Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire's Re-Establishment of the Dominican Order in Nineteenth-Century France

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire's Re-Establishment of the Dominican Order in Nineteenth-Century France

Article excerpt

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire's Re-Establishment of the Dominican Order in Nineteenth-Century France. By Peter M. Batts. [Roman Catholic Studies, Volume 21.] (Lewistown, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press. 2004. Pp. xii, 129. $99.95.)

Among the understudied (and thus under-appreciated) figures of nineteenth-century French Catholicism (which is itself also understudied) stands HenriDominique Lacordaire, who channeled his considerable talents and faith into the successful postrevolutionary restoration of the Order of Preachers in France.

The author, Peter Batts, suggests that Lacordaire's Dominican vocation provides a case study of the role that religious "Romanticism" in a variety of forms, played not just in the postrevolutionary restoration of this venerable order, but also of the wider influence of French Catholic Romantic thought on the restoration/establishment of other orders and congregations in France and on the evolution of nineteenth-century Catholicism.

Batts greatest strength lies in his description of the nature and role of this Catholic religious Romanticism as it emerged in France and captured the hearts, minds, and imaginations of a generation of young men and women like Lacordaire.

The author also clearly identifies the fault-line that emerged within the restored Dominican order between the positive, ultramontanist vision represented by Lacordaire, which sought an authentic adaptation and accommodation of the Dominican charism to evangelize effectively a startling new world order, and a rigid, more traditionalist ultramontanist vision, represented by Alexandre Janel (the restorationist Master General), who felt that an uncompromising resistance to change in any form was the most effective means for restoring the primitive evangelistic spirit and thus effectiveness of the Order of Preachers. …

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