Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Notice: The Latin Clerk: The Life, Work and Travels of Adrian Fortescue (by Fr. Aidan Nichols)

We received an interesting book notice recently about a new book by Fr. Aidan Nichols: The Latin Clerk: The Life, Work and Travels of Adrian Fortescue.

Here is a description from the publisher, Lutterworth Press:

Adrian Fortescue once shot a man.

It was not this, however, that caused his crisis of faith.

This new biography of the renowned Roman Catholic theologian Adrian Fortescue, reconsiders the man perceived by contemporaries to be a very symbol of Roman Catholic traditionalism. Nichols challenges this now entrenched perception and explodes the implied stability of Fortescue’s self-proclaimed title of ‘The Latin Clerk’ declaring ‘Don Adrian’ to be ’a mass of inconsistencies’ [from Conclusion].

Based on diaries and correspondence together with his published writings, The Latin Clerk interweaves Fortescue’s personal life with his public persona and in so doing reveals a far more exciting individual than history has hitherto related. As the reader follows Fortescue on his travels through the Ottoman empire, his insights into the Greek fathers, the schisms between Orthodoxy and Rome, the condition of the Nestorian, Monophysite and Uniate-Catholic churches become clear. Having understood this physical journey one comes to understand the spiritual path which lead him away from the intellectual and spiritual traditionalism of the Papacy towards Liberal Catholicism, and almost to the Byzantine Rite.

Through Fortescue’s personal concerns The Latin Clerk also reveals the often hidden internal discords within the Church as a whole; for example the tension between attempts at liberal reform, prompted by the rising popularity of Anglican Ritualism, and traditionalism, an issue still relevant today.

Even more relevant today, in a time of great expectation over the newly translated Roman Missal, The Latin Clerk investigates Fortescue’s theoretical writings on the Eastern and Western liturgies, and how he sought to create an intense liturgical life in a model parish in Letchworth.

Informative and educational far beyond the narrow confines of traditional biography, this book will be of interest to both theologians and historians concerned with the Eastern Rite, English cultural developments and Catholicism both ecclesiastical and personal.

It certainly promises to be an interesting read.

The book is due to be published in December 2011 and will be 308pp. in length. It is priced at £25.00 (or $50.00 USD) -- though it is presently available for pre-order on for $38.00 USD.

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