TH40Es.CLALL OF THE CLOISTER, by Peter F. Anson (S.P.C.K., ONE of the paradoxes of this extraordinary hook is that it deals not with Catholic cloisters but with Anglican monks and nuns.
Its 640 pages bulge with facts about every known living and extinct species of religious order founded in that Communion, from the first strange and pathetic attempt in the time of Charles 1, at Little (Adding, to those founded in the past few ycars. This is a paradox because the Anglican heresy began with a flaming hatred of all things monastic.
Another astonishing paradox is that the writer is no Anglican, but a devout Catholic. Yet there is no word of hurt in its pages, perhaps because he himself once lived on the other side and indeed at Caldey in its Anglican days.
The degree of affinity to the Catholic Church of alt these institutions varies considerably. Some, especially among the men, have in fact been received into the Church, the most important being the Society of the Atonement, which was received as a corporate body into the Church and allowed by the Holy See to preserve its corporate entity.
The book is well illustrated, chiefly with photographs of Anglican churches and chapels. Catholics have something to learn from these in matters of taste.
The zeal of these seekers after perfection shines through the book: the lack of guidance also. But one is convinced that the prayers and the penances of so many sincere and holy people will before long lead many to the centre of holiness and of guidance, Rome.