Why Read the Church Fathers? Because You Can’t Do Catholic Theology Without Them


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Feb 5, 2002
United States
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Think we live in a world of confused theology and poor pastoral praxis? Go back and study the Fathers.

Many years ago, when I entered the college level seminary in Douglaston, New York, I was handed a copy of Christian Prayer, the one-volume version of the Liturgy of the Hours. As a freshman in college, this little book was a mystery to me. For starters, it had too many ribbons (I think that people who are first exposed to the Divine Office on an app are so spoiled, but I really appreciate the iBreviary!). And, at the end of my freshmen year of college, what a day was it when I bought my copy of the four-volume Liturgy of the Hours. For me, as a 19-year-old, it was a real sign of commitment to my vocation. I felt like I was entering the big leagues!

Together, as a small community living in the College House of Formation, we learned to pray Lauds, Vespers, and what quickly was to become my favorite, Compline. At this early stage in formation, praying Midday Prayer was not yet done in common, nor was the Office of Readings. However, in an adaptation to the rubrics of the Liturgy of the Hours, we would, when we prayed Lauds together, also read, as a community, the second reading from the Office of Readings. I immediately fell in love with the Office of Readings. It introduced me to a whole new world, a world populated by the heroes of the great Sacred Tradition of the Church, the Fathers of the Church.

Continued below.
Why Read the Church Fathers? Because You Can’t Do Catholic Theology Without Them
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