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Liturgical Press

One Baptism—One Church?

A History and Theology of the Reception of Baptized Christians

Kimberly Hope Belcher, Nathan P. Chase, and Alexander Turpin

One Baptism—One Church?
One Baptism—One Church?

ISBN: 9780814689127, 8912

Details: 88 pgs, 5 x 8
Publication Date: 11/01/2024
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Mutual recognition of baptism has grounded ecumenical efforts, but does contemporary Roman Catholic pastoral practice reflect these ecumenical theologies?

How do we understand the outer boundaries of the church? On the one hand, over the centuries Christians have recognized the baptism of those outside their own ecclesial body, but on the other hand, the practices of receiving those who are already baptized from other groups proclaim social, theological, and ecclesial distinctions. How do contemporary practices reflect theological principles and historical development? One Baptism—One Church? demonstrates ways that contemporary practice may be an obstacle to the full expression of our ecumenical commitments and how history can reshape that practice.

While the mutual recognition of baptism has grounded ecumenical efforts, pastoral practice—especially in local communities far away from the centers of power—does not always reflect ecumenical theologies. Contemporary Roman Catholic practice may seem at odds with the official understanding of baptized Christians as in real though imperfect communion by means of their participation in Christ. Focusing on the Byzantine East and Roman West, this book seeks to remove obstacles to the more complete expression and recognition of Christian unity and outlines concrete ways that our partial communion could be better expressed. It concludes with practical reflections and recommendations for best practices in the reception of baptized Christians in the contemporary Roman Catholic Church and proposes a reformed Rite for the Reception of Baptized Christians that is more faithful to history and ecumenically sensitive.

Kimberly Hope Belcher is associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, in liturgical studies. She uses sacramental and liturgical theology and ritual theory to study Christian worship. She represents the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Methodist-Catholic, Episcopal-Catholic, and Pentecostal-Catholic dialogues in the United States. Her related publications include “Ritual Techniques in Affliction Rites and the Lutheran-Catholic ecumenical Liturgy of Lund, 2016” (Yearbook for Ritual and Liturgical Studies, 2022), "Ritual Systems: Prostration, Self, and Community in the Rule of Benedict” (Ecclesia Orans, 2020), and Eucharist and Receptive Ecumenism: From Thanksgiving to Communion (Cambridge, 2020).

Nathan P. Chase is assistant professor of liturgical and sacramental theology at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri. He has contributed articles to the field of liturgical studies, including pieces on liturgy in the early Church, initiation, the Eucharist, inculturation, and the Western Non-Roman Rites, in particular the Hispano-Mozarabic tradition. His most recent monograph published in 2023 is titled The Anaphoral Tradition in the ‘Barcelona Papyrus.’ His work on initiation includes “A Chrismatic Framework for Understanding the Intersection of Baptism and Ministry in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Churches” (Journal of Ecumenical Studies 2018) and “From Arianism to Orthodoxy: The Role of the Rites of Initiation in Uniting the Visigothic Kingdom” (Hispania Sacra 2020).

Alexander Turpin is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, and a doctoral candidate in Liturgical Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. His dissertation focuses on the reception of non-Orthodox Christians into the Eastern Orthodox Church. Other scholarly interests include liturgical reform and renewal as well as liturgical history, especially in the Roman and Byzantine traditions. Some of his recent publications on these topics are “The Tridentine Genius of Traditionis Custodes” (Ecclesia Orans, 2021), “The Archaeology of Tradition: Theological Implications of Liturgiewissenschaft” (Antiphon, 2023), and “The Super Oblata Euchology of the Early Roman Mass: Divine-Human Exchange in a Local Eucharist” (Ecclesia Orans, 2024).

ISBN: 9780814689127, 8912

Details: 88 pgs, 5 x 8
Publication Date: 11/01/2024

Reviews

"Despite the massive strides in ecumenical dialogue that have taken place between East and West, and among the western churches, there are still a number of 'allergic' issues that show how few steps we have actually taken. These issues are often not very visible. They are akin to hidden landmines, but once trod upon they can explode. One such is the question of the recognition of baptism: this comes to the fore when someone moves from one church to another. This book faced up squarely to this problem and offers a way forward—it is an important contribution to mutual understanding and, perhaps, ecumenical progress."
Thomas O'Loughlin , Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology, The University of Nottingham