by Gordon Mursell
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-0-8132-3441-0 | eISBN: 978-0-8132-3442-7
Library of Congress Classification BX4700.P77
Dewey Decimal Classification 282.092

St Peter Damian (1007-1072) is an exceptional example of a paradox that is found in many saints and thinkers through the ages (St Jerome, St Bernard, St Bridget of Sweden, St Teresa of Avila and Thomas Merton come to mind) – of a lifelong tension between two competing vocations: the call to solitude and holiness and the call to prophetic social and ecclesial engagement. The author has explored this tension throughout his adult life, both in his published work and in his own life as an Episcopalian/Anglican priest and later bishop.

Damian’s “The Book of ‘The Lord be with you’” is a profound exploration of the spirituality of solitude, whereas his “Book of Gomorrah” is an intense attack on clerical sexual abuse which has helped to give Damian a new recent prominence in the light of the huge challenges facing the Church today. The Bonds of Love shows that the paradox at the heart of Damian's life and everything he cared about was rooted in the remarkable theology of love which finds expression across the whole of his work and gives it both coherence and dynamism. His life and spirituality are of far more than academic interest, and will make a major contribution, not only to those committed to ecclesial reform and renewal, but to all who struggle to live with the kind of competing tensions that made St. Peter Damian who he was.