Paradoxes of Catholicismby Roger LeBlanc
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Monsignor Benson in this his last published work shows all the good qualities of those previously written by him. He is evidently master of the theological, philosophical, and historical questions disputed among Christians. In thirteen short chapters, two of which are introductory, he discusses with the skill of an expert logician and with the absolute honesty and sincerity of a good Christian and an able scholar “the paradoxes of Catholicism”.
The opening sentence, in treating the first paradox, of his theme, “Jesus Christ, God and Man”, is a good specimen of His manner. He writes:
“The mysteries of the Church, a materialist scientist once announced to an astonished world, are child’s play compared with the mysteries of nature”. Professor Huxley is the author of this statement. Huxley affirms that he found everywhere in created nature anomaly piled on anomaly and paradox on paradox, “and he knew no more of theology than its simpler and more explicit statements”. It takes a much greater mind to fathom the mysteries of metaphysics and theology than to solve the problems of physical science. This is Msgr. Benson’s opinion; and with him will agree all that have experience. Continuing, he discusses the paradoxes in the Church of the divine and the human, of peace and war, wealth and poverty, sanctity and sin, faith and reason, authority and liberty, and kindred subjects. Under the head of wealth and poverty, he says:
The world found Him (Christ) wrong, whatever He did. He was too worldly when He healed men on the Sabbath; for is not the Law of God of more value than a man’s bodily ease? Why can He not wait till tomorrow? He was too worldly when He allowed His disciples to rub corn in their hands; for does not the Law of God forbid a man to make bread on the Sabbath?
And so the clever author continues to illustrate the homely phrase which shows the character of some fault-finders. For with them “you’ll be damned if you do; and you’ll be damned if you don’t.”
The book is small and never bores you. The writer shows that he is at home with every theme he discusses. His thought is direct, his logic strict, his words always elegant English, his whole style clear and plain. In some of his books he shows great powers of description and a fecund imagination; but in the “Paradoxes of Catholicism” imagination is not prominent, but a strong, direct intellect dominates every page. Toward the end he gives us a very good spiritual lesson on “The Seven Words of Jesus on the Cross”.
The remark of a theologian who is a great reader of books is worth quoting in connection with this serious work:
“Someone has been making me a gift of all the new novels every Summer, so that I may have reading matter during my vacation. I find them such miserable stuff, both as to matter and to style, that I seldom find one worth perusing. And as to what is printed in the summer magazines, it is worse. Now, in Benson’s book I find good matter, clear and logical thought, and classical English. Would we had more of his kind! He has brains.
- BN ID:
- Roger LeBlanc
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- Barnes & Noble
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- 83 KB
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