Governing in Faith: Foundations for Formation -- John Henry Thornber and Michael Gaffney
Paperback, 296 pages
"Recent years have seen significant changes in the various institutions sponsored and operated by the Catholic Church. Probably one of the most important of these is the fact that the governance of these institutions – works of education, health care, aged care, and social services – is now in the hands of lay persons, rather than being directed by clergy or religious.
This change has led to remarkable progress is many ways. Nevertheless, there remains the question of the preparation being given to those who now find themselves in a governance position for a work operating on behalf of the Church.
This book examines the types of preparation that would be necessary for those who assume such tasks. There is no question of their competence in the field of administration and personnel management. But, when it comes to issues of “Catholic identity” and related questions, people might be expecting from them decisions for which they were never duly prepared.
This joint work, arising out of significant doctoral studies, lays the foundation for formation of those who are assuming leadership positions in Church-related institutions. Given my own work in this area, I can hardly wait to be able to put this book in the hands of those who are eagerly awaiting guidance in arranging for future leaders to acquire the appropriate doctrinal and ecclesial formation to accompany them in their difficult mission."
Francis G. MORRISEY, OMI, Faculty of Canon Law, Saint Paul University,
"Just as a kaleidoscope creates ever-changing images from the same elements, ministry in the Church takes ever new forms, always embodying what Jesus began and the Spirit fosters. Public Juridic Persons, laity sharing in governance of our Catholic institutional ministries, have emerged in our day. The authors sociological and theological study proposes what is needed to prepare and support these canonical governors in their roles. It is an invaluable contribution, giving data and vision, and a comprehensive schema for action that has relevance for formation of lay leaders in diverse roles in the Church."
Zeni Fox PhD, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Seaton Hall University, NJ
"The authors of this highly relevant book state that “there are few formation programs for lay persons who hold canonical authority and have responsibility for ensuring and promoting the mission for which the Church organization was created in the first place.” On the basis of this disturbing evidence-based conclusion the authors proceed to clarify in clear, practical terms the types of knowledge, skills and other attributes that these people urgently need today. And the formation process they propose must be based on the principles of reflective adult learning. For all responsible for maintaining the Catholic identities of our ministries in our rapidly changing postmodern world, especially in healthcare and education, this book is a must."
Gerald A. Arbuckle, S.M., author of: Catholic Identity or Identities? Refounding Ministries in Chaotic Time
"This is a timely topic and one that addresses important and emerging issues. What began as a small initiative into new forms of sponsorship has grown into a global reality that is both gift and challenge.
The authors addresses the issues involved as well as the challenges inherent in any change, particularly one that involves increased roles and responsibilities for lay women and men in today’s Church.
Of particular note here is their use of fundamental documents as a foundation for his desired traits and his theological grounding – especially in terms of both vocation and baptism. The thesis provides helpful categories.
To my knowledge, this is the first systematic study of formation developments in both the US and Australia. Much of the information and publishing that has been done in the area of the new ‘public juridic persons’ has been anecdotal or limited in scope. Thornber has given the larger picture.
This book also provides an important overview of the questions that have arisen in the area of Canonical Governance, especially as these concern perceived differences between the desirability of certain traits and their presence among the Canonical Governors.
The authors have raised a question that others must begin to answer."
Sr Julianna Casey IHM, Executive Vice President, Mission Integration Catholic Health East