In the early seventeenth century, as the vehement aggression of the early Reformation faded, the Church of England was able to draw upon scholars of remarkable ability to present a more thoughtful defence of its position. The Caroline Divines, who flourished under King Charles I, drew upon vast erudition and literary skill, to refute the claims of the Church of Rome and affirm the purity of the English religious settlement. This book examines their writings in the context of modern ecumenical dialogue, notably that of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) to ask whether their arguments are still valid, and indeed whether they can contribute to contemporary ecumenical progress.
Drawing upon an under-used resource within Anglicanism’s own theological history, this volume shows how the restatement by the Caroline Divines of the catholic identity of the Church prefigured the work of ARCIC, and provides Anglicans with a vocabulary drawn from within their own tradition that avoids some of the polemical and disputed formulations of the Roman Catholic tradition.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor; 1 The Historical Context; 2 Features of Caroline Theology; 3 Eucharistic Doctrine; 4 Ministry and Ordination; 5 Authority in the Church; 6 Salvation and the Church; 7 The Church as Communion; 8 Life in Christ: Christian Morality; 9 Mary, Grace and Hope in Christ; 10 A Caroline Contribution?
Mark Langham is a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster. From 2008 to 2013 he worked in Rome at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, where he was responsible for relations between the Vatican and the Anglican Communion, and was co-secretary to the official dialogue between the Catholic Church and Anglican Communion (ARCIC). In 2010 he provided the BBC commentary for the visit of Pope Benedict to England, and is currently based at Cambridge as Catholic chaplain to the University.
"His (Langham's) deep engagement with this vast, often overlooked corpus of writings is a gesture of sincere offering and direct encounter [...] This imaginative book begins with a commendation from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who reminds readers that “the search for unity is a task of intense scholarship, but more than that, of imagination, creativity, and holiness.” It ends with the hope that deeper reading by Anglicans in the riches of our tradition in this school will “inspire new generations of theologians as they seek to deepen the real but imperfect communion that exists between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.”"
- Richard J. Mammana, The Living Church