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The Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity

Michael J. Lacey and Francis Oakley


One deep problem facing the Catholic Church is the question of how its teaching authority is understood today. It is fairly clear that, while Rome continues to teach as if its ecclesiastical authority were unchanged from the days before Vatican II (1962–1965), the majority of Catholics—within the first-world church, at least—take a far more independent line, and increasingly understand themselves (rather than the church) as the final arbiters of decision-making, especially on ethical questions. This book explores the historical background and present ecclesial situation, explaining the dramati ... More

Keywords: ecclesiastical authority, Catholic Church, Rome, Vatican II, ethical questions, historical tradition, intra-Catholic dialogue

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199778775
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199778775.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael J. Lacey, author
Lonergan Institute, Boston College, Bainbridge Island, WA, Senior Fellow

Francis Oakley, author
Williams College, Williamstown, MA, President, 1985-1993

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Front Matter


Michael J. Lacey

Section I Historical Background: Contested Pasts

2 Leo's Church and Our Own

Michael J. Lacey

Section II Theological, Canonistic, and Philosophical Issues: Stubborn Challenges, Emerging Directions

4 Catholic Tradition and Traditions

Francis A. Sullivan, S.J.

9 Magisterial Authority

Charles Taylor

Section III Practical Limits: Authority in the Lived Catholicism of American Laity and Clergy

10 American Catholics and Church Authority

William V. D'Antonio, James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge, and Mary L. Gautier

11 Souls and Bodies

Leslie Woodcock Tentler


Francis Oakley