By Christopher Derrick
THEY ASKED FOR A PAPER, by C. S. Lewis (Bles, 16s.).
PROFESSOR LEWIS is some
times said to lead a double life, as a teacher of literature and as a writer on religious subjects. This collection of lectures, sermons and addresses covers both aspects of his work. It starts with his inaugural lecture at Cambridge (a memorable anaylsis of what the " modern age " is, and how it started and when) and ends with that remarkable sermon "The Weight of Glory".
Catholics have special reason to be grateful that these pieces have been rescued from pamphlet form and made permanent. Most of us know our doctrinal statements and definitions, after a fashion at least: where we tend to be weak is in understanding their point and direction, the colour and urgency and fire towards which they point.
yNTELLECTUALLY, we are
well fed, or at least we have nourishment available: imaginatively, we often seem content to go hungry.
This doesn't help our task of " communication ", a task that makes heavy demands on our use of language as well as on our propositional theology.
Dr. Lewis's best and immeasurably valuable work has been done on this front. and his strength comes particularly from the fact that despite the limitations of his theology-obvious to every Catholic reader-he does know about language and the mind. Reading this book with its mixed character, at once religious and literary, one comes to see that he has only one vision and does not lead a double life at all.
HE writes as a Christian and a moralist about literature (notably about Scott and Kipling), and as a linguistic and imaginative analyst about religion: in either case the dry bones come resoundingly to life, and the theoretical gap between two " subjects " loses its importance.
It is not only for the sake of the personal pleasure and enlightenment offered that every Catholic with literary or apostolic ambitions should follow this most courteous invitation into large and spacious countries of the mind.
PRIESTS AND WORKERS-AN ANGLO FRENCH DISCUSSION, edited by David L. Edwards (S.C.M. Press Ltd., 8s. 6d.). ,
THIS collection of essays on the Priest-worker movement in France and in the Church of England leaves one more bewildered than ever. Andre Collinge, a former priest-worker, writes very powerfully. The other contributors are less clear and forceful. Admit ation apart, is the idea a marvel bus break-through or just a pro
digious blind alley? P.D.