Friday, July 26, 2013

The Radiance of Being - A New Book by Stratford Caldecott

In the opening talk at Sacra Liturgia 2013 the wonderful Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanka mentioned, almost in passing, it seemed to me, how important he felt it was that we assert the Pauline anthropology of body, soul and spirit. This immediately reminded me of an paper presented by my friend Stratford Caldecott that is recorded in the proceedings of the liturgical conference at Fontgombault Abbey in France in 2001. This was attended by the then Cardinal Ratzinger and the proceedings were edited by Alcuin Reid (who was the coordinator and a main speaker of Sacra Liturgia 2013). In this presentation entitled Towards a Liturgical Anthropology, Caldecott argued that a key reason for the stagnation of the liturgy in the 19th century, the effects of which we are still suffering from today, is an insufficient recognition of the spirit of man. This is referred to by St Paul and is an aspect of the soul. You can find details of this here.

In a chapter of his new book The Radiance of Being, Stratford develops this theme further. This is just one interesting part of this book which has the subtitle, Dimensions of Cosmic Christianity. In it he develops a number of different themes that he written about in his blog and journal Second Spring and some that he introduced in his well received book Beauty for Truth's Sake. Almost anything written by Stratford is worth reading, if only for his beautifully clear prose. He has a gift for being able to explain very difficult and abstract concepts in a way that is informative and engaging. So his is writing is recommended to all.

In this book he is delving quite deeply into a number of areas that interest him - for example the mystery of the Trinity and aspects of the truth that appear in other faiths. I wonder if it might seem a little obscure to those who know nothing of his work otherwise, so it is perhaps not to be recommended as a first introduction to his work. However those who have read his other books and articles will almost certainly find something of interest here.

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