Saturday 29 October 2016

The Timeless Teachings of Saint John Paul II - John E. Fagan

The Timeless Teachings of Saint John Paul II:
Summaries of His Papal Documents with Questions for Study
John E. Fagan
Scepter Publishing
ISBN 9781594172557

This is a revised and updated version of the book The Teachings of Pope John Paul II: Summaries of Papal Documents first published in 2005. Now almost 11 years later John E. Fagan and Scepter Publishing have released this new edition. This book is an incredible gift to the church and the faithful. The subtitle captures exactly what the book is. It is perfect for individual or group study. It can be used as a jumping off point for the study of the teachings of Saint John Paul II, or as a primer on his teachings. It can easily be read from beginning to end, or you can jump around from section to section and study different aspects of John Paul II's teachings. The only thing the book is really missing is an index. It would benefit from an index of biblical quotations, quotations from the Catechism and key words.

This book is broken into a series of logical sections. First the papal encyclical, then the Apostolic Exhortations, followed by Apostolic Letters and it finishes with a section of letters and bull's. The specific chapter breakdown is as follows:

Redemptor Hominis - The Redeemer of Man (1979)
Dives in Misericordia - On the Mercy of God (1980)
Laborem Exercens - On Human Work (1981)
Dominum et Vivificantem - Lord and Giver of Life (1986)
Redemptoris Mater - Mother of the Redeemer (1987)
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis - On Social Concern (1987)
Redemptoris Missio - Mission of the Redeemer (1990)
Centesimus Annus - On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum (1991)
Veritatis Splendor - The Splendor of Truth (1993)
Evangelium Vitae - The Gospel of Life (1995)
Ut Unum Sint - That All May Be One (1995)
Fides et Ratio - Faith and Reason (1998)
Ecclesia de Eucharistia - The Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church (2003)

Apostolic Exhortations
Catechesi Tradendae - On Catechesis in Our Time (1979)
Familiaris Consortio - The Christian Family (1981)
Redemptionis Donum - The Gift of the Redemption (1984)
Reconciliatio et Paenitentia - Reconciliation and Penance (1984)
Christifideles Laici - On the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful (1988)
Redemptoris Custos - Guardian of the Redeemer (1989)
Pastores Dabo Vobis - I Will Give You Shepherds (1992)
Vita Consecrata - The Consecrated Life (1996)
Ecclesia in America - The Church in America (1999)
Pastores Gregis - The Shepherds of the Lord's Flock (2003)

Apostolic Letters
Dominicae Cenae - On the Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist (1980)
Salvifici Doloris - The Christian Meaning of Suffering (1984)
Dilecti Amici - To the Youth of the World (1985)
Mulieris Dignitatem - On the Dignity and Vocation of Woman (1988)
Tertio Millennio Adveniente - As the Third Millennium Draws Near (1994)
Dies Domini - On Keeping the Lord's Day Holy (1998)
Novo Millennio Ineunte - At the Beginning of the New Millennium (2001)
Rosarium Virginis Mariae - The Rosary of the Virgin Mary (2002)
Mane Nobiscum Domine - Stay with Us Lord (2004)
The Rapid Development (2005)

Letters, Bull of Indiction, and Pontifical Council for the Family
Letter to Families (1994)
Letter to Artists (1999)
Letter to the Elderly (1999)
Incarnationis Mysterium
The Mystery of the Incarnation (1998)
The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (1995)

As can be seen in each section we examine Saint John Paul II's in chronological order. If we are working through this book in order we will thus follow the progression of the Saint's writings and thought. The greatest benefit of this book is that it clearly and concisely presents each of the official teachings of Saint John Paul II. Saint John Paul II was a prolific writing and to work through all the original source material is a worthy endeavour not all people have the time for that study. With this book we can gleam the essence of the teachings and choose which of the sources to go back to and study in their entirety.

John Fagan does an incredible job of condensing so many wonderful documents and official teachings into this single volume. In some ways it is almost a Sparks Notes on the teachings of Saint John Paul II. And I do not mean that in a derogatory way. This book would be an excellent resource on any Catholic's bookshelf. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

(Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

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