Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
Preface to the Revised Edition
ONE What Is the Role of Power and Authority in the Church?
TWO What Is Divine Revelation?
THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION
THREE What Is the Canon of the Bible?
FOUR What Is Biblical Inspiration and Inerrancy?
FIVE What Is the Authority of Tradition?
THE AUTHORITY OF THE MAGISTERIUM
SIX How Did the Magisterium Develop Historically?
SEVEN How Do We Understand the Magisterium Today?
EIGHT How Do the Pope and Bishops Exercise Their Teaching
NINE What Is the Role of Dogma and Doctrine in the Church?
THE AUTHORITY OF THE BELIEVING COMMUNITY
TEN What Is the Sense of the Faithful?
ELEVEN Is There a Place for Disagreement in the Church?
TWELVE What Is the Proper Relationship between the Magisterium,
Theologians, and the Sense of the Faithful?
About the Author
Richard R. Gaillardetz holds the Joseph Chair of Catholic
Systematic Theology at Boston College. He has published numerous
articles and has authored or edited twelve books, including An
Unfinished Council: Vatican II, Pope Francis, and the Renewal of
Catholicism and Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of
Vatican II (co-authored with Catherine Clifford), both published by
Liturgical Press. He is also a contributor to Give Us This Day.
Gaillardetz has been a delegate on the US Catholic-Methodist
Ecumenical Dialogue and served as president of the Catholic
Theological Society of America between 2013 and 2014.
"Richard Gaillardetz offers a reliable, balanced, and systematic
guide to understanding key questions of authority in the Catholic
Church. Historically-grounded and pastorally-oriented, By What
Authority? demonstrates how the church has often sifted through
competing and conflicting interpretations in order to arrive closer
to a vision of church ministry and teaching that allows the gospel
message to flourish around the world in diverse circumstances.
"Of special merit is the Disputed Questions feature that
challenges us to wrestle with matters not yet firmly settled. These
Disputed Questions invite readers and classroom students into the
creative process of discernment, learning, and teaching that must
involve all members of the church at every level and in every
Christopher M. Bellitto, PhD, Professor of History, Kean
"Richard Gaillardetz is the premiere authority on the multiple
voices of ecclesial authority. He writes with clarity and grace.
His new book with three additional chapters is an expanded version
of one published 15 years ago, updated in light of Pope Francis's
efforts to reclaim Vatican II's vision. It will be a basic text on
authority for graduate students, seminarians, and pastoral
ministers."Thomas P. Rausch, SJ, T. Marie Chilton Professor of
Catholic Theology, Loyola Marymount University
"Richard R. Gaillardetz's By What Authority?
is a sound
guide and a comprehensive introduction to the complex and often
misunderstood world of Catholic belief and teaching. Beginning from
a clearheaded discussion of the dynamics of power and authority, it
moves from a consideration of Vatican II's personalist, Trinitarian
understanding of revelation, to the canonicity, inspiration, and
normative role of Scripture; the meaning of tradition; the
understanding of `magisterium;' and the various forms for the
exercise of the pastoral teaching office by bishops and popes. The
strength of his presentation is its description of the
interdependence and constant interaction of the pastoral teaching
office with the `sense' of all the baptized faithful, including the
community of theologians, as the whole church, guided by the
Spirit, seeks to discern the meaning and the demands of the gospel.
Particularly helpful is the sensible discussion of disagreement in
the life of the Church. An excellent resource, this book should be
required reading for anyone seeking to understand Catholic
tradition and ecclesial life."Catherine E. Clifford, Saint Paul
"This new and expanded edition of Richard R. Gaillardetz's
invaluable primer By What Authority?
characteristic thoroughness and nuanced approach to questions of
the interpretation of dogma and doctrine. In particular,
Gaillardetz's inclusion of disputed questions in each chapter
retrieves ancient Christian methodologies that model constructive
dialogue for our increasingly polarized world. Ecclesiologists,
historians, and theologians in general will all benefit (as will
their students) from this magisterial work."Natalia Imperatori-Lee,
"It is hard to imagine that Gaillardetz could improve on his
original masterpiece but he has done just that in this revised and
expanded edition of his compelling work. Looking through the lens
of scripture, the magisterium, and the sense of the faithful,
Gaillardetz offers valuable insight into the many ways that God,
`the only ultimate spiritual authority in our lives' chooses to
manifest that authority through the sacred and yet quite human
instrumentality of the Church. This new edition gives the reader a
deeper appreciation for the Church which is at once the recipient
and mediator of divine authority."Most Reverend John C. Wester
Archbishop of the Archdiocese Santa Fe
"As in the original edition, Professor Gaillardetz provides a
powerful antidote to a Catholic version of dogmatic fundamentalism
by addressing the origin, development, and context of the church's
formulation of its beliefs and the authority by which it teaches
them. After an exploration of the nature of authority itself, he
carefully distinguishes the basic gradations of authoritative
teaching in the church and the important dynamic of the
articulation and reception of that teaching. Inspired by Pope
Francis' approach to the exercise and structure of authority in the
church, the revised version freshly looks at the role of the
in a more deliberately synodal church that
depends on discernment and dialogue to articulate the faith in the
present context."Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Diocese of
"The writing style is clear and enjoyable. Any reader who wishes to
understand what Catholics believe about Scripture, about teachings
of the magisterium, and the forms of authority in the church will
find this book to be clear, informative, and enjoyable."Reading
"I will certainly recommend the text for my graduate and
undergraduate students of fundamental theology and