Sketches and studies sot. Theology. By Dom Anscar Vonier, O.S.B. (Burns Oaten, 7s. 6d.) Reviewed by THOMAS CORBISHLEY,
SOME years ago, when Buckfast Abbey was still in building, it was an instructive experience to pay a visit there during the summer months, to see the builder-monks working away, undistratted, obviously a little amused by the crowds of sightseers who had flocked in from the surrounding countryside to gaze at this odd phenonienon of a real abbey being built in twentieth-century England.
It was a real abbey: one could not doubt that; and this was twentiethcentury England. And of the two, one knew which was the abiding thing.
LIKE, his own abbey, Anscar Vonier Le had his theological feet planted solidly on the earth; but the range of his mind spanned the centuries. So, in his collection of studies in theology, it is typical that the opening chapter—" The Lesson of Ephesus "—relates the fifteencentury-old dogma to our present needs :. and that. in his treatment of the "Liturgical Movement," his sympathies are manifestly with those who are afraid that an excessive insistence on the historical aspect of the liturgy may alienate the modern layman.
As he says: "The liturgical movement is above all things a renovation among us of the art of celebrating the Christian Feasts. . . . The matter of NI/Trento importance is this, that the faithful should know the meaning of each Feast. . . ."
THROUGHOUT the book abound passages which show how sane and " realist " was this most human of contemplatives. Good things abound in the volume (though it is marred by careless proof-reading: in an article on Ephesus, such a form as " onomousia" is really unpardonable; and slips such as " tergivisation," "spacial " and " illusive " detract seriously from a work of such a type); excellent matter on the " psychological import " of Catholic faith in the Holy Eucharist, together with useful remarks on doctrinal difficulties connected with that mystery, will be found side by side with practical advice on prayers before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.
ONE last quotation must be given, valuable for its topicality and for its illustration of the Abbot's mind: "/t is better for us frankly to admit that ths peace for which the Catholic Church holds herself responsible is not political peace, is not commercial peace, is not the peace of this world. We may say without hesitation that peace and war are states in which the Church finds herself equally at home. . . ."
Almost a truism, of course; but some Catholics seem to be in danger of losing sight of it.