The value of Brendan Leahy's Ecclesial Movements and Communities is that it surveys the major theological and ecclesiological questions raised by the movements without getting lost in the fog of their idiosyncrasies … Leahy doesn't begin by presuming the movements are in need of justification or defense. Instead, his point of departure is the firm belief that they represent the latest instance of Catholicism's capacity to generate new life just when the Church appears to be running out of gas ... Ecclesial Movements and Communities hits the 'reset button' on perceptions. Leahy does not take his cues on the movements from pop culture, the tribal politics of our time, or the complaints of embittered ex-members. Instead, he applies the frame of Catholic teaching and tradition, and in that light he sees the movements not primarily as a puzzle needing to be solved, but rather as a gift to be welcomed. That shift in perspective does not answer all the questions one might ask, but it does seem like the basis of eventually getting the answers right. --John L. Allen, Jr. in First Things
This publication by Brendan Leahy is an excellent introduction to the rise and functioning of these new communities, particularly in the Catholic Church. The work does not provide any detailed treatment of any one community, but rather offers a more global and general overview of the phenomenon, from both a practical and theological standpoint ... The work is the result of serious research, thoroughly understood and presented with clarity. The new ecclesial communities are viewed from many perspectives theological, historical and pastoral and a crisp articulation is provided of their place in the Church at the present time. [It also has] a fine bibliography and extensive index. --Anthony Draper, All Hallows College, Dublin in The Furrow, June 2012
This modest book is clear, helpful, and informative, offering a useful survey of the rise of a variety of new ecclesial movements ... Part One traces their development since the second half of the last century, both in relation to Vatican II, and particularly in the past twenty-five years. Part Two relates them to the Council's injunctions, to its rediscovery of charisms in the church, to the Papacy itself, to evangelization, and to Mary the mother of Jesus. It becomes very clear then, on what basis Rome endorses or criticizes the movements ... Part Three raises further controversial questions. Leahy deals with a range of objections in a brief and reasoned fashion ... The book concludes with a helpful bibliography which includes a lot of articles otherwise rather difficult to find. This is a good reference book and helpful for anyone attempting to understand the purpose and thrust of Pope Benedict's 'New Evangelization'. --Anthony J. Gittins, CSSp in Catholic Library World
About the Author
Rev. Brendan Leahy is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, in Ireland. He is a von Balthasar scholar and an ecumenist and has also authored articles and books on interreligious dialogue, issues facing the Church in the 21st century, renewal in the Church, and the priesthood.