Rome and Canterbury: The Elusive Search for Unity

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9780742552784: Rome and Canterbury: The Elusive Search for Unity
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Rome and Canterbury tells the story of the determined but little known work being done to end the nearly five hundred year old divisions between the Roman Catholic and the Anglican/Episcopal Churches. The break was never intended, has never been fully accepted and is experienced, by many, as a painful and open wound. It is a personal account that begins the story by reviewing the relevant history and theology, looks at where we are today, and concludes with some reflections on faith and belief in the US.

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About the Author:

Mary Reath has been active in the Episcopal Church, serving on the vestries of Trinity Church, Wall Street (NYC) and St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village (NYC). While working on this book, she was a visiting scholar at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. She is currently a governor of the Anglican Centre in Rome. She is s the editor of Public Lives, Private Prayers (Sorin Books, 2001). She lives in Princeton, NJ.

Review:

[Reath] is showing us the way toward a great Christian future. (The late Rev. Dr. John Macquarrie)

It is comprehensible, informative, and insightful with regard to the dialogue between Canterbury and Rome. If someone is looking for solid background information to that dialogue and the major hurdles that are restricting a reunion, Rome and Canterbury is a good starting point. (Reader Views)

In this well-researched and very readable volume, Mary Reath tells a fascinating story of how far we have come in Anglican-Roman Catholic Relations, especially in these past forty years. Rome and Canterbury reminds us that there is more that unites us than divides us, and that committing ourselves to the ecumenical pilgrimage is not one option among many. Rather, it offers the only hope of finding our common voice as members of the one body of Christ within the world. In these challenging times for all our churches, Reath invites us to move forward together with courage and trust as we consider our ecumenical future. This book should be required reading for all Christian pastors and teachers and those who long for the reunification of Christendom both in East and West, `that all may be one.' (Keith F. Pecklers, S.J., The Pontifical Gregorian University and The Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Rome)

Mary Reath has done a huge amount of work in studying and presenting some of the major issues that are relevant to the historic and continuing break between Rome and Canterbury, as well as in providing much relevant documentation. I wish that many others would imitate her diligent and honest example in reflecting on the challenges to Christian unity. (Gerald O'Collins, S.J., St. Mary's College, University of Surrey)

In 1998 Mary Reath made a discovery that changed her life: for decades, 'dialogues' and other contacts had been going on, that were aimed at actually restoring full communion between the separated Christian churches. Why had she not heard of this? After investigating, she decided that one reason was a sheer lack of information of the sort that would have come her way. So―besides embarking on other ecumenical adventures―she set out to tell the story in accessible fashion. She has succeeded most admirably. Reath's book concentrates on approaches and dialogue between the two churches that are separated in her own life: the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. It is clear, engagingly written and well-researched―a good read on a good matter. (Robert Jenson, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton University)

Mary Reath grew up, as she explains, 'intolerably located' between the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. She tells of her discovery of the ecumenical movement in general and Anglican-Roman Catholic relations in particular with the sort of excitement that characterised the early ecumenical pioneers. She writes particularly to help other lay people follow the same voyage of discovery that she has been on but the book will also serve well those in training for the ministry. The early chapters include a wonderfully clear description of the causes of the Reformation divide as well as the main developments in church history since. Her account of the theological discussions between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, especially her treatment of authority and papal primacy, will make the readers want to go back to the original documents. Reath does not shrink from facing up to the difficulties for Anglican-Roman Catholic relations today posed by some recent developments in the Anglican Communion. But she is not prepared to give up in the face of these new problems and is sure that there can be no turning back from the pathway towards reconciliation, convinced that the churches message of love and hope for all is compromised when it is divided. She wants to convince her readers that ecumenical work holds the key to a revitalised Christianity. (Mary Tanner, World Council of Churches)

Mary Reath has provided an invaluable service in describing, placing in historical context, and assessing the efforts of Anglicans and Roman Catholics to heal the breach which occurred at the time of the Reformation. Her lively and highly accessible account underscores the determination of the two ecclesial communities to give witness to the unity Christ desires for the Church. At the same time, Reath does not overlook the theological stumbling blocks that have occurred along the way. Rome and Canterbury is an important and timely contribution to ecumenical dialogue. (The Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold III, past presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in America)

Reath, who has been personally involved in ecumenical dialogs for many years, clearly articulates the obstacles preventing unity in the two religious bodies. But even more important, she promotes a vision of possible reconciliation in the near future, offering a positive and hopeful consideration of shared history, theology, and belief. This sensitively and respectfully written book is complete with seven appendixes. Recommended for all collections. (Library Journal)

Rome and Canterbury is a book that could―and should―be read and discussed in appropriate theology classes and parish book clubs. It is an ideal dialogue tool for Roman Catholic and Episcopalian laity. (America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture)

This book . . . is worth recommending to Angelican readers. (The Living Church)

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