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Liturgical Press

The Sense of the Faith in History

Its Sources, Reception, and Theology

John J. Burkhard, OFM Conv

The Sense of the Faith in History SEE INSIDE
The Sense of the Faith in History

ISBN: 9780814666890, 6689

Details: 456 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1
Publication Date: 01/03/2022
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2023 Catholic Media Association Second Place Award, Theology – History of Theology, Church Fathers and Mothers

While taught by Vatican II, the “sense of the faith” (sensus fidei) has had little official impact in the Catholic Church. What would the church look like if it took this conciliar teaching to heart? To address this neglect, John Burkhard locates the historical roots of the teaching and its emergence at Vatican II. It attempts to better understand the “sense of the faith” in the light of other fundamental teachings of the council and challenges the hierarchical church to invite all the faithful to rightfully participate in the prophetic ministry of the whole church, closely allied with Pope Francis’s call for a more synodal church.

John J. Burkhard, OFM Conv, PhD, taught systematics at the former Washington Theological Union; at Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota; and in Ghana, West Africa. In 2004 he published Apostolicity Then and Now: An Ecumenical Church in a Postmodern World with Liturgical Press. He writes primarily on ecclesiology and continues to translate theological works from French and German.

ISBN: 9780814666890, 6689

Details: 456 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1
Publication Date: 01/03/2022


"This major work on 'the sense of the faith' gives further evidence for why John Burkhard is one of the most important Catholic theologians working in the field of fundamental theology today. His extraordinary erudition, clarity of thought, and capacity for synthesis are all on full display in these pages, as is his deep commitment to the welfare of the church. Almost six decades since the close of the council, our church is still struggling to fully embrace the council's teaching that all the baptized faithful receive and penetrate the gift of God's Word and so contribute in crucial ways to the life and mission of the church. Burkhard's book is certain to help this central teaching gain wider acceptance and deeper appreciation in the church today."
Richard R. Gaillardetz, Boston College, author of By What Authority? Foundations for Understanding Authority in the Church

"After having provided us over many decades with precious lists of annotated bibliography on the theme of sensus fidei, John J. Burkhard now comes out with a historical and systematic analysis on this crucial category of theological discourse. He demonstrates how central and vital sensus fidei is for the whole of theology. It is not only ecclesiology or fundamental theology that needs to recognize and study in depth this category, but also the theology of sacraments, the liturgy, and moral theology can benefit from the richness of this idea. This book can rightly be considered the opus magnum, the Lebenswerk (Life’s work) of a refined scholar of the history of theology and its traditions, as is John J. Burkhard. His analysis and his perspective are all played out in the theological climate of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar reflections regarding the rediscovery of sensus fidei."
Antonio Autiero, Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology, University of Münster

"John Burkhard has an unparalleled, and encyclopedic, knowledge of the literature on the “the sense of the faith” in the life of the church. His knowledge of the topic is the fruit of meticulous research that has extended over decades and encompasses an astounding array of sources. The “Sense of the Faith” in History distils Burkhard’s scholarship into a single volume that maps the theme in detail, providing an accessible overview of past and present theologies. This volume is a great gift for anyone interested in gaining insight into a topic that is foundational to Pope Francis’s desire for a more synodal church. "
Richard Lennan, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

"With his encyclopedic knowledge of research into the topic of sensus fidei, John Burkhard does the church a great service with this book. He highlights the indispensable role the people’s 'sense of the faith' plays in the transmission of Christian faith throughout history. Above all, he shows the need for the church to be attentive continually to this expression of the lived faith of the people of God. For anyone wanting to understand Pope Francis’s vision of 'a synodal church… a church that listens', this book is a sure guide."
Ormond Rush, associate professor of theology and philosophy, Australian Catholic University

"For decades John Burkhard has been tracking the emergence of the doctrine of the 'sense of the faith' in official church teachings and influential theological contributions and debates. Here he offers his fullest assessment of these materials. This is an immensely important resource for understanding this history and identifying unresolved issues."
Bradford E. Hinze, Fordham University

"The amount of research involved in this book is prodigious and I believe that this volume will be a classic in the theological universe. It is the best gift a researcher can bequeath to the laity and to the scholarly world."
Richard Penaskovic, Auburn University

"Burkhard has provided a fine service for the church in this excellent work, a labor of love and the fruit of many years of investigating the developing understanding within Catholicism and the sense of the faith. It is surely timely as Catholics engage in a world-wide synodal process that seeks to tap into the sense of the faith of the faithful as all members are called to walk together on their pilgrim way, listening to each other and to the Holy Spirit."
John Sullivan, professor of Christian Education, Liverpool Hope University, Heythrop Journal

"By any standard, both in terms of physical size and theological scholarship, Burkhard's book is a huge magnum opus and destined to be the go-to work on the subject for a long time to come. I enthusiastically nominate The Sense of the Faith in History for the Best Theological Book of 2022"
Peter C. Phan, Catholic Books Review

"Prior to Vatican II an understanding of the 'sense of faith' within the context of ecclesiology was neither well known or given a priority in the teaching or governance within life of the Church. Burkhard’s book seeks to change that. He explores the historical presence of the 'sense of faith' in the life of the Church but challenges the reader, and the wider Church, to take a new look at what it now means in the post Vatican II Church. He takes up the synodal vision of Pope Francis and offers a critical and significant contribution to moving the Church into one that truly lives out the 'sense of the faith of all the faithful.'”
Catholic Media Association

"The Sense of the Faith in History is not only timely, but also very important because of the theological and ecclesial intra-Catholic conversation, in the context of the synodal process started by Pope Francis, on the role of the people of God in the complex system of the Catholic Church of articulating the faith."

"This book is so well organized and clearly written. It will reward for its cutting-edge summary of the current state of understanding within the Church of the sense of the faith, the past lines of development on this theological topic, and the need for further reflection on it."
The Heythrop Journal