Item #: 0996-X
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Author: Tony Hanna
Copyright: 2006
First Printed: 01-27-2006

An introduction and analysis of the phenomenon of the new ecclesial movements that have sprung up in the Roman Catholic Church, mostly in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and almost exclusively spearheaded by highly motivated and uncompromisingly dedicated lay persons. Just as the Second Vatican Council was a significant surprise to the Church and the world, so too the emergence of these new groups has caused more than a little stir. Almost like an unexpected pregnancy, their arrival has brought a mixture of joy and dismay. Some, like Pope John Paul II, see them as a hope for the Church in the midst of difficult times; others, among them a number of bishops and high ranking officials in the Church, see them as usurpers and divisive at a time when the Church needs unity and clarity. This study looks at both sides of the question impartially and in examining three of them in some depth (Communion and Liberation, the Neo-Catechumenal Wayand the Charismatic Renewal), concludes that “by concretely realizing the ecclesiology of Vatican II, these movements are putting before the Church a model of Christian communion” which promises to profoundly change the Church of our time for the better.

About the Author: Stephen Anthony (Tony) Hanna, former teacher and school counselor, is the founding member of an ecclesial community in Dundalk, Ireland know as the Family of God which has an Oratory in a shopping center where adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is available throughout the day. He holds degrees in Education and Divinity (First Class Honors) and took his doctorate in theology from St. Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland. Married with four daughters, he is widely published in the religious and theological press in Ireland and is a well known speaker in charismatic circles. His most recent publication for which he served as editor is Strategies for Building Faith Communities in Schools, which was published by the Centre for Education Services, 2005. He currently serves as Senior Education Consultant at Marino Institute of Education (headquarters of the Christian Brothers).

Book: 302 pages
ISBN-10: 0-8189-0996-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-8189-0996-2
Prod. Code: 0996-X


Reviews

New Ecclesial Movements by Tony Hanna, a result of the author's doctoral studies proved to be a comprehensive and informative volume. Dr. Hanna enlightens generously, not only on the topic of 'movements' but on significant and innovative aspects of ecclesiology. The book is indeed a total unveiling of the history, the identities, the hopes and the dangers of ecclesial movements in our Church. Hanna's final chapter carefully outlines and summarizes his methodology. Interestingly, he calls on Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche - a currently thriving international movement, to share his overview of the development and understanding that comes with spawning a new movement. The final chapter, Hopes and Dangers, end with a conviction commented on during the book that "the Church herself is a movement." This climactic statement sets the state for the next challenge that lies ahead if ecclesial movements are to further enrich the Church. These 282 pages of New Ecclesial Movements take the reader immediately into the fray of church movements. Interesting and curious historical data tease the reader to continue the inquiry. I ally and associate my observations with Vanier, who in the concluding chapter states that "Structures put into place during founding years, may not be relevent in later years." How much of this is commensurate with a seaming fragmented present of these Movements today? -- Nivard Stabile, O.P. from St. John's University.

 

Throughout church history, renewal movements have, by their very nature, sparked controversy. Groups of men and women centered around a charismatic leadership in order to focus attention on some forgotten theological ideal or missionary vocation within the church can quickly be seen as a threat by those entrusted with the governance of the church. But ecclesial movements at their best bring new life in times of difficulty. From the Carmelite reforms to the formation of the Franciscans, ecclesial movements can be a gift of the Holy Spirit, setting people on fire with evangelical zeal in order to revitalize the church from within. This tension between what he calls the Marian aspect of the church (represented by the movements) and the Petrine aspect (represented by the Magisterium) is at the heart of Tony Hanna's well-written and erudite work, New Ecclesial Movements. Hanna examines a new phenomenon within ecclesial movements since Vatican II: they have largely been founded, led and maintained by lay people. Lay participation in spiritual leadership and reform in the church is fraught with tension. The legitimacy and immediacy of lay ecclesial movements has been the subject of much debate and study since Vatican II. New Ecclesial Movements is an addition to that discussion.... Tony Hanna has a doctorate in Theology and is Senior Education Consultant at the Marino Institute of Education. He is a founding member of a lay ecclesial movement in Ireland and is obviously well-versed in the subject. The book attempts to treat these movements with objectivity and caution and achieves this in the sense that the reader does not feel that they have listened to a "pitch" for movements in general or any one in particular. Because of this, it would be a welcome addition to a theological library. While it has no bibliography, it is filled with footnotes to aid in further inquiry. --Kristina Rake in Catholic Library World, September 2006.

 

Ecclesial movements: An introduction and analysis of the phenomenon of the new ecclesial movements that have sprung up in the Church, mostly in the wake of Vatican II and almost exclusively spearheaded by highly motivated and uncompromisingly dedicated lay persons. Just as the Council was a significant surprise to the church and the world, so too the emergence of these new groups has caused more than a little stir. Some, as did Pope John Paul II, see them as a hope for the church in the midst of difficult times, others see them as usurpers and dividers when the church needs unity and clarity. New Ecclesial Movements by ecclesial community founder Stephen Anthony Hannaoffers a study that looks at both sides of the question. He examines three of the movements in some depth (Communion and Liberation, the New-Catechumenal Way and the Charismatic Renewal) and concludes that "by concretely realizing the ecclesiology of Vatican II, these movements are putting before the Church a model of Christian communion" which promises to profoundly change the church of our time for the better. --Crux of the News, July 17, 2006.

 

This study looks at both sides of the phenomenon of the new ecclesial movements impartially and, in examining three of them in some depth, concludes that "by concretely realizing the ecclesiology of Vatican II, these movements are putting before the Church a model of Christian communion" which promises to profoundly change the Church of our time for the better. --Bookviews: Theological Book Service, April 2006.

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