analytical index and a concordance with Denzingger.
Overall a very useful book to have along with the Catechism and Faith of the Early Church Fathers.
One last point, the quality of the book binding and paper seems to be poor, which is a pity.
contents: 5 stars
binding/paper 2 stars
The documents are translated into modern English from the original languages, and occasionally have notes, which are always helpful. The introductions to each document provide a nice historical background, and often, a helpful summary of each document. Otherwise, the documents (which are arranged chronologically) are allowed to speak for themselves. I was impressed with the wisdom contained within. They speak for the biblical and historical faith in a clear way, effectively working within each culture, without capitulating to the culture. The social teaching documents are especially interesting in this way, and show a great balance between standing up for what the Church considers right, without forgetting that mercy is always freely available from Christ. I was particularly glad to see many documents relating to potential reunion of East and West, as well as dialogue between the Catholic Church and Protestant churches.
Now I need to explain why I only gave it four stars. The reason is the quality of the book itself. My first copy had dog-eared pages and the binding was strange and uneven, even though it came sealed in plastic from the factory. I sent that copy back thinking it was a defective book. My second copy, sealed as well, also had similar issues. One page was pretty creased, although I could make out the words affected by the creases. A few other pages look like they came out of the presses a little crooked. It is obviously a publishing issue, perhaps only with a certain print-run, but nonetheless a little annoying. However, the price is right and I can overlook this issue seeing how amazing the material inside is. Anybody who is Catholic or wants to know more about the Catholic Church should consider getting this book. While some of the information may seem a little theologically advanced at times, it is well worth diving into.
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