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738 BOOK REVIEWS Mini,stry and Authority in the Catholic Church. By EDMUND HILL, O.P. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1988. Pp. 142. £7.95. Readers will not find in this book a serene, dispassionate, and impartial analysis of ministry and authority. The author, presently teaching theology in Lesotho, says that his book is a work of advocacy, a taking of sides, a forthright challenge to Church authorities. He writes out of frustration and exasperation. In short, he has written a brief for one particular view of authority and has condemned another. His trenchant opinions, at times caustic but not without the occasional humorous aside, are confrontational, not soothing. Hill contrasts two views of authority in the Catholic Church: the " magisterial papalist " (MP) and, the one he supports, the " ministerial collegialist" (MC). The magisterial papalist approach is the product of the second millennium of Christianity, reaching its peak during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is the ultramontane view with its excessive papalism and the concentration of all authority in the Holy See and the papacy. It identifies the Church with the papacy and affirms a hierachical, clerical view of Church and authority . The author calls this approach "unrealistic and counter-productive " and claims that its advocates are deaf to any criticism. Using a pyramidal conception of the Church that is Byzantine and juridical, Hill argues that the MPs hold that all authority descends from the hierarchical summit. Church authority, the exclusive possession of the hierarchs, is an instrument of control and is not to be questioned. The magisterial papalists oppose ecumenism and collegiality and are threatened by lay involvement in Church affairs. This view dominated Vatican I and is still in control. The author's purpose is "to criticize relentlessly " MP theology and to propose another model of ecclesial authority. The " ministerial collegialist " position, according to Hill, is more faithful to the Gospel, the tradition of the first millennium, and the spirit of Vatican II. The MC school, as the name suggests, favors collegiality , a broad concept of ministry, and ecumenical openness. An MC himself, he considers the centralization of authority in the Holy See to be a historical development that has outlived its usefulness. He asserts that Christ did not bestow authority on the pope and the bishops alone; they share it with the entire People of God. The Church as a whole is the primary recipient of the sacrament of order. The Church is a Church of churches rather than a hierarchical, world-wide institution . Christian communities are united in common faith and hope with the Bishop of Rome. In contrast to the MP view, teaching au- BOOK REVIEWS 739 thority is not the exclusive prerogative of the hierarchy; many other Christians are also involved in handing on apostolic faith. MCs insist that authority is not domination but service or ministry. There is no need for Rome in every instance to appoint bishops for local Churches; they should ordinarily be chosen by their own clergy and people. With the battle lines thus drawn, Hill marshalls evidence for the MC approach from the New Testament and Church history, concentrating on the meaning and development of authority, ministry, and magisterium. He devotes separate chapters to analyses of Vatican I and Vatican II and concludes with a utopian scenario of what Church authority ought to be in the third millennium. Hill has some explanatory footnotes and refers often to scripture and Vatican II. But he rarely cites any individual theologians who support his position, nor does he often refer to his MP opponents by name. Yet he does say that the present pope, the Roman Curia, and Cardinal Ratzinger follow the MP theology. A list of theologians who adhere to the principles of the MP or MC positions and an index would have been useful additions to the book. Resorting to the broad brush of rhetoric to construct a convincing argument may be an effective debating technique, but it can be misleading . As a result, some of Hill's comments need further clarification. The following appeared to me as typical. First, he states that" he [the Pope] is an absolute monarch" (p. 4). This assertion needs qualification. The papacy may...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 738-741
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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