Br. Mark Brown

Today we celebrate the life of Edward Bouverie Pusey, a key figure in the 19th century movement often called the Catholic Revival, or the Oxford Movement.  As the word “revival” suggests, this movement was, at its best, about reviving a church that had become sleepy.  Pusey was in the very epicenter of the controversies that come with challenging the status quo, but showed heroic patience and perseverance in the midst of it all.  He is also remembered for his extraordinary generosity in contributing his family fortune for the re-founding of religious orders. (There had been no monasteries in England since Henry VIII shut them all down and confiscated their land—so, great country houses called “such-and-such Abbey” were built on land that had belonged to monasteries.)

The Society of Saint John the Evangelist is part of Pusey’s legacy: his ideas and the movement generally were the air Fr. Benson and the other founders breathed in Oxford.  The early stages of the Catholic Revival, incidentally, might be distinguished from the later Ritualist Movement and high Anglo-Catholicism of later in the 19th century—into which the SSJE was also absorbed (probably not without a certain amount of skepticism of Fr. Benson….) Read More