Toward the end of his splendid new history of Catholics in the United States (The Faithful, Harvard University Press), James M. O’Toole writes that the church of the twenty-first century is not likely to include broader lay participation in decision making. That’s because, he notes, “too often, bishops still compare such participation to the ‘abuse’ of trusteeism.”
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Rodger Van Allen is professor of theology and religion at Villanova University. He is the author of The Commonweal and American Catholicism (Fortress, 1974) and Being Catholic: Commonweal from the Seventies to the Nineties (Loyola University Press, 1993).