The clerical abuse crisis facing the Catholic Church has brought into question the theology of the ministerial priesthood. The French School of spirituality, founded by Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629), had a major influence on seminary formation as late as the Second Vatican Council. Reflected, in part, in St. John Paul II's exhortation Pastore Dabo Vobis, it again enjoys a worldwide appeal.
This monograph is an in-depth appraisal of Bérulle's influence on the development of the theology of priesthood through his use of concepts adapted from the realms of speculative mysticism and applied metaphysics. Key notions related to the Christological debates of the Reformation and Counter Reformation eras include such concepts as subsistence, relation, substance, obediential potency, person, causality, image, being, and more. Bérulle created a sea change in the theology of priesthood, heretofore unrecognized, as his ideals survived mainly in formation literature, long under-explored by scholars, who have passed over this category of work in particular and spiritual theology in general.