Page 4, 3rd August 1945

3rd August 1945
Page 4
Page 4, 3rd August 1945 — 1CATHOLICPROFILES: I

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Organisations: Can Church, Catholic Church


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ARNOLD Lunn was born in India—a fact which enabled him to score neatly over Professor Joad in a controversy. The Professor had contended that the real reason why Lunn was a Christian was that he was. born in a Christian country. Luien delights in neat controversial scores, but puts his faith in reason Whether he is really the cold calculating rationalist who reaches his religious and poll. deal conclusions by valid syllogisms or whether he is a man of intense (and not always consistent) feeling who happens to possess a first-class dialectical brain and a mastery over words—with which weapons he cap rationalise his feelings —is a point upon which observers may differ. The present writer would class enm as a romantic who would be horrified to find himself so labelled: a romantic with a heart in the right place.

Like most romantics, he is a rebel He rebelled early and with his first book, The, HarroWarts, Started the fashion of adolescent rebellion against the public schools. In t h c world's eyes, at any rate, his most enduring title to fame comes .fi rent his mouniaineerint —another romantic taste. Tha virginal heighes of the Alps (or, if necessary, the „e Welsh mountains on 8.,4 winch he tragically fell and maimed himself for life—an experience which seems to have profoundly affected his spiritual outlook) the breath-takipg exhilaration of ski-ing, perhaps. the most heady and immaterial of sports, the peaceful, grazing flocks of Swiss cattle. (is there a connection here with distributism ?), these have dominated his earthly metes They have proved to be an excellent basis for the romantic rebel's intellectual career.

RROUGHT up in the finest possible Liberal tradition, the son of a grand • God-fearing supremely honest father, Arnold Lunn from the beginning pursued truth with the same fearless enthusiasm that kept his eyes fixed on the distant Swiss peaks. And he used his brain in this pursuit with the same agility and dexterity that manifested itself in his mountaineering and ski-jug art. The fashion of the time dictated his early prejudice against the Catholic Church, but the prejudice was always in good taste and delicately and wittily pursued. One can still remember the charm, but also the antiCatholic effectiveness of Roman Con verts ([)24). And, later, there were those who thought that from the purely dialectical point ol view Arnold Limn got the better of Fr Knox in Dijjki//fiCA (1932) But Arnold Lunn himself clearly not think so, for in the following he was received into the Church.

WHY 7 lit is theologically sews attribute the conversion to C grace rather than to Lunn's in gence, but Lunn himself would bablY comment to the effect thae reason followed very closely in path at grace. Now I See (193 probably the most coldly rati apologia for the Faith that has been written. It was approved Reitng Itself, as Lunn will tell And he surely scored heavily on o in the letters with load publisbe. 13 Chrisrianny True ? (1933). But may have been aided too. by Li rebellious a romantic tastes. this time the Lit Marxist and Christian aod National rebels developed an at doxy of their ea and the Lune I had no diffi. whatever in per Mg that it was about the pho orthodoxy that eve tried to ina on his fellows. behind this dls. meat was there a romantic callto something which' the f clean, imrnm mountains per by a sturdy, lanced stock a as symbol ? Country class, midi hierarchy, stability, these were cm to have an increasing appeal, and le could they be more easily and rationalised than in the age-long he anti logical doctrine . of the Can Church ? And joy of joys, men ship of that Faith so unpopular will Countrymen and his own class w offer endless opportunity of feeding rebel instinct.

And so it happened. Arnold 1 was involved in a bracing intellei whirlwind of Toryism Distribm Patriotism, Romanism, Francoism, Nazism, crypto-FaseiSM (as his one call it). anti-Bolshevism, with si times one and sometimes another ir ascendant.

But the Faith is a costing cliscip and Arnold Lunn has had, one w sae, his share of disappointments o have served to seal and consecrate conviction which so clearly domit his whole life. Meet him 1 The w come bubbling out, one point . another, disarranged, at times poi and defiant with the charade: " What 7 What ?" at times sad lost in undisclosed reflection. A s clearly of intense feeling, but one w will is ranged high, higher, much hi than his beloved mountains and W brain is as serviceable an instrut in the cause of his aspirations and phobias as can be found to-day in country.

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