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Thomas Merton played a critical role in facilitating and embodying a revolutionary paradigm shift in Catholic life and thought. His public grappling with the issues raised by this shift in the life of the Catholic Church provided a vocabulary with which a generation of seekers has attempted to frame an on-going discussion regarding the future of the Catholic Church. Consequently Merton's life and thought continue to be guideposts for spiritual pilgrims confronting issues of authority in the church, a changing moral landscape and the contemporary crisis in the Catholic Church. Part One of the book describes this profound paradigm shift and locates Merton's developing thought within that landscape. It places Merton's thought within the larger framework of the Catholic imagination as described by David Tracy, Andrew Greeley, and Thomas Groome. The landmark research of Robert Wuthnow of Princeton University concerning the nature of contemporary spiritual-seeking, provides a framework that helps to identify Merton's continuing relevance for the study of spirituality. Parts Two and Three discuss Merton's lasting importance for contemporary spirituality.
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About the Author
Fred Herron is a member of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at St. John's University, chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies at Fontbonne Hall Academy, Brooklyn, New York and Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Clare's parish in Great Kills. He is author of Wood, Waterfalls and Stars (University Press of America, 2001) and Immortal Longings: Meeting Jesus Along the Way (University Press of America, 2000).