Handbook of the Church Militant, by Erasmus, translated with an introductory essay by John P. Dolan, Ph.D. (Fowler Wright, 30s.).
Founded on a Rock, by Louis de Wohl (Alvin Redman, 18s.).
The Christian and the Law, by Bishop John .1. Wright (Fowler Wright, 329.), The Marks of True Devot on, by John Nicholas Grou, S.J. (Burns & Oates, I2s. 6d.).
ERASMUS' chequered his tory now seems to have entered a new phase. Not so long ago there were few orthodox Catholic writers who would dare to say a kind word 1 for him, indeed even Bishop Wright in the book which I review below only grudgingly includes Erasmus' letter in praise of Saint Thomas More.
It seems to be difficult for men to speak moderately about the sage of Rotterdam. For my part I cannot find anything to take exception to in the Handbook of the Militant Christian.
it is full of sound advice, perhaps a little pedestrian-seeming to the modern mind which has had the benefit of the so many brighter stars of spirituality that have shone since Erasmus' day. He has a lively style and that kindly humanism which was brought to its Christian perfection in Saint Francis de Sales.
The chief interest of this volume is the fighting Introduction by John P. Dolan. The bellicose tone of these sixty pages will seem strange to English readers who are unfamiliar with the violent Contrasts of religio-political thought in the U.S.A. Only in a country which has seen Catholic priests giving their support to McCarthy and the John Birch Society could support for liberal Catholicism be so violently proclaimed.
In spite of his rather intemperate attacks on Philip Hughes and Christopher Hollis, I cannot help feeling a certain sympathy for the author's contention that the Church lost a great deal by rejecting the liberal spirit of Erasmus, but putting itself into 'a state of siege and by its attachment to whet he amusingly calls 'ipsedixitism'.
The last work of the late Louis de Wohl, now published posthumously is a popular history of the Church. One naturally compares it with Philip Hughes' work. It is shorter, less detailed. less given to reflection, a straightforward narrative of events told in a lively style.
It is certainly less profound than Hughes' history but a good deal more easy to read and while I can recommend it for adults it should also prove attractive to older children.
Bishop John Wright has a reputation even in this country as one of the more outstanding members of the American hierarchy. In The Christian and the Law we have nine of his sermons preached at "red" Masses in the United States, i.e. to members of the legal profession.
In them he never tires of stressing the profound roots of the American constitution and legal system in Christian teaching. Apart from its interest as a phenomenon of American Catholicism the book has value in its application of Christian principles to law.
The last chapter in praise of Saint Thomas More will make every Englishman blush with pride. But. it must be added that this is after all rather a slim volume for 32s
A short time ago I reviewed the Spiritual Maxims of John Nicholas Grou. Now Burns & Oates' Golden Library gives us another little book containing The Marks of True Devotion and The Christian Sanctified by the Lord's Prayer by the same author and edited by the Monk of Parkminster. Those who have already appreciated the solid piety of this gentle, kindly guide to the spiritual life will not want to miss this new volume.