Book Reviews

Review: See I Am Making Something New: A Canonical and Pastoral Guide to Founding Religious Institutes, Diocesan Hermits, Consecrated Virgins and New Forms of Consecrated Life

See I Am Making Something New: New Institutes, Diocesan Hermits and Consecrated Virgins and New Forms of Consecrated LifeSee I Am Making Something New: New Institutes, Diocesan Hermits and Consecrated Virgins and New Forms of Consecrated Life by Amy Hereford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Could someone please ensure my bishop that he should read nothing into my reading of this book!

This volume looks at the phenomenon of consecrated life within the Catholic Church in all its diversity, and particularly examines the process by which new institutes of consecrated life are brought to birth by those who experience the promptings of the Holy Spirit to do ‘something new’. It is very informative about the canonical processes involved, which is to be expected given the identity of the author as both a civil and canon lawyer with some expertise in this area.

What I found most interesting, however, is the way in which the discernment of new modalities of consecrated life is already envisioned in the life of the Catholic Church and its Code of Canon Law. I find this most heartening because it assumes that the final word on this gift to the Church has not yet been spoken. That processes exist for new instances of existing forms of consecrated life and for the exploration of as yet unknown forms of consecrated life exist within the Church’s own legal framework is something to be welcomed.

So who should read this book? Anyone with an interest in the history of consecrated life in the Church should definitely read this volume, as should anyone who is at some point in the journey of discerning what may prove to be something new in the life of the Church. In addition, those in ecclesial leadership would be wise and well-served to peruse this contribution so that they may better serve the life of the Church.

My only ‘criticism’ is not about content but about the editing process in the production of the book. There were numerous occasions when the writing caused me to stumble through the presence of the wrong word in a sentence, or a grammatical error in the structure that required more than one look at what I was reading. All of these could have been easily addressed via a good proofreader, something that might be considered for future editions.

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