Mr. McNabb recognizes the central passion of Fr. Vincent: his deep love for Christ, expressed through a severe asceticism, a total devotion to traditional Catholic doctrine and social teaching, a commitment to love and serve the poor, a tireless effort to preach and teach the Gospel—all aimed at personal holiness in pursuit of heaven.
What comes out is a story of a small group of Reformed Canadian Baptists who are rural, hardworking, self-educated (largely by reading the Bible), and persistent in becoming holy, but not without earning some dry humor along the way. Jeffrey excels at the hard task of publishing the culture of his upbringing, as well as some of the best of his private life, with both charity and clarity.
Instead of opposing one religion to another, we need the conscience and that humorous raised eyebrow, which Powys described, with feminine overtones, as “that withdrawn, quizzical look which conscience, that tough customer, regards as an invasion of its preserves,” to rend the veil in all of our religious temples: cultural/educational, economic and political.
Any self-respecting Christian should come down a few rungs on his ladder of self-esteem after reading Wendell Berry on the all-too-common view of organized...