Page 3, 31st October 1958

31st October 1958
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Page 3, 31st October 1958 — Five modern Popes on Christian unity
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Five modern Popes on Christian unity

THAT THEY MAY BE ONE: a study of papal doctrine (Leo XIII-Pius XII). by Gregory Baum, O.S.A. (Bloomsbury Publishing Co., London, 21s.)

AFTER definitions de Me, nothing can be more authoritative and important than the official pronouncements of the Popes, hence this book on papal teaching concerning the unity of the Church will be invaluable to all students, whether priests or laity. It will also prove most informative to the many non-Catholics who are interested in the " ecumenical movement ".

Fr. Baum defines Catholic ecumenism as " the Church's appointed function in severed Christianity which consists in fostering towards perfection the wounded Christian patrimonies in dissidence and in reducing towards elimination the human falsifications associated with them". It sounds a rather ponderous definition, but it embodies the necessary elements. Fr. Baum defines a Christian, not in the technical and objective sense of a baptised person, but in the broad sense as " a man who acknowledges Jesus Christ as God and Saviour " This definition, he points out, excludes those who call themselves Christians but deny the Godhead of Christ; but it includes, at least theoretically. all members of communities belonging to the World Council of Churches.

Dissident Churches

THE five chapters of the book deal respectively with the unity of the Church (including a note on membership); dissident Christians (including the relation of these to the Catholic Church); dissident Churches (the separated Churches of the East, and the supernatural good in them); Catholic ecumenism: its foundation (the Catholicity and motherhood of the Catholic Church, with a note on Our Lady); Catholic ecumenism: its exercise (the World Council of Churches, the ecumenical attitude. and ecumenical charity).

There is an extensive appendix of notes to the text of each chapter. and a general index; also a bibliography of the recent documents of the Holy Sec cited or referred to (101 of them, covering the reigns of Leo XIII. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI and 31 pronouncements of the late Holy Father). There is also given the doctrinal part of the letter from the Holy Office (August 8. 1949) to Archbishop Cushing of Boston. dealing with the meaning of the dictum " No salvation outside the Church "-obviously a vitally irnportant document.

This book is scholarly in the full sense, on account of its wide documentation and relevant commentary. It provides a unique synthesis of its subject and so will save students much research Posthumous Knox

LITERARY DISTRACTIONS, by R. A. Knox (Sheed & Ward. Hs.)

I ITERARY DISTRACI ICCNS '4 might well be called " Literary Attractions", for this book is

sure to be a magnet to all lovers of literature.

The author gave these essays to the publishers, arranged in the present sequence, some time before he died; they all are pieces which he himself selected. Their sources are mainly three: lectures given on special occasions (notably the Romanes Lecture at Oxford in 1957 " On English Translation ''); essays included in books; and in two cases in periodicals.

The scholar will probably turn first to "The Greeks at Sea " the opening essay, although even neophytes have heard of Homer and his wine-dark sea; also to "Pascal" (" posthumously, as in life and in death, remains an enigma "); also to " Dr. Johnson " (" a man whose understanding had a range and a depth unexampled. certainly in his period"); probably also to " Richard Crashaw " (" such a man as would have adorned, by his genius. any University, and, by his holiness. any Church ")-he was, though some may not know it, an ardent Catholic; Mgr. Knox quotes him frequently.

Ingoldsby Legends) THOSE who favour unusual side' lights in history will delight in '' The Man who tried to convert the Pope" (you must read the essay to discover who he washe really existed). Every student of English literature will, I think, enjoy and chuckle over " The Ingoldsby Legends" (who has not done so over " The Jackdaw of Rheims "?) those amazingly clever, partly learned and partly ignorant, often highly irreverent, but inimitable verses of the Rev. Richard Harris Barham.

" Listen to this," writes Mgr. Knox (the quotation is from "The Ingoldsby Penance "):

Never, I trow, have the servi servortim

Had before 'ens

Such a breach of decorum, Such a gross violation of morum bonarum.

-but he does not quote the probably best bit of all, which immediately follows ".And won't have again saecula sacculoruml" "Belloc's Verse " will draw many; Belloc. Knox contends, is unclassifiable. But the general reader will rejoice especially in " Detective Stories", together with "G. K. Chesterton " and " Father Brown" I rejoice to note that Mgr. Knox attributes to the Father Brown stories great art and philosophy combined; recently re-reading them I was struck by the sheer literary beauty, apart from the story itself, which you meet on almost every page.

Spiritual guidance

GUIDANCE IN SPIRITUAL DIRECTION, by Charles Hugo Doyle (The Mercier Press. Cork, 21s.).

FR. DOYLE in this book laments the dearth of spiritual experts in the sense of directors of souls, not merely preachers or confessors stating what is objectively sin or not; and he urges the increase of interest in such spiritual direction " The dual purpose of this book. then." he writes. " is to interest more priests in becoming spiritual directors in the fullest sense of the word, and, at the same time, to provide. in as logical and simple manner as possible, fundamental rules in spiritual guidance as found in the writings of the great masters of the spiritual life"

This substantial book of some 300 pages certainly provides the means of increasing such interest; even though many hard-worked priests may (smiling grimly) ask where they are to find the time and the energy.

In the 14 chapters the author travels the fields of both theory and practice, embodying an immense amount of material on such points as prayer, the vices and virtues, temptation and recollection, proceeding from the " purgative" way through the illuminative to the unitive, the goal of perfection; in the course of which are given many quotations and practical methods (e.g., Dom Chautard's four basic rules. pp. 44-5).

This is primarily and eminently a book for priests. and any priest will find it a lifelong treasury. It may be also recommended to the thoughtful Catholics who are bent on ruling out fault or in seeking perfection. Perhaps there arc more of them than is commonly suspected!

For Religious

OUR LADY: QUEEN OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE, by Louis Colin, C.SS.R., translated from the French by Sister Maria Constance and Sister Agnes Therese. Sisters of Charity of Halifax, U.S.A. (The Mercier Press, ISs.).

nUR BLESSED LADY is Queen

of all, in heaven and earth; this truth has in recent times been stressed by the Church in the titles " Mediatrix of all Graces" and " Queen of the Universe". In this book Fr. Louis Colin, of the Redemptorist Congregation in France, treats the question of Mary in her relation to those who are vowed to the religious life.

An objection which may be felt -though perhaps a mild one-to this and many other devotional works (on Mary and on other subjects) is their tendency to discursiveness, rather than a coherence and precision which gives a clearcut outline and synthetic picture.

The highly discursive style suffers from overlapping and tends to redundancy. on the other hand it embodies a wealth of thought and illustration. But it needs much patient reading; though such reading-as it is intended primarily and directly for religious-this book will no doubt receive.




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