Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Les Franciscains En Terre Sainte (1869-1889): Religion et Politique: Une Recherche Institutionnelle

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Les Franciscains En Terre Sainte (1869-1889): Religion et Politique: Une Recherche Institutionnelle

Article excerpt

Les Franciscains en Terre Sainte (1869-1889): Religion et politique: Une recherche institutionnelle. By Giuseppe Buffon. (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf and Les Éditions Franciscaines. 2005. Pp. 604. euro58.)

Giuseppe Buffon, currently a member of the Franciscan Order's Rome-based Antonianum (recently designated a pontifical university), has authored a study that is among the latest in a recent, and ongoing, spate of books about the Franciscans and the Holy Land. Coming on the heels of Giovannelli's La Santa Sede e la Palestina-La Custodia di Terra Santa tra la fine dell'Impero Ottomano e la Guerra dei Sei Giorni (2000), Pieraccini's Cattolici di Terra Santa 1333-2000 (published in 2003), and Fabrizio's Identità Nazionali e Identità Religiose. Diplomazia Internazionale, Istituzioni Ecclesiastiche e Comunità Cristiane di Terra Santa tra Otto e Novecento (2004), Buffon makes a substantial contribution to the unraveling and clarification of perennial and ever-present issues (some still unresolved or partially resolved) concerning the almost 800-year Franciscan presence in the Holy Land.

In what amounts to a well thought-out and well documented modern Apologia Pauperum, the forty-two-year-old Franciscan scholar (doctorate in history from the Gregorianum and in anthropology from the École des Hautes Études, Paris) begins by candidly admitting and then asking why-for centuries, and to this very day-the Franciscans have been perceived and judged (by some) to be "Moines inutiles . . . enfoncés au fond de leur monastère . . . incapables de faire du bien dans leur mission et de conserver plus longtemps les sanctuaires qu'ils se sont laissé enlever par les schismatiques" (p. …

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