A haze of controversial issues lies over any honest discussion of the Catholic priesthood: the scandal of sexual abuse by priests; the sharp decline in vocations in Europe, North America, and Australia; the sexual orientation of seminarians; obligatory celibacy; the ordination of married men; the ordination of women.
The Risk of Discipleship does not ignore these questions, but it begins in a different place. Roderick Strange’s study is rooted in scripture, theology, and the experience of nearly two thousand years of Christian priesthood. Without minimizing the seriousness of the crisis or avoiding the need for renewal, it brings the essential nature of ministerial priesthood and its pastoral practice back into focus, and restores the priestly vocation to a place of honour.
Roderick Strange is the Rector of the Beda College in Rome. He was a parish priest in Cheshire, a chaplain at Oxford University, and chairman of the National Conference of Priests.