People on the lookout for the trends in the Catholic Church will be very happy to discover Brendan Leahy’s Ecclesial Movements and Communities. The birth and development of the ecclesial movements has been a topic of much discussion over the past 50 years. Leahy presents the movements as examples of the Church’s charismatic dimension, a principle which Pope John Paul II described as ‘co-essential’ with the hierarchical-institutional dimension. His overview of their rise and development captures the unique qualities of Charismatic Renewal, Communion and Liberation, Cursillo, Focolare, L’Arche, Legion of Mary, the Neocatechumenal Way, Regnum Christi, Sant’Egidio, and others.
Leahy offers an insightful overview of the rise and spread of the movements and describes several ways of seeing what it is that makes them ‘co-essential’ in the Church. Capturing the ecclesial maturity that exists in many of the movements today, he addresses many specific questions, like:
- how the movements express and/or renew charisms
- how the movements fit in the context of Apostolic Succession (including the role of priests)
- movements and the parish
- canonical challenges
Brendan Leahy is Bishop of Limerick, Ireland. Formerly professor of Systematic Theology at the Pontifical University of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, he is a von Balthasar scholar and an ecumenist and has written articles and books on interreligious dialogue, issues facing the Church in the 21st century, the life and teachings of Pope John Paul II, renewal in the Church, charisms, and the priesthood.