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4.2 out of 5 stars
Nearer, My God
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I just had to comment on this book. I have had it for a while and have been readking it slowly, piecemeal, for some time and am not yet finished. However, it, ( and other things) have already had the effect of my ordering other books on my faith, Roman Catholcism, in order to inform myself and prepare myself for my return to The Church in the not too distant future. I read the reviews here today, and i thought that the review specifically complaining about the author's having enlisted the help of Clare Booth Luce, Malcolm Muggeridge and Fr. Niehaus as members of his "Forum" was a customer review. I went to check the book on this point of fact : the first two of these were both dead before the author could ask them to particpate and so of course they did not. When I came back to this page, I discovered that the review in which this error had occurred was NOT a customer review, it was a professional review. The error was made by the reviewer for the Kirkus Review. Even if this is a minor point relative to what he was trying to say, I think that he should have been more accurate. Also that's not all that's wrong with that review, and other similar criticisms: there wasn't a thing wrong with the idea of his "Forum", nor with its content and presention, nor with his presentation of the opinions of others. Had either or both or Clare Booth Luce and Malcolm Muggeridge been alive and able to join his "Forum" so much the better. Also, I have yet to read "Experiencing Lourdes" but I seriously doubt that any of the criticisms of the chapter are valid. Further, I do not accept (thought I will have to live with) the abolition of the Latin Mass, nor do I think it had the intended effect or a desirable one. I attended, from 1st to 6th grade, a Roman Catholic day school that was also a convent in Ohio. We had Low Mass in Latin every day of the week before classes except Friday, and we had High Mass, which of course the whole school (1-12) sang in Latin, every Friday. We did NOT sound bad! No one was "reserved". It was the most natural thing in the world. I'm sure I wasn't the only one that loved it. I am sure I'm not the only one that misses it. The paert(s) of the book devoted to the current state of affairs in the preparatory schools dicussed was not boring, irrelevant or unimportant. For part of high school I attended a prep school in Massachusetts which has long since ceased to exist probably because their first headmistress, who had been there for years when I got there, was considered to be irrepaceable. She was a converted Catholic, and many of the teachers were Catholic. Attendance at a Christian church every Sunday was mandatory for all students and we were all taken to our respective churches on the schools buses. When I complained to one of the teachers and the headmistress that I was losing my faith, they got a priest to come and talk to me for an hour on a regular basis which helped at the time. So these things do matter. I count this book and this author among the helpful influences which are resulting (and will have resulted relatively soon, I'm sure) in my permanent return to The Church. I am thankful for these.
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on August 10, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
WFB, I miss you! Reading the very excellent National Review for years educated me in so many ways. Reading Nearer, My God brought back great memories of being schooled by WFB and NR. I admire this man very much. His writing has no equal. May he rest in the perpetual light of God's face with all the angels and saints for eternity. Sharing the Catholic faith ensures me I will meet Mr. Buckley and then be able to tell him how much he means to me.
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Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
There has never been anything that Mr. Buckley wrote that I didn't feel uplifted by! He was brilliant and a tyruly great American.
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on May 9, 2013
Verified Purchase
We are very very happy with the the purchase of Nearer to God, Nearer to God~~! Thank you very much~
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on September 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
In his "autobiography of faith", William F. Buckley Jr. gives us an overview of some of the major influences that played a role in his development as a Catholic.

Portions of this book are strictly biographical in the sense that he describes particular encounters with people (teachers, priests, fellow-believers) that shaped his way of thinking; the rest of the book is biographical mostly in the sense that he shares with us major historical, theological, philosophical, and cultural questions and ideas that he wrestled with, along with some of the thinkers that shaped his thought on the matter.

The first half of the book is very engaging, but it begins to lose steam toward the end. I found myself often in admiration of Buckley as a thinker and "great mover of deeds" (to borrow a phrase from "The Lord of the Rings") which gave me a greater appreciation of him, but I have to admit that this book is not nearly as engaging as his television programs.

I'm happy I read it and I learned at great deal from it, but I could think of a few Firing Line episodes I'd be more likely to recommend over this book (even when it comes to the topic of faith).
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on September 21, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Buckley is a masterful writer. Here Buckley does well to remain honest in his appraisal of his life and the life of the Church. This is certainly a more relevant piece than is "God and Man at Yale" (excepting the chapter on academic freedom).
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was given the opportunity to read this book by a friend who was examining Catholicism herself. I am a Roman Catholic, and found Buckley's examination of what the Catholic Church is, its meaning to its members, and its place in the world excellent. He put the question of the aspects of Catholicism on the table in several forums, and I found that in the end it reaffirmed my faith in what I can honestly say is my chosen church. I would recommend this book to those considering conversion to Catholicism, as well as established Catholics.
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17 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
There are only two types of people who can pick up this book and stay with it until the end: fans of William F. Buckley Jr. and Catholics.I am in the latter category.
I was expecting a breaking down of the cool cool conservative man enough to let us view the humble follower of Christ within and a side of Buckley not often seen( even he says in his book this is the first book he has written examing his faith). I was disappointed in that there is no real religious passion in the book. Indeed, it is difficult to find any personal zeal at all. He talks a lot about the worldly church and the problems people have with contraception,papal infallibility, ordination of women, etc. but even in these much-dicussed topics that are all so superficial it is hard to find Mr. Buckley's opinion; he has to gather a roundtable of sorts of other Catholics and get THEIR opinion first and then venture a tentative answer. I always thought Mr. Buckley was a highly opinionated man. Why does he need the opinions of others first? And the people he picks are intellectuals so, of course, among the opinions culled he will find one or two to back. An effective apologist of the faith Mr. Buckley is not.
The book does discuss some genuine theological issues such as free will and determinism but again I find no personal struggle related by Mr. Buckley( if indeed he does wrestle with this problem)just a dispassionate discussion with his intellectual roundtable. I got the impression I was reading the transcript of a college symposium not a "autobiography of faith".
And then there are the inconsequent additions to this book. In chapter eight he includes a passage written by a mystic,Maria Valtorta, in which she described in horrific detail the actual moment to moment sufferings of Christ during the crucifixion. I had never read this before and I was very interested and moved but Mr. Buckley shows no emotion regarding the passage and instead introduces it by saying: " My decision, then, is that in the only book on the faith I will ever put together I don't want to deprive the reader of what I view,notwithstanding its crudity-perhaps because of it?- as an artful portrayal of the great historical event that preceded,and led to,the Resurrection, a depiction if not inspired by God, inspiring nonetheless."
Upon reading that introduction I was reminded of the scene in the movie "Up the Down Staircase" wherein the schoolgirl writes the letter to her teacher expressing her love for him and he proceeds not to comment on the heartfelt emotion of the letter, not on the content, but to CORRECT THE GRAMMAR. Now, Mr. Buckley didn't go that far but I found no emotional reaction to the passage that he himself included in this book. The question then becomes why did he add this to his book? To fill another 17 pages?
Another addition that had me shaking my head was the Appendix B called " A listing of Religious Activities at Various Schools" Okay, okay, that wasn't too un-interesting but what does it have to do with the price of tea in China? What does the list of prep schools have to do with YOUR FAITH Mr. B?
I understand that Mr. Buckley is undoubtably a reserved man. Many of us Catholics are reserved that's why we dislike many of the features of the NOVUS ORDO mass and why we don't like to sing out in church and why we get to say our confession behind a screen( and prefer it that way) but if that reservation is what has kept Mr. Buckley from personalizing his autobiography of faith I wish he had not teased his readers in the title, introduction and publisher's blurbs. I respect Mr. Buckley in that he wishes to keep his spirtuality private, as St Francis would say, "interior" but I do feel he has sinned in misleading the reading public. But don't worry Mr. Buckley, I am sure it is only a venial sin.
Kathleen M. Garea
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am not a Roman Catholic and never have been. My review is by an individual who is critical of the Roman Catholic Faith. The author of this book, William F. Buckley is a devout Roman Catholic and believes in the teachings of his church. The title of this work makes it sound like a devotional; it is not. The cover of the book calls the book an autobiography of Faith; It is not. William F. Buckley does share some personal experience in his life interacting with the Roman Catholic church. He also discusses thoughts of fellow Catholics in his life. It is not explanation or presentation development of faith through life experience or study. This book is about Roman Catholic doctrine. The original working title of this book was Why am I still a Catholic. William F. Buckley felt this title made it seem like he was or should be embarrassed to be a member of the Catholic Church; something he surely is not. The author uses the same intellect and serious thought to his religious faith as he argues his political views.

The Catholic church is the ultimate arbitrator of Truth. This book defends the Pope's obligation to make biblical teaching clearer and easier to understand. The author details the churches' position on developing doctrine. Difficulties between Arnold Lunn, then at the time not a catholic, and friar Arnold. Included in the discussion is papal inerrancy , the inquisition and slavery , eternal punishment, indulgences, difficulty with Biblical interpretation and Biblical literalism. In other places in this work the author defends Mother as the Mother of God, the praying to `the saints', miracles at Lourdes, issues of no woman priests, divorce - annulments, birth control, and remarriage. Obviously I disagree with most everything in the defense of Catholic teaching but is done well. Ordination of Michael Bozell is told about. The principles of being a God Father and how the application in real life is discussed.

Included are observations and experience with fellow Catholics. An example of this is Malcolm Muggeridge.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
On my way to Eastern Europe recently, I had the honor of reading Bill Buckley's autobiography of faith. It is a thoughtful, moral, intelligent piece of writing which bears witness to the evolution of Mr. Buckley's faith.
Backed by footnotes to other noteables who have traveled a similar path, the description of Christ's crucifixion by a 19th century visionary is poignant and startling. If all of us gave as much thought to our personal faith or lack thereof which Mr. Buckley does, we would cherish our living moments more. Bravo to Bill for another great literary work!
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