Monday, February 04, 2008

Convert England to Catholicism, Says Papal Ally

Father John Zuhlsdorf of What Does The Prayer Really Say posts on Father Aiden Nichols' new book, The Realm: An Unfashionable Essay on the Conversion of England. It is so new, in fact, that it does not yet appear in the United States on Amazon or Barnes and Noble (though a pre-order from the UK Amazon is offered).

Father Z quotes extensively from this article in The Catholic Herald, which is quite lauding of Fr Nichols. I am too; his Shape of Catholic Theology (1991) was the text for my first serious graduate level course in the Catholic realm. I'm ashamed I have not yet cracked Nichols' Christendom Awake! (1999) that I bought some time ago. Have a go with this excerpt from the Herald:
Fr Aidan Nichols, the English theologian most closely associated with the thinking of Benedict XVI, has appealed for England to be “re-made” as a Catholic country.

He set out his radical and comprehensive programme for Catholic renewal in a new book entitled The Realm: An Unfashionable Essay on the Conversion of England, published by Family Publications.

In his preface he says that Catholic Christianity should be put forward “not as an occupation for individuals in their solitude but as a form for the public life of society in its overall integrity”.

He admits that the conversion of England is “an absolutely colossal agenda”, adding: “It can only be brought into being, so far as it depends on us to do so, by a coordinated strategy for recreating a full-blooded catholicity with the power to... transform a culture in all its principal dimensions.

“That is what ‘the mission to convert’ and ‘the conversion of England’ mean to me.”
His comments will be seen as an implicit criticism of the direction of the Church in England and Wales. He points to “flagship” Catholic institutions which have “suffered shipwreck through secularisation”.

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