The Diaconate in Ecumenical Perspective: Ecclesiology, Liturgy and Practice

D. Michael Jackson
ISBN: 978-1789590357
Sacristy Press 2019
Paperback 216 pp £19.99
Pastoral Review bookshop £18.00


This excellent volume of articles is the fruit of an international conference on the deacon’s ministry held in Canada in May 2018. As an ecumenical exploration of diaconate, the contributors paint a diverse landscape which includes the Episcopal and Anglican Churches, the Methodists, Lutherans, the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The UK perspective is captured by Anglican Deacon Rosalind Brown who tackles the vexed question of the distinctiveness of the deacon’s ministry over and against ‘the Russian Doll’ model of sacred orders whereby inside every bishop is a priest, inside of whom is a deacon. The transitional diaconate is perceived as no more than a stepping-stone to higher orders and entails ordination to a ministry to which the candidate has not felt called. This downgrades the permanent diaconate to an inferior order, an ecclesiastical reality evident in the Roman Catholic Church when bishops approach bereaved widower deacons to suggest that they might now perhaps consider a vocation to the presbyterate.

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Human Dignity in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant Perspectives

John Loughlin
ISBN: 978-1350073692
Bloomsbury 2019 Hardback 304 pp £85.00
Pastoral Review bookshop £76.50

Occasionally a book appears which clearly, from the first moment you open it, shows itself to have made a significant contribution to the area it covers. Across the whole field of Catholic Social Teaching, and equivalent traditions in other churches, the concept of ‘human dignity’ has become in recent years a watchword: this impressive volume testifies to the value of the concept but also enables us to think critically and deeply about what we actually mean by the phrase. Professor Loughlin has drawn together for this collection a very impressive field of international scholars from a wide variety of disciplines; the achievement of the book is that although it looks at first sight like a collection of conference papers, while meetings and conferences were part of the background, this is a fresh collection which must have made the formation of a coherent vision by the editor a formidable task. This is a very significant volume which should become a standard text in the field.

In his introduction, Loughlin sets out the debate, and the ways in which some philosophers have rejected the whole idea, and what the different contributors try to achieve; the breadth of the backgrounds of the authors is particularly striking. John Day (Oxford) rightly begins with the Scriptures: what do we mean when we say humanity is created in God’s image? Is it physical, spiritual, functional or (as Barth taught) reciprocal (in terms of the male–female relationship). Those who have to preach on the Scriptures should find this chapter particularly helpful.

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No One is Too Small to Make a Difference

Greta Thunberg
ISBN: 978-0141991740
Penguin, 2019
Paperback 80 pp £2.99
Pastoral Review bookshop £2.70


This year sees the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, the first papal letter focused explicitly and in detail on environmental issues, particularly the crisis of climate change. The tone of the letter was and is urgent, which is why it is disturbing that within the Catholic community, after the first initial months of interest (and indeed opposition from some quarters) awareness of what the Holy Father was saying has probably receded among most Catholics. But the crisis remains and has arguably got worse, so other figures joining the Pope in his urgent call to the world to change are important, and of these the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has rapidly become the most significant. She has been particularly inspirational to young people, encouraging demonstrations and school strikes to emphasise the urgency of the situation. In many ways she is a disturbing figure – and that is what the world needs.

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Quezon’s Game

ABS-CBN Europe Ltd
125 minutes

'Could I have done more?’ asks Manuel Quezon as he and his wife Aurora watch the haunting footage from the newly liberated concentration camps in Europe after the end of the Second World War. Matthew Rosen’s remarkable debut film Quezon’s Game takes us a long way away from Europe, to the Philippines. It tells a little-known episode in the history of the twentieth century: the rescue of 1,200 German and Austrian Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis in 1938.

Manuel Quezon, president of the soon-to-be-independent Philippines, is at the centre of the story. It is his friend Alex Frieder, a cigar merchant and part of colonial society, who approaches him with the disturbing news about the situation of the Jews in Nazi Germany and Austria. Something has to be done and someone needs to do it. Quezon enlists General McArthur and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who is charged with building a Philippine army. A plan is made. Yet the obstacles seem insurmountable.

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Timothy Radcliffe ISBN: 978-1472970206 Bloomsbury Continuum 2019 Paperback 432 pp £12.99 Pastoral Review bookshop £11.70 In Alive in God, Timothy Radcliffe addresses the subject of the Christian imagination in today’s modern world. The book is written in

Candida R. Moss
ISBN: 978-0300179767
New Haven CT/London, Yale University Press 2019
Hardcover 208 pp £35.00
Pastoral Review bookshop £31.50


Candida Moss’ superb new book examines the very human question about the Christian doctrine of the general resurrection: which ‘me’ will be resurrected? As Christians we profess our faith at least weekly in the bodily resurrection at the end of time; yet, as Moss notes, there is remarkably little detail on – well – the detail and process of the resurrection in Christian Scripture and theology. This is despite the fact that the bodily resurrection of believers following in the (bodily resurrected) footsteps of Christ, is one of the cornerstones of Christian belief, attested from the earliest writings.

Moss, who is Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology at Birmingham University, is a renowned scholar of the New Testament and its reception in early Christian communities. She brings her extensive knowledge of the Christian Scriptures, apocryphal Gospels and Acts, Second Temple Jewish writings, and contemporary Graeco-Roman medical and philosophical texts to bear on the question of bodies, both earthly and resurrected, in the world of early Christianity. Yet this learning is worn lightly throughout this work, her elegant and lucid writing style making the subject matter keenly interesting to both specialist and interested reader, balancing a deeply scholarly approach with an approachable, accessible, and non-patronising style.

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