The Liberation of the Laity
In Search of an Accountable Church
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|Format:||Paperback / softback, 304 pages|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 23 September 2004|
The present crisis in the American Catholic Church stems from a two-fold source: lay people are powerless while the bishops are accountable to no one but the pope and the curia. While the number of lay people exercising ministries in the Church has grown enormously over the past thirty years (largely due to the shortage of priests), there has been little or no theological reflection till now on the genuine role of the laity. It is only from such reflection that structural reform of the Church will come. The first half of The Liberation of the Laity concentrates on the fortunes of the laity, theologically speaking, between Vatican I (1870) and Vatican II (1962 - 65). It examines the growth of the 'new theology' in France in the 1940s and 1950s, and shows how in the work of one of its leading practitioners, Yves Congar, much of the vision of the laity expressed at Vatican II was anticipated. Seeing the years after the council as decades of missed opportunity to recognize the role of the laity, the book turns to a series of constructive proposals for the liberation of the laity, and thus the liberation of the Church. It discusses the importance of 'secularity,' the need for a 'lay liberation theology,' and the centrality of the struggles against global capitalism in the mission of the Church. It ends with a chapter envisioning dramatic changes in ministry and governing structures, in which accountability will be central, 'servant leaders' will include women and married people, and both ecclesiastical careerism and the College of Cardinals will be history.
About the Author
Paul Lakeland is Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He is the author of five books, on women's ordination, Hegel, liberation theology, and the intersections of theology with critical theory and post-modern cultural theory.
Lakeland (chair, religious studies, Fairfield Univ.) presents a well-argued and balanced take on the place and prospects of the Catholic laity and the future structures of the Catholic Church. The first of the book's two sections, which deals with "how we got to where we are," offers a narrative of the thought and contributions of a number of ultramontane theologians of the mid-20th century, particularly Yves Congar, whose work helped the church face modernity in Vatican Council II. Part 2 concentrates on the Catholic laity and the balance between the secular and the sacred, which both lay Catholics and the Church itself must acquire as the church and its members address postmodernism. In the book's final chapter, Lakeland presents a compelling argument for a postmodern church whose structure is more spirit-led than priest-led and whose ministries are performed by bishops or "servant-leaders" (who may be men or women, celibate or married, priests or nonpriests) and by laity. Recommended for seminary and college libraries and for public libraries with a strong religion circulation.-David I. Fulton, Coll. of St. Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"'I have gone, in the space of one year, from being so embarrassed about how boring my topic seemed to be that I was quite sheepish about telling people what I was working on, to muted excitement that I might be on the cutting edge of dramatic change in the church.' Paul Lakeland"
|Publisher: ||Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.|
|Dimensions: ||22.71 x 16.05 x 2.13 centimeters (0.43 kg)|