Much of what the church is, does, and teaches, unfolds at the local level where most Christians form their understanding of church. In light of three parish studies, William Clark, SJ, examines community, intimacy, and authority, and claims that a fundamental aspect of ecclesial authority resides in the local community. He incorporates theological challenges and supports for this view in the work of Karl Rahner, Joseph Ratzinger, and Walter Kasper, and concludes that a deeper appreciation for the practical authority of local communities can help ground a much-needed renewal of the church’s self-understanding.
Chapters are "Church and the Local Community," "Church, in Three Places," "The Problem of Community," "Intimacy and the Foundations of Community," "Authority and the Local Community," "Local Authority and the 'Priority of the Universal': An Ongoing Debate," "Local Community and the Church's Mission: The Work of Karl Rahner," and "Local Community and the Exercise of Authority."
William A. Clark, SJ, STD, teaches in the department of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, where he teaches courses in Catholicism, Christian prayer, and the church. In addition to his academic work on the role of local church communities, Father Clark has extensive experience in parish pastoral work, retreat direction, and music ministry.