Book Break: In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall

One of the many things I meant to do in the past year was to explore and review several books on the Catholic view of creation and evolution, in order to help parish parents and grandparents answer their questions on the topic and those of their children. My hope was to find a book or two that might be helpful to inquiring minds of all ages.

As usual, I bit off more than I could possibly chew and have completed only one such book. On a positive note, it was excellent.

'In the Beginning...' A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall is an edited compilation of four Lenten homilies given by Pope Benedict XVI in 1981, when he was still Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich and Freising. His goal was to develop a catechesis of Creation for adults. The four homilies build, one upon the other, to present a clear case for what the Genesis accounts of Creation and the Fall mean and why they continue to matter:

The entire book is exactly 100 pages, including the Appendix, entitled "The Consequences of Faith in Creation, which reads like a fifth homily on how we got to the point that, since the Renaissance, understanding of and belief in Creation theology has diminished to the point that it is rarely spoken of in modern Catholicism, and why our fundamental "creatureliness" is essential to our future. Pope Benedict's style is straightforward and clear; he is obviously well-read and -researched on this topic, but makes it accessible to (though not always easy for) the patient reader. The book is less specifically about evolution that I imagined, but rewarding and worth the time. It's fun to imagine these as homilies, sitting in the pews, wishing someone was writing all this down.

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