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Archive for March 28th, 2008

Crisis, Reform and the Future of the Churchby George Weigel

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Mr. Weigel is a Catholic theologian and a Senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington,D.C. This book was written in 2002 so it’s still very current on the issues facing the church today. The author states that the book is

“For all those who will contribute to the genuinely Catholic reform of the Church in the Unites states. You know who you are. Be not afraid.”

The first 2/3 of the book is devoted to laying the foundation of what happened to the church over the past 35 to 40 years in the aftermath of Vatican II(no it’s not about what’s wrong with that council). He addresses how the role of the priest and the laity were mixed into the vague term of “ministry” and the role of priest as Vatican II teaches “living instruments of Christ the eternal priest”. An added insight is that the idea of the church as the body of Christ was diminished perhaps in church governance. The church is not a denomination defined by the will of its members, but an institution created and its boundaries defined once and for all by the will of Christ.

He address the issue of Humanae Vitae as one of the key points which bishops and Pope Paul VI failed to address what was created an environment that

“was to promote intellectual, moral, and disciplinary disorder in the Catholic Church in the United States.”

As far as I can tell he coined the phrase “Truce of 1968” when Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle took disciplinary action against 19 local priest for joining protests against Humanae Vitae. The Pope apparently feared it would create a schism in the church in America.

The last 1/3 of the book addresses what the author believes are need reforms, some like the seminaries and liturgy are already underway by Pope B16.

The book is an easy read and does provide some good insights for those especially that have come into the church in the past 20 years or so. As well as those who were raised in the church but were not born yet during the 60’s & 70’s. For those of us that have lived through these times, the book will not bring up much that is not already known, but would still be informative if your focus has been focused only on local church issues rather then national or universal ones.

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