success stories

Posted November 14, 2003

Book: Ministries: A Relational Approach
Author: Edward P. Hahnenberg
The Crossroads Publishing Company, New York, pp. 264

Excerpt from Introduction:

Our discussion comes in the middle of things. It seeks a dialogue between the two conversations, respecting tradition theologies while recognizing changing patterns of ministry. It affirms the central leadership roles of priest and bishop; and, at the same time, it encourages the broader ministry of all the baptized. For ministry is diminished when it is seen exclusively as the work of the priest, the special reserve of the cleric, just as it is cheapened when the fullness of Christian ministry is equated with every good deed. Ministry is at the same time both broad and specific. Ministry in the church are those relationships of service that celebrate and carry forward Christís mission in the Spirit. We want to draw together reflection on Christís mission in the Spirit within a trinitarian theology of ministry. Then we want to bring into dialogue the institutional church and the community of believers. Our discussion relates ordination, commissioning, and baptism as sources for ministry. In the end, our discussion offers not a definitive program for ministry nor a comprehensive system; instead it suggests a language, a new framework for further conversations.

Excerpts from Book:

"Theologians following Vatican II questioned the very need for a theology of laity, particularly a theology that divides a secular laity from a sacred priesthood. Isnít the starting point for talking about ministry the whole church, the people of God and body of Christ? And isnít it the entire church ó clergy and laity ó that has a responsibility to serve the world? Only within the context of the whole community can distinctions among ministries be identified. The dividing-line model is replaced by a model of concentric circles: ministries within communities."

"If for Paul the gifts of the Spirit and central ministries (such as apostle, prophet, or teacher) went hand in hand, later church tradition saw tension and even opposition between charism and institution. Over time the free activity of the Spirit in individuals came to be seen as a threat to church order. The inspired charismatic was not to be celebrated, but controlled. Today attitudes have changed. Developing the insights of the Second Vatican Council, theologians now speak of charisms as ordinary and widespread and see all ministry rooted in these gifts of the Spirit."

Table of Contents:

1. The starting point for a theology of ministry
Clergy vs. laity
Ministries within community

2. The Triune God
The relation of ministry to Jesus Christ
The relation of ministry to the Holy Spirit
Trinitarian foundations for a theology of ministry

3. The Church community
The Church as institution
The Church as mystery
The Church as ordered communion and ministry

4. Liturgy and sacrament
Ordination as a source of ministry
Baptism as a source of mnistry
Toward a liturgical and sacramental ordering of all ministries

5. A new vision for new ministries
Aids for ministry
General reference works
Church documents on ministry
Books on the theology of ministry
Websites related to ministry in the Catholic Church
Other Catholic publications online