King’s Duo Publishes New Book
Hendershott and White's "Renewal" Heralds a New Era for Catholic Clergy
To plan the best path to a destination, you first have to know where you are. That’s why accurate data are so important. "Trends" are too often determined by feelings rather than statistics. Renewal, a new book from King’s professor Dr. Anne Hendershott and King’s alumnus Christopher White, suggests that the "decline of the Church" trend may be one of these "feeling" trends.
White, the Director for Education and Programs at the Center for Bioethics and Programs, acknowledges the dominant news stories about the Roman Catholic Church. "So much of what has been written or said about the Catholic Church over the past decade has been negative--portraits of a Church in decline, an aging priesthood, and outdated teachings," White said.
But, he suggests, the facts show otherwise.
"The Church is growing in numbers, young men are attracted to the priesthood (in fact, ordination rates are at a 20 year high), and there are signs of life and renewal all around us. Our book aims to tell that story."
While White noticed that the pessimism in the media was going against his own experience as a convert to Catholicism, he was fascinated at what his and Dr. Hendershott’s hard research showed about current ordination rates.
"Not only has there been a major uptick of ordinations to the priesthood, but the average age of new priests is getting younger and younger," he said. "Also, among the clergy, job satisfaction far exceeds levels of satisfactions in other careers, with over 90% of the clergy in the U.S. saying they would do it again if given the chance. This is very good news, and we're excited to share it with both fellow Catholics and those outside the Church."
CLICK TO TWEET ABOUT RENEWAL
In addition, many new seminarians and candidates for ordination cite the influence of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, as well as local bishops, as inspirations. This reinforces an idea that Dr. Hendershott has long argued for: when Christians boldly and intelligently stand by orthodox doctrine, the Church thrives.
Initial reviews of the book have been positive. "Renewal is an extremely informative commentary on the fight between the orthodox and progressive Catholic camps," writes Maria Santos at the Washington Free Beacon.
Renewal is the latest part of a distinguished career for Dr. Hendershott, one of America’s most prominent sociologists. Her past books include The Politics of Deviance, which examines how controversial social issues gain ground, and Status Envy, which focused on the battles within Catholic educational institutions. Dr. Hendershott has also been an active voice in the current debate over Common Core standards.
This interest in the education of the faithful is only appropriate considering the duo, quickly becoming a key voice for orthodoxy in the public square, were first connected by The King’s College in New York City.
The King’s College Vice President of Student Development Eric Bennett sees this kind of intellectual activity in its faculty and alumni as natural for a college that is devoted to promoting clear thinking, writing, and speaking.
"By convening renowned intellectuals who command the important intellectual traditions, we strive to produce ambitious students who think lucidly about the issues of our day," said Bennett. "Dr. Hendershott and Chris White are a model for how we hope to engage in the public square, declaring truth in a civil and persuasive manner."
Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops is Revitalizing the Catholic Church is available for purchase on Amazon.com.
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