Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Out of Due Time: Wilfrid Ward and the Dublin Review

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Out of Due Time: Wilfrid Ward and the Dublin Review

Article excerpt

Out of Due Time: Wilfrid Ward and the Dublin Review. By Dom Paschal Scotti, O.S.B. (Washington, D.C.:The Catholic University of America Press. 2006. Pp. xii, 329. $69.95.)

In the preface to his book Dom Paschal Scotti writes that Wilfred Ward "was a man much misunderstood in his own time and ignored in our own" (p. ix). He also acknowledges that he has "great admiration for Ward and great sympathy for what he tried to do," and states that his book is "not a neutral work." What Ward tried to do, according to Scotti, was "to bring the best of the Catholic mind to the nation at large, revealing the intrinsic power and beauty of the faith which alone, he believed, could counter the dissolving forces of modernity, and to expose the Catholic faithful to the best of the changing world around them" (p. ix). Scotti believes that Ward's nine years as editor of the Dublin Review, from 1906 to 1915, best express this life purpose, and so the author devotes four-fifths of the book to the articles published in the Dublin during these years, giving a précis of each, even though the vast majority were not written by Ward. The book's first two chapters give the background for Ward becoming the Dublin's editor and are based on secondary works that Scotti accepts uncritically and without analysis.

The time is now right for a careful and critical biographical study of Ward, but it must have more objectivity and serious critical analysis than Scotti has provided. After more than forty years of critical scholarship on the modernist crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, based on newly available archival materials, it is not acceptable to take the descriptions of modernism and the modernists found in Pascendi as historical fact, as Scotti does. He does not seem to realize that Ward was a modernist, though a very different one from Tyrrell or Maude Petre. Scotti's obvious contempt for von Hügel not only completely misses the actual historical baron but also ignores the more than thirty-year relationship that he had with Ward. When Ward knew that he had incurable cancer and would soon die, he wrote to von Hügel, to ask the baron to help him focus on what alone was now important and to prepare for death.This von Hügel did every few days until the end. Apparently Ward, at least, did not have contempt for von Hügel! …

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