Posts Tagged ‘John Paul II generation of priests’

Renewal: How the New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church

In 04 Fr. John McCloskey on 2014/07/04 at 12:00 AM


Anne Hendershott and Christopher White’s new book, “Renewal: How the New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church,” delivers much more than even its title promises.

It may in fact deliver too much, in that excessive space is devoted to acquainting or reacquainting the reader with the names and stories of a multitude of bishops, priests, religious and academics — stories that include accounts of failings that I do not doubt are true but are not necessary.

Much more to the point is the book’s quotation from St. John Paul II on “the problem of democratization and the blurring of the distinction between the ordained and the non-ordained” from way back in 1987, when he was speaking on American soil: Discussing “… the danger of confusing the role of the clergy with that of the laity, the pope spoke supportively of the lay participation in parish life but warned [that by] ’empowering the laity in ministry, we run the risk of clericalizing the laity and laicizing the clergy.'”

Here, I think the authors “get it,” by using the pope’s words to convey that clericalism, whether exhibited by bishops, priests or laity, “must be changed so that the New Evangelization can be actualized, so the promise of the Council and the extraordinary run of holy and learned popes’ wishes are finally fulfilled.”

As for that good news, as the authors do a nice job of documenting, vocations of priests and faithful religious are booming, and their average age is lowering.

In addition, we should remember the crucial importance of the laity to the vocation crisis: The good example of faithful Catholic families is the most effective way to ensure a growing number of such vocations to the priesthood and religious life, not to mention raising up a new generation of laypeople living faithfully in the middle of the modern world.