Roles and Relationships in the Church
roles of laity and the clergy
What is the role of lay men and women, vowed religious, deacons, priests, and bishops in the Catholic Church in the United States? And what are ways of enhancing their relationships?
U.S. Catholics have never been more highly educated, and both capable of and disposed to taking on greater responsibility for their Church. While shaken by the sexual abuse crisis, support for good priests has remained strong. Moreover, surveys show that most priests are happy in their ministry. Current candidates for the priesthood are typically more mature, more carefully screened, and given more opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. At the same time, the Church anticipates an aging clergy and must resolve how to respond to the decreased number of priests. The traditional leadership and authority of bishops has been seriously weakened by the crisis, and ways must be found to reestablish trust in their leadership in a context that gives appropriate voice to priests and the laity.
Search under Roles and Relationships on our C21 videos page to find all events related to this focal issue.
Foremothers in Faith: Historic Women for Our Time: In February of 2008, Fr. Donald Monan, SJ, Vice Provost Patricia DeLeeuw, and Professors Lisa Cahill, Shawn Copeland, Colleen Griffith, and Ruth Langer led a panel discussion featuring women theologians from Boston College. The panelists spoke about key insights gleaned through their engagement with the work, words and wisdom of historic women in the Catholic tradition.
Voice of the Faithful: Impact and Prospects: In February of 2008, a panel examined the impact the lay organization and its prospects looking ahead. Panelists included: James E. Post, a co-founder of VOTF; Alan Wolfe, Director of BC’s Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life; James O'Toole, Professor, Charles I Clough Chair in History, History Department at BC; Monsignor Dennis Sheehan, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston. Event moderated by Patricia DeLeeuw, BC Vice Provost for Faculties.
Listed below are some past events on Roles and Relationships in the Contemporary Church. You can watch them on our video page.
- The Clergy Crisis: Thinking Theologically with Paul Kolbet, Theology Professor
- Lay Pastoring of the Parish: Prospering the Mission with Debra Hintz, Parish Director, Saint Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church (Milwaukee, WI)
- Speaking as a Woman: Reflections on Contemporary Catholicism with Professor Colleen Griffith, STM
- The Hopes and Challenges of Parish Leadership in the 21st Century with Marti Jewell, Director, Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project
- The Rights of Priests with James Keenan, SJ Professor, Theology Department
- The C21 Series on Women provides a public forum for members of the BC community to learn more about the history of women in the Catholic Church and to cultivate mentoring relationships among women of faith affiliated with Boston College. Read more.
- Catholic Politicians: Catholic politicians in the United States today face challenging questions about the relationship between their faith and their public policy. What is the role of the Catholic politician in light of the dual loyalty to the Church and American people? Read more.
- Read more about the issue of roles and relationships in the Catholic Church
- Read issues of C21 Resources related to this issue:
- C21 Book Series