Thursday, August 1, 2013
Book Review: Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony
I have submitted a review of this slender volume to the St. Austin Review (StAR) but I also promised I'd offer a review on my blog, so here are some comments about this brief, but very thorough, analysis of the Personal Ordinariate--only 82 pages! (Note that this is NOT what I submitted to StAR.)
Although there are only 82 pages in this book, it is filled with insights from Father Aidan Nichols, OP, and like many fine books, it leads the reader to other books, specifically two by the author: The Panther and the Hind and The Realm. It leads to those books directly, because Father Nichols mentions them in the text--but it could also leads to another book, Christendom Awake. Those three books precede this book precisely because in the last chapter of Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony, Nichols highlights the mission of the Anglican Ordinariate as being a great leader in the New Evangelization and in the goal of the conversion of England.
In the first chapter, Father Nichols places the founding of the Anglican Ordinariates in the context of the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England, proposing that it is the logical result of that tradition and those within it yearning for the true Church while finding their position in the Church of England untenable.
In the second chapter he examines Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's vision for true Christian unity and the role of beatiful and ordered liturgy, noting that four of the religious communities Benedict XVI focused on (The Society of Pope Pius X, a certain group of Lutherans, the Eastern Orthodox, and the Anglo-Catholic, High Church Anglicans) each place a high value on such liturgy.
In the penultimate chapter--the one which I found least helpful--Father Nichols looks at the decisions about the Anglican Use for the Personal Ordinariate. I found this chapter least helpful simply because it seemed inconclusive.
Finally, in the last chapter he presents his thesis that the Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony can answer the call he made in The Realm for the conversion of England. He believes that since these Catholics are more "native" to England they will be able to reach out to English culture more easily. He also notes that since these Catholics have not been involved in some of the confusions between left and right in the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council they can reach out to disaffected Catholics more easily.
In summary, although the book is very short, it is comprehensive and instructive.