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Author QuotedLord Walter Northbourne
Title QuotedReligion in the modern world
Date (Year/Month/Day)1965/04/18
ImprintLondon : Dent. [1963]
QuotationI have just finished reading your book Religion in the Modern World. Since I did not want to send you a mere formal note of thanks, but wanted also to share my impressions with you, I have delayed writing about it until now. After a careful reading, spread out over some time (I have read the book a bit at a time), I believe that your book is exceptionally good. Certainly I am most grateful for the opportunity to read it, and needless to say I am very glad that Marco Pallis suggested that you send it to me. Not only is the book interesting, but I have found it quite salutary and helpful in my own case. It has helped me to organize my ideas at a time when we in the Catholic Church, and in the monastic Orders, are being pulled this way and that. Traditions of great importance and vitality are being questioned along with more trivial customs, and I do not think that those who are doing the questioning are always distinguished for their wisdom or even their information. I could not agree more fully with your principles and with your application of them. In particular, I am grateful for your last chapter. For one thing it clears up a doubt that had persisted in my mind, about the thinking of the Schuon-Guenon "school" (if one can use such a term) [an association of Sufi masters with whom Marco Pallis was associated], as well as about the rather slapdash ecumenism that is springing up in some quarters. It is most important first of all to understand deeply and live one's own tradition, not confusing it with what is foreign to it, if one is to seriously appreciate other traditions and distinguish in them what is close to one's own and what is, perhaps, irreconcilable with one's own.
Quotation SourceWitness to Freedom: The Letters of Thomas Merton in Times of Crisis.; Selected and edited by William H. Shannon. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1994, p. 312-13
Letter toLord Northbourne
Link to Merton's Copy 52260 

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