The Challenge of Priestless Parishes: Learning from Latin America

Edward J. Cleary

Published by Paulist Press, 2014
ISBN 10: 0809148692 / ISBN 13: 9780809148691
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Synopsis: We stand before the fact that two-thirds of Catholics live in the Global South, but two-thirds of Catholic priests reside in the Gobal North. How are we to read this phenomenon? How are we to analyze its origins and development? And what are we to make of it? Is it a problem that needs to be addressed? Or is it an opportunity to reset the whole picture and ask fundamental questions about priesthood, the sacraments, the laity, and engagement in the Church altogether?

This book about the absence of priests in parts of Latin America is a response to different aspects of this problematic. Christianity has been in Latin America for half a millennium, and has been the majority religion there as well. For more than half that time, it was sponsored by and protected by the State. It went through turbulent challenges in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the challenges coming from different side. Throughout that time, it had a ratio of priests to people that was very high, but even the gap that such figures represented belied the further fact that priests were often concentrated in the urban areas, leaving the rural regions without almost any priestly presence whatsoever. What the analyses in this book offer in looking at a church without priests may not be paradigmatic for other parts of the world, but they do represent a careful and thoughtful set of studies that could encourage similar efforts to look at this problematic elsewhere.
--From the Introduction

The final chapter offers a chronological outline of the diverse responses of the laity and clergy to the shortage or absence of the ordained that were, for the most part, common to the whole of Latin America. It brings together the insights of the various authors in an extremely helpful way.
The project that has resulted in this book was conceived and developed by the late Father Edward Cleary, O.P., one of the preeminent scholars of the Church in Latin America in our time.

About the Author: The late Edward L. Cleary, OP, earned a PhD in social science at the University of Chicago. He
published extensively on Latin American religion. Fr. Cleary served as a priest in Bolivia and Peru, and was professor of political science and the director of Latin American studies at Providence College in Rhode Island.

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Title: The Challenge of Priestless Parishes: ...
Publisher: Paulist Press
Publication Date: 2014
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: New

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