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Reviews of Christendom Awake

Professor John Saward author of "Christ is the Answer: The Christ-Centred Teaching of Pope John Paul II".

This book embodies the very thing it proposes - the awakening and remaking of Christendom, England's foremost Catholic theologian displays the undiminished capacity of classical Catholicism to renew liturgy and spirituality, philosophy and theology, exegesis and ecumenism, art and architecture, consecrated life and family life, economics and politics. If there is a Catholic Christian culture, then it is here!'

Fr. Ian Ker Oxford University.

'Nichols' provocative, wide ranging charter for renewal should be compulsory reading for all those who believe that the future well-being of the Catholic Church depends simply on the full implementation of the so-called Spirit of Vatican II.'

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, Austria.

'Rerelating faith and culture, reenchanting the liturgy, recentering on the end - it must, can be done. This is a rich and passionate book.'

Professor Douglas Lancashire
, Convert from Anglican Priesthood, Sinologist.

As the title of this latest book from one of Britain's leading theologians suggests, we have here a clarion call to Catholics, as well as to all Christians, to face up to the challenge of the secularizing forces of our day. As Aidan Nichols states in his Preface, "The extent to which contemporary humanism feeds off contemporary atheism ( and vice versa) has not been reckoned with. The former crowds out God, and the latter's denial of God encourages a kind of living in which the very question of God comes to seem without meaning. Yet the truth remains, as one of the fathers of the Second Vatican Council put it, that 'no one has a doctrine so sublime and consonant with human nature as does the Church'"

The subtitle of the book "On Re-energising the Church in Culture" makes it clear that Nichols is determined to put all issues of concern to modern society under his microscope. Following somewhat in the footsteps of Christopher Dawson in his Religion and Culture, and T.S. Eliot in his Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, he analyses the spiritual and moral life of Western man, and concludes that at the heart of his malaise is his loss of a sufficient sense of the spiritual dimension to life.

The following selection of chapter titles provides a hint of the purpose behind Nichol's approach to each of the subjects he is considering: Rerelating Faith and Culture; Reimagining the Christendom State; Reconstituting a Society of Households; Resacralising Material Culture; Rethinking Feminism;
Resituating Modern Spirituality.

But Nichols is aware that the Church itself has not been immune from the spirit of the age, and challenges all Christians to reassess the spiritual health of their personal and corporate lives. It is clear that for him, the recovery of a vibrant spiritual life within the Church, and, indeed, within all Christian denominations, is a major prerequisite for the renewal of society. Thus we also find the following chapter titles:

Reawakening Christendom; Re-enchanting the Liturgy;
Reviving Doctrinal Consciousness; Relaunching Christian Philosophy;
Remaking Religious Life; Reclaiming the Bible; Rescuing the Holy Innocents; Reconceiving Ecumenism; Recentring on the End, and, finally,
Renewing Priestly Mission.

As one would expect, with a serious study which attempts to address such a variety of major issues, this is not always the easiest books to read; but it is a work which addresses all Christians with all their many backgrounds and concerns, and is sure to find an echo everywhere among those eager to gain a clearer understanding of the role of the Church at the commencement of a new millennium. It is certainly a book which every priest and minister should read and ponder, and, I would have thought, a source for material and guidance in parish meetings and study groups.

Version: 14th February 2008

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