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The Sacrament of Charity: Sacramentum Caritatis [Paperback]

By Pope Benedict XVI (Author)
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Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.88" Width: 5.47" Height: 0.36"
Weight:   0.41 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2007
Publisher   Word Among Us Press
ISBN  1593251246  
EAN  9781593251246  

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Item Description...
Set alongside Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical God Is Love (Deus Caritas Est) where he stressed the relationship between the Eucharist and love, The Sacrament of Charity picks up that theme and expands it as Pope Benedict explores the mystery of eucharistic faith and how it reveals the mystery of the Trinity. Released on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Holy Father examines the important relationship between the Eucharist and the other sacraments, including the sacrament of the Church. He also highlights the social implications of the Eucharist and firmly connects it with the Church's social teaching. --------------- "Pope Benedict teaches that the Eucharist finds its source within the wellspring of love that is the Trinity, the love that is so abundantly expressed in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and in the new life of the Holy Spirit that flows into the hearts of those who participate in his sacrifice and receive him in Communion. The Holy Father also shows how the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Church's life in its relation to the other sacraments, especially the sacrament of Holy Orders and the sacrament of Matrimony." --Bishop William S. Skylstad, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Publishers Description
Pope Benedict XVI continues the theme of his first encyclical, God Is Love, in this apostolic exhortation by proclaiming that in the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus shows us the truth about love. As the Holy Father explains the meaning of the sacrament and its relationship to our daily lives, he helps us to see what an authentically eucharistic spirituality looks like and how this sacrament of love is meant to extend beyond the liturgy to permeate every aspect of our lives.

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More About Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus XVI; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is Pope emeritus of the Catholic Church, having served as Pope from 2005 to 2013. In that position, he was both the leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II, celebrated his papal inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005.

Ordained as a priest in 1951 in his native Bavaria, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian by the late 1950s and was appointed a full professor in 1958. After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities—the last being the University of Regensburg, where he served as Vice President of the university in 1976 and 1977—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such, the primus inter pares among the cardinals. Prior to becoming pope, he was "a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century" as "one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals"; he had an influence "second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions" as one of John Paul II's closest confidants.

He was originally a liberal theologian, but adopted conservative views after 1968. His prolific writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many Western countries. He views relativism's denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He taught the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love. Pope Benedict also revived a number of traditions including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position. He renewed the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, viewing the use of beauty as a path to the sacred, promoted the use of Latin, and reintroduced traditional papal garments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics". He has been described as "the main intellectual force in the Church" since the mid-1980s. Several of Pope Benedict's students from his academic career are also prominent churchmen today and confidantes of him, notably Christoph Schönborn.

On 11 February 2013, Benedict announced his resignation in a speech in Latin before the cardinals, citing a "lack of strength of mind and body" due to his advanced age. His resignation became effective on 28 February 2013. He is the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so on his own initiative since Pope Celestine V in 1294. As pope emeritus, Benedict retains the style of His Holiness, and the title of Pope, and will continue to dress in the papal colour of white. He was succeeded by Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, and he moved into the newly renovated Mater Ecclesiae monastery for his retirement on 2 May 2013.

Pope Benedict XVI was born in 1927.

Pope Benedict XVI has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Benedict XVI
  2. Bioethics & Culture
  3. Communio Books
  4. Fathers (Our Sunday Visitor)
  5. Giniger Books
  6. Publication
  7. Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought
  8. Spiritual Thoughts

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Eucharist - The Center of Faith   Sep 30, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI writes another deeply spiritual work. The Sacrament of Charity is an Apostolic Exhortation, written by the Pope after the eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October, 2005. The Pope explains in detail the Eucharist, its importance to liturgies and relevance to the life of the church.

According to Benedict, the Eucharist is the very center of all we think and do in the church. Benedict explains that Eucharistic faith is the "mystery of God himself and his Trinitarian love." He explores this concept with a fascinating discussion of the relationship between the Eucharist and each person of the Trinity.

The sacramentality of the Church, according to the Pope, is closely tied up with the Eucharist. He celebrates each sacrament in light of the Eucharist. He details how the works of the apostolate are "bound up with the Eucharist. The church, itself is a sacrament that unites us in our journey with the Lord.

Benedict suggests that I receive a "mission" when I celebrate the sacred mysteries. My commission is to be a Christ like "witness" with my life. I receive a mission to be an active "witness" to the Love of the Lord.
The Pope further teaches that I cannot possess Christ just for myself. I can only be with HIM in union with others, especially the least ones. This gives me social responsibility. I must care about the plight of others in God's creation, the homeless, displaced, hungry, and the poor.

One lesson in this detailed meditation that was especially meaningful to me was that our catecheses, our presentations in RCIA and any instruction concerning our faith, especially for the sacraments of initiation, "must be constantly directed" to the sacrament of Eucharist. As an instructor for confirmation, I know this applies to me. As teachers we must live "personally what we celebrate". Our "process of Christian formation" must be experiential, it should be a "vital and convincing encounter with Christ".

The Sacrament of Charity is a scholarly work, with extensive notes and detailed explanations of each point the Pope teaches regarding the Eucharist. It is not as easy to read as some of Benedicts other writings. Reading this book is a bit like sitting in a class taught by a master professor. One drinks in the detailed knowledge and carefully records the professor's extensive references to support each of his teaching points. It is worth the effort to explore the many concepts he teaches. I recommend this book for anyone who loves the Eucharist.

Quote: In the Eucharist Jesus also makes us witnesses of God's compassion towards all our brothers and sisters, page 74  Jun 13, 2007
The title I chose draws from the final sections of this amazing work. Note well its inclusive language. It continues: "The eucharistic mystery thus gives rise to a service of charity towards neighbor, which 'consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God' . . ." Seasoned readers of Pope Benedict XVI will recoginze his citation here of his earlier work God Is Love (Deus Caritas Est) (Benedict XVI); experienced readers may also catch the subtle allusion to the great Dominican priest and theologian Schillebeeckx's most well known work, Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter With God.

Indeed the most frequently footnoted references are unusually to the Pope's own previous statements and speeches. The next most footnoted and referenced source is the Vatican II document Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium et Spes. Any long time student of the development of our ecclesiology will immediately recognize the many unfootnoted sources.

For like a Beethoven symphony this present work builds subtly to a spectacular climax thus synthesizing themes from all the ages. Do not walk out early: read the whole book!

Too often with official pronouncements such as these we find people, if they open the cover at all rather than reading a review of a review and quoting sound-bites therefrom twisted to their own personal prejudice, too often we find people read, if they read it at all rather than jump and skip until they discover a phrase that can be twisted to support their personal prejudices and thus grant their prejudices a certain ersatz papal authority, too often we find people fail to read these Papal pronouncements all of the way to the end, and re-read, and reflect, and ruminate and meditate and read once more as we must in order truly to hear the Word of God.

This work must be read through to the end. Do not stand up in the middle of the symphony, in the quiet section, having heard what you think you wanted to hear, and then leave to pay the babysitter. Stay until its over. Read this book to the end. Though there is much silence and a strange new simplicity of style (as compared with such exhortations of thirty years ago), do not leave early. Read it until the end. Though passages may go on quietly as the Moonlight Sonata, with nothing new to challenge but only to comfort and ease you, read till the end, and discover amazed an awakening as stirring as Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

QUICK QUIZ (in catechetical format)-
Who wrote this:

"We cannot remain passive before certain processes of globalization which not infrequently increase the gap between the rich and the poor worldwide. We must denounce those who squander the earth's riches, provoking inequalities that cry out to heaven (cf Jas 5:4)."

"The Lord Jesus, the bread of eternal life spurs us to be mindful of the situations of extreme poverty in which a great part of humanity still lives: these are situations for which human beings bear a clear and disquieting responsibility."

" . . .less than half of the huge sums spent worldwide on armaments would be more than sufficient to liberate the immense masses of the poor from destitution. This challenges the human conscience."

"The food of truth demands that we denounce inhumane situations in which people starve to death because of injustice and exploitation, and it gives us renewed strength and courage to work tirelessly in the service of the civilization of love. From the beginnings, Christians were concerned to share their goods (cf. Acts 4:32) and to help the poor (cf. Rom. 15:26)."

Correct Answer: Although this passage reads like something straight out of the excellent commentary on the Eucharist written by Father Tissa Balasuriya (Order of Mary Immaculate) and published by the Catholic Publishing House Orbis Books in 1979 as The Eucharist and human liberation, particularly in his quoting of Patristics in his Fourth Chapter, this passage comes from this present Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI in section 90, entitled The food of truth and human need. Please read it again, typed extensively here in order not to deceive with brief phrases misused as others do to "prove" their own prejudices, and please check the original New Testament citations. Our Holy Eucharist is far more than our choice of accidental (in the Aquinan sense) liturgical rituals. It is a divine and infinite mystery; it is our unity in compassion; it is the Food of Truth. Read these passages again and hear the direct echoes of Pope John Paul II's On Social Concern, Pope Paul's Encyclical Letter of the Holiness Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples - and the good Pope John XXIII's Pacem in Terris. You may also here find currents from the great Catholic moral theologian and teacher the Reverend Father Charles Curran's American Catholic Social Ethics: Twentieth-Century Approaches and Father Bernard Haring's Free and Faithful in Christ: Moral, Theology for Clergy and Laity.

In remarking how the celebration of the Eucharist "leads us to see the world as God's creation, which brings forth everything we need for our sustenance," who wrote:

"The justified concern about threats to the environment present in so many parts of the world is reinforced by Christian hope, which commits us to working responsibly for the protection of creation. The relationship between the Eucharist and the cosmos helps us to see the unity of God's plan and to grasp the profound relationship between creation and the 'new creation' inaugurated in the resurrectio n of Christ, the new Adam."

Correct Answer: Although reflecting sentiments and spirituality from disparate sources such as Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and Father Matthew Fox's Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, etc., or Brazilian Father Leonardo Boff's Ecologia - Grito de La Tierra, Grito de Los Pobres, this refreshing and invigorating pure water of life is drawn from the deep well of Passage #92 of this present Apostolic Exhortation. entitled: The sanctification of the world and the protection of creation. Again I quote the full context in order not to call black white as others may do with brief phrases interpreted to their own taste.

Who wrote:
"The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion between brothers and sisters who allow themselves to be reconciled in Christ, who made of Jews and pagans one people, tearing down the wall of hostility which divided them (cf Eph 2:14) Only this constant impulse towards reconciliation enables us to partake worthily of the Body and Blood of Christ (cf Mt 5:23-24). In the memorial of his sacrifice, the Lord strengthens our fraternal communion and in a particular way urges those in conflict to hasten their reconciliation by opening themselves to dialogue and a commitment to justice. Certainly the restoration of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness are the conditions for building true peace. The recognition of this fact leads to a determination to transform unjust structures and to restore respect for the dignity of all men and women, created in God's image and likeness. Through the concrete fulfillment of this responsiblity, the Eucharist becomes in life what it signifies in its celebration."

"the Church . . . cannot and must not remain in the sidelines in the struggle for justice."

"the sacrifice of Christ is a mystery of Liberation that constantly and insistently challenges us. I therefore urge all the faithful to be true promoters of peace and justice: 'All who partake of the Eucharist must commit themselves to peacemaking in our world scarred by violence and war, and today in particular, by terrorism, economic corruption and sexual exploitation.'"

Correct Response:
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI wrote in section 89 "The social implications of the eucharistic mystery" in his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis concerning this "mystery of Liberation" that he urges all the faithful to be true promoters of peace and justice, that through the concrete fulfillment of this responsibility, the Eucharist beome in life what it signifies in its celebration. The Eucharist is much more than liturgy. The correct response: go out and work ardently for peace with justice, forgiveness and reconciliation, for all humanity, and for all creation. Amen.

Who wrote:
"the Eucharist compels all who believe in him to become 'bread that is broken' for others, and to work for the building of a more just and fraternal world. Keeping in mind the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, we need to realize that Christ continues today to exhort his disciples to become personally engaged: 'You yourselves, give them something to eat' (Mt 14:16). Each of us is truly called, together with Jesus, to be bread broken for the life of the world."

Correct Response:
Oh. You already know who wrote this? Yes, you are correct, in Section 88 "The Eucharist, bread broken for the life of the world"

So, you pass the quiz, when you live it. Get a good grade.

You see, I am not making this up. Read the Book. All of it. Highlight and double underline these quotes. Live them.
Eucharistic catechism  Jun 3, 2007
One reviewer of Pope Benedict's new apostolic exhortation called it a "Eucharistic catechism," a description that fits perfectly.

The Holy Father first introduces readers to an explanation of the role of the Eucharist in the life of the Church. It is quite simply the "constitutive of the Church's being and activity."

He then addresses practical matters concerning worship and the sacraments. Catholics are urged to consider re-ordering the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist to be celebrated all at once in succession, so as to emphasize the proper place of the Blessed Sacrament in the life of the Christian and the Church. Priests are instructed to embrace a spirit of humility and not present themselves as the center of the liturgical action.

The importance of beauty and the liturgy, long a key theme for Benedict, is also stressed. "Beauty, then, is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation. These considerations should make us realize the care which is needed, if the liturgical action is to reflect its innate splendour."

The Sign of Peace is not a mini-happy hour and ought to be exchanged with restraint. I once watched a priest and deacon "high five" each other in the sanctuary, and there seems little doubt that is the sort of exaggerated behavior the Holy Father would have us avoid.

Pope Benedict explains that "active participation," a term used by liturgists to bring everything from campfire songs to bongos into the Mass, "does not refer to mere external action" but concerns a "greater awareness of the mystery being celebrated."

How should parish leaders foster the participation of worshippers? "The primary way to foster the participation of the People of God in the sacred rite is the proper celebration of the rite itself." In other words, the endless experimentation many people experience at Mass should end.

Relatedly, he also defends the use of sacred music from those who would inject popular music into the Mass. "Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided." Translation: Your rock band belongs in the undercroft, not the sanctuary.

Priests and the laity are urged to learn more Latin. "Similarly, the better-known prayers of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung."

The document's much-discussed section on pro-abortion politicians is actually rather short. Pope Benedict lists the Church's "not negotiable" values in the public square -- the right to life, the defense of marriage, and the right to educate one's children -- and states that Catholic politicians are bound to defend them.

With "Sacramentum Caritatis," Pope Benedict's "reform of the reform" has begun, and he has wisely decided to make the education of his flock his first priority.

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