The Second Vatican Council stated that the church is always in need of purification and renewal, but it did not attempt to describe how this process takes place. In THE GREAT CATHOLIC REFORMERS, C. Colt Anderson describes how reform takes place, what it looks and sounds like, and how it can be effective. He based these observations on historical models from a variety of historical and cultural contexts and covers the careers of Pope Gregory the Great, Peter Damian, Bernard of Clairvaux, Clare of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Jean Gerson, Jan Hus, Gasparo Contarini, John Henry Newman, and Dorothy Day. The diversity of the great reformers in the Catholic tradition suggests that legitimate reform within the Church can operate from different spiritualities, employ either gentle or harsh critiques, use secular or canon law to enforce discipline, and can begin with lay men and women as well as with members of the religious or of the clergy. Since reform is about change, it is impossible to identify a universal set of characteristics for reform. Nevertheless, Anderson demonstrates that reform is rooted in the Christian idea of conversion or penance. This volume shows how our understanding of reform has extended over time from individual penance to institutions, laws, ecclesial systems, and societies. By citing these diverse models, the book encourages every Catholic to take up the difficult task of reform and provides them with examples that suit their own temperaments. Finally, the book urges tolerance for people who follow different approaches to reform.
Lessons on church reform for today from ten of the most significant reformers in church history.
Author: C. Colt Anderson
Publisher: Paulist Press
Genre: Religion / Christianity / Catholic
Date Published: 2007
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