Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: The Spirit of the Liturgy

The Communion of Heaven and Earth in the Mystery of the Eucharist

In The Spirit of The Liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger endeavors to foster understanding and appreciation of “the liturgy in all its beauty, hidden wealth, and time-transcending grandeur, to see it as the animating center of the Church, the very center of Christian life.” Originally published in the year 2000. ISBN recommendation:0-89870-784-6

Catechism of the Catholic Church


Promulgated by Pope John Paul II 15 August 1997, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a “compendium of all Catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals”. It provides an updated and systematic presention of “the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in the Church and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the Fathers, Doctors and saints of the Church”. Image links to Vatican translation. ISBN recommendation: 0385508190

Pope John Paul II: Message to the Participants in the Plenary of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 22, 1996)

Hubble photo of distant galaxy

Pope John Paul II’s address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ Plenary Session on
‘The Origins and Early Evolution of Life’: “How do the conclusions reached by the various scientific disciplines coincide with those contained in the message of Revelation? And if, at first sight, there are apparent contradictions, in what direction do we look for their solution? We know, in fact, that truth cannot contradict truth…” Image links to Pontifical Academy of Sciences translation.  See also Appendix I, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: In the Beginning…, for a contemporary meditation on the Genesis creation accounts.

Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople: Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration

Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I embrace

A joint Catholic-Orthodox declaration, proclaimed 7 December 1965, committing the excommunications, related to Papal embassy to Constantinople in 1054, to oblivion. The declaration marks a first step toward reconciliation between the Catholic and Orthodox communions. Image links to Vatican translation.

Vatican II

Dispersion of the Fathers, Second Vatican Council, by Lothar Wolleh

Considered by the Holy See an ecumenical council, Vatican II (A.D. 1962-65), was summoned by Pope John XXIII and begins a new phase in the development of the Church. The Council sought to initiate the adaptation of the Church to the modern world – presenting Christ as the relevant Truth even in the present age. Image above links to the Vatican translations of the Council decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2

Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater: Butler’s Lives of the Saints

Menaion icon depicting the saints of the liturgical year

A 2,932 page collection of 2,565 scholarly, informative, and edifying Catholic hagiographical vitae arranged according to date of feast day. A 1956 enlargement, revision, and update of Rev. Alban Butler’s The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Compiled from Original Monuments and Authentic Records. Image links to online version. ISBN recommendation: 0-87061-1372