Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Book from Ignatius Press: Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church

The quest for a path to corporate reunion between Anglicans and the Catholic Church is a relatively obscure topic for most modern observers.  It is probably fair to say that most Catholics and Anglicans are unaware of or have only a vague understanding of the history of that quest, one that stretches back until at least the 17th century.  Even now, a year and a half after the promulgation by Pope Benedict of Anglicanorum coetibus in November of 2009, the very existence of this ground-breaking document is still unknown to most Catholics and Anglicans, let alone it's enormous progress to date.  Still more obscure is the history of the Pastoral Provision.

With the publication of Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church: Reflections on Recent Developments (Ignatius Press, 2011), a collection of essays on the subject, those of us who have been laboring to explain the origins of Anglicanorum coetibus to whomever is willing to listen have a valuable resource at their fingertips.  Many of the contributors are former Anglican priests who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood through the Pastoral Provision.  One of them, Bishop Peter Elliott, was not married and so was able to become a Catholic bishop.  Another is a woman who relinquished holy orders in the Episcopal Church to enter the Catholic Church. The essays are grouped into four categories, explaining the historical, canonical, theological and liturgical aspects of the relationship between Anglicans and the Catholic Church.  Most were written before the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus, and they provide a telling picture of just how precarious was the future of the Anglican Use before November 4, 2009.

Most of the essays were first published in Anglican Embers, a quarterly journal of the Anglican Use Society (AUS), whose purpose is to support existing Anglican Use Parishes and to promote the Pastoral Provision. I first heard several of the essays as talks delivered at the Society's annual Anglican Use conferences.  The editor of the book is also the editor of Anglican Embers, Stephen Cavanaugh, who worships with the Anglican Use congregation of St. Athanasius in Boston and moderates the blog, The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite.

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