Msgr. Paul McPartlan

Crichton Lecture 2024

We are delighted to announce that the Crichton Lecture 2024 will be given by Mgr Paul McPartlan who will speak on The Priesthood of All Believers.  The lecture will be on Zoom at 11.00am on Saturday 23 November.  Both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

The priesthood of the faithful is one of the most significant doctrines of Vatican II, which taught that this priesthood and the ministerial priesthood are ‘ordered one to another’, and that both are exercised in the celebration of the Eucharist.  The accent in Catholic thought and life still tends to be rather unilaterally on the priesthood of the presider.  The reception and implementation of the full conciliar teaching, intended to help revitalise the Church’s mission in the world, remains a significant challenge.  The lecture will consider the origins of the idea of the priesthood of the faithful, and its recovery as part of the 20th century ressourcement that fed into the council. It will then reflect on what the council taught, how this doctrine relates to the council’s overall programme, and what is meant by the famous phrase that the priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood differ essentia et non gradu tantum.  It will then turn to the core question of how the priesthood of the faithful is exercised in the liturgy, as the source and summit of a priestly Christian life.  Reformation polemic has greatly marked the history of this doctrine in the West, so how do things look now ecumenically, also with an eye to the Christian East?  The lecture will finally consider some ecological implications of the doctrine.

Paul McPartlan is a priest of the diocese of Westminster and Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at the Catholic University of America.  After studies in Cambridge and Rome, he gained his doctorate at Oxford in 1990.  He served for several years in a London parish, and then taught theology at Heythrop College in the University of London (1995-2005) and at Catholic University in Washington (2005-2023).  He was a member of the International Theological Commission for ten years, and a member of the international Methodist-Roman Catholic theological dialogue also for ten years.  Since 2005, he has been a member of the international Roman Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue.  He is the author of The Eucharist Makes the Church: Henri de Lubac and John Zizioulas in Dialogue (1993, 2006), Sacrament of Salvation: An Introduction to Eucharistic Ecclesiology (1995), A Service of Love: Papal Primacy, the Eucharist, and Church Unity (2016), and over a hundred articles on ecclesiology and ecumenism. H e co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Ecumenical Studies (2021).

Share This