Theologically liberal Protestants and theologically liberal Catholics have distorted the New Testament witness by pushing a false opposition between the Kingdom of God and the Church. They have also ignored the New Testament evidence for the primacy of Peter as first bishop of Rome and for the priesthood of the New Covenant. Fortunately, Cardinal Ratzinger sets the record straight by showing that there is no opposition between the kingdom preached by Jesus and the Church founded by the same Jesus, by documenting the New Testament evidence for the Petrine primacy, and by pointing to the theology of the New Covenant's own priesthood present in the New Testament. All of this is done concisely, precisely, and clearly. This book should be read by any Christian interested in the Church and especially by Catholics. It is a primer on ecclesiology.
Of all Cardinal Ratzinger's works, this is my favorite. It touches upon issues of ecclesiology and sacramental theology. In short, Cardinal Ratzinger ties in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, with the Church. Through it, he explores God's covenant with His people. I have long noticed the various double meanings -- one sacramental, the other ecclesiological -- in much of our theological language. Words like "communion" and "Body of Christ" carry the double significance of our communion with one another, as well as our communion with Christ. This book explores both, tying them together in an easy to read, as well as understandable, format.
I read this as an outsider of the Catholic Faith, but I found it very intriguing, nonetheless. Ratzinger's perspective on the essence and origin of the Church is impossible to dismiss, and the truth in this book, although it's doubtful that the author intended this, exposes huge problems in the (many) Protestant concepts of "church". Although the contents of this book were not originally intended to be presented in book form, the ideas are fluid and clear. A great book. 4 stars only because I'm not (at least not yet) Catholic, and, therefore, there wasn't much practical wisdom I could take from this book.
This is a little book which was not originally a book by intention. Yet it is held together by the internal theme of ecclesial self-identity. It is a little book with a big message. In any sphere in order to know how something is to function, it is extremely important to understand its origin and purpose. It is no different with the Church. In a confused and confusing world there is need for such a book as this to re-establish and re-invigorate our ecclesial focus. ...And Christ Jesus is its essence and center. CALLED TO COMMUNION is not necessarily the easiest read because a good part of it was originally directed at individuals(Bishops) who could be assumed to have had some prior knowledge of the subject matter. Still it is worth the time invested, for even the average reader interested in the Church as well, to search out the pearls of wisdom which are assuredly to be found within its pages. As always the Cardinal writes from an admirably, profound knowledge and depth of faith.