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handing on the faith available

Added on by Matthew Sutton.
Handing on the Faith cover

My new co-edited book, Handing on the Faith, is now available! Edited with William Portier, this book is the Annual Volume of the College Theology Society and collects essays that explore the theme of how theology and catechesis interact. Is theology “handing on the faith,” or is the vocation of the theologian something more/different? What are the challenges and convergences for theology and catechesis in the classroom? This book offers the reflections and analyses of teachers across a broad spectrum of experience, background, and personal convictions vis-à-vis the importance of catechesis in the college classroom.

From the introduction:

Just about mid-way through the four-year commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, members of the College Theology Society (CTS) gathered in May 2013 at Creighton University in Omaha for the fifty-ninth Annual Meeting. In a signature passage from the Introduction to Gaudium et Spes, the Council recalled the church’s “duty in every age of examin- ing the signs of the times and interpreting them in light of the gospel …”[1] One of the signs of the times needing interpretation is what Sandra Yocum, in her 2007 history of the CTS, described as a “revolution in theological studies in every aspect from who produces theology to what is produced, from who teaches to who learns, and from where theological studies take place to what is actually taught in the undergraduate college classrooms.”[2] Professors and students are still changing. The “revolution” continues.

Here is the index:

  • “The Gospel and the Education of Our Undergraduates” - Sandra Yocum

Part I: Convergences

  • “The Heart Has Its Reasons: Giving an Account of the Hope That Is in Us” - Robert P. Imbelli
  • “Cardinal Dulles and the New Evangelization” - Anne-Marie Kirmse, O.P.
  • “Giving God the First Word: Spirituality as the Bridge between Catechesis and Theology” - Christopher Collins, S.J.
  • Hans Urs von Balthasar as Source for Teaching Theology in North American Higher Education" - Christopher Hadley, S.J.
  • “No More Time for Nostalgia: Millennial Morality and a Catholic Tradition Mash-Up” - Maureen H. O’Connell

Part II: Teaching Theology

  • “‘For I Handed on to You as of First Importance What I Myself Had Received’: Theologians and Handing on the Faith” - Aurelie A. Hagstrom
  • “Teaching Theology and Handing on the Faith: One Institutional Perspective” - David Gentry-Akin
  • “Handing on the Faith as a Guest, and Teaching Theology When You’re Not Teaching Theology” - Andrew D. Black
  • “‘Turn, Turn, Turn’: Considering Conversion in the Theology Classroom” - Katherine G. Schmidt
  • “Nurturing Aesthetic Sensibility, Religious Imagination, and the Use of Analogy in the Academic Life of Contemporary College Students” - Mary-Paula Cancienne, R.S.M.
  • “Beyond Sunday School: Affirming Faith, Challenging Knowledge in the College Classroom” - Emily Dykman, Michael Lopez-Kaley, and Laura Nettles
  • “Challenges Theologians Face Teaching about Marriage and Family” - Felicidad Oberholzer

Part III: Implications

  • “The True Knowledge of Religion and of the Christian Doctrine: Robinson Crusoe as Catechist and Theologian” - Curtis W. Freeman
  • “A Crisis in Catholic Identity: Lessons Learned from Catholic Relief Services” - Christine Tucker
  • “What We Have Loved, Others Will Love” - Donna Orsuto

It was a real sacrificial pleasure to work on this important project. I hope you’ll consider buying a copy of Handing on the Faith from Orbis Books or Amazon.


  1. Documents of the Ecumenical Councils, vol. II (Trent to Vatican II), edited by Norman P. Tanner, S.J. (London and Washington, DC: Sheed & Ward and Georgetown University Press, 1990), 1070.  ↩

  2. Sandra Yocum Mize, Joining the Revolution in Theology: The College Theology Society, 1954–2004 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), 4.  ↩

more good words about my book

Added on by Matthew Sutton.

"Hans Urs von Balthasar is increasingly acknowledged as one of the greatest theologians of the Christian tradition. Unquestionably, he was master of Western civilization as few have ever been and brought all into the key of Christ. His spiritual mentor in this vast undertaking was Adrienne von Speyr, whose work von Balthasar held to be more important than his own. Karl Rahner famously observed that the Christian of the twenty-first century would be a mystic-or not be at all. Adrienne von Speyr models this for us: she was gifted with a 'cataract of mystical graces.' Matthew Lewis Sutton's deep penetration into her mystical gifts offers an excellent introduction to her unique vision and also helps hit the 'reveal codes' button for von Balthasar's theology."

  • Raymond Gawronski (Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Berkeley, CA)

"This book has the potential to do for Adrienne von Speyr's theology what Father Edward Oakes's Pattern of Redemption did for Hans Urs von Balthasar's in the mid-1990s, in this case by accessibly introducing Adrienne to a generation of students and scholars. Focusing on the center of her thought-the opening of heaven through Christ's obedience so that we can share even now in the relationships that characterize the life of the divine Trinity, in light of her own experience of mystical penetration into the Father's sending of the Son and Spirit-Matthew Lewis Sutton ably presents Adrienne's teaching on the full panoply of theological topics. The convergence of her theology with von Balthasar's is striking."

  • Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary)

"Matthew Lewis Sutton's thorough, unpretentious, and lucid introduction to the person and work of Adrienne von Speyr is now the standard guide in English. Indeed, I suspect it will remain the standard for many years to come. If you're looking for an excellent introduction to Adrienne von Speyr, look no further."

  • Rodney Howsare (DeSales University)

"Matthew Lewis Sutton's explication of Adrienne von Speyr's insight into Christian spirituality untangles the style of the mystical writer, giving the reader access into the deep vision of this contemporary woman, which is too often dismissed as simplistic due to her uncomplicated language by some and as impenetrable due to her circular manner of her writing by others. Sutton's work uncovers wealth within subtlety and gives access to a truly inspired writer for sincere seekers of God's presence in the world. It is a must-read for those who have approached von Speyr but found her difficult to follow."

  • Justin M. Matro (Saint Vincent Seminary)

Please preorder Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr.

good words about my book

Added on by Matthew Sutton.

"In this significant monograph, Matthew Lewis Sutton brings expositional clarity and conceptual rigour to the extensive textual legacy of Adrienne von Speyr. It is a real accomplishment that this is achieved without any unnecessary sacrifice of the vibrancy and immediacy of her Trinitarian mystical theology. But perhaps the greatest achievement of this volume is to demonstrate that von Speyr's contemplative work is worthy of attention and study, not simply as an adjunct of the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, but in its own impressive right."

— Paul T. Nimmo University of Aberdeen

Please preorder Heaven Opens.

on suffering book available

Added on by Matthew Sutton.
On Suffering Cover Page.jpg

My co-edited book, On Suffering: An Inter-disciplinary Dialogue on Narrative and Meaning of Suffering, is published and available. This book gathers really smart academics from around the world from different disciplines who are interested in finding meaning in human suffering.

My friend and co-editor, Nate Hinerman, are happy to have brought these good people together to dialogue on an essential question. Why do we suffer?

This book offers many different answers from many different perspectives. You will find a critical debate here about the scope of one's narrative of meaning--is the meaning-making of suffering personal, communal, or meta-narrative?

I hope you will read our book as you consider how to make sense of suffering.

On Suffering: An Inter-disciplinary Dialogue on Narrative and the Meaning of Suffering

On Suffering: An Inter-disciplinary Dialogue on Narrative and the Meaning of Suffering

buy it here or here.