The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 629
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tions, notes, works consulted, index, addenda, author profile. ISBN o-
87244-101-6. $25.00, cloth.)
In the preface to Lone Star Bishops, Franklin Williams discusses the genesis of
his book: "At length the idea occurred to me to give, within a single volume, not
only the complete biographical accounts of each Roman Catholic bishop serving
in Texas, auxiliary as well as diocesan, but to supply the reader with an introduc-
tion, explaining what a bishop is, how he functions (especially post-Vatican
Council II), and to supply historical detail with some specific relation to Texas"
(p. ix). Since Dr. Williams did indeed produce "two books in one": Part I dealing
with the office of bishop in general, the Texas bishop in particular; and Part II
offering biographies of each bishop serving in Texas since 1842 (with a 1995
terminus ad quem), it seems suitable to divide my review accordingly.
When, in the wake of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church became
more keenly attuned to the potential of the written word to undermine dogma,
the hierarchy elaborated upon its censorship regulations. If, and only if, a book
dealing with matters of faith passed the test of the censors would it carry the
words: Nzhil obstat, "nothing hinders." Were we in another age, those words of
approbation certifying compliance with orthodox teaching would surely find
their place on the title page of Lone Star Bishops, Part I.
Using the Bible (Catholic study edition) and the revised Code of Canon Law
as principle supporting texts, this section provides the reader with information
about ancient and contemporary Roman practice, all from a believer's perspec-
tive. Topics covered here include those of etymological and historical interest:
Origins of the words "bishop," "clergy," and "cardinal"; medieval prototypes for
episcopal regalia, such as the mitre, and pallium, for terms of address and
heraldic symbols; but there are just as many references to contemporary prac-
tice: Educational requirements of a bishop serving in Texas (complete with
1993-1994 tuition rates and course requirements at St. Thomas School of
Theology in Houston, p. 2o), and the average annual salary of a diocesan priest
in Texas (as of 1991 in the Dallas diocese it was $6,ooo, with a car allowance of
$4,2oo, p. 162).
The scope of this section is truly encyclopedic and, since it is remarkably
unencumbered by footnotes, Part I has something of the character of a vast
encyclopedia entry. One might then expect it to more than achieve the author's
goal of answering reader questions about the office of bishop, and sometimes it
does. At other times, problems of organization and a denseness of language,
especially as it applies to the more recondite issue of hierarchical organization
and episcopal functions, impede that aim. Furthermore, the sheer amount of
information that Dr. Williams has attempted to provide forces him to give some
very big problems very little space; the attenuated and unhelpful survey of the
history of papal intervention in episcopal elections (pp. 55-56) is a case in
point. A well-structured index beginning on page 576 does help to solve some,
but not all, of the problems mentioned above.
Lone Star Bishops, Part II, is a much more forthright venture. Pages 185-516
contain biographical sketches of all Roman Catholic bishops serving in Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/707/: accessed October 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.