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Scanning the Signs of the Times

Scanning the Signs of the Times

Thomas F O’Meara
Paul Philibert
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: ATF (Australia) Ltd.
Pages: 174
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  • Book Info
    Scanning the Signs of the Times
    Book Description:

    The theological and cultural vigor of these seven French Dominicans—Sertillanges, Chenu, Congar, Lebret, Loew, Liégé, and Couturier—eventually influenced the entire church through the breakthrough of Vatican II. They read the signs of the times and saw what the Holy Spirit was doing in a changing world. The Catholic Church is more alive because of them.

    eISBN: 978-1-922239-17-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-ix)
  3. French Dominicans in the Twentieth Century
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Preface: A Remarkable Evolution
    (pp. xv-xxi)
    Jean-Pierre Jossua
  5. Chapter 1 Antonin-Gilbert Sertillanges: Between Christian Belief and Modern Culture
    (pp. 1-17)

    Antonin-Gilbert Sertillanges belongs to the generation prior to that of prominent Dominicans like M-D Chenu and Yves Congar. His efforts provided the initiative, the orientation and key impetus for the varied Dominican theological and pastoral renewals that developed in the twentieth century. He was a remarkable personality who could think creatively about medieval theology and modern ethics, art and society.

    Sertillanges was born on November 17, 1863, in Clermont-Ferrand. Hours in the classrooms of the Brothers of the Christian Schools found expansion in walks through the picturesque city with its remnants of a medieval Dominican priory. Past memories of Blaise...

  6. Chapter 2 M-D Chenu: Situating Theology in History
    (pp. 19-41)

    Marie-Dominique Chenu was an extraordinary figure in many ways. His long life (1895–1990) allowed him to sow ideas across several generations. He not only mastered his chosen field of history but also influenced the cognate areas of dogmatic and pastoral theology. With a warm personality and generous heart he reached out to a range of colleagues and friends from the erudite to the unsophisticated. One author claims, ‘It would be very difficult to write an accurate history of twentieth-century Catholicism without granting a pivotal role to the contributions of French theologian Marie-Dominique Chenu’.¹ He was the friend and colleague...

  7. Chapter 3 Yves Congar: Scholar and Pioneer
    (pp. 43-57)

    Often the French Dominicans who were important in the life of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century made contributions to more than one area of church life. Yves Congar joined research in the history of the forms of the church to an advocacy of the ecumenical movement for Christian unity. He was a comprehensive theoretician of tradition as well as a pastoral theologian of the local church. Richard McBrien wrote: ‘By any reasonable account, Yves Congar is the most distinguished ecclesiologist of this century and perhaps of the entire post-Tridentine era. No modern theologian’s spirit was accorded fuller play...

  8. Chapter 4 Louis-Joseph Lebret: Economist and Prophet
    (pp. 59-79)

    WhenGaudium et Spes(The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) was published in December of 1965, readers were struck by the tone of its long introduction (§4-10). It spoke about the aspirations of people worldwide and about responding to the ‘real social and cultural transformation’ of the world. It addressed the options facing society in stark terms: a world of abundance in which so many people are plagued by hunger, where people yearning for freedom are confronted with new forms of social and psychological slavery. New ideas had called many traditional values into question. All these...

  9. Chapter 5 Jacques Loew: Ministry on the Docks
    (pp. 81-95)

    In 1941, a Dominican priest Jacques Loew began an unusual, almost revolutionary form of ministry: he got a job working on the docks at the port of Marseilles, France. He could little imagine the reverberations in the church and in society of a Catholic priest finding a job, earning a wage, and living in a poor apartment house. For his goal was ministering to the people in the area, and he had discovered a new approach: serving and preaching the Gospel by working as well as living in a neighborhood. More than a hundred other French Catholics would follow him,...

  10. Chapter 6 Pierre-André Liégé: Developing Pastoral Theology
    (pp. 97-121)

    Americans who studied theology in Paris in the 1960s returned home with exciting stories about a professor named Pierre-André Liégé. He had fresh ideas and a gift for teaching, developing new approaches for both youth and adult faith formation. Like the other French Dominicans, he had a dynamic vision of the church that contrasted with the clerical model that prevailed in the United States until Vatican II. Liégé was experienced in pastoral ministry and he was sought after as a preacher and retreat master. He often worked with pastors and parishes to help them improve their programs.

    For about thirty...

  11. Chapter 7 Marie-Alain Couturier: Ministry and the Arts
    (pp. 123-138)

    The twentieth century was a period of modernity in which science, art, psychology, and theater assumed new forms. The decades preceding and following the event of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II promoted various conversations between Roman Catholicism and modernity. Beyond the systems of Kant and Hegel and the psychologies of Nietzsche and Freud, from 1750 to 1950 science, theater, music, and art unfolded new cultural forms. The Vatican hierarchy bore a long-term hostility toward the modern world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Should not the Gospel reject democracy, psychoanalysis, and abstract art? Fortunately, in France during the twentieth century...

  12. The Church in History
    (pp. 139-146)

    All through the twentieth century, creative people led the Catholic Church in new directions. The church became both more biblical and more expressive of its ancient roots even as it became more modern and more in touch with the world around it. After centuries of defensive self-preoccupation, the Roman Catholic Church began to give birth to innovative thinkers whose instinct was not to condemn challenging developments in history, politics and the social sciences, but rather to consider, critique, and integrate them. Such innovations in Christian self-understanding, emerging at the end of the nineteenth century and during the first half of...

  13. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 149-150)
  14. Index of Names
    (pp. 151-152)