By Dom. CHRISTOPHER DELANEY
The Problem of loneliness by J. B. 1.otz, S.J. (St. Paul Publications, 15s.).
'THOSE people who think of A' themselves as an Eleanor Rigby or a Father McKenzie of the Lennon-McCartney song and look to this book as a panacea for their own particular problem will be doomed to disappointment. The book digs considerably deeper than the song.
Admittedly it asks of the lonely people: Where do they all conic from? but, more profoundly, it asks: Why are they here at all? Fr. Lotz. Professor of philosophy at the Jesuit Seminary of Pullach, Germany, and at the Gregorian university in Rome answers this question by unearthing some very good reasons for this acute illness of our time.
He writes: "Instead of achieving a fruitful dialogue between man and the forces of nature which he encounters, we have only the barren monologue of man considering his own works, whereby he remains imprisoned within the scope of his own concepts. Because he has transferred all his attention to these concepts, and therefore to himself, all that he encounters by means of technology is himself, but not that inmost self which can escape an bonds and is continually open and outward-looking, but only the self whose vision has been narrowed within the limits of technology."
This "barren monologue" can be seen in philosophy, drama, lyric poetry, psychiatry, modern art, argues the author. But no doubt those who apply themselves to these cultural and artistic pursuits will not agree with his conclusions.
Man's creative energies must
not travel downwards and inwards but upwards towards God 15 the creator and outwards towards man as God's creation, otherwise people forget God as they have done today and, as a consequence, love is put into a kind of deep freeze which turns it into a block of ice.
A typical example of this can be seen in big cities where people form a mere "agglomeration and not a community." In cities people can be physically proximate and yet act as if they existed hundreds of miles apart.
The problem is examined thoroughly by the author who asks what is the real answer to this isolationism which is becoming more and more acute? Escapism is one misguided and mistaken cure; the other, oddly enough, is solitude and a search for God.
The latter half of the book is devoted to this idea. It may seem contradictory that solitude is the answer to loneliness but was not the Benedictine Order founded by a man who initially sought solitude?
Fr. Lotz deals with this question of solitude in a very constructive way and shows an equal depth of thought and understanding of it as of loneliness. Altogether this is a book for all lonely people which is almost the entire human race.
By MORAY McLAREN Henry Chlcheie by E. F. Jacob (Nelson, Cs.).
THIS is a small book of piety and scholarship by the Librarian of All Souls College, Oxford, a foundation conceived of and made fact by Archbishop (of Canterbury) Chichele before the Reformation.
The archbishop, at a time when the Church in Rome was beginning her period of laxness and corruption in high iplacea, was a true Christian and devout Catholic. He nevertheless saw and perceived that which animated the Lollards of England, far removed from the all-but omnipotent Curia and the Papacy approaching the eve of the Borgias.
He was a fine representative of English Catholicism and English tolerance of those who rebelled against hierarchical abuse and monopoly of the time.
Prof. Jacob, in his position at All Souls, is well placed to adjudge him and appreciate him. He does so in this factual (and be it repeated) work of scholarship and piety. There were more Henry Chicheles in England on the eve of the Reformation than we realise. We are grateful to Prof. Jacob for drawing attention (and in such detail) to the most prominent of them.
The English is a kindly spirit. It was seen at its best in Catholic England just before the Reformation.