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Friday, March 4, 2016

An Excellent Addition to a Library on the Catholic Episcopate

I am the first to admit that one of the virtues which I need to cultivate is patience. In this age of virtually instant informational gratification thanks to e-mail and Google, the wait for books, documents, and letters sent by snail mail taxes my patience. I often have to remind myself of those years before the internet when all of my correspondence departed and arrived via the U. S. Postal Service. I had no choice but to be patient. There was no reasonable or inexpensive alternative to waiting for replies to my inquiries.

Yesterday, after a wait of less than a week, my patience was rewarded with the arrival of a new book on Catholic bishops:  Catholic Bishops of Great Britain. A Reference to Roman Catholic Bishops from 1850 to 2015 by Chris Larsen.

I have spent several hours immersed in the pages of this interesting book and I already know that this book will be on a shelf within easy reach of my desk for frequent consultation. The author provides translations of the apostolic letters which restored the Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales (1850) and in Scotland (1878) as well as a section on the Roman Pontiffs since 1800.

The major portion of this book contains short but concise biographical sketches of the bishops and other ordinaries who have served the Church in Great Britain since the respective restorations. After treating national jurisdictions such as the Ukrainian eparchy and the military ordinariate, the author presents the bishops of each diocese beginning with the Archdiocese of Westminster followed by the remainder in alphabetical order. Each entry follows the same basic structure, beginning with the date and place of birth of the bishop, the dates and places of his sacerdotal and episcopal ordinations, any subsequent transfers, promotions, or resignations, and where applicable, the date and place of his death and the place of his burial.

The book also contains contact information for the living bishops and an almanac consisting of several indices. I especially like the Index of Dates which presents the important dates of the lives of the bishops in chronological order.

I am impressed with the precision of this book as well as its overall presentation. It is evident that the author has devoted much time and effort in gathering the information on the many bishops cited in this work and assembling it in a concise and easily readable fashion. It is an important contribution to the history of the post-Restoration hierarchy in Great Britain and an excellent addition to a library on the Catholic episcopate.

I congratulate Mr. Larsen on the publication of this excellent book and I highly recommend it.

This book can be ordered from Sacristy Press   https://www.sacristy.co.uk/