By engaging in conversation with those whose experience, perspectives, and theological traditions vary from their own, the contributors to The Theology of Priesthood explore in detail the fundamental questions being asked about the ordained priesthood today. Priests, deacons, and students of theology will find these articles an engaging means to understanding Church, ministry, and priesthood more deeply.
The Theology of Priesthood includes ten essays that explore facets of ordained ministry and the ministerial priesthood. Paul Philibert, OP, begins with an overview of issues involved in the contemporary discussion on priesthood within the Roman Catholic tradition. Frank Quinn, OP, addresses the significance of language as it pertains to priesthood and ministry and how language is manifested in rites of ordination. Thomas O'Meara, OP, situates the discussion on priesthood within the context of an expansion of ministry in the Church since Vatican II and the implications of this expansion for ministry in the future.
Stephen DeLeers articulates a theology of priesthood grounded in Vatican II and post-Vatican II documents which focuses on the primacy of preaching. Thomas Rausch, SJ, then takes up the issue of diversity within ministerial priesthood as he reflects on priesthood within the context of apostolic religious life. Jack Risley, OP, returns to the question of the relationship between ordained ministry and lay ministry.
The final three articles reflect on ordained ministry from distinctive perspectives. Benedict Ashley, OP, takes the Letter to the Hebrews as his starting point. Paul Wesche looks at priesthood through the lens of an Eastern Orthodox priest. Donald Goergen, OP, asks what insights African theology, specifically African christology, might offer a contemporary Catholic theology of priesthood. Paul Philibert, OP, provides a concluding reflection.
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Anyone who wants to know where the theology of priesthood is moving today simply must read this collection of essays. It contains a gold mine of information and thoughtful reflection. Few books on the subject are so comprehensive. It includes wise topics about priesthood and religious life.
It is a very useful book, containing both information and reflection. . . . We should be grateful to the Dominicans for this initiative. . . . It does address key issues and should contribute to the continuing debate.
The American Dominicans offer us a needed theological reflection on priesthood in the third millennium. Just as St. Thomas brought the new thinking of the thirteenth century into his writings on traditional Christian theology, so, too, have these Dominican authors brought current insights and current needs into a re-consideration of priesthood and lay ministry. We are indebted to their scholarship and expertise.
Donald J. Goergen, OP, is a preacher, teacher, lecturer, author, and theologian who taught systematic theology for many years. He was also previously the provincial for the Dominican friars of the Central Province. He is the editor of A Theology of Jesus series, and Being a Priest Today published by Liturgical Press.