The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism

Overview

From the struggles of the very first Christians to the challenges and scandals of today, the Catholic Church has wrestled with how to organize itself, express its beliefs, and nurture its members. The Church has grown from a handful of disciples in the first century to over one billion members in the twenty-first, resulting in profound changes that demand a theological response. In this sweeping history, renowned scholar Richard McBrien reveals the evolution of the Church's relationship to the divine, its ...

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The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism

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Overview

From the struggles of the very first Christians to the challenges and scandals of today, the Catholic Church has wrestled with how to organize itself, express its beliefs, and nurture its members. The Church has grown from a handful of disciples in the first century to over one billion members in the twenty-first, resulting in profound changes that demand a theological response. In this sweeping history, renowned scholar Richard McBrien reveals the evolution of the Church's relationship to the divine, its leadership of the faithful, and its role as a global religion. The Church answers the questions raised by this extraordinary history, including:

  • Where did the idea of the pope's infallibility come from?
  • Why are priests celibate and women barred from the priesthood?
  • What inspired the Inquisition?
  • What was the position of the Catholic Church on Hitler's policies in World War II?
  • What is the Church's relationship to Islam?
  • How will the growth of the Church in South America, Africa, and Asia shape its future?

McBrien helps the reader understand the evolution of the Catholic Church's understanding of itself through the centuries, its leadership, and its relationship to national governments and world religions. From Jesus's apostle Peter to Pope Benedict XVI, The Church explains in layperson's terms the evolution of the Catholic Church, its power, its scope, its theology, and its influence.

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Editorial Reviews

CBA Retailers and Resources
Catholicism expert Richard McBrien offers the first modern history of the Roman Catholic Church. Encyclopedic in scope but accessible and written in laymen’s terms...
Neil Ormerod
As always McBrien’s work is clear, concise and comprehensive in scope. Undoubtedly this book will become a standard ecclesiological reference point for students and teachers alike.
Mary C. Boys
With characteristic clarity, Richard McBrien artfully tells the story of how Catholic theology developed over two millennia. In tracing the insights, conflicts, and fundamentals of Catholic thought, he has provided a superb resource for readers of all traditions.
Neil OrmerodNeil Ormerod
As always McBrien’s work is clear, concise and comprehensive in scope. Undoubtedly this book will become a standard ecclesiological reference point for students and teachers alike.
Sr. Joan Chittister
This is a superb book, as usual. What would we do without this great honest man and his great honest writing?
Commonweal
The Church is a lucid, balanced, and readable book-a work of integration that is always reasonable, well informed, honest, and deeply hopeful.
Christian Bookseller
Catholicism expert Richard McBrien offers the first modern history of the Roman Catholic Church. . . . Encyclopedic is scope, but accessible and written in layman’s terms.
National Catholic Reporter
A work breathtaking in its scope and yet manageable in its presentation.
America Magazine
This distinguished scholar and professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, candidly sketches out the pastoral challenges to, and the internal tensions within, the church today.
Christian Bookseller
Catholicism expert Richard McBrien offers the first modern history of the Roman Catholic Church. . . . Encyclopedic is scope, but accessible and written in layman’s terms.
Publishers Weekly

McBrien's outspoken media commentaries on Catholic polity and pronouncements have earned him a loyal following and not a few critics. A theology professor at the University of Notre Dame, he has written 25 books including Catholicism, a 1,344-page theological survey. His newest study looks at one branch of theology, ecclesiology, which he defines as "theological reflection on the nature, mission, ministries, and structures of the Church." In good academic fashion, McBrien organizes his material thoroughly, with frequent introductions, summaries, lists and cross-references that make this an ideal textbook. At the same time, he writes clearly and passionately on topics of general concern such as papal authority, the church's social and political involvement, interfaith relations and the role of the laity. An ardent admirer of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), McBrien sets its documents and discussions at the heart of his presentation. Much of the rest of the book, including one breathless 30-page romp through 18 centuries, is either historical context for the Council or a discussion of its effects on the contemporary church. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

McBrien's (theology, Univ. of Notre Dame) encyclopedic text examining Roman Catholicism from both a historical and a pastoral perspective is destined to be the definitive theological work on the topic. McBrien provided a solid base for this balanced and critical treatment of church life in several of his earlier titles, among them Catholicism, Lives of the Popes, and Lives of the Saints. Here, drawing from biblical and patristic sources, he lays out the fundamental issues appropriate to our understanding of ecclesiology, then specifically engages the various historical epochs (e.g., the schism between East and West, the Protestant Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, and issues of papal primacy and infallibility during Vatican I and Vatican II). Monumental in scope, the work clearly articulates the evolving self-understanding of this unique religious body's role and mission. Complete with 70 pages of detailed notes, a helpful glossary, a select bibliography, and a useful index, this superlative, splendidly written text is accessible not only to students and scholars but to anyone interested in understanding the Catholic Church's history and theology from a modern global perspective. Recommended for all libraries.
—John-Leonard Berg

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061245251
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/3/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,400,860
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard P. McBrien is Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Educated at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he has also served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. A leading authority on Catholicism, he is the bestselling author of Catholicism, Lives of the Popes, and Lives of the Saints, as well as the general editor of The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism. Most recently a consultant for ABC News, McBrien offers regular commentary on all the major television networks. He is also a prizewinning syndicated columnist in the Catholic press.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Theodore M. Hesburgh Hesburgh, Theodore M.

Pt. I Introduction: The Content and Scope of Ecclesiology 1

1 What Is Ecclesiology? 1

2 What Is the Church? 2

3 Where Ecclesiology Fits 7

4 The Ecumenical and Interfaith Dimensions of Ecclesiology 8

5 The Pastoral Dimension of Ecclesiology 13

6 The Controversial Character of Ecclesiology 15

7 Models and Methods in Ecclesiology 16

8 Ecclesiological Development 20

Pt. II Ecclesiology in the New Testament 23

1 The History of Ecclesiology and the History of the Church 23

2 The Ecclesiologies of the New Testament 24

3 Summary and Synthesis 55

Pt. III Ecclesiology from the Postbiblical Period to the Mid-Nineteenth Century 61

1 The Scope of the Problem 61

2 The History of Postbiblical Ecclesiology: An Overview 62

Pt. IV Ecclesiology from Vatican I to the Threshold of Vatican II 91

1 Peter and the Papacy: The Ecclesiological Context for Vatican I 92

2 Vatican I (1869-70) 107

3 Post-Vatican I Developments 118

4 Pre-Vatican II Ecclesiology 130

5 Pope John XXIII 148

Pt. V The Ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council 151

1 Introduction and Overview 151

2 The Announcement of and Preparations for the Council 156

3 Pope John XXIII's Opening Address 158

4 The First Days of the Council 160

5 Vatican II in Historical and Theological Perspective 162

6 The Ecclesiology of Vatican II: Six Basic Themes 163

7 The "Twin Pillars" of Vatican II's Ecclesiology: Lumen gentium and Gaudium et spes 182

8 Vatican II: Continuity or Discontinuity? 198

9 The Style of Vatican II 202

10 Approaches to the Interpretation of Conciliar Texts 205

11 Pope Paul VI's Ecclesiam Suam (1964)209

12 Concluding Reflections 211

Pt. VI Post-Vatican II Ecclesiology: The Church ad Extra 215

1 The Church and the Kingdom, or Reign, of God 217

2 The Church and the World 222

3 The Church and Salvation 227

4 Catholic Social Teaching 248

5 The Church and Politics 256

6 The Church and Liberation 267

7 The Church and the Holy Spirit 270

8 Brief Summation 276

Pt. VII Post-Vatican II Ecclesiology: The Church ad Intra 277

1 The Church as a Communion 278

2 Authority in the Church 285

3 Reception 322

4 Ministry 326

5 An Excursus on Sacraments and Liturgy 330

6 Mary and the Church 332

7 Feminist and Nonfeminist Ecclesiology by Catholic Women 337

8 Hispanic and Latino/a Ecclesiologies 342

9 African and African American Ecclesiologies 344

10 New Movements in the Church 345

11 The Emerging World-Church 350

12 Brief Summation 351

Pt. VIII The Future of the Church and Its Ecclesiologies 353

1 Synthesis of the Book 353

2 Ten Pastoral Applications 362

3 The Future of the Church and Its Ecclesiologies 366

Notes 373

Glossary 445

Select Bibliography 467

Index of Persons 473

Index of Subjects 483

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Great development of the Churrch since Vatican II

    In a clear and concise style the author shares his beliefs concerning the development of the principles of Vatican II. It is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the Catholic Church of the padt 50 years. It is by far the best in the field.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating overview of the evolution of ecclesiology.

    As a student of religious studies and now a graduate student with an interest in religion and politcs, McBrien's book offers a fantastic overview of Roman Catholic ecclesiology. Although some have critiqued the fact that McBrien's book does not bear an Imprimatur, this is likely because McBrien's work is protected under Ex Corde Ecclessiae. With this in mind, McBrien does justice to the Church's teaching by shedding light on the ecumenical facets of ecclesiology. In addition, his overview of the evolution of ecclesiology from the New Testament to the modern era provides the reader with a complete picture regarding ecclesiology and its various phases/periods. I would highly recommend this book for both experienced ecclesiologists/theologians as well as beginners who may be looking to dab their feet in some ecclesiology.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2009

    The Evolution of Dissent

    Fr. McBrien is an outspoken dissident theologian that enjoys a great deal of popularity with the secular media, but not with Catholic Bishops. This book, like his other works, gives the impression it is teaching authentic Catholicism, but really teaches a heterodox version of Catholicism. This book does not have an Imprimatur.<BR/><BR/>I would not recommend this book to faithful Catholics.<BR/><BR/>Follow this link for a complete review:<BR/>http://blog.grigaitis.net/2009/01/the-church-the-evolution-of-catholicism/

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 21, 2010

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    Posted May 24, 2009

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    Posted February 10, 2009

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