The message of this appropriately titled work is, in effect, that the Church is its was worst enemy--that is, that the institutional Church has been in the past the principal impediment, and may be in the future the nemesis, of the Church as a community of ""the People of God."" Mrs. Ruether's book is a serious, even a scholarly, ecclesiological study which has as its object to determine the proper place of a human Church in a human world; and that object is pursued by means of a calm evaluation of traditional ecclesiological values, by the determining of the historical bases for a new approach to the concept of the Church as a human institution, and finally by an outline of what the Church, qua institution, must become for the future if it is to survive effectively. There can be little doubt that if Mrs. Ruether had written twenty years ago she would have been branded a heretic. Even today, her book will shock many and scandalize not a few, for she lays violent hands on papal infallibility itself. She does so, however, with a candor and a soundness of approach that will disarm the scholarly reader for whom, it is obvious, the book is intended. For that audience, this may well be one of the most important works to appear since the convocation of Vatican II.