REVIEWED BY PAMELA SCHAEFFER, PH.D.
RECLAIMING CATHOLICISM: TREASURES OLD AND NEW
Thomas H. Groome and Michael J. Daly, editors
Orbis Books, 2010
Who, observing the Catholic Church in recent years, could have failed to notice, whether with relief or lament, some slippage in the modernizations of liturgy and practice that followed Vatican II? Or failed to hear the murmurs, growing stronger of late, that too often the changes took effect without accompanying education, leaving the theological rationale that undergirded them poorly understood?
This volume is an effort to address that lack with 45 short essays on multiple dimensions of Catholic thought and culture (perspectives, personalities and practices), written by men and women who comprise a veritable "who's who" of (mostly liberal) contemporary Catholic thinkers.
For anyone who would like to better understand the Catholic faith today and its relationship to the past, or to consider how some of the "old" practices (fasting, the Rosary, benediction, devotion to Mary) might be integrated with the new, there is much to learn from and reflect on here. A couple of essays have relevance for Catholic hospitals and nursing homes: "From Extreme Unction to the Sacrament of the Sick" and "The After Life." Selections about forward-looking personalities, such as Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ, and Monsignors George Higgins and John Ryan, provide another lens through which to view an evolving church.
Some readers will be frustrated by topics left out. (I, for example, would have liked more on the still-developing stance of Catholicism toward non-Abrahamic religions.) Others may be frustrated by the brevity of the selections (four-and-a-half pages, on average.). Still, as Sr. Christine Vladimiroff, OSB, writes in her essay on vowed religious life, "There is something to be learned about a journey back in time. It enables us to retrieve what was valuable and bring it forward in new ways."
Copyright © 2010 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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