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The Rising Laity:
Ecclesial Movements Since Vatican II
by Massimo Faggioli
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Book Description




The rise of the laity in the Catholic Church is at the same time one of the successes of Vatican II, one thing that all Catholics take for granted, and an item still on the agenda of Church reformers today. The “new Catholic movements” are the most relevant embodiment of this new phenomenon in the global Church, but also one of the least researched fields by Catholic scholars. In “The Rising Laity”, Vatican II expert and Villanova professor Massimo Faggioli discusses the birth and development of these movements in the post-Vatican II era, and what it means for the Catholic laity of the 21st century.

Published by Paulist Press, Mahwah

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My Take
The new ecclesial movements have implemented Vatican II teaching on the laity in a particular way: they mobilize people around a charism, can appeal directly to the popes for affirmation and support, and often operate apart from the local church. Thus, as Massimo Faggioli argues, the movements represent a great paradox of the post-Vatican II era. In the name of an empowered laity and the “spirit of VCII” they have at times deviated from core teachings of the Council including collegiality, subsidiarity, inclusivity, and solidarity.
About the Author
Massimo Faggioli is professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, and a contributing editor at Commonweal. He received his PhD in Religious History from the University of Turin in 2002 with a thesis on the history of the appointment of bishops after the Council of Trent. He continued his studies on the Second Vatican Council at the renowned institute of "Giovanni XXIII" in Bologna, Italy. From Italy he traveled to the Jesuit Institute at Boston College (2008-2009) and then to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota (2009-2016). He is the author of Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning; True Reform: Liturgy and Ecclesiology in Sacrosanctum Concilium; Sorting Out Catholicism: A Brief History of the New Ecclesial Movements; Pope Francis: Tradition in Transition; A Council for the Global Church: Receiving Vatican II in History.
“Learned, with a deep sense for the European church and some pointed observations for the U.S., Faggioli is the voice of a fresh approach to ecclesiology. Of particular value is Faggioli’s generous embrace of the whole of the church, from the Sunday folks in the pew, to the multiple expressions of the lay movements, to the full sweep of the hierarchy—all addressed with a complex understanding of history and culture.”

Nancy Dallavalle — Fairfield University