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Searching for Raymond: Anglicanism, Spiritualism, and Bereavement between the Two World Wars [Hardcover]

Rene Kollar

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Book Description

Sept. 26 2000
Rene Kollar takes as his focus the uneasy relationship between the Anglican Church and Spiritualism following World War I. A church committee was appointed to study the "claims of Spiritualism in relation to the Christian Faith," and though the results were, in some respects, favorable to Spiritualism, the report was not made public until 1979. Searching for Raymond explores the rise in Spiritualism's popularity after the trauma of war as Anglicans failed to find comfort in the traditional teachings of their church. At the same time, the book provides a thoroughly researched portrait of the indelible connection between religious faith and bereavement between the two world wars.

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About the Author

Rene Kollar is Professor of History at Saint Vincent College and Saint Vincent Seminary. He is the author of Westminster Cathedral: From Dream to Reality (1987), The Return of the Benedictines to London: A History of Ealing Abbey from 1896 to Independence (1989), Abbot Aelred Carlyle, Caldey Island, and the Anglo-Catholic Revival in England (1995), Aspects of the Revival of Monasticism in the West in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries (1996), and numerous articles dealing with English ecclesiastical history.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Investigation into Church Politics and Coverup Jan. 13 2001
By Michael E. Tymn - Published on Amazon.com
The symbolic title for this book comes from the 1916 book, "Raymond, or Life and Death," by Sir Oliver Lodge, an esteemed British physicist. After Lodge's son, Raymond, was killed in World War I, during 1914, Lodge received various messages from him through several mediums. Although Lodge thoroughly analyzed the messages and their means with scientific acumen and was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that they were from his son, much of the scientific community guffawed at Lodge's conclusions. Still, Lodge remained steadfast in his beliefs and his book did much to promote the cause of Spiritualism, which might broadly be defined as the organized practice of communication with discarnate spirits.
While science lined up against Spiritualism on one side, religion was opposed on the other side, primarily because of Bible warnings relative to spirit communication. Many English citizens who had lost loved ones in the Great War turned to Spiritualism and away from the Anglican Church, which apparently did little to help them in their grieving. Seeing this "cult" as a threat, the Church hierarchy began to consider its own views on death, eternal life, and spirit communication. Finally, in 1939, the Anglican Church commissioned an investigation into Spiritualism,which had continued to flourish in spite of the fact it was caught between science and religion. After the committee report was submitted to Archbishop Cosmo Lang, it was suppressed, apparently because the committee findings to some degree approved of much of what Spiritualism had to offer. It was finally released in 1979.
Dr. Kollar, a priest and history professor at St. Vincent College and St. Vincent Seminary in Latrob, PA, dug deep into the archives of the Anglican Church to find out exactly what went on in the various exchanges among the Church leaders. Many of the letters between the archbishop and various bishops reveal numerous concerns they had about the needs of the faithful and how those needs were being filled by Spiritualism and not by the Church itself. Kollar finds clues as to what motivated the cover-up of the 1939 report.
This investigative report makes for an intriguing story.

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