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The Roman Option Paperback – Import, January 1, 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: FOUNT; New Ed edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000628065X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006280651
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,507,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. N. Gomersall on December 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Friday, 28 December 2007

For years I put off reading William Oddie's "The Roman Option", misled by a back cover blurb suggesting that here might be an account of one individual's journey from Canterbury to Rome - likely, a more pedestrian Apologia Pro Vita Sua updated to the last decade of the twentieth century and given its motive by the Church of England's decision, in 1992, to ordain women.

The book actually has quite a different object: to discuss the circumstances in which bodies of Anglo-Catholics might move collectively to Rome rather than having to convert one by one. In Oddie's view there were serious possibilities of such collective conversions following 1992 but the opportunity was lost, mainly through the timidity of English Roman Catholics. The great appeal of this book is the nuanced way in which Oddie sketches the many and various versions of, and perspectives on, the so-called "Roman Option"; he keeps all the balls in play with considerable skill, using them to form a narrative that gradually builds (as the Roman Option appears more and more likely) before reaching an impasse that the reader knows from the start will eventually block further progress. To maintain our interest in a somewhat arcane subject matter when the denouement is thus predetermined would be impossible were Oddie's writing not commendably precise and energetic at the same time.

It helps, of course, that his real story moves quickly away from the specific issue of women's ordination to embrace such central issues as authority within the church and such questions as the meaning of Catholicism itself. That Oddie is so helpful on these huge topics, whilst keeping their coverage within bounds as a framework for his main narrative, is another tribute to his skills.
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