COMMUNITY LIFE IS ESSENTIAL
COMMUNAL LIFE (Blackfriars, 1%. 6d.).
THIS is the eighth volume in the important and valuable series entitled " Religious Life," the English Translations of the original French series published by Les Editions du Cerf for which Blackfriars Publications have made themselves responsible.
Though previous volumes have been concerned with such fundamental things in the religious life as the three great vows of religion: Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, it is unlikely that there will be any reader or student of this present volume who will seriously contest its claim to be not only the most important volume to date, but also the most helpful.
For if anyone were to ask where religious communities most frequently in these days fail in the basic obligations of religious life, few would think of the odd nun who leapt over the convent wall, or the successful writer or preacher who refused to obey his superior, or even the religious who failed gravely to live up to Poverty as his order or congregation interpreted it. Many, however, who know that communal life is an obligation on most religions, would recognise
that it is here that modern communities fail most conspicuously.
The "community" is not to them a joy, a pleasure and comfort comparable to a united and manytalented family it is a bore. Community "recreation" is too often a " chore " or a " penance," not a pleasure and " restorer." Community meals and community life may he considered an "irksome restraint" on the "important work" of the successful and busy. Communal Life is the first place where cracks appear in the cloister. Yet there is no doubt about its fundamental natural and theological importance, for man is essentially a social creature.
THIS most valuable, interesting
and absorbing study, which no religious house or library can possibly afford not to have, has it foreword by Cardinal Valeri, Prefect of the Congregation of Religion, an introduction by Fr. Albert Pk, the general editor, and runs in all to 320 pages.
It consists of 16 separate papers by as many different expert authors: Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits. Two nuns have Part 5 to themselves, contributing the important papers on: "The Superior, The Servant of the Common Good," and "The Practice of the Common Life Today." Both are excellent, and no punches arc pulled. The plan of the treatise is full, logical, and satisfying. Part 1 deals with " The Common Life" in revelation and tradition. It consists of four papers, perhaps the most important of which is that by Fr. Gelin, on the "Communal and Personal Aspects of Salvation and Sin."
Three papers in Part 2 deal with " Solitude and Community " and another three with the " Common Life of the Church." Part 4 deals with the spiritual, canonical, and psychological aspects of the common life.
A thoroughly exhaustive study, stimulating, practical and interesting to anyone.
Archbishop Henry Streicher, W.F., K.B.E., formerly Vicar Apostolic of Uganda, has written the history of The Martyrs of Uganda for the Catholic Truth Society (Price 4d.).