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Ecclesial Repentance: The Churches Confront Their Sinful Pasts
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Ecclesial Repentance: The Churches Confront Their Sinful Pasts


T&T Clark 2011

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


This book is a theological reflection on churches repenting of events and convictions they have held in the past. In part one, Jeremy Bergen describes ecclesial repentance by “breadth” and “depth.” Specifically, he discusses actions of the church against the unity of the church itself and the Jewish people. Then the “Western colonial project” is examined with its attendant oppression of subjugated peoples. Bergen then moves on to address issues like clergy sexual abuse, the crusades, science, ecological matters, and Pope John Paul II’s Day of Pardon. In part two, Bergen argues that “ecclesial repentance reflects the church’s nature and mission” and can contribute to broader social reconciliation.

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Save more when you purchase this book as part of the T&T Clark Studies in Ethics collection.

Key Features

  • Presents a theological reflection on church repentance
  • Discusses actions of the church against the unity of the church itself and the Jewish people
  • Examines the impact ecclesial repentance can have on the church’s social reconciliation


  • Division Among the People of God
  • Western Colonialism and Its Legacy
  • Sexual Abuse, Violence, Injustice
  • Day of Pardon
  • The Communion of Saints
  • Sin and the Holiness of the Church
  • Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Praise for the Print Edition

Should the church—can the church—repent? How can the living be held responsible for the faults of past generations? If the church is constantly ‘apologizing’ for everything imaginable, does she not risk trivializing herself? In this remarkable book, Jeremy Bergen displays a sure hand in addressing questions like these. It is not political correctness that bids the church repent, he argues, but love of neighbor and fidelity to the Crucified. An important and timely study.

Joseph Mangina, Wycliffe College, Toronto School of Theology

This is a wonderful example of systematic ecclesiological inquiry that is disciplined both by faithful dialogue with the doctrinal tradition and by critical engagement with what churches and church people are actually doing.

—Nicholas Healy, assistant chair and professor of theology and religious studies, St. John’s University

With grace, courage, and a discerning spirit, Jeremy Bergen offers an account of ecclesial repentance worthy of a pilgrim people, a church at once reconciled and always on the journey toward full reconciliation. Christian communities would do well to use this volume in a process of communal examination of conscience.

—Margaret Pfeil, Theology Department, University of Notre Dame

Product Details

About Jeremy M. Bergen

Jeremy M. Bergen earned his PhD from the University of St. Michael’s College and is assistant professor of religious studies and theology at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo in Canada.