A few weeks ago I received an email from Phillipe Maxence, editor of a French Catholic magazine L’Homme Nouveau. We’ve had some interesting correspondence, and with his permission I am posting the following compendium of excerpts from his messages (edited for English clarity).
A Frenchman, I discovered Caelum and Terra
several weeks ago. I am completely sympathetic with its way of seeing things. I
am a Catholic journalist, chief editor of a Catholic newspaper, L’Homme
Nouveau. I am also the author of several books including a work on
Chesterton, a book on The Chronicles of Narnia, and a book on schools
which are completely free of the State. I am also the father of 7 children and
a Benedictine oblate at the abbey of Fontgombault. My personal ideas are
greatly inspired by John Senior whom I read and with whom I corresponded until
Caelum and Terra, which had been unknown to me,
managed to express clearly how Catholics should confront the modern world. It
synthesized principles, looked for the means to apply them, and analyzed the
big questions which are presented to us by modern technology.
I would like to contact the founders and the editors of this review… I would
also like to make known this spirit to French Catholics who need it and to do
interviews by email and to publish certain articles in France. Finally, I look
for concrete examples of Catholic communities, Catholic families which are
formed by the ideas in Caelum and Terra and the books which evoke these
It is possible to realize something between our two continents because if our
religion roots us on earth, it opens us also to the universality of the Credo
which we share….
French Catholics—children of Descartes—did not well
understand the dangers of the modern technological world for the faith. The
French separate constantly ideas and real life. That is why C&T seem to me
so interesting and so just. …
Europe is in a state of apostasy. But we have a chance in France to have the
fighter’s temperament. There are still small pockets of resistance. We have to take care only that charity not be lost in the fight. We have also to learn to connect our ideas and our way of life. We are very late in comparison to the Americans of C&T on this point.
There is a true Moslem danger in France. But the main danger
it is that we do not dare to assert our faith in front of them. The best answer to the Moslem world is not the modern world, it is Catholic faith. Catholic faith is also the best answer to the modern world….
Modern world prevents us from living at the rate of our own
human nature. It is a madness and France follows the road of the United States on this point.
As accustomed as we in the US are to hearing of how bad things are for the Church in Europe, this is extremely heartening. M. Maxence is very eager to have back issues of CetT and I plan to send him some of my extras this week. There are a number of issues of which I only have one copy, though, so I may be putting out a call for the missing ones later this week.
This weekend has been unexpectedly busy for me so I’ll save any further remarks on my part for later. One more thing: M. Maxence has read and favorably reviewed Crunchy Cons–see some discussion here–and is currently reading Look Homeward America (which is more than I can say for myself, although I really do intend to read it).