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Till Death Do Them Part

Ogden Honors College Associate Dean Ann Sumner Holmes publishes new book on the Church and divorce

Routledge Press has published a new book by Ann Sumner Holmes, associate dean of the Ogden Honors College. The Church of England and Divorce in the Twentieth Century: Legalism and Grace investigates the challenges faced by the Church of England as it sought to reconcile its own teachings on marriage and divorce with the lives of its parishioners. 

“The reality of human experience demonstrated that the marriage ceremony did not create an indissoluble union,” Holmes said. “No matter how determined the Church was to give meaning to the words ‘till death us do part,’ marriages did break down, couples divorced, and divorced Anglicans wanted to remarry in church.”

“After over a century of debate, the Church finally recognized that all marriages did not conform to the ideal of a lifelong union,” Holmes said. “By permitting remarriage in church after divorce, the Church moved from rigid legalism to compassion and grace.”

Holmes, who has been on the faculty at LSU since 1987, has published articles on the double standard in English divorce laws, maternal adultery and child custody, and a comparison of the marriages of King Edward VIII and Prince Charles. She holds a bachelor’s in history from Millsaps College, a master’s from Tulane University, and a Ph.D. in history from Vanderbilt University.

“At LSU and the Ogden Honors College, we're proud of the scholarly accomplishments of our faculty,” Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle said. “Dr. Holmes's book is the culmination of a major research project, and we want to celebrate it.”

Holmes will discuss the book on Thursday, March 9 at 4:00 pm in the French House Grand Salon.  A celebratory reception will follow the talk.

 

Allison S. Howell, Ogden Honors College