Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Fr. Victor White, O.P.: The Story of Jung's "White Raven"

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Fr. Victor White, O.P.: The Story of Jung's "White Raven"

Article excerpt

Fr. Victor White, O.P.: The Story of Jung's "White Raven." By Clodagh Weldon. (Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press. Distrib. by University of Chicago Press. 2007. Pp. xii, 340. $30.00 paperback. ISBN 978-1-589-66153-0.)

Born Gordon Henry White in 1902 and renamed Victor upon his profession in the Order of Preachers in 1924, the subject of this meticulously researched study became the foremost mediator between Catholic Thomistic theology and analytical psychology. Between the time of his initial contact with Carl Jung in 1945 until his untimely death in I960, White worked diligently and expertly at this difficult interface.

Clodagh Weldon concentrates on White's personal relationship with Jung and the nature of the dialogue that grew out of it. Jung named White his "white raven" after receiving a letter and a batch of papers from him in August 1945 upon the occasion of his seventieth birthday. This image plays on White's name and on Jung's long-held desire for an interlocutor from the inner circles of Christian doctrine and theology. In White, Jung thought, he had found his perfect conversation partner. To the aged Jung, this seemed like a gift from God, and, as Weldon argues, it also seemed to be an opportunity to make a gift back to God. Jung wanted to engage Christianity in a dialogue with a view toward changing it for the better from a psychological point of view. Weldon says that he wanted to Jungianize Christian theology and that, in White, he saw his best chance to realize this dream. White, for his part, wanted to supplement and complete analytical psychology with Christian truth and also to demonstrate how Christian doctrine answers the deepest questions and needs of the human soul and heals it. …

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