PEACE IN THE POST-CHRISTIAN ERA

Thomas Merton, Author, Patricia A. Morton, Editor, Jim Forest, Foreword by . Orbis $16 (165p) ISBN 978-1-57075-559-0

The story behind this treatise by the legendary Trappist monk from Kentucky's Abbey of Gethsemani is nearly as fascinating as the document itself. As explained in the foreword by Jim Forest, who corresponded with Merton while a member of the Catholic Worker movement, and the introduction by Patricia Burton, the book's publication was thwarted in 1962 by Trappist abbot general Dom Gabriel Sortais, who did not view such writing as the right kind of work for a monk. Merton's own abbot, Dom James Fox, however, allowed the manuscript to be mimeographed and put into limited circulation. Now, 42 years later, Merton's visionary message is being brought out for wider examination. Although it is dated by the writer's focus on the threat of nuclear annihilation in relationship to the Cold War, the book's ideas remain relevant and applicable to the current debate over the terrorist threat. Merton aficionados will especially appreciate the way he connects the quest for peace to the Christian life, and many will be encouraged by reminders of how much has changed since Merton worried about a general Catholic reluctance to speak out against war. Readers will be left with a sense that Merton's voice was heard despite the silencing of his words, a fact that should hearten those working for peace. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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