Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Fantasy of Reunion: Anglicans, Catholics, and Ecumenism, 1833-1882

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Fantasy of Reunion: Anglicans, Catholics, and Ecumenism, 1833-1882

Article excerpt

The Fantasy of Reunion: Anglicans, Catholics, and Ecumenism, 1833-1882. By Mark D. Chapman. (New York: Oxford University Press. 2014. Pp. x, 329. $99.00. ISBN 978-0-19-968806-7.)

Mark Chapman's new book casts an eye on the seemingly narrow topic of ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Catholics in the nineteenth century. Yet the study provides a window into broader questions of Christian doctrine and authority and their relationships to national identity', history, and international relations in the nineteenth century.

The narrative begins with ecumenical discussions during the Oxford Movement (1833-45), which involved rival understandings of catholicity and doctrinal authority. Tractarians situated catholicity in a supposed patristic consensus, whereas Roman Catholics emphasized a catholicity of the present under the authority of the papacy. The arrangement of these theological loci provided numerous occasions for misunderstanding in the nineteenth century. In chapter 2, Chapman examines the rise and fall of the Association for the Promotion of the Unity' in Christendom (APUC) and highlights contributions of figures such as A. W. N. Pugin, Ambrose Phillipps, and Frederick Lee. Chapman examines the APUC against the backdrop of historical nostalgia and medieval revival in the romantic era. He shows how Roman officials never warmed to the ideals of the APUC, and the institution's emphasis on national communions ran afoul of the rising ultramontane movement. At Manning's prompting the Association saw official condemnation from Rome in 1865. The central chapters of Chapman's study examine Edward Pusey's various Irenika and efforts of men such as Bishop Alexander Forbes and Victor de Buck to find bases for reunion in the 1860s. These efforts were also destined for failure, largely because Anglicans continued to seek foundations for Christian reunion in a patristic consensus, whereas Roman Catholics increasingly' emphasized communion with the papacy. Pusey and Forbes were aware that their efforts remained marginal even within their own communion. Authorities in Rome also rebuffed these efforts, save for a select few, such as Archbishop Georges Darboy and Bishop Félix Dupanloup, who may have been more interested in seizing the initiatives for their own intra-ecclesial purposes. …

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