Sue—For reasons which 1 explain in a covering letter to you privately, I wish to preserve the anonymity accorded to the author and translators of the book on Our Lady attacked by Fr. Vincent McNabb in your issue of December 17. While awaiting to hear from the senior translator I beg to make the following comments.
(I) The author's book might be summed up in Chesterton's " Everlasting Man," Part II., Chapter I.: " You cannot chip away the statue of a mother from all round that of a new-horn child . . you cannot in common human life approach the child except through the mother ... we must admit that more holy heads are too near together for the haloes not to mingle and cross." (In reference to a statue of Our Lady.) (2) I could easily supply quotations from the book that explain the texts taken by Fr. Vincent McNabb from their context. Benedict XIV has clearly stated that a work must he judged as a whole.
(3) Until a book is condemned it may be presumed that the " nihil obstat " and the " imprimatur " are some guarantee of
(4) The author of the book was Member of the Roman Academy of St. Thomas, Professor of Philosophy at the Seminaries of the Lateran and of the French Seminary in Rome. In 1923 he was chosen to prepare the Thomistic Week, and in 1925 the Thomistic Congress. He was efficient therefore in the knowledge of Fr. McNabb's own beloved master the Angelic Doctor.
(5) If the author's book is exaggerated it is difficult to see why de Montfort's Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin has not been condemned since Faber's first translation in 1862. Francis Vaughan Bishop of Menevia in 1931 supported Cardinal Vaughan's repeated approval of Faber years before and further echoed Faber's lament about the Protestant legacy of blight upon England's love of Our Lady. A prominent theologian whom I knew from experience to be most cautious was the censor for the book to which Francis Vaughan's words were a preface.
(6) In the headlines for which possibly Fr. McNabb is not responsible, you use
the word " scandal." The scandal we have given is under judgment; the scandal you have given by saying " Devotion to Our Lady may lead to bad theology " is already judged. Devotion to Our Lady can never lead to bad theology or else the Newman whom Fr. McNabb quotes with approval is a blind guide. False devotion to Our Lady leads to bad theology; devotion to Her cannot possibly do so. It remains to be proved that the book under discussion is false.
(7) Perfunctory compliments a r e odious. It is no ,compliment but bald truth to say that Fr, McNabb is a person whose name at the head of an article arrests attention. Now, if the book concerned is good, Fr. McNabb's article will rob it of something of its good effect; I therefore make a remark which, but for that justification, would be peevish. He has in the past attacked a thesis far less established among theologians than the present one which has Pere Hugon (of Fr. Vincent's own order) and Pere
Terrien, S.J. (the author of one of the standard works, perhaps the standard work on Mary's Mediation)—in short an Everest of authorities, including Popes, to support it. The thesis I have in mind remains still in the field and very nourishingly so. If the present book is true it will remain in spite of Fr. Vincent's attack.
THE JUNIOR TRANSLATOR.
[Tire headings of the article were approved by Fr. McNabb.--Earrou.1