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Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Christian Families as Domestic Churches

Florence Caffrey Bourg

“Both the gathered and domestic church owe Florence Caffey Bourg a debt of gratitude for her thoughtful and thought-provoking study, Where Two or Three are Gathered. Drawing upon a remarkably wide range of literature, she invites us as community to reflect systematically about our Catholic faith and the family, a topic that is all too often marginalized, sentimentalized, pathologized, or overly romanticized in religious discourse. By creating a discourse between the fields of ecclesiology, virtue theory, social ethics, and spirituality, she sheds light on the family as the basic cell of church and society. This is constructive theology at its best, since her study has both important theoretical and pastoral implications.” —Wendy M. Wright, Creighton University

“The quality of Florence Bourg’s research is outstanding—thorough, balanced, and nuanced. This excellent book takes an important step toward addressing the deficiency that exists in the scholarly literature on marriage and family.” —Joann Heaney-Hunter, St. John’s University, New York

Since its retrieval by the Second Vatican Council, the idea of Christian families as “domestic churches” has slowly but steadily gained favor among Catholics. Striking a careful balance between academic theology and practical spirituality, Florence Caffrey Bourg provides a comprehensive analysis of the home and family as one of the most authentic and important locations of the faith community. Bourg draws on literature pertaining to domestic churches from the period of Vatican II to the present to explore the concept of domestic church in relation to the Catholic theological traditions of sacramentality, virtue, and the consistent ethic of life.

Bourg examines the role of families—as basic cells of society and church—in character education, formation of religious identity and vision, and creation of more just social structures. She provides a foundational treatment of Christian family life as a proper concern of systematic theology, especially ecclesiology. Her analysis leads her to conclude that the increasing interest in domestic church presents a consensus-building opportunity the Catholic church cannot afford to ignore.

Where Two or Three Are Gathered offers the first comprehensive theological treatment of domestic church, and contains memorable real-life stories that help to illustrate larger theological points. This timely and important book will appeal to anyone interested in the potentially sacred significance of ordinary activity and the relationship of Christian faith and family life.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04405-3
240 pages
Publication Year: 2004

Florence Caffrey Bourg is adjunct faculty at Loyola Institute for Ministry, Loyola University New Orleans.

“This thoughtful and at times very personal exploration of the Christian family as domestic church provides an excellent and accurate overview of recent developments in Roman Catholic teaching on this subject. The book also contributes significantly to an understanding of the household as a locus for evangelisation and training in the virtues. . . . I applaud Bourg’s constructive theological work on behalf of the family.” — Studies in Christian Ethics

“. . . A carefully researched and constructed paradigm for thinking about the role of the family within the Church. It offers a refreshing and needed vision regarding the centrality of families as tiny communities where we may discern God’s presence and action in human lives.” — Theological Studies

“. . . Wonderful . . . This book will be a great resource for any family or small, faith-based group, or for a marriage course. . . .” — Catholic Library World

“. . . A most welcome contribution, attempting with great care and humility to offer some systematic reflections that are both enlightening and a stimulus to action. [T]he ecumenical significance of her work is compelling.” — Theology Today

“. . . A helpful contribution to theology of the family, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, practical theology, and lay spirituality. With discipline and creativity, she digs into traditional theological resources . . . to articulate theological frameworks for living within the tensions of contemporary family life.” — Journal of Religion

“This is an important book . . . Florence Caffrey Bourg has given us a start for building a theology of family that is thoughtful, practical, and action filled.” — catholicbooksreview.org

Where Two or Three are Gathered is a much needed illustration of how Christians, and especially Catholics, can better understand their call to marriage and family in its ecclesial dimenson and thus more intentionally ‘find God in every day life’. . . [It] is a timely, important, and carefully written book that is original, persuasive, and vital for the greater self-understanding of Christian families and the longed-for transformation of the world at the center of Catholic social thought.” — Spiritus

“Hopefully, this book will be widely read since it develops a theology and spirituality especially of the laity that is not abstract but deeply rooted in the everyday lives of the faithful.” — Journal for the Study of Marriage and Spirituality

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Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Christian Families as Domestic Churches

Florence Caffrey Bourg

 Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Christian Families as Domestic Churches
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

“Both the gathered and domestic church owe Florence Caffey Bourg a debt of gratitude for her thoughtful and thought-provoking study, Where Two or Three are Gathered. Drawing upon a remarkably wide range of literature, she invites us as community to reflect systematically about our Catholic faith and the family, a topic that is all too often marginalized, sentimentalized, pathologized, or overly romanticized in religious discourse. By creating a discourse between the fields of ecclesiology, virtue theory, social ethics, and spirituality, she sheds light on the family as the basic cell of church and society. This is constructive theology at its best, since her study has both important theoretical and pastoral implications.” —Wendy M. Wright, Creighton University

“The quality of Florence Bourg’s research is outstanding—thorough, balanced, and nuanced. This excellent book takes an important step toward addressing the deficiency that exists in the scholarly literature on marriage and family.” —Joann Heaney-Hunter, St. John’s University, New York

Since its retrieval by the Second Vatican Council, the idea of Christian families as “domestic churches” has slowly but steadily gained favor among Catholics. Striking a careful balance between academic theology and practical spirituality, Florence Caffrey Bourg provides a comprehensive analysis of the home and family as one of the most authentic and important locations of the faith community. Bourg draws on literature pertaining to domestic churches from the period of Vatican II to the present to explore the concept of domestic church in relation to the Catholic theological traditions of sacramentality, virtue, and the consistent ethic of life.

Bourg examines the role of families—as basic cells of society and church—in character education, formation of religious identity and vision, and creation of more just social structures. She provides a foundational treatment of Christian family life as a proper concern of systematic theology, especially ecclesiology. Her analysis leads her to conclude that the increasing interest in domestic church presents a consensus-building opportunity the Catholic church cannot afford to ignore.

Where Two or Three Are Gathered offers the first comprehensive theological treatment of domestic church, and contains memorable real-life stories that help to illustrate larger theological points. This timely and important book will appeal to anyone interested in the potentially sacred significance of ordinary activity and the relationship of Christian faith and family life.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04405-3

240 pages

“This thoughtful and at times very personal exploration of the Christian family as domestic church provides an excellent and accurate overview of recent developments in Roman Catholic teaching on this subject. The book also contributes significantly to an understanding of the household as a locus for evangelisation and training in the virtues. . . . I applaud Bourg’s constructive theological work on behalf of the family.” — Studies in Christian Ethics

“. . . A carefully researched and constructed paradigm for thinking about the role of the family within the Church. It offers a refreshing and needed vision regarding the centrality of families as tiny communities where we may discern God’s presence and action in human lives.” — Theological Studies

“. . . Wonderful . . . This book will be a great resource for any family or small, faith-based group, or for a marriage course. . . .” — Catholic Library World

“. . . A most welcome contribution, attempting with great care and humility to offer some systematic reflections that are both enlightening and a stimulus to action. [T]he ecumenical significance of her work is compelling.” — Theology Today

“. . . A helpful contribution to theology of the family, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, practical theology, and lay spirituality. With discipline and creativity, she digs into traditional theological resources . . . to articulate theological frameworks for living within the tensions of contemporary family life.” — Journal of Religion

“This is an important book . . . Florence Caffrey Bourg has given us a start for building a theology of family that is thoughtful, practical, and action filled.” — catholicbooksreview.org

Where Two or Three are Gathered is a much needed illustration of how Christians, and especially Catholics, can better understand their call to marriage and family in its ecclesial dimenson and thus more intentionally ‘find God in every day life’. . . [It] is a timely, important, and carefully written book that is original, persuasive, and vital for the greater self-understanding of Christian families and the longed-for transformation of the world at the center of Catholic social thought.” — Spiritus

“Hopefully, this book will be widely read since it develops a theology and spirituality especially of the laity that is not abstract but deeply rooted in the everyday lives of the faithful.” — Journal for the Study of Marriage and Spirituality