Saturday, August 11, 2012

The English Reformation Today, Episode Two

Today we are going to look at the history of the history of the English Reformation briefly on my radio show, just to set up the context for examining the status of the Catholic Church in England before Henry VIII broke away from Rome. The great guide to this era for me has been Eamon Duffy, whose books The Stripping of the Altars, The Voices of Morebath, Marking the Hours, and his latest, Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformations, offer great insights into the religious changes that occurred during the Tudor Dynasty. His work is always based on research from primary sources.

Here's a couple of articles I wrote for summarizing his descriptions of Holy Week and the Triduum.

The other study that informs my understanding of how historians have written about the history of the English Reformation is English Catholic Historians and the English Reformation by John Vidmar, OP. Unfortunately, it is very expensive, as is Aidan Nichols' The Panther and the Hind: A Theological History of Anglicanism, which covers some very good ground of how historians/theologians in the Church of England viewed its history, especially Richard Hooker:

At a time if division and crisis in the Church of England, its identity and mission have come into question as never before. Its own members, but also the wider community of Christians in both East and West, need to understand its history and the reasons for its present crisis, as well as the distinctive contribution it can make to the Great Church of the future. Aidan Nichols provides a clear summary and analysis of the history of the Church of England by way of a sensitive appraisal of its rich theological tradition. This also gives the reader a firm grasp of the context of the issues currently being discussed by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. Aidan Nichols, O.P. is a member of the Dominican community at Blackfriars, Cambridge. He is the author of Rome and the Eastern Churches, The Shape of Catholic Theology and many other books.

I welcome all listeners of Radio Maria US to my blog, whether you're listening on one of their radio stations or on line or through one of their apps. Next week on The English Reformation Today we'll discuss Henry VIII, the Break from Rome, and its consequences during his reign. I invite you to call in with questions and comments toll-free at 866-333-MARY(6279).

And here's the mystery to consider this week and the next couple of weeks: if, as the evidence Eamon Duffy and others have offered demonstrates, the Catholic faithful in England were so devoted to the services and Sacraments of the Church, why did they ultimately go along with the changes that Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Elizabeth I introduced through Parliamentary laws and enforcement?

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