September 2006 Newsletter
Association of Contemporary Church Historians
(Arbeitsgemeinschaft kirchlicher Zeitgeschichtler)
John S. Conway, Editor. University of British Columbia
Since many of our fraternity will this month be starting a new academic year, I thought it appropriate to begin with a fine review of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent overview on church history, written by our most distinguished colleague in Britain, Owen Chadwick.
1) Conference Announcement: Bonhoeffer Symposium, Boston, Sept. 17-18th
2) Book reviews:
a) Rowan Wiliams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Why study the Past? The Quest for the Historical Church.
b) Haynes, The Bonhoeffer Legacy
c) Howes, Japan’s modern prophet
d) ed. Bischof., Religion in Austria
3) Book notes: Higgins, Stalking the Holy
1) The Committee of Church Relations and the Holocaust of the United States Memorial Museum is co-organizing a two-day symposium on the Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in association with Boston College, Hebrew College and Andover-Newton Seminary. The symposium, which will be held on September 17-18th in Boston will provide a forum for Jewish, Catholic and Protestant scholars to discuss Bonhoeffer’s work and legacy for post-Holocaust theology. (See also Item 2b below).
A listing of the speakers and further details are available at
2a) Rowan Williams, Why Study the Past? The Quest for the Historical Church.
Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 2005. Pp. 129.
ISBN 0-8028-2990-2. (This review appeared first in The Catholic Historical Review, 92.2 (2006)
and is reprinted by permission of the author).
The frontispiece is a 1740 haywain passing the ruins of an ancient abbey, a pleasing way of asserting that the Church has a history. This is not precisely a book on why study the past, but on how the Church needs to think and rethink its own history, and what it might get out of that endeavour; and how problems in its historical perception might, indeed must, keep arising in new generations and new circumstances; and what alarming difficulties come and what noble opportunities. This is not a plea that universities ought to have professors of church history. Critics and professors, though necessary to understanding, cause trouble. They live in a welter of change, and excess of change does not suit a body of persons persuaded that they are given eternal truth. This book studies how churches cope, or should cope, with that trouble.
Christians know that they are the Church of the apostles. They would like – for a long time they liked – to feel an unchanging apostolic Church through the centuries. The historians prove that this axiom wobbles. Rowan Williams seeks to make sense of this through a very charitable outlook on the witness of heresies , divergent movements within the Catholic Church. He sees something good in the moralism of Pelagius, or in the effort of Arius to find words for the Incarnation, or in the overdone zeal of Celtic penitentiaries; that such suppressed or disadvantaged voices must be allowed to be themselves, they are at least as strange as any orthodox voices from the past. In these pages we do not hear the thunder of an Athanasius. A constructive engagement with forms of faith that are outside the supposed mainstream is one of the most important critical responses we can bring to a mature understanding of the Church. An attitude of mind that cannot engage in recognizing the past of the Church is likely to be closed off from what is different or challenging in the present.
Here is an unusual doctrine of development such that even Newman would have doubted. But it contains two excellent consequences. The first is a response to the charge that the Church is always a servant of the culture of the day. Here the Church and its teaching and its ideals and its way of life are creative in the culture of the day; it is contributing to the nature of modern society and civilization. (By moral force? And also by protest?) Here this contribution is held to be necessary to the intellectual and emotional well-being of modern culture.
And the second consequence is more moving. At the heart lies the conviction that the real unity of Christians lies in worship; the eucharist of course, but prayers, and a charmingly expressed emphasis on the ability to say psalms together in praise; with its historical dimension from King David to the mystics and poets of modernity; and gratitude as the touch of God, with its outcome in generosity and alms-giving. It began less with doctrines than with martyrs and reverence for martyrs among the Christian communities. Our awareness of words that are still held in common, acts still performed, helps us to read what they said within one context which we all share, the act of the Church as it opens itself to the action of the Christ who is present in his Body. One of the evident signs of Christian continuity is making our own the rhythms and vocabulary of another age. So, though we find here a mind that accepts that doctrine is necessary, that is not the key, nor even the basic feeling, when he writes of church unity.
Throughout is a repeated powerful sense of gift, grace. The Church’s integrity, orthodoxy or whatever, is a gift, not primarily an achievement. Yet we do not know what will be drawn out of us by the pressure of Christ’s reality, what the final shape of a future orthodoxy might be. This makes a strong affirmation of a God-guided development of the Church as it moves through the centuries. And that, from this prominent Protestant archbishop, includes the Pope’s part in the forming of creeds.
Owen Chadwick, Cambridge
2b) Stephen R.Haynes, The Bonhoeffer Legacy. Post-Holocaust Perspectives. Minneapolis: Fortress Press 2006. 224 Pp.
ISBN 0-80006-3815-8 (paper).
Stephen Haynes has devoted a considerable part of his academic career to studying the life and thought of the martyred German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His previous work, The Bonhoeffer Phenomenon, was a masterly survey of how Bonhoeffer’s ideas have been received in different communities in different parts of the world during the sixty-one years since he was executed by the Nazis
In this new work, which appears appropriately in time to commemorate Bonhoeffer’s 100th anniversary, Haynes turns to the more narrowly focused but highly significant question of Bonhoeffer’s attitudes towards Judaism and the Jewish people. This topic, he admits, has only emerged in the last few decades. Previous discussions about Bonhoeffer’s importance concerned either his role in the anti-Nazi resistance movement, or his posthumous leadership in the theological debates about reconstituting the church in the post-war world. But given the fact that, over the past twenty years, the Christian churches as a whole have been increasingly involved in assessing their part in the tragedy of the Jewish people, commonly known as the Holocaust, so questions have been posed about Bonhoeffer’s stance on this issue.
Haynes’ new survey skillfully seeks to clarify and assess Bonhoeffer’s position from an objective point of view. To do so, he has first to clear the ground by looking at the popular memory about Bonhoeffer and the Jews, and also at the more scholarly interpretations written so far by both Jewish and Christian authors. Furthermore he has a chapter on the context of the German Church Struggle in which Bonhoeffer was working. And he concludes the book with a perceptive chapter on Bonhoeffer and Christian Rescue, which again places him in a wider context.
In popular memory, Bonhoeffer’s reputation has undergone an enormous change in the past sixty years. In 1945 he was regarded by many fellow Evangelical churchmen in Germany with dismay and disapproval because, as a theologian, he had not only condoned but actually participated in the plot to murder the head of state. In the eyes of the Bavarian Bishop of Munich, he was a political traitor who deserved his fate. The change was largely brought about by the indefatigable efforts of his close friend and biographer, Eberhard Bethge. Bethge came to emphasize the fact that for Bonhoeffer and his family the sufferings of the Jews was a significant factor for joining the conspiracy, that after 1938 Bonhoeffer had adopted a novel stance about Judaism, and that his final writings were a promising foundation for Christian-Jewish rapprochement. Other witnesses believed that Bonhoeffer’s reactions to the persecution of the Jews was derived from his experience of American racism, and essentially was therefore a protest against the violation of human rights. But Haynes correctly stresses the theological basis for Bonhoeffer’s stance, which contrasted so markedly from the indifference of so many other German church members. For these reasons popular memory now regards Bonhoeffer as a martyr, as can be seen by his inclusion amongst those whose statues now adorn the front entrance of Westminster Abbey in London.
On the scholarly level, Jewish writers have assessed Bonhoeffer with both appreciation and caution. Overall the response is that he towered over most Christians in Nazi Germany, but also that he disappoints, at least in his early writings, by evincing typically Christian approaches to Judaism. From a Christian perspective, Bethge set the tone. He admits that Bonhoeffer’s early writings were open to criticism, but claimed that Bonhoeffer moved on to a much deeper solidarity with persecuted Israel, not just a sympathy for the converted Jews. Furthermore, after the Crystal Night pogrom of November 1938, Bethge claims, Bonhoefffer not only repudiated all anti-Judaism, but in his radical thinking thereafter was moving to fresh ground, based on his daily reading of the Jewish scriptures/Old Testament.
Yet it is notable that, in his epic biography written in the 1950s and early 1960s, Bethge said very little about Bonhoeffer’s attitude towards the Jews or Judaism. This might be explained by the then widespread disregard for the Holocaust’s victims, by a lack or oversight on Bethge’s part, or it might be that the Jewish issue did not play as large a part in Bonhoeffer’s thinking, as Bethge and others, after 1980, have asserted to be the case. Haynes is non-committal on this point.
All commentators agree that Bonhoeffer’s essay The Church and the Jewish Question, written in March-April 1933, is his most significant contribution in the beginning period of the Church Struggle. But Haynes could possibly have made more of the exceptional nature of this forceful declaration, as also of the particularities of the audience for whom it was intended. The piece was prompted by the new Nazi regime’s first violent and repressive anti-Jewish measures, such as the notorious anti-Jewish boycott of April 1st 1933, the accompanying thuggery of Nazi units against Jewish individuals and institutions, and the newly-minted Law for the Reconstitution of the Civil Service, which banned Jews from holding posts in public agencies, and was to lead to the dismissal of many of Bonhoeffer’s acquaintances. It was clear that Bonhoeffer wrote in haste, and presumably in indignation. His purpose was to convince the Evangelical Church’s leading authorities that they should take action against such racially-motivated lawlessness.
On the one hand, this essay contains the well-known recommendations on how the Church could and should oppose the state’s oppressive behavior and support the victims. On the other hand, it also contains passages which were cause later contention, such as: The church of Christ has never lost sight of the thought that the chosen people , who nailed the redeemer of this world to the cross, must bear the curse for its action through a long history of suffering. . . . But the history of the suffering of this people, loved and punished by God, stands under the sign of the final homecoming of the people of Israel to its God. And this homecoming happens in the conversion of Israel to Christ .
Such views, Haynes points out, replicate the traditional Christian attitude towards Judaism, which was first adumbrated by St. Augustine, and repeated by Luther. In an earlier work, Reluctant Witnesses. Jews and the Christian Imagination (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press 1995), Haynes coined the phrase the witness-people myth as a handy term for labeling the sort of beliefs informing the Christian mind across many centuries. Bonhoeffer’s use of this witness-people myth in this April 1933 essay therefore breaks no new ground, and can be said to repristinate existing pejorative convictions.
On the other hand, can we be so sure that such views represented Bonhoeffer’s genuine beliefs at the time? Haynes does not explore another possibility – namely that these sentiments were tactical in their purpose. After all, Bonhoeffer wanted to gain immediate action by the conservative church authorities on behalf of a discriminated group. He was not attempting to start a theological debate. It is possible to suggest that Bonhoffer may have sought to strengthen the forcefulness of his advocacy by not challenging the traditional attitudes on this touchy subject, as held by those he wanted to persuade.
But the blank refusal of his proposals for action by the church authorities was discouraging and dismaying. Even an attenuated draft – the Bethel Confession of June 1933 – was turned down to Bonhoeffer’s disgust. It was clear that the leading churchmen shared much of the widespread euphoria about the new Nazi regime, believed that Hitler was a God-sent leader in Germany’s hour of need, and that his campaigns against communists and Jews were worthy of divine approval. In such a climate, the chances of arousing the church to an awareness of Nazism’s evil character were nil. Shortly afterwards Bonhoeffer left for London.
Haynes suggests that, at the time and indeed thereafter, Bonhoeffer accepted the witness-people myth , and even that, by using the term the Jewish Question , Bonhoeffer approached too closely the collaborationist line of the pro-Nazi factions in the church’s ranks. He has searched carefully through all of Bonhoeffer’s subsequent writings but finds little more than a few hints of any change. Indeed, he believes, the Christo-centric emphasis in both Discipleship and Letters and Papers from Prison would suggest otherwise. Bonhoeffer never wrote any extended treatise on this subject after 1933. His supporters argue that this silence can be explained due to his becoming a marked man, who was himself subject to the Gestapo’s restrictions on his preaching and writing, and later on, of course, his arrest and imprisonment made any such publication impossible. They equally speculate that, had he lived, he would surely have adopted the same path as his closest associate, Bethge, and eventually championed a very different stance on Christian-Jewish relations. We shall never know.
Haynes is therefore skeptical about any claims that Bonhoeffer can be seen as a precursor for post-Holocaust Christian theology. The continuities in Bonhoeffer’s thought suggest that he remained tied to the witness-people myth . On the other hand, Haynes takes a much more positive view about Bonhoeffer’s rescue efforts. He disagrees with the decision of the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Centre, Yad Vashem, in denying Bonhoeffer the title of Righteous Gentile . The reasons given are clearly inadequate. Instead Haynes stresses the fact that Bonhoeffer’s efforts to rescue Jews were part of his theologically-prompted ethics. This was not just a case of general humanitarianism. Rather, for Bonhoeffer, the Jew is always the other who is Christ’s brother, whose suffering reflects God’s providence and whose treatment reveals the moral condition of church and society.
In the circumstances of Nazi Germany, he, like the rural Huguenots of Le-Chambon in France, or the Dutch Christian Reformers of Haarlem, Holland, recognized the Jews as the people of God who needed assistance. Bonhoeffer’s moral courage should not be seen as the product of a lone ranger mentality, but rather arose out of a deep sense of solidarity on philosemitic grounds. For him, Israel’s unique importance for Christians was a constant factor.
Haynes’ conclusion is very sound. Bonhoeffer’s involvement in resistance and rescue activities was undoubtedly nurtured by his belief that the Church was called to assist the weakest and most defenseless brothers and sister of Jesus Christ, who were indeed the apple of God’s eye . Yet all this grew out of a theological tradition of the ambivalent witness-people myth which legitimized Jewish suffering and regarded them as reprobate for not recognizing Jesus as their Messiah. So far, Haynes fears, this myth still claims support in Christian circles, largely because no one yet has constructed an alternate Christian theology of Israel adequate to the task. It could only be formulated by engaging Jews and Judaism on their own terms – an encounter which Bonhoeffer never undertook. His life and thought may have been both exemplary and inspiring, but it would be exaggerating and misleading to claim that he was a prophet of an entirely new era in Christian-Jewish relationships. JSC
2c) John Howes, Japan’s Modern Prophet. Uchimura Kanzo, 1861-1930. Vancouver & Toronto: UBC Press, 2005. xvi + 445 Pp.ISBN 0-7748-1145-5
This work represents the fruits of a lifelong study of its subject which began with a Master’s thesis in 1951 and culminated in 2005, by which time the author was a Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia. A number of studies in English of Uchimura and the Non-church Christianity which he founded have preceded this volume, but there has been nothing of the scope and detail of this work. It includes a biography of Uchimura, a critical study of his thought and that of his disciples (called by their Japanese name, deshi), and finally, some suggestions of the influence the movement has had, within and outside Japan.
The author groups his narrative around what he sees to have been three key stages in Uchimura’s life: 1) His refusal, as a Christian, to bow at the reading of the Emperor’s Rescript on Education (1891); 2) His opposition to the Russo-Japanese War and conversion to pacifism (1903); and 3) His emergence (in response to the carnage of World War I) into public life as a preacher of Christ’s second coming (1918). A detailed account of the young Kanzo (as the author calls him at this stage) and his conversion to Christianity precedes the first stage. Here three personality traits emerge: a desire for affection, an oppressive sense of responsibility, and a need to dominate his surroundings.  Indeed, the young Kanzo emerges as a rather unattractive character and it is only after his conversion during his university days that these traits begin to be acted out as a desire for a Christianity independent of foreign missionary control. That this attitude was not motivated by an uncritical nationalism was demonstrated by the famous les majeste incident, when Uchimura rather tentatively refused to make the deep obeisance required at a ceremonial reading of an Imperial rescript. That his desire for independence from missionaries was not simple anti-foreignism can be shown by his lifelong friendship with certain foreigners, such as his early American mentors Seelye and Kerlin (during his 4-year stay in the U.S.) and his German deshi, Wilhelm Gundert. Throughout his career Uchimura used his facility in English to attempt to explain Japan and his theological position to non-Japanese Christians.
The second stage in Uchimura’s career began in 1900 with the launch of his journal, Seisho no Kenkyo [Studying the Bible]. The magazine began as an organ for the introduction of Uchimura’s expositions of biblical passages, together with translations of works by Western authors. As time went on, however, readers began to gather at his home, where Uchimura lectured on selected passages. Gradually, these meetings took on the form of non-liturgical services, with hymns and prayers added to the lectures. This marked the beginning of what came to be called Mukyokai, or Christianity without church. These gatherings were very Japanese, being similar in nature to the relation of a Confucian teacher to his student/disciples. As Howes shows in later chapters, the type of exposition employed by Uchimura was based on what we would call today an existential approach. It was closely related to the problems he had faced in the crisis of his own conversion and it responded to the personal questions raised by his hearers in their struggles with the emergence of a new society in Japan. Accordingly, these meetings attracted some of the most outstanding individuals of their day, men who would go on to be leaders in education and political life. The influence of this type of exposition came to reach far beyond the immediate circle of Uchimura’s disciples, as this reviewer can attest from seeing the commentaries in his Japanese Anglican colleagues’ libraries.
As a writer, Uchimura gained a national readership in 1897 with a column in a newly founded newspaper dedicated to progressive causes, Yorozu Choho. But together with three other columnists, he decided in 1903 to resign in opposition to the paper’s policy of support for war with Russia. This act made him a pacifist, though in contrast to his three socialist colleagues, Uchimura found the source of social injustice in the character of individuals  rather than in the structure of society. This was what led him to found his own journal, then, following World War I, to his decision to join the movement announcing the imminent second coming of Christ. The need (in his view) for rapid conversion in turn led him to move from his small Bible-study groups to large public meetings where he lectured on the Bible to gatherings of as many as 700 listeners. So by the time of his death in 1930 he had become a public figure, known throughout Japan, but also abroad. Appealing primarily to intellectuals, it attracted some of the leading figures in Japanese public life, including university presidents and a supreme court justice. But it spread throughout the country, forming a wide stratum of “hidden Christians” in the population.
Interestingly, it was in Europe rather than in America that his writings aroused the greatest interest abroad. His autobiographical essay, How I Became a Christian was translated into German by Wilhelm Gundert in 1904 while a theological student. Translations into the Scandinavian languages and French followed. Gundert, accomplished in eight languages, was so impressed that he moved to Japan with his wife and placed himself under Uchimura’s direction. He remained in Japan until 1936, working as an independent missionary and teacher, but always in close contact with Uchimura and his group. This reviewer remembers how Emil Brunner, when visiting Japan in the 1960’s, showed a special interest in Mukyokai, about which he had already heard through Gundert’s work.
What did Uchimura mean by Mukyokai? Howes points out that his interpretation changed throughout his life. This reviewer remembers a colleague, Professor Nakazawa, himself Mukyokai, explaining that the Japanese negative, Mu, usually translated Non- does not have the negative connotation that the English does, but is closer to something like absence of. Howes, at the end of his book, gives Uchimura’s final interpretation, announced posthumously as the sincere attempt of a believer to lead a Christian life based on the Bible without reference to organizations or liturgies.  Although the attempt to define has continued, this seems to be as good a one as any.
Any criticism of a book like this would appear like nit-picking. The detailed treatment of the subject challenges the reader. There is a good deal of repetition, but it is necessitated by the context. Perhaps it could have been more critical of Uchimura himself and his movement? The present reviewer, who has had a good deal of contact with Mukyokai and its members, still found it interesting, informative and instructive.
Cyril Powles, Vancouver
2d) Günter Bischof, Anton Pelinka, Hermann Denz, eds. Religion in Austria. Contemporary Austrian Studies. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2005. 297 pp. Charts, notes. $40.00 (paper), ISBN 0-7658-0823-4.
(This book was first reviewed for H-German in May 2006, and is reproduced by kind permission of the author.)
Secularization theory argued that a decline in religious belief would follow modernization. Religion in Austria brings together topical essays, a roundtable discussion, fora from the 2003 German Studies Association, review essays and book reviews which all tend to dispute the secularization theory. These materials address not only historically predominant Roman Catholicism, but the position of Judaism and Islam in Austrian society throughout various historical time periods as well. Part 1 of the volume, “Topical Essays,” contains a particularly useful set of articles. John W. Boyer’s essay addresses the role of political Catholicism in Austrian state-building, taking the long view over the tumultuous 1880s-1960s. Taking an even longer view, Paul M. Zulehner begins his essay with the dramatic Counter-Reformation decree of 1527, the “Law to Stamp Out and Punish Heresy” (p. 37). Zulehner argues that Austria became, once again, a re-Catholicized country, replete with Catholic culture. He asserts that with the modernization of the Austrian nation, however, the social position of the Church began to change gradually, bringing about a withdrawal from political life until a survey taken in 2000 revealed that 80 percent of Austrians believed that “church leaders should not try to influence the government in its decision-making” (p. 39). Zulehner uses statistical data and surveys to reveal the modern Austrian as someone who generally believes in some higher presence, and he links this belief to behavior at elections, gender, morality, and lifestyle choices. He demonstrates that despite the withdrawal of the Church from State relations, secularization has had only a limited impact and that religion still plays a role in both private and public life choices.
Building on this theme, Sieglinde K. Rosenberger’s essay addresses the significant role religion still plays in both creating tensions in society as well as providing religiously inspired policies. Using statistical data, Rosenberger examines various political parties in modern-day Austria and their position (if any) on religion. Rosenberger identifies an upsurge in the use of religious rhetoric and warns of an increased tension based on differences in culture and religious identity as the European Union ponders admission for predominantly non-Christian countries such as Turkey. Susanne Heine’s essay addresses just this issue when she examines the real tensions between Christians and Muslims in Austria. She traces the presence of Muslims in Austria up to the present day, examines the self-understanding of Muslims, and looks at integration policies. Particularly useful is her analysis of Austrian textbooks that tend to perpetuate myths and stereotypes about Muslims. In her estimation, if nothing changes with regards to images of Islam, problems will continue to mount as the opportunity for common understanding between Christianity and Islam becomes inexorably smaller.
Offering hopefulness regarding understanding and civility, Regina Polak’s interview with Bishop Helmut Krytzl comes to a close with the following observation: “[W]e must look at this pluralistic society not as a threat, but as a challenge, and then form a consciousness that views what the Church has to offer as a service to society–not in a servile way, but for our living together as something necessary in part for the survival of society” (p. 98).
Part 2 of the volume is a roundtable discussion featuring the remarks of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Michael Bünker, Anas Schakfeh, and Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg. Each essay addresses the position of the specific religious group in Austria–Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Jews. A common theme running through each essay is the need for understanding and what Bünker refers to as a “self-taming” of religious groups in order to promote the existence of a peaceful society (p. 148). Cardinal Schönborn quotes Viktor Frankl’s insight: “Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of and since Hiroshima we know what is at stake” (p. 136). Rabbi Eisenberg adds to this mood with his statement that Austria, in order to be more accepting of its culturally diverse groups, must also move forward in its acceptance of its past.
Forum I and Forum II work to address just that past to which Rabbi Eisenberg was speaking. In Forum I, the position of Austrian officials both in the past and in the present is examined regarding art theft and looting during World War II. As Austria served as a model for the “Aryanization” of Jewish property, it still serves as an example of art restitution. Each essay (originally presented at the German Studies Association) analyzes Nazi policies, Austrian complicity with many of these policies, and the current debates about restitution. Jonathan Petropoulos argues that Austria is coming closer to dealing with its past in that it has pressured local, state, and private institutions to make amends for the theft of Jewish-owned art (p. 213). He also mentions that, although progress has been made, much work remains to be done.
Forum II also seeks to address the issue of acceptance of Austria’s past. This fascinating series of essays examines the difference between family memories of National Socialism and the national construction of memory (p. 215). Margit Reiter’s essay looks at the “victim myth” (i.e., that Austrians were Hitler’s “first victims”) and its relationship to second-generation Austrians. Reiter has found that children of former Nazi parents are entangled in a conflict between emotional connections with their parents, the desire to defend their parents’ reputations, and ambivalent feelings about the “real” facts of the Austrian Nazi past. Helga Embacher’s work on philosemitism in the second generation echoes Reiter’s research by showing how silences about family members’ potentially guilty pasts can lead some individuals to a crisis in their own identity. Daniela Ellmauer’s work goes beyond the second generation to the grandchildren of the World-War-II family members. Her work in the reconstruction of family memory and its functions in the family has revealed that third generation children tend to be more willing to accept their grandparents’ guilt because most of them tend to see their grandparents’ actions as “necessary to their survival” (p. 245). Like Reiter, Ellmauer argues that many grandchildren feel a fierce need to protect “Grandpa” when atrocity stories are circulating. Ellmauer ends with a call to historians to fill in the absences regarding the role of perpetrators so “Grandpa’s” actions can be seen within a larger context. The final portion of the volume contains review essays, book reviews, and the annual review of Austrian political elections.This is an extremely useful volume, particularly for anyone interested in secularization theory, church-state interaction, or the role that religion can still play in informing modern citizens’ choices and attitudes towards state policy.
Beth Griech-Polelle, Bowling Green State University
3) Book notes. Michael W.Higgins, Stalking the Holy. The pursuit of saint making. Toronto: Anansi Press 2006. 275 Pp. ISBN 0-88784-181-3
Michael Higgins, who teaches at St Jerome’s University, an affiliate of the University of Waterloo, Ontario has written an entertaining study of the process of canonization in the Roman Catholic Church. This will be of value to non-Catholics who are often mystified by the complications of the procedures. Higgins opens with two chapters on how saints are selected and evaluated, and then gives three case studies which illustrate the difficulties and pitfalls – mainly political – which can cause lengthy delays, even denials. As examples he illustrates the cases of Padre Pio, a very popular faith healer in southern Italy, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and finally most controversial of all, Pope Pius XII, whom he describes as God’s embroiled deputy. Higgins’ excellent elucidation of the many twists and turns in what might seem to be a simple matter of recognizing saintliness gives us pause to think and to see that in a multi-national and highly organized ecclesiastical structure like the Vatican all sorts of pressures can be expected. So the procedures have to be well thought out. Saints are icons or windows on to God’s love. Higgins shows us how they are recognized in this calling. JSC.
With best wishes to you all,