This is a chronicle of a society of Anglican priests (The Society of the Holy Cross), which is celebrating its 150th anniversary. For all those who delight in the eccentricities of Anglo-Catholicism, this will be required reading. In the introduction, the editor states 'inevitably this is not the whole truth'. This is regrettable but what is in this book is remarkable enough. Lost now in the battle against Women Bishops, it is often forgotten that the Anglo Catholic movement in the Church of England was essentially a call to holiness. The founder of the Society Father Charles Lowder dedicated his life to working for the poorest of the poor. His new society was designed to give encouragement to priests working in these slum parishes to enable them to fulfil their mission. He recognised then as we do now that it all begins with holiness of life. This account is packed with incident. Even today, the description of a group of priests gathering the Haven Holiday Camp Caistor on Sea, planning a new dawn for 'Our Catholic Movement' will amaze and delight the reader.
The Shrine at Walsingham has become for many the focal point of renewal and rediscovery of Catholic confidence in The Church of England. Our Lady of Walsingham features prominently in this book. All those who think the Catholic movement in The Church of England is on its last leg should read this book. They will be rudely contradicted.
Geoffrey Rowell is Bishop of Europe and former Bishop of Basingstoke. David Houlding SSC is Priest of All Hallows, Hampstead