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Torture and Eucharist (Challenges in Contemporary Theology)by William T. Cavanaugh
Synopses & Reviews
In this engrossing analysis, Cavanaugh contends that the Eucharist is the Church's response to the use of torture as a social discipline. The author develops a theology of the political which presents torture as one instance of a larger confrontation of powers over bodies, both individual and social. He argues that a Christian practice of the political is embodied in Jesus' own torture at the hands of the powers of this world. The analysis of torture therefore is situated within wider discussions in the fields of ecclesiology and the state, social ethics and human rights, and sacramental theology.
The book focuses on the experience of Chile and the Catholic Church there, before and during the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, 1973-1990. Cavanaugh has first-hand experience of working with the Church in Chile, and his interviews with ecclesiastical officials and grassroots Church workers speak directly to the reader. The book uses this example to examine the theoretical bases of twentieth-century "social catholicism" and its inability to resist the disciplines of the state, in contrast to a truer Christian practice of the political in the Eucharist.
The book as a whole ties eucharistic theology to concrete eucharistic practice, showing that the Eucharist is not a "symbol" but a real cathartic summary of the practices by which God forms people into the Body of Christ, producing a sense of communion stronger than that of any nation-state.
In this analysis, the author contends that the Eucharist is the Church's response to the use of torture as a social discipline. He develops a theology of the political which presents torture as one instance of a larger confrontation of powers over bodies, both individual and social.
In this engrossing analysis, Cavanaugh contends that the Eucharist is the Church's response to the use of torture as a social discipline.
About the Author
William T. Cavanaugh is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of St Thomas, St Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of several articles, including A Fire Strong Enough to Consume the House: The Wars of Religion and the Rise of the State (Modern Theology, Vol. 11 No. 4, 1995).
Table of Contents
Part I: Torture and Disappearance as an Ecclesiological Problem:.
1. Torture as Liturgy.
2. Torture and Fragmentation.
3. The Striptease of Power.
4. Habeas Corpus.
Part II: The Church Learns How to be Oppressed:.
5. Christians for Socialism.
6."Torture Isn't Everything".
7. The Stubborn Monkey.
8. "I Am Jesus, Whom You Are Persecuting".
9. The Church as Russia.
Part III: The Ecclesiology of a Disappearing Church:.
10. An Amiable Divorce.
11. The Rise of "Social Catholicism".
12. Catholic Action in Chile.
Part IV: A Distinction of Planes:.
13. Maritain Among Us.
14. The Minimum of Body.
15. New Christendom.
16. The Disappearance of the Church.
17. The End of the Story.
Part V: The True Body of Christ:.
18. The Mystical and the True.
19. Until He Comes.
20. Re-membering Christ.
21. Making the Body Visible.
Part VI: Performing the Body of Christ:.
22. "But Father, Look at This Body".
23. Knitting the Social Fabric.
24. Mysterious Channels.
25. Torture and Eucharist.
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