Fairfield Now - Summer 2007
By Meredith Guinness
A Message for Catholic laity
Dr. Paul Lakeland, Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Professor of Catholic Studies, lays out a step-by-step guide to revitalizing the Roman Catholic Church in his latest book, Catholicism at the Crossroads: How the Laity Can Save the Church (Continuum, March 2007).
With chapters on the role of the laity, accountability, American culture, and the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Church, Lakeland said he hopes to give voice to those concerned about the church's future and provide easy ways to maintain its relevance. In one chapter, "Ten Steps Toward a More Adult Church," he lays out a game plan, encouraging the laity to educate themselves, seek a more equitable relationship with the ordained, place more women in power, and demand more say in choosing pastors and bishops.
Catholicism at the Crossroads is a natural follow up to his last book, Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church, a weightier theological and historical tome published in 2003. "After Liberation of the Laity came out in 2003, I did a lot of speaking around the country and I realized the book hadn't been written for the people who were coming to the talks," Dr. Lakeland says. "This book is written for adult Catholics who want an adult church that can sustain their adult faith."
When Corporations have Permission to Steal
Dr. Lisa Newton, professor of philosophy and director of the Applied Ethics program in the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, considers corporate corruption in her latest book, Permission to Steal: Revealing the Roots of Corporate Scandal (Blackwell, Nov. 2006).
"It is the story of the scandals that brought down Enron, WorldCom, HealthSouth, and other scandals to which we were subjected at the end of the 20th century, along with an explanation of how such things happened,"
Dr. Newton says. She was inspired, in part, by Plato's theory that if people had the power to be invisible, they'd do terrible things. Modern-day invisibility can be found in offshore special purposes entities, Swiss banks, gated communities, and the anonymity of the city, she says. "We need the accountability that comes with transparency, visibility, and access to information, to keep our corporations honest."
Religion in Latin America
Professor of History Emeritus Walter Petry and a former student, Dr. Lee Penyak '84, associate professor of history at the University of Scranton, sifted through 500 years of Latin American history to co-author Religion in Latin America: A Documentary (Orbis, 2006).
The collection of 162 primary documents, each with a contextual introduction by the editors, takes readers through a dizzying array of topics, showing how religion continues to shape Latin America. Those who immediately think "Catholic" when they think Latin America will be interested to read entries on ancient Mayan and Aztec spirituality, Mormons, contemporary Santeria, Judaism, Protestant evangelism, and Pente-costalism. Researched and written over four years, the collection also includes some first-ever English translations and a homily on two Nicaraguan "Christian revolutionary martyrs" audiotaped, transcribed, and translated by Petry.
The book is winning early praise from top scholars, including Paul F. Sigmund, a noted professor of politics at Princeton University. "It is not often that a collection of documents can be described as a 'page-turner'," he wrote, but Religion in Latin America is "a vivid, comprehensive, and fascinating compilation."