The Catholic Tradition

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University of Missouri Press, 1998 - Religion - 535 pages
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In his Tradition and Authenticity in the Search for Ecumenic Wisdom, Thomas Langan argued that the close interaction of traditions in today's society calls for methodical critical appropriation of the beliefs fostered by the principal traditions. He also promised to demonstrate by example how such appropriation could be accomplished. In The Catholic Tradition, Langan successfully fulfills that vow by showing how a tradition--the Catholic--has shaped his own outlook.

In this comprehensive study, Langan examines the history of the Catholic Church and the origins of its teachings since the Church's conception. Although committed to the Catholic religion, Langan does not obscure the Church's failings as he lays out the fundamentals of the Catholic faith.

He provides insight into the great Christological councils, discusses the differences in the spiritualities of East and West, and portrays the crucial roles that the pope and bishops played during the Middle Ages. He incorporates the thought of Augustine, Aquinas, and medieval Catholicism as he traces the rise and decline of Christian Europe, the great issues raised by the reform: priesthood, the Eucharist, spirituality, and Church structure.

Satan has no greater triumph, Langan asserts, than when Catholics, who are recipients of the Good News of God's universal love, allow selections from their tradition to be turned into sectarianism and ideology. This balanced history of the Church as human reality faces such perversions squarely. But despite betrayals by its own across the centuries, the Catholic tradition, with its origin at Sinai, remains the oldest and largest extant religious institution.

In a last section Langan offers a unique overview of the church's present situation, its strengths and weaknesses, the new movement and the challenge of the "new evangelization."


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A Philosophical Foreword
A Contemporary View
A Deepening Understanding of Christ through the Christological and Iconoclastic Crises
The Nature of the Early Church
The Great Schism
The Western Churchs Search for a New Synthesis
An Incarnational Religion
The Protestant Revolt and the Origins of Modernity
The Churchs Response to Modernity
The New Anthropology and the New Morality
The Challenge and Perils of Ecumenism
How Can the Tradition Change yet Have an Essence? How Can Truth Be Eternal yet Unfold in History?
Authenticity and Christic Man
Seeking to Dwell in the Center

The Challenges of Modernity

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About the author (1998)

Thomas Langan is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

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