Is the priesthood a failed tradition?

b722mf Is the priesthood a failed tradition?

It takes a long time to write and publish a book, so Garry Wills certainly could not have predicted that his newest, “Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition,” would arrive at precisely the moment in history in which many thoughtful Catholics must be asking the same question.If you’re expecting a polemic, you might get a quiet one, but you won’t get much in the way of bombast or grandstanding. Wills is a scholar, and his opposition is rooted in a position firmly inside the church. The book is dedicated to the memory of a priest, Henri de Lubac, S.J., and it begins with a long appreciation of the priests Wills has known and loved in a professional lifetime of reading and writing about religion which itself began in a Jesuit seminary, where Wills studied for five years in hopes of becoming a priest.This brief memoiristic opening quickly gives way to a historical account of the rise to prominence and power of the priestly class in the Roman Catholic tradition, which begins with the first generation of a priestless movement that hadn’t yet begun to call itself Christianity, and it is here that the reviewer of the audiobook edition begins to experience a special pleasure. So often the better audiobooks get their traction and build their momentum through their narrative qualities — the urgency of scene-making, the building tension of information that the listener is gaining alongside the speaker, the carefully modulated rising and falling of carefully shaped juxtapositions of events.Continue Reading…

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Is the priesthood a failed tradition?


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