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? In an effort to address this neglect, this book 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.
"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, Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, 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, OFM Conv, 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 at the University of Münster