Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 28, 2012

“BERNANOS”, by Hans Urs von Balthasar

Life, The Universe and All That, is the title of a book by Douglas Adams, modern satire, a hit during the late 1980’s. In its own weird way it holds up a mirror to the problems and foibles that beset us then and beset us now; problems of our own making brought on by our own weaknesses. But, it provides no lasting response, gives no reasons, offers no answers to them. It is light fare, a dessert, if you will; and in the end good nourishment neither for mind or soul. As a matter of fact, Adams was an atheist who had no belief in an eternal soul, and couldn’t, therefore provide answers for it. Sometimes more is wanted. The answers we seek have always been available in novels and tales which grow out of the deepest yearnings and most creative thoughts about them by men and women whose hearts and minds are open to the truth. Though truth may scald in the telling and in the hearing, a hot meal builds one up and strengthens one. Masterful French novelist and astute human psychologist Georges Bernanos knew that sort of thing.

The great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar presents his insights into the work of this very good and very faithful observer of the human scene in the book “Bernanos,” a study of one of the 20th Century’s great novelists whose religious themed novels and stories concentrated on the life of faith and struggles associated with it. The goal of von Balthasar’s book is simply to reveal and reinforce what Bernanos wanted to convey, as the devout Christian and Catholic author that he was, by means of the “electrifying” portrayal of the struggle between the soul and Evil for which he is noted. Author of the perennially popular “Diary of A Country Priest”, Bernanos was a deeply prayerful Roman Catholic whose profound love for the Church made everything he created or wrote an “ecclesial existence that has been given form: existence derived not merely from an abstract, individual faith but from the faith of the Church.” With judicious quoting of the primary sources and careful juxtaposing of texts and commentary, von Balthasar constructs a unique forum in which the novelist can speak to the reader in such a way that he can be clearly heard and genuinely, thoroughly, understood.

Visit The Christian Book Corner (t-CBC) and browse a unique and growing collection of books and other media from reputable sources and offered at handsome discount.  t.CBC books and media are all “Chosen with care, Chosen with Prayer” for your enjoyment and enlightenment.


  1. Bernanos – I read him with a deal of love, without realizing what it was that made him so rich and wonderful. I wish I could still watch videos, since, among others, I have ‘the Carmelites’ which is stunning opera, stunning theatre, a passion play.

    In another world, I would probably invest in your book Peadar. In this world, I fear, the water rates must be paid, and the guttering cleared.

    wonderful to think that water and guttering live in the same world as passion and poetry, indeed, feature in it. But I warble on..

    Bless you

    • And you, too, dear Alys. What is not to love about the Truth he reveals in his writings, and the honesty with which he does so?

  2. Padraic,
    I do not want to undermine your new profession [which was mine for many years] but v.Balthasar’s splendid BERNANOS is available as an ebook [I think I know what that means]. Just Google Balthasar and Bernanos.


    • Thank you, Gabriel. You are not undermining it at all. We provide a link to Amazon’s e-book through our site. Call it an e-cut to the book. And thanks for the one word review. I’m of the opinion that vB’s shopping lists were no doubt splendid, too.


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