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The Last of the Fathers: Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and the Encyclical Letter 'Doctor Mellifluus' Paperback – November 11, 1981


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (November 11, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156494388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156494380
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,633,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was born in France and came to live in the United States at the age of 24. He received several awards recognizing his contribution to religious study and contemplation, including the Pax Medal in 1963, and remained a devoted spiritualist and a tireless advocate for social justice until his death in 1968. The Sign of Jonas was originally published in 1953.

More About the Author

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has millions of copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.

After a rambunctious youth and adolescence, Merton converted to Roman Catholicism and entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, a community of monks belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists), the most ascetic Roman Catholic monastic order.

The twenty-seven years he spent in Gethsemani brought about profound changes in his self-understanding. This ongoing conversion impelled him into the political arena, where he became, according to Daniel Berrigan, the conscience of the peace movement of the 1960's. Referring to race and peace as the two most urgent issues of our time, Merton was a strong supporter of the nonviolent civil rights movement, which he called "certainly the greatest example of Christian faith in action in the social history of the United States." For his social activism Merton endured severe criticism, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike, who assailed his political writings as unbecoming of a monk.

During his last years, he became deeply interested in Asian religions, particularly Zen Buddhism, and in promoting East-West dialogue. After several meetings with Merton during the American monk's trip to the Far East in 1968, the Dali Lama praised him as having a more profound understanding of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known. It was during this trip to a conference on East-West monastic dialogue that Merton died, in Bangkok on December 10, 1968, the victim of an accidental electrocution. The date marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of his entrance to Gethsemani.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Late in his life, in May of 1953, Pope Pius XXII published this brief yet comprehensive examination of the Cistercian Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, entitling his encyclical The Mellifluous Doctor, underlining the placing this influential saint among the Doctors of the Church and the last of the early Church Fathers.

With the delay of its complete publication in English, fellow Cistercian Father Thomas Merton received happily the task of writing a biographical and bibliographical introduction, which was published in 1954 after passing not only the Censor Librorum John M. A. Fearns, S.T.D., and receiving the Imprimatur of the great Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York (not Kentucky), but also having passing his own Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance's Censor Librorum, in Rome, and recieving the Imprimi Potest from the head of his Order, in Rome, Fr. Gabriel Sortais, about whom you may study more in Dom Gabriel Sortais: An Amazing Abbot in Turbulent Times (Monastic Wisdom Series) by Solesmes's excellent and scholarly Fr. Guy Oury, OSB, in any unusual cross-Order celebration and appreciation. Fr. Sortais in fact contributes an opening word to this present book, as well as the Order's Cardinal Protector and Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide (Propagation of the Faith) Peter, Cardinal Fumasino-Biondi, who writes:

"Into a world where fear and distrust run as a seemingly overpowering force, where men seek to rely on force and human strategy, our Holy Father, Pius XII, has injected once more the Christian call to hope and trust and reliance on divine love and strategy ( . . .
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