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This review is taken from PN Review 40, Volume 11 Number 2, November - December 1984.

ANGLICAN ANGST When will Ye be Wise? The State of the Church of England, edited by Anthony Kilmister (Blond and Briggs) £12.95

The next salvo in the battle to preserve the traditional character - and liturgy - of the Church of England, or the last ripple of the stir caused by Crisis for Cranmer and King James (PNR 13)? Much of this book reads like the latter, and little in the book gives any impression of confidence - or even hope - of the success of the cause: though the book improves a bit towards the end. The tone is conservative, even reactionary - but often simply nostalgic: and breathing a nostalgia for a past that is warmly loved, but on the evidence of this book probably never existed, for the memories are so contradictory. Dr Mascall - who must be as familiar with celebrating according to the Latin Roman Rite as with the Book of Common Prayer - at least recalls something he recognizes was never very coherent, while an amiable incoherence is what Bishop Neill seems to regret. The disarray this book presents - some would clearly regard hell as part of traditional Christian doctrine, whereas Peter Mullen regards it as characteristic of the charismatics - almost lends to the opposition a coherence that it probably lacks. Certainly one begins to wonder what it is that provokes such an array of reaction, and wonder about it with some respect. Some contributions are sharply telling - Sisson's for example - but more at the level of realistic analysis: it is less clear what is desiderated. Sisson seems to be saying ...

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