Cambridge Summer 193 936
Man and Eternity. (Cambridge Summer School Lectures for 1936). Edited by Fr. C. Lattey, S.J. (Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 7s. 6d.) Reviewed by EDWARD QUINN Even more important than all the vast complexity of economic. social and political problems of the present day is the ever-recurring problem of individual man iu the face of death. it is therefore good that the Cambridge lecturers should nave turned from the consideration of the relations of Church and State in 1935 to outline in 1936 the Catholic teaching about death, judgment and eternity.
'The frriSition is less rapid than might at first sight appear, and, as Fr. Laney clearly shows in his preface, all these questions are closely related to one another— especially at the present time. We arc not only faced now with the prospect of death from accident, old age and disease, but also as a result of our attitude in regard to the persecuting State. And even where martyrdom is not in question, the acceptance of the more extreme claims of the State may mean the abandonment of God's commands and therefore of eternal life.
It becomes then of immediate importance to know what we gain by suffering and martyrdom and what we lose if we conform to the demands of the State.
This book supplies the necessary information in a way that can be understood by the general reader, without insulting the intelligence of the expert. The scriptural and dogmatic aspects of Catholic Eschatology are fully discussed by highly qualified teachers and there is a paper by Dr. O'Donovan on "Death from a medical point of view." If the priest-reviewer is inclined to prefer the latter it is not because the others are inferior but because they deal with more familiar topics while Dr. O'Donovan gives an attractive explanation of the imperfectly appreciated vocation of the doctor.
When all are so good it is difficult to single out any for special praise, but mention may be made of Fr. Martindale's study of the Apocalypse which gives life and interest to that difficult book and is astonishingly rich in practical applications.
Very fine, too, is Abbot Vonier's closing lecture on Heaven. Like all his work, it is clear, profound and beautifully written —one thought sums up the whole and is typical of his style. " Heaven is ultimately the mystery of Christ glorified; the kingship of Christ is the constitutional law of heaven."
One or two of the lectures are rather discursive and the reviewer would like to have seen a more definite standpoint adopted on problems which the Church leaves open to the speculation of theologians. This, however. is a personal preference and the method of presentation has the advantage of making for easier reading and not confusing the lay-reader with opinions which he might take for Catholic dogma.