The Apostolic Constitutions and Exhortations of John Paul II and Benedict XVI (51 vols.) contains the most important writings of the two pontiffs, next to their encyclical letters. The papal office holds the highest teaching authority in the Catholic Church, and the popes realize this office through a number of channels and through the promulgation of a variety of documents. The most famous of these are the papal encyclical letters, which express the pope’s mind normally on matters of faith and morals. Apostolic exhortations often concern similar topics but do not define doctrine and are normally directed at encouraging certain groups within the Church to certain activities. In recent decades apostolic exhortations have most often been issued at the conclusion of synods of bishops and have served as the popes’ summations and interpretations of those synods’ conclusions. Apostolic constitutions, however, are more juridical in nature. They are formal papal decrees and carry the highest authority. Apostolic constitutions can deal with the structure of the Church, but also the liturgy, pastoral, or dogmatic concerns. Together with encyclicals, apostolic exhortations and constitutions are the most important documents produced by the Holy See, touching all matters of ecclesiastical government and doctrine.
Offering contemporary insights on Christian living and theology, the Apostolic Constitutions and Exhortations of John Paul II and Benedict XVI (51 vols.) will benefit students, scholars, or laypeople interested in studying and searching the papal teachings of the last several decades. With the Logos edition, all Scripture passages in the apostolic constitutions and exhortations are tagged and appear on mouse-over. What’s more, references to important works, such as the writings of the Church Fathers, are tagged. This makes these texts more powerful and easier to access than ever before for scholarly work or personal study. With the advanced search features of Logos Bible Software, you can perform powerful searches by topic or Scripture reference—finding, for example, every mention of “charity” or “redemption.”
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John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyla) (1920–2005) served as Pope for 26 years (1978–2005). In 1942, he felt called to the priesthood and began courses in the clandestine seminary of Krakow. Wojtyla was ordained to the priesthood on November 1, 1946, and shortly after, was sent to Rome where he worked under Garrigou-Lagrange. In 1958 he was appointed as the titular bishop of Ombi and auxiliary of Krakow and in 1964 was appointed as the archbishop of Krakow. Three years later, he was elevated to Cardinal.
In 1978, Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope, where he took on the name John Paul II. As Pope, he was instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland. He significantly improved the Catholic Church's relationship with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. He has been acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century.
Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl, Bavaria in Germany. During his youth, his father's devout Catholicism led to conflicts with the Nazi regime, and his family was forced to relocate several times. At the age of twelve he enrolled in minor seminary, but the seminary was closed for military use in 1942. He resumed his studies for the priesthood in 1946 and was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951. A year later he began teaching at the Higher School of Freising. He received his doctorate in 1953 and became a professor at Freising College in 1958.
On March 25, 1977, Pope Paul VI named him Archbishop of Munich and Freising, and on June 27 of that same year he was made a Cardinal. In November 1981, he was summoned by Pope John Paul II to Rome, where he was named Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and President of the International Theological Commission.
On April 19, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected to be the 265th pope. He took the name Benedict XVI, after St. Benedict of Nursia. As pope, he received worldwide respect and was a spiritual influence to Christians and non-Christians alike. In 2013, he resigned the papacy, becoming the first pope to do so in since the fifteenth century. He retired to a monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where he continues to study and write.
Joel Landon Watts