home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted June 21, 2006

Book: Priesthood: Changeless & Changing
Author: Thomas Lane, CM
The Columba Press. Blackrock, CoDublin. 2005. Pp. 56

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Priests have been in the news quite a lot. The news hasn't always been good. Thomas Lane makes it clear that every priest is ordained to bring good news and to be good news. Since the days of is own preparation for priesthood much has changed. We no longer speak about tonsure, minor orders and subdiaconate. Many countries have permanent deacons. Lay people are receiving the ministries of lector and acolyte. The number of priests in older Catholic countries continues to decline.

Thomas Lane spells out what is changeless and what is changeable in priestly ministry. In three chapters, he shows how all the baptised are called to be a priestly, prophetic and kingly people. In the other two chapters he indicates ways in which priests help to activate this call. He has no easy solutions for the tensions in priestly ministry today. But he is convinced that good priests will shape a good priestly people and a good priestly people will shape good priests.

An Excerpt from the Book:


Does the language of 'in the person of Christ', in persona Christi, suggest acting a part and impersonation? As always, we are dealing here with the limitations of all human language and imagery. There certainly is an ambivalence in the mask image, in particular. The man who wears a mask or persona can become a caricature or a phantom person. A persona can conceal and distort, as well as reveal. The suggestion of 'masked men' can have hideous connotations. The hardest thing Jesus said about the Pharisees was that they were 'hypocrites', literally stage actors, masked men. But being in persona in a programme and a life-long process. All through his life, the ordained person is invited to grow into the persona of Christ, grow up into the Head (Eph 4:15). Instead of seeing him as 'impersonating' Christ, perhaps we should say that he is called to a daily conversion that will enable him to be an authentic image, 'in-personating' Christ. In this, he is beyond acting; he is exercising a ministry of transparency.

Table of Contents:

1. Priests and presbyters
2. A prophetic people
3. Kings, shepherds and servants
4. In the person of Christ
5. Priesthood and spirituality