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Renewal [Hardcover]

Anne Hendershott , Christopher White

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Book Description

19 Dec 2013
In the wake of the clergy abuse scandal of the last decade, many media commentators predicted the "end" of the Catholic priesthood. Demands for an end to celibacy, coupled with calls for women's ordination, dominated discussions on the effectiveness of the Catholic Church in America. Renewal argues that rather than a decline of the priesthood and a diminishing influence of the Catholic Church, we are living in a time of transformation and revitalization. The aging generation of progressives that continues to lobby Church leaders to change Catholic teachings on reproductive rights, same-sex marriage and women's ordination is being replaced by younger men and women who are attracted to the Church because of the very timelessness of its teachings.

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About the Author

Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Previously, she was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at The King's College in New York City. She moved to The King's College in 2008 after spending more than 15 years as a tenured full-professor of sociology at the University of San Diego. She received her PhD in Sociology at Kent State University in 1988, and was the James Madison Fellow at Princeton University in 2005. A frequent contributor to popular press outlets including Catholic World Report, the Wall Street Journal, Crisis, and others, she publishes frequently on issues of importance within the Catholic Church. She is the author of five previous books including Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education (Transaction, 2009), The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books, 2002), The Politics of Abortion (Encounter Books, 2006), The Reluctant Caregivers (Bergin and Garvey, 2000), and Moving for Work (University Press of America, 1994). Christopher White is the Director of Education and Programs at the Center for Bioethics and Culture. He writes frequently on matters of public policy and social ethics, and is a regular contributor to many print and online publications, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, National Review Online, Catholic World Report, Human Life Review, First Things, Public Discourse, and the National Catholic Register. He was awarded a 2013-2014 Robert Novak Fellowship. He lives in New York City.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Numbers Don't Lie 29 Dec 2013
By Devin Rose - Published on
Renewal is a new book analyzing the conflict between conservatives and progressives within the Catholic Church in the United States over the past fifty years.

Co-written by Anne Hendershott and Christopher White, the book surveys the crisis that the Church has faced in our country since the Second Vatican Council. Why did vocations to the priesthood decline so precipitously for so long? What have dioceses done to reverse this decline? What has worked? What hasn't?

The book's premise is that orthodox bishops and priests are ushering in a new era in the Church, healing the damage that heterodox clerics have done over the past several decades. The authors convincingly prove their case. The proof is in the numbers, with vocations and renewal blossoming in those dioceses with solid bishops, while vocations continue to barely trickle in in dioceses with not-so-solid ones.

Many hot topics get good discussion and examination: the women's ordination movement (as well as the failed experiment of female "lay parish administrators" with priest as subordinate sacramental helper), the problem of universities that are Catholic in name only, the Obama administration's attacks on religious freedom.

While much of the book's content was known to me, nonetheless it was shocking to see it all collected in one place. The numbers don't lie. As all orthodox Catholics know, the only way to be fruitful is to remain on the vine of Christ. And we remain on the vine by obeying Him (see John 15). Those Catholics who have not obeyed Him have caused destruction within the Church, the effects of which will be endured for decades to come.

That said, the book's message is one of hope. The renewal that is going on in the Church is real and is growing. The not-so-secret secret is that faithful bishops matter, a fact that Pope Emeritus Benedict knew very well, and that Pope Francis is continuing to support. The new episcopal appointments from Texas and in surrounding states like New Mexico, Louisiana, and California have been awesome. I have personally known some of the priests ordained to be new bishops; men of courage, of stalwart faith and orthodoxy, as well as moral character.

Renewal is a timely book, important for anyone involved in vocations, dioceses, or parish work to read. It is also a good book to give to someone who wants to know the state of the Catholic union in the U.S.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good News for the U.S.: Teaching Hard Truths and the Catholic Renewal 17 Feb 2014
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on
As program chair for the Catholics@Work ([...]) Annual Speakers Series, a ministry of the Diocese of Oakland (CA), I have had the opportunity of seeing the "new springtime of the Church" up close and personal over the past 13 years. It is a reality. There are thousands of evangelization initiatives undertaken and led by laity and clergy that are revitalizing the Church.

Authors Hendershott and White in "Renewal" focus solely on the priests and bishops that are revitalizing the Church. Hendershott is professor of sociology at Franciscan University , and White serves as Director of Education for the Center of BioEthics and Culture. Both are frequent contributors to national publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Catholic World Report, and the National Catholic Register. This book was written to share their excitement about the signs of renewal they are seeing in the priests and bishops of the Church.

The book examines the growing rates of ordination in certain dioceses, contrasts these dioceses with dioceses with low rate, and concludes that the more faithful the Bishop, the greater the rate of ordination. The bishop makes a difference. Effective faithful leaders create a thriving culture that inspires others to flourish. ..not unlike what is seen in the private sector. We are not seeing the death of the priesthood. The priesthood is once again becoming attractive to young men.

The authors did a deep dive, identifying the characteristics of the bishops who lead ordination rich dioceses - they are more willing to directly and courageously confront attacks on the Church and her teachings; and they are excellent witnesses to Catholic Truth which responds to the profound need of human life, "proclaiming convincingly that Christ is the one savior of the whole man."

Hendershott and White have organized the book around ten crucial subject areas.
1. The Struggle for Catholic Identity
2. Building Better Seminaries
3. The Problem with Authority
4. Best Practices of Transformational Leaders
5. No Charisma Without Creed
6. Blurring the Boundaries
7. The Campus Culture Wars
8. Forging Alliances
9. Priests Matter
10. Catholic Renewal: The Good News

(those with a particular interest in the Campus Culture Wars will find Wilson Miscamble C.S.C.'s "For Notre Dame" to be a great resource)

There is no question that vocations today are trending upwards as a result of improved seminaries that are focused on the fundamental building blocks for success - orthodoxy (right belief), orthopraxy (right practice) - and led by bishops who make the priesthood an attractive calling. Dissidents, who garner the big headlines in the lay press, are, the authors believe, individuals who are sad and angry over feeling left out. These are the women who want to be ordained, gay men and lesbian women who want the church to recognize the goodness of their sexual relationships, or married ex-priests who want to celebrate the Eucharist again. Their aim is for an inclusive church, one that is most tolerant and welcoming to all..."regardless of the Church's teachings." They want and need the Church to abandon Catholic Truth so they can feel welcome and be comfortable. History has shown this does not work. Progressives attempted to move the Church in this direction with disastrous results.

"Renewal" concludes with a look at some of the "green shoots" that are facilitating the revitalization effort. These include:
* The new evangelization and new media
* Rev. Robert Barron
* Catholics come home initiative
* Fellowship of Catholic University students
* Catholic voices

The Church knows she must continue to teach the hard truths when discussing the unborn, protecting marriage, and religious freedom as the Church is the salt and the light in a hostile secular world. Progressive Catholicism has shown itself unable to pass on the faith. Now a with the American Catholic Church at a turning point, an orthodox revitalization effort is underway and appears to be bringing back the excitement and adventure of Catholicism. Catholic renewal is the good news for humanity.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sweeping Affirmation of Renewed Vigor in the American Church 22 Jan 2014
By Kellen Dougherty - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hendershott and White interweave data and anecdotes to show how faithful priests and bishops are inspiring a new generation of Catholics. The authors shed light on how the clumsiness of lay persons, priests and American church leadership led to confusion, dwindling mass attendance, and a wide decline in respect for the Magisterium in the face of cultural changes in America. Indeed, one of my main take aways from this book is that, in addition to the profound impact radical dissenters have had on fracturing the Church, this schism can also be attributed to many faithful who in the 60s, 70s, and 80s were not prepared to confront the new challenges the cultural revolution brought to the doorsteps of our parishes.

But Hendershott and White, citing data on new ordinations in dioceses led by bold, unapologetic, and faithful bishops, chronicle how the Church in America is heading in the right direction. The authors show how these faithful leaders not only provide spiritual inspiration, but also are more aggressive in supporting organizations that reach out to lapsed Catholics or those who may not be inclined to seek Truth. While dioceses such as Rochester and Albany see disproportionate decline in parishioners due to failures of leadership, there are many more clusters of Catholics in America where the faith is booming, where new technologies and ideas are driving conversions, and faithful leaders set examples by being Catholic first, causing men and women in their dioceses to drop everything and heed the call to Christ.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So on point 21 Jan 2014
By B. Dunning - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent defense of the offices of bishop and priest and does an excellent job of focusing on the things that make a good and effective leader of clergy and laymen alike. I don't think anyone can read this book and come away unconvinced that orthodoxy, untiring and unapologetic evangelization and self-discipline are critical aspects of Catholic clerical leadership, and that there is a lot of hope for our Church in the coming years.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Pope There Is Hope 17 Jan 2014
By mike hill - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From the top down, from the Vatican to our bishops and renewed priests we can feel the New Evangelization in our parishes. Special thanks from Portland,Oregon for our new bishop .... Alexander!
A very well written book! I saw Anne Hendershott on EWTN and promptly ordered this book on my Kindle.
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