the fathers of the church

Judul: The Fathers of the Church – from Clement of Rome to Augustine of Hippo

Pengarang: Paus Benedict XVI

Buku ini berasal dari katekisasi (!) yang diberikan oleh Paus Benedict XVI setiap hari Rabu dari Maret 2007 sampai Juni 2008 tentang Bapa-bapa Gereja. Dari keseluruhan katekisasi ini diambil 36 bahan dan dikumpulkan ke dalam satu buku. Ada beberapa Bapa-bapa Gereja yang mendapat perhatian khusus dari Paus Benedict XVI, dengan mendapat lebih dari satu tulisan: Origen dari Aleksandria, Basil dari Kaisaria, Gregory dari Nazianzen, Gregory dari Nyssa, John Chrysostom, dan Jerome mendapatkan dua tulisan, dan akhirnya Agustinus yang mendapatkan lima tulisan. Jadi secara total kita akan dikenalkan dengan hidup dan karya dari 26 Bapa-bapa Gereja, dari Clement di Roma sampai Agustinus di Hippo. Pemilihan tokoh-tokoh yang ditampilkan cukup seimbang antara Bapa-bapa Yunani dengan Bapa-bapa Latin (ditambah 2 Bapa-bapa Syria pula; walau sebenarnya yang memiliki pengaruh lebih besar saat itu mungkin adalah Bapa-bapa Yunani ketimbang yang Latin), dan buku ini secara keseluruhan menampilkan full orb of Christian spirituality. There are simply too many aspects of Christian life and the diversity of the Fathers showed it. On the other side, I guess now we have lost this ‘fulness’ after we separated (and kept separating) from each other. Our spirituality is malnourished and impoverished.

Setiap bagian sendiri terdiri dari sekitar 4-5 halaman saja, dan sangat mudah dibaca. I like how he writes; he’s able to explain difficult ideas in simple terms, yet not losing its precision. And, most importantly, his writing is really heartwarming (well, I guess now I understand why he is the Pope). On the other hand, you will feel that it is too Roman Catholic at times, but then, he is the Pope, so of course he is the most Roman Catholic of all (and that originally it was intended for catechesis)! So it’s a good place to get a glimpse of Catholicism, and you will either be more appreciative of the Roman Catholicism, or you will be more apathetic toward it. Nevertheless, definitely you will learn about the early Church Fathers from perhaps the best living theologian right now and the one whom we can call a Church Father also, Benedict XVI.

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