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When the Magisterium Intervenes: The Magisterium and Theologians in Today's Church Paperback – May 1, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

At a time of considerable disagreement over how the church’s teaching authority is being exercised, this is truly an important book.
Thomas P. Rausch, SJ, America magazine


This impressive collection offers new perspectives on the sometimes testy relationship between theologians and bishops as they exercise their shared responsibility to make the time-honored truth of the Gospel speak anew to every generation. Any reader will be grateful for the editor’s inclusion of the central documents concerning the recent controversy surrounding Professor Elizabeth Johnson’s book Quest for the Living God.
John E. Thiel
Professor of Religious Studies
President, Catholic Theological Society of America


Those of us concerned with the future of Catholic theology are deeply grateful to the authors of the essays in this book. With uncommon scholarship and clarity they have shown where the relationships between theologians and the episcopal teaching office have gone wrong---Elizabeth Johnson's case being the latest tragic illustration. With equally uncommon depth and insight they have also charted helpful ways to improve the collaboration between the two magisteria. The book should be required reading to restart a fruitful conversation on the nature of theology and the role of the episcopal magisterium within it.
Dr. Peter C. Phan
The Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought
Georgetown University


When the Magisterium Intervenes is a hard-hitting book that places the exchanges between Elizabeth Johnson and the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine in an historical and analytical context. The anguish and exasperation that seep through the careful academic work express mainly—though not exclusively—the progressive theologians’ side of things and signal that any irenic phase of this discussion remains in the future. Still, Gaillardetz and this team of eminent experts consistently give earnest voice to the hope that authoritative processes and relationships in the Catholic Church will come to reflect more fully Vatican II’s vision of communion and dialogue.
Dennis M. Doyle
Professor of Religious Studies
University of Dayton


The Catholic Church is the only church with a vast and vibrant international academy of theologians. It is also perhaps the only church that takes theology so seriously that it has offices that question, judge, and even reject the work of some of these theologians. But the manner in which this occurs, and the damaging consequences for theologians as persons and for the life of the Church, raise grave ethical and religious questions as well as debates over the nature of theology itself. Richard Gaillardetz has pulled together a must-read for all who are concerned about the fate of the Church’s contemporary life, its credible proclamation of the Gospel, and the future of Catholic theology.
Paul Crowley, SJ, Jesuit Community Professor, Santa Clara University


These fine essays by major Catholic ecclesiologists shine the bright light of informed common sense upon the vexed question of when and how the teaching authority of the church should insert itself into theological debates. In an age when magisterial oversight is more notable for its insistence on its own prerogatives than it is for its sensitivity to the way doctrine develops, this reasoned and moderate articulation of how it is the responsibility of the whole Church to find the way to fuller possession of God’s truth could not be more timely. The concluding section on ‘the Elizabeth Johnson affair’ stands as a sad exemplar of the distance we still have to travel.
Paul Lakeland, Aloysius P. Kelley SJ Professor of Catholic Studies, Director, Center for Catholic Studies, Fairfield University

About the Author

Richard R. Gaillardetz holds the Joseph Chair of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College. He has published numerous articles and has authored or edited ten books, including Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II (co-authored with Catherine Clifford, Liturgical Press, 2012) and Ecclesiology for a Global Church: A People Called and Sent (Orbis, 2008). Dr. Gaillardetz has been a delegate on the US Catholic–Methodist Ecumenical Dialogue and served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America between 2013 and 2014. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Glazier (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814680542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814680544
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This is an extremely insightful book which does a well balanced in depth analysis of the current reality of hierarchical leadership in the Roman Catholic Church which increasingly projects and imposes values of control, fear and power to subordinate and if possible reverse the insights and openness which Vatican II contributed. Gaillardetz looks into the historical forces and theologies which propel the practices and life of the cautious increasingly distant Leadership in the Catholic Church today as evidenced in ongoing prioritizing of control and order over research, respect and freedom. A Vatican bureaucracy whose pronouncements and procedures increasingly alienate large numbers of Catholic people as they find themselves immersed in a stifling legalistic spiritual fog which while not denying the light of Vatican II, makes it more and more difficult to live and appreciate. A must book for anyone who is interested in understanding contemporary Catholic reality and life.
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Provides good, solid background and overview of the current Catholic experience and how it evolved. Especially important was the influence of the internet and other current realities on the church process. Great.
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I did not finish reading this book because I found the vocabulary difficult. It was a topic I wanted to understand and this book did not help me to do that. It is likely written for someone with more familiarity with the words and not for a lay person like me.
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Dr. Gaillardetz has produced an excellent collection of very informative contributions on this topic of Magisterium Intervention. Well worth a read.
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