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What Are They Saying About the Ministerial Priesthood?

What Are They Saying About the Ministerial Priesthood? By Daniel Donovan. New York: Paulist, 1992. Pp. 149. $7.95.

This volume offers a helpful survey of the principal theological approaches to the ministerial priesthood from the 1940s to the present with a special emphasis on postconciliar theologies. Donovan begins with a useful commentary on Vatican II's Presbyterorum ordinis followed by a review of the 1971 synod on priestly ministry and the contributions of Pope John Paul II. Individual chapters give sympathetic consideration to the contributions of Congar, Rahner, Ratzinger, Galot, and Schillebeeckx. Finally D. Addresses the particular contributions of North American theologians Cooke, Tavard, O'Meara, Kilmartin, and Dulles. D. does an excellent job of outlining not only the substance of each theologian's perspective, but its genesis and chronological development. However, citation of primary sources is too infrequent, particularly in the treatment of Rahner, where the reader is halfway through the chapter before a specific reference is given. It is regrettable that only ihn the case of Schillebeeckx does D. give extended consideration to the critics of the various theological approaches.

D. is to be applauded for resisting the tendency to reduce the theological debate regarding the ministerial priesthood to that between function and ontology. He demonstrates, rather, that it is the peculiar theological starting point (e.g. Congar's understanding of the common priesthood, Rahner's stress on the ministry of the Word, Galot's Christological commitment) which begets the distinctive theologies. One serious shortcoming, however, is the inadequate consideration given to Christian feminism's contributions to the topic. D. devotes only two pages to feminist concerns and misses the fundamentally trinitarian, Christological, and anthropological dimensions of the feminist critique of the theological rationale for the prohibition of women's ordination. In conclusion, this book will prove helpful to anyone wishing to become acquainted with the theological debates regarding the ministerial priesthood, and it might well serve as an introductory text in a seminary curriculum.

Richard R. Gaillardetz

St. Mary's Seminary, Houston
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Author:Gaillardetz, Richard R.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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