Authority in the Roman Catholic Church Theory and Practice
How did the present authority structures within the Church come into existence? How, if at all, can we justify their existence? What form of authority should exist in the Church? These and other related questions exercise the minds of many Christians in these days when the very notion of authority is questioned, but debate about them is perhaps nowhere more lively than within the ranks of Roman Catholicism. This book offers an important contribution to such debate within that church. Leading Catholic theologians from both sides of the Atlantic take up the key issues: analysing the concept of authority and governance; examining the history of authority within the Roman Catholic church; discussing who should have a say in future developments; exploring ecumenical dimensions, with particular reference to Anglicanism and the Orthodox churches; and suggesting the kind of reforms that might be prudent, as well as ways in which such reforms might be brought about. The book will prove of interest to many Roman Catholics, but given the ecumenical impact of many of the issues explored, it is likely to exert a wide appeal far beyond the confines of that church.
'... the essayists (...) are right to keep the question of authority in the forefront of discussion. If we are to make any progress on the ecumenical front, authority has to be one of the main questions.' The Catholic Herald 'Very many Catholics are seriously disenchanted with the way authority is functioning at present in the life of the Church. The contributors to this book aim to foster new approaches so as to make the practice of authority as life-giving as possible... The wide-ranging expertise of the 12 contributors ensures the high standard of their reflections on various issues of authority and governance... The book reveals love for the Church, faith in Jesus Christ and openness to the Holy Spirit. The contributors join in praying and planning for a Church which might more evidently be the icon of the Trinity in the world. Readers have many reasons for being grateful for their stimulating and challenging arguments.' The Tablet 'The fruit of their research and debate, edited and framed by Hoose, is an exceptionally strong and coherent collection of articles treating various aspects of the essence and exercise of authority in and beyond the Roman Catholic Church... [The] chapters, which range in complexity from the academic to the popular, give the volume the necessary depth and breadth to make it of interest not only to theologians but also to graduate students of ecclesiology.' Theological Studies 'Bernard Hoose of Heythrop College has, [...] done the Church good service in editing this interesting volume.' Theology 'With fifteen chapters from twelve authors, this timely and impressive collection makes a major contribution to the debates about the nature, scope and use of authority within the Catholic Church... this book should prove to be extremely valuable for those who seek to engage critically and creatively with questions about the nature, self-understanding and effective witness of the Church today... The publisher, Ashgate, is making a signi