Aidan Nichols has been contributing to theological literature since the beginning of the 1980s.
Now in his seventy-fifth year, he looks back not only at his writings but at the three-quarters of a century of life from which they came. He explains how, despite a nominally Anglican background, his early sense of the transcendent was really of God in nature. Only through an experience in the Russian church in Geneva did he become a confessing Christian.
Back home, where he was left a teenage orphan, he moved from Anglo-Catholicism into the Roman Catholic Church. After reading Modern History at Oxford, that led by a natural progression to becoming a Religious and a priest. In this book Nichols describes the wide variety of situations in which he has lived in Scotland, Norway, Rome, France, Ethiopia, and Jamaica, as well as England and the United States.
Over the years, drawing on not only Catholic but also Orthodox and Anglican sources, he has produced a small library of books, touching on many areas of theology and culture while also seeking, at different times, to bind them together into a coherent unity, inspired by, principally, two great giants: Thomas Aquinas, and Hans Urs von Balthasar.
For Aidan Nichols, the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI were a halcyon time. Things have been more difficult under the successor to these popes. He explains the problems he has encountered, both theoretical and practical, and his search for a resolution that is satisfactory both theologically and autobiographically. He ends his apologia with a raft of proposals for the stabilization and enrichment of ecclesial life in the decades to come.
Unfailingly interesting, frequently witty, and marked throughout by a deep love of Christ and the Church, Fr Nichols’ memoir is also a penetrating analysis of modern Catholic history, viewed through the lens of a large and productive life. George Weigel
The Catholic Church is closest to its historic mission when it inspires the world to holiness, rather than being browbeaten by the latest transitory fashions of the most powerful in society. Fr Nichols’ writings over the last four decades have been explorative and prophetic in this regard. This latest book is a powerful summation and distillation of his thinking, expressed through personal experience and a lifelong service to Jesus and His Church. Sir James MacMillan
A loyal and praying servant of the Church, even when that loyalty carries an uncomfortable and inconvenient ‘rub’, this book presents us with a stirring and encouraging read particularly in these days when we approach the Synod on Synodality. What Fr Nichols offers deserves, I believe, a place in the conversations that are needed for the Synod to be authentic. +Paul Swarbrick, Bishop of Lancaster
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