Page 6, 21st March 1969

21st March 1969
Page 6
Page 6, 21st March 1969 — LENT READING

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The Church in the Theology of Karl Barth by Colin O'Grady MSC (Chapman 63s.).

Foundations of the Conciliar Theory by Brian'Tierney C.U.P. 55s.).

The Challenge of "Radical" Renewal by Nicholas A. Predovich S.J. (Alba House 47s. 6d.).

One People One Church One Song by John Mullett (Hodder & Stoughton 35s.).

THE Church ' ruling, the Church praying, the Church singing—or just the Church. The sound is all about us and inevitably it will penetrate to our Lenten reading.

Though Karl Barth was probably the Protestant theologian best known to Catholics since the 1930's his theory of the nature of the Church has not been studied and Father O'Grady does a service in publishing the material of his doctorate thesis in two volumes of exposition, dialogue and disagreement. We have Karl Barth's own word that the exposition is sound.

The nature of ecclesiastical authority and church government is no new topic. Professor Tierney's scholarly study of this question which divided the Church profoundly for forty years during the Great Schism of the West is not as recondite as may be imagined. It throws light on modern discussions and will at least calm those who fear that the Church has never had it so bad.

Father Predovich places religious life in the Church's spectrum. Everyone is called to holiness, as Vatican II teaches, but the call must be answered by a deliberate option. True celibacy is a here-and-now option for Christ as the Other we love Who lights up the rest of our life and loves.

But a here-and-now option is not the same as a once-andfor-alt option; religious life does not spring fully armed from the act of profession. any more than marriage does from the altar rails. Married or vowed life is a developing process of conversion depending on repeated renewals of one's first love.

We hear plenty about commitment to one husband/wife; but we hear little about the responsibility to love many here and now to which celibacy lays us open. It is the rigour and discipline of this daily love which strengthens and fires chastity. And where do the unmarried layfolk stand in all this? They are not given any juridical status but I know some who can teach celibates something about chaste love and married folk something about commitment. The merit of Father Predovich's book is that it makes us think about these things.

"We live in days when the Psalter is under attack within the Church". Mr. Mullett pleads with robustness and vigour for a restoration of psalm singing.

This book should be read carefully for what it has to say about the power of music, the importance of silence, the pitching of church music and many other topics; but most of all for the deepest truths of the psalms which are only assimilated slowly by repetition.

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