Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Joseph Ratzinger—Aspects of Christian Meditation

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 07, 2020 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“All the aspirations which the prayer of other religions expresses are fulfilled in the reality of Christianity beyond all measure.”

This ecclesial document was written in 1989 by the then-Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, who would later become Pope Benedict XVI.

Ratzinger was responding to a surge of popular interest in forms of Eastern spirituality—including such methods as Zen, yoga, and so-called transcendental meditation—which had led to an uncritical adoption by some Christians of methods of prayer incompatible with Christian worship.

The fascination with Eastern methods continues today, with the ongoing popularity of yoga and the re-branding of Buddhist meditation under the guise of “mindfulness”. The same vigilance that prompted Ratzinger in 1989 would seem to be called for once more, that Christians may carefully distinguish that which is authentically Christian from that which is not.

Ratzinger’s is a masterful and accessible treatment on fundamentals of Christian prayer. Though he addresses the letter to bishops, one does not have to be a theologian or mystic to be spiritually edified—and have one’s prayer enriched—by what he writes.

Notes

Aspects of Christian Meditation Full text: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19891015_meditazione-cristiana_en.html

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James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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