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BOOK REVIEWS 333 I Call You Friends, By TIMOTHY RADCLIFFE, 0.P. London and New York: Continuum, 2001. Pp. 225. $24.95 (paper). ISBN 0-826-45188-8. The author won a prize for this book, originally published in French (translated from English). Several essays were written for New Blackfriars; the rest of the book is composed of speeches or conferences that the author gave as the Master of the Order in varying settings. The book has interest primarily for Dominicans but also for others who are interested in the person of Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. Radcliffe argues for a greater inclusion ofwomen's wisdom in the "stew" (his metaphor) of the Order of Preachers and describes for outsiders something of our democratic procedures. He gives many scattered insights about the Church and the changes occurring in culture today. He has an enthusiasm for the Order of Preachers and the Church that is infectious and appealing. He knows how difficult it is to make permanent commitments and gives sage advice to the young. He also understands that leadership in the Dominican Order does not mean domination and seeking to shine before the community. Being a friar preacher and learning to become a friend are deeply interconnected. Speeches are not exercises in the science of theology so much as they are works of rhetoric to grab people's attention. Using such artifices as humor, personal anecdotes, and metaphors, the speech-maker tries to keep people's attention from wandering and to charge people up for wondering. Here Radcliffe is a master. The book is divided into four parts: personal interviews, and speeches on Christian commitment, the idea of mission, and what it means to live the gospel, including several articles that were written in the 1980s. While it would be unfair to Radcliffe to say that much is "from the top of the head" theology, some insights are simply that, namely, interesting statements that bore into the minds and consciences of his hearers yet remain underdeveloped theologically. For example, he says that a vocation is "less a call to do something than a call to be" (11). Of course, he means that simply getting a job done is not the whole of a person's vocation, but in order "to be," each person must necessarily shape himself by "doing" virtue. Concerning governing in the Dominican Order, he says, "our style of government tries to be as little interventionist as possible" (27), but later laments several problems that seemly have resulted from doing nothing but watching on the side-lines (169). Perhaps a little more intervention in preparing people for the missions that involve heroic virtue instead of waiting for volunteers is not being "less Dominican" or less democratic. But this may have been the unhappy consequence of trying to govern a world-wide order through extensive travel to the troubled spots in the world, rather than relying on delegate's reports. On a more critical note, Radcliffe says that people need to debate issues more but doesn't seem to recognize that facility in debate is no guarantee of attaining truth. Some people are very quick debaters and others are slower. The fatter 334 BOOK REVIEWS sometimes arrive at the truth better than people who interested in "winning" debates. Saint Thomas's teaching on the sin of contention whereby people stubbornly hold to positions regardless of the truth of the question could have helped Radcliffe's insight here. Also, he states that for St. Thomas the weakest argument is from authority (174}. While this is true from the point of view of philosophy, it is not true from the point of view of theology; otherwise, reason becomes its own magisterium over the Bible, Tradition, or even the sacred magisterium of the bishops and the pope. Since Radcliffe believes the Church needs to go back to the medieval spirit of the quaestionesdisputatae, perhaps some sentences in their context need further nuancing. For example, when he says ofPaul, "Itis not clear why these Christian Corinthians had such an enthusiasm for sleeping with prostitutes" (220}, he is not speaking pastorally but conceptually as an exegete looking for reasons why. It might have been clearer...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 333-335
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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