Sunday, June 12, 2011

Christopher Derrick

Christopher Derrick was born on June 12, 1921 and died on October 3, 2007:

Christopher Derrick was born in England in 1921 and educated by the Benedictine monks of Douai Abbey in Berkshire, then at Magdalen College, Oxford, under the tutorship of C.S. Lewis. Mr. Derrick served as an R.A.F. pilot during World War II. He was on the administrative staff of the University of London from 1953 to 1965 and has served as literary advisor to major British publishing houses. His is the author of countless articles and books.

His books included: Church Authority and Intellectual Freedom (1981), C.S. Lewis and the Church of Rome: A study in proto-ecumenism (1981), Sex and Sacredness: A Catholic Homage to Venus (1982), That Strange Divine Sea: Reflections on Being a Catholic (1983), Too Many People: A Problem in Values (1985), Words and the Word: Notes on Our Catholic Vocabulary (1987), and Escape from Scepticism: Liberal Education as if Truth Mattered (2001) all published by Ignatius Press.

Here is a review of That Strange Divine Sea from This Rock magazine. His Escape from Scepticism reflected on the Great Books program at Thomas Aquinas College in California.

One of my favorites of his books, however, is The Rule of Peace: St. Benedict and the European Future, about which Eighth Day Books said:

This is a little book whose time has come-again. Published the same year Alisdair McIntyre called for a new Benedict at the end of After Virtue, Derrick's book applies St. Benedict's virtues not just to Europe as a whole, but to the West, and not just to the West in the abstract, but to our families and our homes. The Benedictine virtue he is most after is Peace, by which neither Derrick nor St. Benedict mean merely the absence of war or violence. Under the rubric of peace, Derrick discusses language, courtesy, simplicity, leisure, stability, community, and the goodness of nature. St. Benedict and the Rule of Peace always have a solution to the problem modern Western culture has with attaining these ideals. Readers of George Weigel's The Cube and the Cathedral will certainly note Derrick's urgency twenty-five years ago, and hope even more earnestly that a second Benedict is on the way.

That last line might have been a little prophetic!

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