The Catholic Historical Review 88.4 (2002) 823-824
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Documentary Sources of Maltese History, part IV: Documents at the Vatican, No. 1: Archivio Secreto Vaticano, Congregazione Vescovi e Regolari Malta: Visita Apostolica no. 51 Mgr Petrus Dusina, 1575. Edited by George Aquilina, OFM,and Stanley Fiorini. (Msida: Malta University Press. 2001. Pp. xxxiv, 528).
For many years Pietro Dusina's apostolic visitation of the Maltese diocese, with its astonishingly numerous churches and small chapels, has been extensively used by local Maltese historians, but almost always from manuscript copies on the island. It is now published for the first time from the best version, which is in the Vatican. The edition is clear and reliable with the necessary apparatus so arranged as not to clutter up the text. The visitation throws light on many matters in addition to the state of the churches, their furnishings and their clergy. This lengthy text is important for local village history and for that of the island as a whole. It shows the Tridentine reforms being firmly applied in a distant outpost and on its small sister island of Gozo. The fact that Malta was itself governed by a religious order produced some curious problems of jurisdiction, and the state of the three parishes of Uniate Greeks, many of whom had moved to Malta from Rhodes with the Hospitallers after 1522, disturbed the Italian visitor. There were problems arising from the incompetence and illiteracy of some of the clergy, about whom there is much detail; there was some use of the Gallican rite. The text is largely in Latin but some sections are in Italian; personal and place names are mainly in Maltese. This edition will be a valuable standard work.
The Journey of the Diocese of Amarillo: 75 Years on the Llano Estacado, 1926- 2001. (Amarillo: Diocese of Amarillo. 2001. Pp. xvi, 183.)
This diocesan anniversary publication, co-ordinated by Sister Hildegard Varga,O.S.B., vice-chancellor and archivist, concentrates on the diocesan and parish/mission histories. The original Amarillo diocese of northwest Texas, established in 1926, was three times as large as at present. In 1961 the southmost portion became the diocese of San Angelo, and in 1983 the former middle portion (South [End Page 823] Plains) became the diocese of Lubbock. This reduced the Amarillo diocese to the Texas Panhandle, in between northeast New Mexico and Oklahoma.
The diocesan history (pp. 1-66) was skillfully written by J. Michael Harter, who traces the Catholic story from the earliest Spanish explorations in 1541 within the original territory of the diocese down through its successive reductions in size to the present day. Throughout, however, the principal focus is upon locations within the current diocese, with only the more significant developments given for those areas it once included. The parish and mission section (pp. 81-183) is limited to accounts of the fifty parishes and missions still existing within the present diocese. However, there is also a briefly annotated chronological list of all the "parishes, missions, and stations" of the diocese in its three different geographical stages (pp. 67-78). All of these sections attest to the enduring reality of Catholic minority communities scattered in mostly small towns across West Texas, with the recurring challenge of providing them buildings and full-time ministers. There is also a list of the schools which have existed within the current diocese (p. 79). The volume includes two helpful maps; its photographs are limited almost exclusively to church buildings.
Harter's otherwise good summary of Catholic activity in the pre-1870 period, before any permanent church foundations, suffers from the standard errors of inaccurate Mexican diocesan divisions and a minimalizing account of the Mexican diocesan church. His later history is well framed within the changing socioeconomic contexts and pays good attention to feminine inclusion, including religious congregations of women. He notes the important contribution of the Extension Society, without whose assistance "hardly a church or rectory was built in this area" from 1905 to 1955 (p. 14). He also describes the earlier trials, at...