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A Concise Guide to Your Rights in the Catholic Church: (Concise Guide) [Paperback]

By Kevin E. McKenna (Author)
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Item description for A Concise Guide to Your Rights in the Catholic Church: (Concise Guide) by Kevin E. McKenna...

A Concise Guide to Your Rights in the Catholic Church decodes complex Roman Catholic Church law and doctrine into a practical, sound reference book. It familiarizes Catholics with the rights and obligations written into Church law for all its members while outlining the procedures in place for vindicating these rights. It is the third book in The Concise Guide Series, a series of books tackling questions of central importance for contemporary Catholicism. Glossaries, diagrams, and up-to-date bibliographies are all regular features of these pastorally sensitive and doctrinally sound resources.

Publishers Description
This practical, sound reference book decodes complex Roman Catholic Church law and doctrine with the goal to help educate Catholics so that a more just church might emerge. McKenna tackles key pastoral issues in Q & A format and concisely presents the procedures that are in place for Catholics wishing to vindicate their rights. This is the third book in The Concise Guide Series.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ave Maria Press
Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.08" Width: 6.38" Height: 0.32"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Ave Maria Press
Series  Concise Guide  
ISBN  1594710791  
ISBN13  9781594710797  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kevin E. McKenna

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Father Kevin E. McKenna is pastor of the Cathedral Community in Rochester, New York. He is past president of the Canon Law Society of America and former chancellor and canonical consultant for the Diocese of Rochester. He is author of numerous articles and books, including A Concise Guide to Canon Law and A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching. Father McKenna also serves as general editor for the Concise Guide Series.

Kevin E. McKenna currently resides in the state of New York. Kevin E. McKenna was born in 1950.

Kevin E. McKenna has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Concise Guide

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies > Christianity
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Ministry
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Canon Law
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Ecclesiology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about A Concise Guide to Your Rights in the Catholic Church?

The Reverend Father McKenna's definition of Concise obviously differs somewhat from the excellent and Reverend Father Thomas Bokenkotter, whose A Concise History of the Catholic Church is as substantial a tome as the Telephone directory of many a mid-sized city.

In fact for a concise history we must turn to the brief manual The Catholic Church: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles).

At under 130 pages, therefore, and part of the well respected Ave Maria Press Concise Guide series (which also includes Father McKenna's A Concise Guide to Canon Law; A Practical Handbook for Pastoral Ministers and A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching) this near brochure can do little more than cite our rights under the 1983 Revised Code of Canon Law, without expansive commentary. Father McKenna comments just enough for a slight indication of possible application, humbly, no more.

Father McKenna begins with a brief overview of the recognition of human rights and natural law in the Catholic Church, touching on Pope Leo's landmark Rerum Novarum as well as Pope John XXIII's Pacem in Terris, and coming through the documents of Vatican II and the declarations of Pope Paul VI and the 1967 Synod of Bishops, which found in the Second Vatican Council principles of "fundamental equality of all the faithful," and a need for "appropriate judicial and administrative measures ( . . .) to protect the rights of persons against arbitrary uses of authority (p. 28)."

Through his introduction, Father McKenna reveals "The rights now included in the Code of Canon Law had their basis in a 'constitutional statement,' the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis, and were uniquely mandated by 'Principles for the Revision of the Code' of the 1967 Synod of Bishops. It is clear that these rights have a certain priority in the revised law of the Roman Catholic Church (p. 29)."

It should be noted this brief yet comprehensive manual includes not only the 1983 Revised Code for the Roman Catholic Chrurch, but also includes the Code of the Eastern Catholic Chruches in communion with Rome, much of which coincides with the Roman Canon Law, but with some significant differences. Another review here misses this interesting point of significant import.

Also the title itself appears incomplete, as not only do we find our rights in this guide, but also as well and equally our obligations, to which a full section is amply dedicated and which seem equally important to the Christian faithful.

Briefly browsing the rights, we find ourselves declared free to choose a state of life, but the commentary from Father McKenna specifically states we have no inherent right to, for instance, a priestly vocation, which is determined by a bishop, under our newly centralized hierarchy. Praying for vocations takes place within the Church community, not within the individual praying for it, an interesting and at times a frustrating point as political purity appears to take priority to individual charism. The seminarian does not have a right to priestly ordination in ipse, nor does the Roman clergy have a right to a pastoral assignment, unlike the Eastern Rite Canon Law cited in this book, which obliges the Eastern bishop (called an eparch) to assign clergy a ministerial position. I only mention this passage to show this book reveals as well what rights we also might not actually possess under our new Code of Canon Law.

Another interesting section regards the application of punishment to those public officials who appear to some bishop or other to oppose Church teaching. This brief manual suggests, based upon official documents, that such sanctioning is not recommendable, and may in fact appear arbitrary from bishop to bishop. Father McKenna refers to the CDF's Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life (for which we anxiously await the concise title) noting "policies affecting the common good which compromise or undermine fundamental ethical requirements (p.72)." He also notes the USCCB's Catholics in Political LIfe: "We all share an unequivocal commitment to protect human life and dignity and to preach the Gospel in difficult times (p. 73)." Clearly these passages support sanctioning any politican promoting and voting continued funding of the genocidal US occupation in Iraq, etc. In fact, Father McKenna frequently calls us back to our Christian obligation to work courageously for peace and justice.

The Appendix includes direct quotes from the revised code of Canon Law, for the Roman Rite only, including Canon 289: "Since military service is hardly in keeping with the clerical state, clerics and candidates for sacred orders are not to volunteer for military service . . . (p. 112)" We also find here the Canon codicils: "Can. 287: Most especially clerics are always to foster the peace and harmony based on justice which are to be observed among peoples (p. 111)." and "Can. 282 Clerics are to foster simplicity of life and are to refrain from all things that have a semblance of vanity (p. 110)." The documented meditation on poverty which accompanies this obligation is worthy reading for all Christian faithful, especially that which indicates our abodes must not intimidate but welcome the poor.

Judicial Trial Procedures, an excellent Glossary, a fine Index and indications for Sources and Further Readings fill out the rest of this meager yet substantial work, which each Catholic ought to read as part of our baptismal commitment and confirmational covenant, and for which we have much to thank the right Reverend Father McKenna.
Enthusiastically recommended  Oct 7, 2006
A Concise Guide To Your Rights In The Catholic Church by Kevin E. McKenna (pastor at St. Cecilia Parish in Rochester, NY) is an easy-to-follow, no-nonsense guide to the rights of Catholic laity and clergy alike under church law. A Concise Guide To Your Rights In The Catholic Church covers Catholic Church law only; it does not address governmental law, or religious law for other churches. Chapters spell out what the letter of the sacrament states about the right of Catholics to voice opinions (though not the direct, open, and stubborn rejection of the Church's teachings), have protection of their privacy, freedom of inquiry, seek vindication of their rights, and much more. The final chapter describes in depth the steps for seeking vindication according to Church due process, including hierarchical recourse and advocate assistance. The answers to common questions such as "Can the Christian faithful be denied the Church's funeral rites?", "May parishoners hold title to the assets of a parish?", and "What rights are accorded to those who make allegations of sexual misconduct against a cleric? What obligations do they have?" will prove especially useful to the reader seeking to better understand the Church's legal systems and grievance procedures. Though not lengthy enough to cover all of the Church's laws in-depth, A Concise Guide To Your Rights In The Catholic Church is enthusiastically recommended for practical reference and use.

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