Archives For Mary Gordon

 

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A Feature Review of
 

On Thomas Merton
Mary Gordon

 
Hardback: Shambhala, 2019
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Reviewed by Mark Jenkins
 
 
 
The New York Times has called Mary Gordon “the bard of the American Catholic experience.” I suspect she isn’t comfortable with that title. On more than one occasion she has paraphrased Flannery O’Connor saying that, in our time, one has to “suffer because of the church and not for the church.” Gordon’s approach/avoidance response to the church—any church—particularly in its more dogmatic and sexist iterations is healthy.

Such attitudes uniquely qualify her perspective on Thomas Merton, his life, and his writing. Like Merton, she is keenly aware of the ambiguities and tensions of being labeled a “Catholic writer.” She can be fiercely loyal to Roman Catholicism, but never unquestioningly so. Not unlike Merton in his final years of life.

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