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Heart of the World, Center of the Church
Communio Ecclesiology, Liberalism, and Liberation
POD; Published: 10/7/1996
ISBN: 978-0-8028-3985-5
Price: $ 33.50
344 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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This is a print on demand book and is therefore non- returnable.

Today, thirty years after the Second Vatican Council, there can be little doubt that the notion of communion ("communion") is at the center of Catholicism's renewed understanding of the Church. In Heart of the World, Center of the Church David L. Schindler shows that communion is also at the heart of the Church's worldly mission.

Invoking God's spousal relation to the world, Schindler argues that the Church's answer to the question of worldly freedom is nothing less than its own communion. Yet the claim that the Church promotes the "legitimate autonomy of earthly realities" by penetrating the world with its own intimate reality is hardly a matter of arcane speculation. Heart of the World, Center of the Church develops its thesis in critical dialogue with Western (especially Anglo- American) liberalism, whose ascendancy especially after the events of 1989 poses a host of urgent questions for the Church.

Examining liberalism in politics, economics, and the academy, Schindler exposes its inadequate theology of human freedom and "worldly" autonomy, while suggestion how communion both transforms and protects freedom and autonomy in their varied cultural expressions. In the spirit of Pope John Paul II's call for a "new evangelization," Schindler contributes to what the Pope himself has strongly reaffirmed as "the positive value of an authentic theology of integral human liberation" (Centesimus Annus, 26).

Anyone concerned with the problem of nature and grace or with the Church's engagement with culture in a contemporary context will find this book not only a useful resource but also a spur to further reflection.
Glenn W. Olsen
—University of Utah
"I know of no American theologian whose thought is more interesting, profound, and original than that of David L. Schindler. In this stunning book Schindler takes up a wide range of topics, including religious freedom, liberalism and neo-conservatism, the nature of the Church's worldly mission, the death of God in the academy, and gender and the future of Western civilization. To each he brings a communion ecclesiology that upsets conventional understandings. This is the kind of book that sets one back on one's heels, pondering and rereading."

Ian Boyd, C. S. B.
—editor The Chesterton Review
"This theological study is a superbly intelligent work, a book that will be read and reread by anyone wishing to discover the deepest sources of the contemporary cultural crisis. Because every society embodies certain theological assumptions about life, theology offers the key to understanding a society in crisis. Schindler unmasks the assumptions of the dominant liberal culture and subjects these assumptions to a badly needed theological critique. He demonstrates convincingly that the substance of liberal freedom is the source of the culture of death. At the same time, his searching analysis of the hidden weaknesses of Anglo-American liberalism represents an impressive attempt to identify and to rescue the authentic achievements of the liberal experiment. A profoundly disturbing and yet oddly exhilarating book."
Mark and Louise Zwick
—editors, Houston Catholic Worker
"Heart of the World, Center of the Church is one of the most important books to be published since Vatican II.. It establishes David Schindler as the American Balthasar."
Stratford Caldecott
—director, Centre for Faith & Culture,
Westminster College, Oxford
"In our century the Catholic Church has succeeded in throwing down the ramparts that defended her from the world. It was a dangerous move, but Schindler shows that it was a risk worth taking. On foundations laid by Balthasar, Schindler has here begun the task of building a new structure for theology: an open road to authentic human liberation."