Empowering the People of God
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Empowering the People of God : Catholic Action Before and After Vatican II

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The early 1960s were a heady time for Catholic laypeople. Pope Pius XII's assurance "You do not belong to the Church. You are the Church" emboldened the laity to challenge Church authority in ways previously considered unthinkable. Empowering the People of God offers a fresh look at the Catholic laity and its relationship with the hierarchy in the period immediately preceding the Second Vatican Council and in the turbulent era that followed. This collection of essays explores a diverse assortment of manifestations of Catholic action, ranging from genteel reform to radical activism, and an equally wide variety of locales, apostolates, and movements.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 408 pages
  • 158 x 230 x 34mm | 619.99g
  • Fordham University Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white halftones
  • 0823254003
  • 9780823254002
  • 1,685,820

Review quote

"Empowering the People of God is a major contribution to the "lived history" of Vatican II for the American Catholics. Catholics changed and the changes made a difference for the country as well as the Church. These thoroughly researched essays demonstrate that lay empowerment was taking place before the Council. The Council persuaded lay leaders that "the shaping of the Church's future was in their hands". How they handled those rising expectations is then the theme of six well chosen case studies. Anyone who wants to understand American Catholics must consider the history provided by this excellent book." -- -David O'Brien Professor Emeritus, College of the Holy Cross, and Distingusihged Visiting Professor at Large, University of Dayton "I think a broad audience will enjoy this book about the practice of Catholic Action in America. It deals with Pope Pius Xl's call for the laity to engage in "Catholic Action" by assisting the clergy in carrying out the Vatican's definition of the Church's worldly mission, including its commitment to social justice. Millions of the faithful responded to this call, dutifully in he 1930s and 1940s and zealously after mid-century. The introduction to the book deftly contextualizes both periods of Catholic Action, and the essays explore the diversity of the activists reactions to this opportunity. Briefly put, the activists before mid-century conformed to the Pope's charge without challenging the Vatican's authority to define their options. But after 1950, in the new age of cultural individualism in American society and its institutions, the activists opted for the maximum feasible participation of the laity in the definition and implementation of the mission of the Church, a phenomenon that yielded todays' tripartite struggle, laic and clerical , among conservatives, liberals, and moderates for ascendancy in America's largest and perhaps its most quintessentially urban branch of Christianity." -- -Zane Miller Charles Phelps Taft Professor of History Emeritus, University of Cincinnati, and co-editor, The Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy Series "Empowering the People of God gives a nuanced, complicated, insightful portrait of Catholic Action as a spectrum rather than a monolith. The volume is timely, not just for historians of American Catholicism, but also for those seeing to understand the deeper backstory to the contesting definitions of authority in the Church in the present moment." -- -Amy L. Koehlinger Oregon State Universityshow more

About Jeremy Bonner

Jeremy Bonner is an independent scholar currently based in Sheffield, England. He is the author of Called Out of Darkness into Marvelous Light: A History of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, 1750- 2006 (Wipf and Stock, 2009) and The Road to Renewal: Victor Joseph Reed and Oklahoma Catholicism, 1905-1971 (Catholic University of America Press, 2008) and the editor of a forthcoming retrospective on the impact of the Kikuyu Crisis of 1913 on the Church of England. He has published scholarly articles on Mormon and Anglican history and taught American history at Robert Morris University, Duquesne University, and the University of Sheffield. Christopher D. Denny is an associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at St. John's University in New York City, teaching courses in Church history and Christian historical theology from the patristic era to the contemporary period. He is the coeditor, with Christopher McMahon, of Finding Salvation in Christ: Essays on Christology and Soteriology in Honor of William P. Loewe (Pickwick, 2011). Other recent publications include an essay on John Courtney Murray in Vatican II: Forty Years Later (Orbis, 2006) and articles in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Logos, Communio, and Horizons. The recipient of best- article awards from the Catholic Press Association and the College Theology Society, Denny is a former regional director and board member of the American Academy of Religion. Mary Beth Fraser Connolly, currently the assistant director of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, is an adjunct in history at Valparaiso University. She has taught American, women's, and religious history at universities in New Hampshire and Indiana. She has also worked as the historian for the Sisters of Mercy Chicago Regional Community, writing their community's history.show more

Table of contents

Contents Acknowledgements List of Contributors Introduction: Jeffrey Burns Part One: Catholic Action 1. Catholic Action in the Archdiocese of New York: The Case of the Catholic Club of New York City (Patrick J. Hayes) 2. The Liturgical Movement and Catholic Action: Women Living the Liturgical Life in the Lay Apostolate (Katharine E. Harmon) 3. "The Priesthood of the Layman": Catholic Action in the Archdiocese of San Francisco (William Issel) 4. From Participation to Community: John Courtney Murray's American Justification for Catholic Action (Christopher Denny) 5. Azzione Cattolica in an American Setting: The Society of Saint Charles-Scalabrinians and Catholic Action (Mary Elizabeth Brown) Part Two: The People of God 6. Relevant Transformations: The Young Women of the Extension Lay Volunteers, 1961-1971 (Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello) 7. Reaching Out to the People of God: The Implications of Renewal for the Sisters of Mercy in Parish Schools (Mary Beth Fraser Connolly) 8. "This is Our Challenge! We will Pursue It": The National Council of Catholic Women, the Feminist Movement, and the Second Vatican Council, 1960-1975 (Mary Henold) 9. Who Will Guard the Guardians? Church Government and the Ecclesiology of the People of God, 1965-1969 (Jeremy Bonner) 10. Empowering the People of God: John Cardinal Dearden's Church of Tomorrow (Samuel J. Thomas) 11. Christian Unity, Lay Authority, and the People of God: The Community of Christ Our Brother in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, 1967-1969 (Andrew Moore)show more