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Essays of a Catholic Paperback – October 3, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: TAN Books; Reprint edition (October 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895554631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895554635
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hilaire Belloc was born at St. Cloud, France, in 1870. He and his family moved to England upon his father s death, where he took first-class honors in history at Balliol College in Oxford, graduating in 1895. It has been stated that his desire was to rewrite the Catholic history of both France and England. He wrote hundreds of books on the subjects of history, economics, and military science, as well as novels and poetry. His works include The Great Heresies, Europe and the Faith, Survivals and New Arrivals, The Path to Rome, Characters of the Reformation, and How the Reformation Happened.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Brad Shorr on September 21, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolutely brilliant. Belloc's essays are just as timely today as when first published in 1931. Every selection contains challenging ideas and is exceedingly well reasoned. I was happy to find a wit and humor in his style that hadn't surfaced in other books of his I've read. A couple highlights:

He begins with a look at how the West is plummeting into paganism: not the enlightened paganism from which Christianity sprung, but an evil paganism determined to undo Christianity. Since the Reformation, our fragmented faith has left us nearly defenseless against the onslaught of modern self-indulgence and fatalism. The grim process, which Belloc detected early on, has only gained momentum. It is disheartening to note that he holds out little hope for a reversal. One would think this assessment would discourage him, but such is not the case. His steadfast faith fortifies him against the vagaries of human affairs; secure in the knowledge that Christ's Church will prevail even against the gates of Hell, he writes with humor, confidence, and a reassuring calmness. This, I think, is why Belloc can inspire as well as inform.

The provocatively titled "Science as the Enemy of Truth" explores the evils of modern science; though his argument is far less controversial than the title would suggest, it offers real food for thought. Belloc says science in the abstract is good, but our modern scientific community applies scientific principles where they don't belong and does so irrationally. He argues that scientific innovation is good only when it serves the needs of the human soul, but modern science views progress as a good thing regardless of its effect on the soul. In Belloc's time the questionable moral contribution of science manifested itself in such things as eugenics, evolution, and radio. Today we face the same questions with regard to cloning, the Internet, weapons of mass destruction, etc. Belloc's answers are emphatic and fresh.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael Tozer on December 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had owned this wonderful book for quite some time before getting around to reading it. Perhaps this was Providential. For it seems to me that truly appreciating the awesome wisdom contained herein requires a better appreciation of Catholic truth than was previously mine. In any case, I have now read this terrific book, and am greatly enriched by the experience.

The book contains a series of essays by the amazing Catholic historian, poet, novelist, economist, member of Parliament, soldier, and essayist. It may be that he saves the best, and most important, for last. This last essay, "The Two Cultures of the West" was written in that important and little understood period between the two World Wars. Belloc then averred that the culture of Protestant Europe has been rent asunder by the enmity of its two leading polities, Protestant Prussia and violently anti-Catholic England, in the Great War. But he cautioned that Catholic Europe was also under threat by the insidious power of Masonry throughout Spain, France, Italy, Austria, and the remnant of Catholic Europe. Belloc understood and recorded quite clearly that the demise of Catholic Europe would lead to the path of the destruction of all that was once great in Western Civilization. As the past century has clearly shown, it did; and it has.

This is a truly great book. Read it. And be richly blessed and well informed in the process.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By James E. Egolf VINE VOICE on February 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Hilaire Belloc's ESSAYS OF A CATHOLIC is a collection of essays addressing the perils of the 20th and now 21st. century. The essays that respond to attacks on the Catholic Church are effective. The comments on the hidden threats of the distorted politics and religious were careful and prophetic.

One essay of particular interest is Belloc's response to the Anglican divine, Dean Inge. The latter condemned anything Catholic as almost treason the Great Britain/England. Inge attacked some well known English Catholics including Hillaire Belloc as being unpartiotic and contrary to English culture and past greatness. Belloc's response is brilliant. Belloc reminds readers of England's history before the Reformation. Belloc shows the lack of Inge's historical understanding. If English history became authenic history after the Reformation, then the English must forget Alfred the Great, Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc. all of whom were Catholic and English. Belloc clearly states the absurdity of Inge's assessment.

Belloc carefully explains the disunity among some of Europe's Protestants when the supposedly Protestant/anti-Catholic British went to war with the Germans (Protestant Prussia/German). The disunity between two of the most pronounced anti-Catholic regimes, while destructive to Europe and an ever changing Protestantism, was not necessarity an asset for Catholics. Belloc did live long enough to see the terrible unintended consequences of World War I.

Bellock was also aware of threats among Europe's Catholics which revolutionary societies semi-secret organizations presented. He knew that Western Civilization and Catholicism faced dire threats and that World War I had opened Europeans to evils and tragedies that were tame by previous historical generations.
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