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Ecclesial Movements and Communities: Origins, Significance and Issues Paperback – September 26, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: New City Press (September 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565483960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565483965
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,460,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne E Tibbitt on December 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Because I am a member of one of these Ecclesial Movements, I did not expect to find too much new information. Well, I was wrong! Not only was there so much more to learn, but Father Leahy's presentation was a very enjoyable read. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about this "new springtime" in the Catholic Church.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Joseph on November 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
As the Church celebrates the half centenary of the Second Vatican (1962-2012), itself the greatest spiritual event of the twentieth century, a unique phenomenon bestrides her history. It is the phenomenon of the Ecclesial Movements and Communities. While the recent popes not only encourage their spread, identifying in them a providential response to the challenges of our times and exhorting their fellow-bishops to 'welcome them with love', many people do not understand them. Brendan Leahy's book is what they are looking for since it provides a most readable account of their origins, their life and their impact. Professor Leahy writes an attractive narrative which shows the movements as a powerful expression of Vatican II and a means for the laity to achieve the holiness which is the universal vocation of all the baptized.
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By BAO on July 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good insight into something still "new" to the church, and how the Holy Spirit animates life in the Spirit.
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