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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Popes and Politics: Reform, Resentment, and the Holocaust by Justus George Lawler (Continuum) In the last three decades, many books have been published on the role of the Vatican in the modern world. Popes and Politics shows that many recent authors, whether devoted or antagonistic to the papacy, have been guilty of factual disstortions and biased interpretations that lead to a flawed picture of the church and its relation to contemporary society.

Among the authors analyzed are James Carroll, John Cornwell, Margherita Marchione, Ralph McInerny, Michael Phayer, Garry Willas, Susan Zuccotti. Lawler cites "chapter and verse" to illustrate that many of these critics are doing to the church what the church historically did to the Jews--methodically scapegoating an imaginary enemy.

Though in the recent past the central themes of Popes and Politics have often been exhaustively (and exhaustingly) analyzed, the treatment in the present book is fresh and original. To consider only one issue--the pope and the Jews--in addition to a re-assessment of Pius XII, Lawler also treats of the takeover of the Shoah for Catholic purposes; the connection of saturation bombing to the pope's "silence"; the significance of Hochhuth's other play, "The Soldiers"; the possibility of a Polish "holocaust; the reticence about "speaking out" by the head of the worldwide Anglican communion; the conflicts over both German and Israeli revisionist historians; the curious parallels between the Bermuda and the Wannsee conferences; the denigration of Pacelli and of Ben-Gurion--and many other non-stereotypical perspectives on this crucial moral issue of our time.

The second part of the book--a discussion of the self-regulating principal of reform--is replete with intriguing and informative lessons, quotations, and anecdotes concerning some of the most fascinating and tragic figures in modern religious history: de Lamennais, Newman, Loisy, Montalembert, Döllinger, Rosmini, Acton, Blondel, Maritain, Bernanos, Congar, Häring, and several popes--to mention only a few.

In the context of a reform that goes beyond "the politics of rancor," Popes and Politics treats also of church governance, structures of sin, intellectual freedom, gender conflicts, episcopal synods, sexual vs. social morality, signs of the times, and doctrinal claims.

Celestial Pantomime: Poetic Structures of Transcendence by Justus George Lawler (Continuum) Reprint with some expansion of the 1974 edition, a classic exploration of the poetics of transcendence.

Hopkins Re-Constructed: Life, Poetry and the Tradition by Justus George Lawler (Continuum) Justus George Lawler's critically acclaimed study of the work of the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) is, once again, available. No better introduction to the theological poetics of the poet.

Contents: Preface Acknowledgments INTRODUCTION: "So Be Beginning" I. SCHOLIASTS AND SCIOLISTS: "At a Third Remove" II. THE BIOGRAPHICAL PERVERSE: "Lies My Life" III. PRIMORDIAL COMPLEMENTARITY: "Deep Down Things" IV. AURAL COMPLEMENTARITY: "Pour and Pelt" V. VISUAL COMPLEMENTARITY: "Couple Colour" VI. PERSONAL COMPLEMENTARITY: "Here Buckle" VII. DIALECTICAL SYNTHESIS: "Be in at the End" Index of Names, Index of Titles or First Lines

The Papacy: An Encyclopedia edited by Philippe Levillain, John W. O'Malley (3 Volume Set) (Routledge) The original French edition of this encyclopedia, the Dictionnaire historique de la papaute has been recognized internationally as one of the most esteemed reference works on the papacy. Now Routledge Reference has publish this acclaimed resource in a revised, expanded, and updated English language edition, translated by a team of experts in papal history. Balance and moderate comprehensiveness are the hallmarks of this well-written and magisterially conceived account of the Holy See.
This comprehensive three-volume reference not only covers all of the popes (and anti-popes) from St. Peter to John Paul II, but also explores the papacy as an institution. Articles cover the inner workings--both contemporary and historical--of the Holy See, and encompass religious orders, papal encyclicals, historical events, papal controversies, the arts, and more. This set is destined to be the standard English-language reference for all issues concerning the papacy.

The Papacy: An Encyclopedia is a translation of the French Dictionnaire historique de la papaute, published in 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard. This A to Z encyclopedia covers all of the popes (and antipopes), as well as topics related to the papacy such as encyclicals, religious orders, and the arts. A comprehensive index, end‑references, and internal cross‑references (in small capital letters) will aid the reader in navigating this three‑volume reference work. Bibliographies are provided with almost all entries, maps are included in the entries "Papal States" and "Vatican City State," and appendices are provided in volume three that list all the popes chronologically, all the martyred popes, and all the popes who are saints. The Papacy is intended for use in academic libraries, seminaries, religious institutes, and public libraries, and we trust that it will prove a valuable source for scholars, students, religious leaders, and interested general readers.

The majority of the text in The Papacy is direct translation of the French edition; however, some changes, additions, and updates were necessary in order to make this edition appropriate for an English‑speaking audience and to account for developments that have occurred in the seven years between publication of the two editions. We have tried to include the most current information available, particularly in articles dealing with Pope John Paul II and his travels, communications, and beatifications. The bibliographies from the French edition have been augmented to include significant recent and English‑language sources (many thanks to Elizabeth Russell). In addition, a few articles--­the article on Americanism, for example‑were commissioned specifically for this edition.

Although each article appears with the signature of its original contributor, it should be noted that most of these contributors wrote in French and were not involved in the translation of their work into English. The translation of the Dictionnaire historique de la papaute was a challenge in that it required not simply a literal translation, but, at times, a translation of complex concepts and technical terms into their English equivalents. For this reason, a qualified team of translators and scholars was called upon. Professional translators, supervised by Routledge reference editors, did translations; each translated article was reviewed by at least one, in many cases two, subject‑matter experts in ecclesiology, church history, or canon law.

 From the Introduction: The idea of compiling a historical dictionary of the papacy and not simply a biographical dictionary of the popes stemmed from the close observation of "little facts," Stendhal's cherished petits faits. May those we are providing as examples guide the reader in the use of a collective work that is meant to be both scholarly and accessible.

In 1978, the papacy was at the center of three events that drew the attention of the public at large: the death (6 August) and funeral (12 August) of Paul VI; the election (26 August) and funeral (28 September) of John Paul I; and the election (16 October) of John Paul lI. In less than two and a half months, the Church had three popes. At the time of Paul VI's death, the papacy was undergoing a crisis within the Church, reputedly caused by the Vatican II Council (1962‑5). Some believed that the Council had been conducted too hastily; others believed that the papacy should never have convened a council in the first place. The debate not only concerned Catholics and the Church hierarchy, but also caused anxiety among various countries affected by the two‑thousand‑year‑old institution‑an institution singularly visible, especially in Europe, no matter how much ground it might have lost since the middle of the 19th century‑that seemed capable of offering to the world a message for the future in the aggiornamento proposed by John XXIII (1958‑63). Thus, the first little fact we noticed: the idea that these successive elections might be shaking the papacy did not cross the minds of commentators. On 16 October 1978, St. Peter's Square in Rome was filled with a crowd on the lookout for a signal‑white for a positive vote, black for the opposite‑that was to rise from the unsightly chimney located on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. The world's television cameras were aimed at the Loggia delle Benedizioni where the name of John Paul I's successor was to be announced, along with the papal name he had selected. The façade and dome of St. Peter's were flooded with artificial light from the projectors. It felt that night as if the most symbolic monument in the history of the papacy had just been rediscovered on the bottom of the ocean floor by dazzled and breathless divers. The suspense of this feverish expectation about the new pope went beyond that produced by any monarchy, past or present.

The pope is a monarch elected by a restricted college, and he reigns for life. This adherence to the system for electing a sovereign pontiff was given more visibility in 1978 than in previous decades due to the media‑generated curiosity about an institution with such a unique mode of functioning. The papacy had gone through periods during which the conclaves became interminable. Antagonisms had bred antipopes, and states had intervened in the designation of a pope through their veto power. On 16 October 1978, these historical moments seemed very remote. The media did not even discuss them during those troubled months. It was clear that the shaken Church would have a new pope.

From St. Peter to John Paul I, how many popes had occupied the papal throne? Scholarly works, which do not agree with the list provided by the Annuario pontificio, hesitate over the exact number: 260? 264? 269? Who was the person about to proclaim the name and patronymic of the elected pope and under what authority? This person was rumored to be Cardinal Felici, famed as the exacting and skillful secretary of the Vatican II Council. But what was not mentioned was the fact that this function was explicitly the responsibility of the first of the cardinal deacons, who was indeed Cardinal Felici. In addition, no one had pointed out that it was a matter of custom to elevate the secretary of a council to cardinal, and that Paul VI had done just that as of the first consistory convened after Vatican II (27 June 1967). Seeing and knowing are two different things. The same goes for using terms appropriate to a given institution. At the beginning of the conclaves in 1978, it was often said that they had opened (much like a session of a civil assembly), since they were just beginning to meet. In fact, the conclaves of 1978 were held locked (conclave = cum clave) by the prefect of the pontifical house (a title dating from 1967) in the presence of the marshal of the conclave, a responsibility assumed by a member of the Roman nobility.

Another little fact was also observed during the same period: many cardinals called to Rome during that hot summer complained about the inhumane conditions they had to endure. They suffered from the total isolation, imposed by an archaic method of preserving the secrecy of the proceedings, and from Spartan living conditions. Some favored conducting the papal election of 1978 in a way that would not require the Sacred College to be sequestered. Secrecy, they maintained, would be guaranteed through collective discipline. In October 1978, in more pleasant weather, the same cardinals found themselves very glad to have kept to a medieval rule that had allowed them to choose the cardinal‑bishop of Cracow, the representative of a silenced Church, severely persecuted in the past but now under the control of a communist state with a more realistic attitude toward the Church. Had the conclave not been conducted according to traditional rules established in the Middle Ages, could it not have been said that Cardinal Wojtyla (to whom the conclave was becoming more and more favorable) or someone close to him had made contact with the attaché of the secretary general of the Polish communist party, Edward Gierek, to inform him of his chances? How was he able to negotiate the conditions for the election of St. Peter's successor to be both glorious for Poland and embarrassing for a State controlled by the Red Army? Even if he had not done so, what suspicions might not have weighed on this pontificate, which was soon to be confronted with a militant form of Catholicism taking advantage of the designation of a Slavic pope representing spiritual authority on an international scale?

Here is another fact. This one is not about losing the significance behind appearances or questioning ancient rules in the name of present realities. In 1978, it was repeatedly stated that John Paul II was the first non‑Italian pope since Adrian VI (of Utrecht, 1522‑3) and that his election had interrupted a long sequence begun by Clement VII (1523‑34). However, this observation relies on viewing the papacy in terms of the unification of Italy, which led the kingdom of Piedmont‑Sardinia to overtake Rome on 20 September 1870. From Clement VII to John Paul I, the papacy was Italic, not Italian. In other words, episcopals or archiepiscopal heads governing local churches on the Italic peninsula held the papacy. The contemporary notion of "nationality" is not applicable to the history of the papacy. Of course, it is true that the geographical area of the Italic peninsula provided 203 popes, or 69% of St. Peter's successors. Nonetheless, there were also ten popes from the ancient Greek world and eight from the Near East. The Annuario pontificio, which establishes the official list of sovereign pontiffs since St. Peter, designates Telesphorus (125‑36) and Hyginus (134‑40) as Greeks, Anicetus (155‑66) as a Syrian, Victor I (189‑99) and St. Gelasius I (492‑96) as Africans, and Dionysius (259­68) as "of unknown origin." In the early days of the Church, it was the clergy and the Roman people who elected the Bishop of Rome, whose primacy as the vicar of Christ, established on St. Peter's seat, was long debated. A little known tradition from these times has survived to this day. Cardinals are still titulars of one of the churches in Rome (or in the suburbs or the Roman countryside). In other words, they are "pastors" of a diocesan parish where they occasionally perform liturgical functions and are much appreciated by the faithful. Their crests are displayed on the façades of these local churches, and many of them are buried there. The archbishop of Cracow in 1978 was the titular of the Church of St. Cesareo on the Palatine. There was a time, however‑between the 14th and 19th centuries‑when the title of cardinal was bestowed even upon persons who were not ordained, a concession to the administrative needs of the Roman Curia. It was also the case with Cardinal Antonelli, Secretary of State for Pius IX (184(‑78). Yet practice shifted toward a return to tradition, and John XXIII established the rule that all cardinals had to be bishops. The cardinals who elect the pope are all titulars of a church from the diocese of Rome or a suburban Roman diocese. Nevertheless, nothing obliges them to designate one of their own as the successor to St. Peter. They could even choose a layman, on condition that once designated he be immediately ordained a priest and invested as a bishop, that is, as bishop of Rome, and therefore a sovereign pontiff. A great secular theologian could very well be called one day to the seat of Rome. For this to happen, however, some kind of alchemy would have to take place between the needs of the Church and the way they are perceived by the Sacred College. The rule followed since the end of the 13th century, according to which the pope is a cardinal, is therefore merely a tradition. That of the strict independence of the conclave, much commented on in 1978, comes, on the other hand, from a new freedom recently acquired by the papacy. Up until the election of Pius X, many great powers had secular representatives at the conclave and could exercise their (exclusive) right to veto the conclave's choice. The Austro­Hungarian Empire used this veto in 1903 to prevent the designation of Cardinal Rampolla, Leo XIII's secretary of state, supported by Republican France, and favored instead the election of the patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Sarto.

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