London and St. Louis: Burns & Oates/B. Herder, 1908. Folio (13 1/2 inches tall), original khaki cloth, gilt spine. Slight tanning to endpapers, 1908 Christmas religious inscription, spotting to fore-edges, cloth boards clean, corners sharp. A bright, crisp near-fine copy. Item #979
"THE CHURCH'S CENTRAL AND ALL-PERVADING RITE"
Second—and first illustrated—edition of T.E. Bridgett's Eucharistic history—a handsome folio edition complete with a splendid frontispiece: "The Mass of Gregory the Great."
An Anglican convert who entered the Redemptorists, Father Bridgett was best known for his important studies of Thomas More and John Fisher (before either saint was canonized). First published in 1881, this elegant new edition (printed by Bernard Newdigate at the Arden Press) adds illustrations, including the issue-guarded frontispiece after Durer, a title page printed in red-and-black, and numerous illustrations in the text. This edition also adds an Editorial Note, a brief comment by the English Jesuit Herbert Thurston ("31 Farm Street, London, W / August 21, 1908") on the modifications to "the most important historical work on the Blessed Sacrament which has so far appeared on English soil" along with notes on the newly added engravings. Father Thurston expresses a "sense of deep indebtedness which he, in company with countless other English-speaking Catholics, owes to the writings of the late Father Bridgett." No other work, Thurston tells us, "could have been chosen which, from its singular combination of earnest piety and wide historical knowledge, was better fitted to represent the contribution of Great Britain to the Eucharistic literature of the world."
The text consists of four sections: Part I. The Eucharist in Great Britain, Part II. The Eucharist as a Sacrifice, Part III. The Eucharist as a Sacrament, Part IV. The Eucharist in the Life of the People. Index. Father Bridgett, in his original Author's Preface, recalls the trials of the English Catholics in the 300 years since the Reformation. "The Lord's institution has been rejected" and even in Victorian Britain, "a solemn abjuration of the ancient Catholic doctrine is required when the crown is placed on the head of the most exalted ruler of the nations." Permissu Superiorum.