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NEWMAN STUDIES JOURNAL 84 BOOK REVIEWS This Restless Prelate: Bishop Peter Baines. By Pamela J. Gilbert. Leominster, England: Gracewing, 2006. Pages xii + 276. Paper, $24.95, ISBN 0–85244–592–X. Cardinal Wiseman said of Bishop Peter Baines (1786–1843) that he had the “power of fascinating all who approached him.” He was able to admit this even after a bitter falling out with the Bishop over the latter’s beloved Prior Park College. Indeed, as Pamela Gilbert illustrates in this well-researched study of Baines, he possessed a unique ability to attract supporters to his causes and projects: first at AmpleforthAbbey School,where he began his career as a young priest in 1810. Later, when he tired of (what would become the inevitable) opposition to his plans for the school from his own Benedictine confrères, he caused quite a stir in the fashionable city of Bath not only as a zealous pastor of souls and sought-after preacher, but also as one who enjoyed spending beyond his means on ecclesiastical furnishings and property, yet always managed to find those who would give or lend him the money. Appointed coadjutor to the Vicar Apostolic of the Western District, his dreams of a college and seminary, and his extraordinary schemes for financing it, caused more than a few to doubt his judgment. But when he became Vicar Apostolic in his own right in 1829,and proceeded with his plans for Prior Park College,he managed to find backing for his enterprise.Yet his combative nature and the self-destructive behavior that he manifested throughout his life would embroil him in conflicts with the monks of Downside, the nuns at Cannington, and even Pope Gregory XVI, who publicly rebuked him for the views expressed in his Lenten Pastoral of 1840, in which he lashed out at the tastes and practices of the “new converts” entering the Roman Catholic Church in England. It is perhaps this aspect of Baines’ story that will most interest students of John Henry Newman. In 1843—the same year that Newman preached his final Anglican sermon on “The Parting of Friends”—Baines went home to the Lord, his demise brought on by the distress he felt at the changes occurring in the Catholic community: A.W.N. Pugin’s Gothic style in Church architecture and vesture, an interest in Gregorian chant, the introduction of Continental devotions (Baines was particularly disturbed by devotion to the Sacred Heart), the growing influence of religious orders (Baines, though a Benedictine himself, had a surprisingly ambivalent attitude toward the distinctiveness of vowed religious), and prayers for the conversion of England. Baines feared these practices would arouse the enmity of the Protestant majority, yet all were developments that would confront Newman as he entered the Church and affect his own personal life as a Catholic.One could say,then, that even though Newman never figures by name in the story Gilbert tells so well, her narrative provides a useful and engaging backdrop to anyone interested in a more rounded picture of Newman’s life. Gilbert’s study is based in large measure on the letters of Bishop Baines, and she utilizes these and other archival sources deftly, telling a story that is never dull 85 and will be found enlightening by both the professional historian and casual reader alike. She rightly judges that his greatest achievement was to raise the profile of the Roman Catholic Church in England and concludes:“Many people admired Baines,and others loathed him,but it was impossible to ignore him.”While no one will find cause to loath this book, I hope no one will ignore it and find much in it to enjoy. Joseph C. Linck St. John Fisher Seminary, Stamford, CT William Wilberforce: A Biography. By Stephen Tomkins. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007. Pages: 238. Paper, $18.00, ISBN 978–0–8028–2593–3. William Wilberforce (1759–1833), an evangelical Anglican and parliamentarian leader in the abolitionist movement, is introduced here swiftly in broad strokes peppered with the numerous names of allies and foes,monarchs and prime ministers. There are several popular biographies of William Wilberforce on the market now.This one from a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-6945
Print ISSN
1547-9080
Pages
pp. 84-85
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-22
Open Access
No
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