Three Books – a Common Thread
by Colin Mason
There is a thread that runs from Aidan Nichols’ book Christendom Awake, to his work The Realm, and now through to his new title Criticising the Critics. The line of argument that Nichols explores across all three works is this: if the Church is to have any chance of evangelising society, then it first must rediscover its own identity. The mission to re-christianise the world has to be built upon a rediscovery and renewal of its own tradition.
If we are to renew our culture, we must first renew our Church. If we are to recreate Christendom, then we must first reclaim, renew, and re-enchant the internal life of the Church – and thus re-energise the Church. This internal renewal and rediscovery of the Church’s self-identity will enable it better to witness externally to the world.
Nichols calls for us to be brave enough to talk once again of the “conversion of England”. It should be clear of course that this argument is not limited to England or even to Britain. It is a call that carries across the whole of Western Europe and North America. The need to reclaim Western culture from the forces of secularism is one that will ring true to readers of these three books.
The Realm builds explicitly upon the earlier core message of Christendom Awake. In his new book, Criticising the Critics, Aidan Nichols meets head-on those internal and external challenges to the Church and its doctrines. He notes the disastrous challenge that secularism presents to our culture and the corresponding need to reinvigorate the Catholic body in order to meet and fight this challenge. It is Nichols’ intention, with his new book, to restore the confidence of Catholics and to allow them to become once again a public force.