From one of our foremost church historians comes an overarching analysis of the three modern Catholic councils—an assessment of what Catholicism was and has become today.
Catholic councils are meetings of bishops. In this unprecedented comparison of the three most recent meetings, John O’Malley traverses more than 450 years of Catholic history and examines the councils’ most pressing and consistent concerns: questions of purpose, power, and relevance in a changing world. By offering new, sometimes radical, even troubling perspectives on these convocations, When Bishops Meet analyzes the evolution of the church itself.
The Catholic Church today is shaped by the historical arc starting from Trent in the sixteenth century to Vatican II. The roles of popes, the laity, theologians, and others have varied from the bishop-centered Trent, to Vatican I’s declaration of papal infallibility, to a new balance of power in the mid-twentieth century. At Trent, lay people had direct influence on proceedings. By Vatican II, their presence was token. At each gathering, fundamental issues recurred: the relationship between bishops and the papacy, the very purpose of a council, and doctrinal change. Can the teachings of the church, by definition a conservative institution, change over time?
Councils, being ecclesiastical as well as cultural institutions, have always reflected and profoundly influenced their times. Readers familiar with John O’Malley’s earlier work as well as those with no knowledge of councils will find this volume an indispensable guide for essential questions: Who is in charge of the church? What difference did the councils make, and will there be another?
WHY DOES GOD LET IT HAPPEN?
BRUCE HENDERSON Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2010 Library of Congress BT135.H37 2010 | Dewey Decimal 231.5
In the wake of life-changing events—whether as global in reach as the terrorist attacks on September 11 or as personal as the death of a child—the first question that springs to mind is “Why?” Why do good people suffer pain and loss? Why does God allow these things to happen?
In this simple, straightforward book, Bruce Henderson tackles some of the most difficult questions that people of faith face in their lives. Drawing from the wisdom of visionary Emanuel Swedenborg, who wrestled with these same questions more than two hundred years ago, Henderson describes a universe in which God allows us free will and choice, subtly guiding the course of our lives with an insight no mortal can comprehend. Pain and suffering ultimately lead to good, and as we walk the path, we draw ever closer to heaven.
In the end, the question is not why these things happen, but what good can come of them, and how we can use our gift of free will to create a better world for ourselves and others. In this, Henderson says, God is our partner and guiding hand, turning pain to hope and trust.
WINDOW TO ETERNITY
BRUCE HENDERSON Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2010 Library of Congress BX8729.F8H46 2010 | Dewey Decimal 236.2
What happens to us when we die? Is there really a heaven and hell? Are there angels watching over us? These questions follow us from early childhood to old age, particularly in moments when we’re confronted with the loss of a loved one.
In Window to Eternity, Bruce Henderson draws from the teachings of visionary Emanuel Swedenborg to paint a vivid picture of heaven and hell, where the souls of the departed become angels and demons and indescribable wonders await. But far from being a distant destination, Henderson shows that heaven is a choice that each of us makes every day—ours to have or to turn away from, regardless of our background or religious upbringing.
Written by Dominican preacher and mystic Bl. Henry Suso (c. 1300-1366), Horologium Sapientiae, or Wisdom's Watch upon the Hours, was one of the most successful religious writings of its time. Now it is offered to the English-speaking world in a new translation based on Pius Knzle's critical Latin edition.
For over thirty years Schubert Ogden has championed and exemplified a particular understanding of the task and content of Christian theology. The task of theology is to examine the meaning and truth of Christian faith in terms of human experience. All theological claims, therefore, are assessable by two criteria: their appropriateness to the normative Christian witness and their credibility in terms of human existence. The content of Christian theology may be accurately and succinctly stated in two words: radical monotheism. The point of all theological doctrines, from christology to ethics, is to reflect on the gift and demand of God's love. It may be said, then, that Ogden's entire theological project consists in the attempt to show that radical monotheism, which is the essential point of the Christian witness, is also the inclusive end of human existence.
Witness and Existence pays tribute to Ogden by bringing together essays by eminent scholars in New Testament studies and philosophical theology, two fields which directly reflect his methodological concerns and his substantive contributions. The book honors Ogden precisely by engaging the fundamental issues which Ogden himself has taken so seriously.
The first group of essays presents careful analyses of issues basic to the early Christian witness; the second group examines the credibility of the Christian claim about God in terms of human experience. The editors' introductory essay provides the first comprehensive analysis yet to appear of Ogden's theology. A complete bibliography of his published writings is included as an appendix.