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BOOK REVIEWS307 The historical survey is a lucid simplification of the standard narrative, farmliar to readers of Bernhard Poschmann, Cyrille Vogel, or the article "Pénitence" in the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique. The periodization itself reveals this historical orthodoxy: New Testament origins; excommunication and reconcUiation from the second to the sixth centuries; tariffed penance, sixth to the twelfth century; confession and penance from Lateran CouncU IV to Trent; the CouncU of Trent to the eighteenth century; the French Revolution to Vatican CouncU II; and developments after Vatican Council II. It is a narrative untouched by revisionist questions: were the Penitentials practical manuals? was there much lay confession before 1215? was confession frequent before the Counter-Reformation took hold? doesn't public penance remain important after the twelfth, even into the sixteenth century? But given the purpose of this Uttle book, the author did weU to keep the story line uncompUcated. For whatever the actuaUties ofpractice over this long history, the surviving record amply justifies retaining this narrative, and provides the author examples of the institutional diversity that inform his hopes for a revival of a church-centered penance adapted to the modern situation. The eighty-seven supporting documents that span the twenty centuries of the narrative are aU very brief, in the style of Denzinger and Bettenson (pp. 131-204). They include not only commonplaces (Mt. 16:13-19; St. Cyprian and the Council of Carthage; canon 21 of Lateran CouncU IV; the curé d'Ars, etc.) but also examples of reconciliation in Byzantine, Anglican, and Russian rites. The author alludes in text and documents to contemporary practice in Korea, Chad, the Reformed Church of France, and a few European parishes where Catholic confession remains strong. Documents in the modern section—from rituals to anecdotal accounts—illustrate the sensitivity in contemporary pastoral thinking to the psychological and cultural dimensions of religious experience . While searching for signs of life, however, Professor RouiUard has not ignored the situation that his statistics on French observance make plain. And whether the Catholic tradition can exploit the broadened perspectives of the post-Vatican CouncU II era, recapitulate the adaptive pattern the author sees in his long history, and stage a comeback for confession, remains to be seen. Thomas Tentler University ofMichigan The Vincentian Family Tree:A Genealogical Study. By Betty Ann McNeU, D.C. Edited by Martha Beaudoin, D.C, Stafford Poole, CM., and Edward Udovic, CM. [Vincentian Studies Institute Monographs, I.] (Chicago: Vincentian Studies Institute. Available at DePaul University Bookstore,Vincentian Heritage Department, 2419 North Sheffield Avenue, Chicago, IL 606l4. 1996. Pp. xxviii, 255. $20.00 paperback.) 308BOOK REVIEWS The Vincentian Family Tree is the first volume of a new monograph series published by the Vincentian Studies Institute. Its purpose is to trace the development , over time and across cultures, of the spiritual descendants of Vincent de Paul (1581-1660). As noted in the introduction,"The mission, spirit and rules of Vincent de Paul have been adapted to many cultures since their emergence in seventeenth-century France and have generated a majestic family tree." This volume sketches the shape of that tree, identifying Catholic and non-Catholic groups around the world that claim their roots in this stiU vibrant mission. The scholarship reflected in McNeU's volume is impeccable. Basing her research on a genealogical perspective that positions Vincent de Paul as family patriarch (Ln order to make distinctions between generations of his foUowers and himself as founder), McNeil traces members ofthe "Vincentian family" (i.e., congregations who, in some way, trace their origin or spirit back to Vincent de Paul) from its beginnings in 1625 to the present. She describes clearly her methodology and decision rules, noting honestly their limitations. The scope of the project is simUarly superb. She used both established networks and creative contacts to obtain critical background data from congregations around the world. Along with the brief historical context pertinent to the development of the extended Vincentian famUy over the centuries, McNeil offers lengthy footnotes throughout the text. These provide anecdotal information and source references for the reader who desires additional data. Ample appendices offer supplemental information such as geographical distribution and federation affiliation . In the text itseU, the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 307-309
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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