Harder Than War: Catholic Peacemaking in Twentieth-Century America

By Patricia McNeal | Go to book overview
Save to active project

5
Thomas Merton at the Crossroads of Peace

THE PERIOD BETWEEN WORLD War II and Vatican II was a crucible for the later development of the American Catholic peace movement. This was the time when the theological rationales for the just war doctrine and pacifism were being severely challenged and the new ethic of nonviolence was born. The war in Vietnam would complete the process in the 1960s when nonviolent resistance became the movement's main means to stop the war. Thomas Merton stood at this crossroads and attempted to evaluate the Catholic tradition on war and peace in three areas: just war, pacifism, and nonviolence. His writings changed once and for all how American Catholics would henceforth think about peacemaking.

Thomas Merton was born in Praedes, France, on 31 January 1915. Six years later his Quaker mother died. He spent most of his young adult life studying in France or England. When he was not in school, he frequently travelled throughout Europe with his father, who was an artist and was always in quest of ideas for his paintings.

In 1934, after attending Cambridge for one year, Merton came to the United States and completed his formal education at Columbia University, where he obtained an M.A. degree in English. Like Dorothy Day, he had flirted with socialism and communism, but found them disillusioning because they were too focused on society with insufficient emphasis placed on personal responsibility. While completing his master's thesis on the religious and mystical elements of the writings of William Blake, he took the advice of a Hindu monk and began to read St. Augustine and the early Church Fathers. By the end of his first year of graduate study, Merton had led himself to a firm commitment to the Catholic faith.

-105-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Harder Than War: Catholic Peacemaking in Twentieth-Century America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 318

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?