Sunday, October 26, 2014

In The House of Von Hildebrand

The following from our trusty underground correspondent, Guy Noir - Private Eye:
I believe I sent this before, so forgive the possible repeating. It is a 14 year old interview, but doesn't read like its gathered any dust.

I know you've already noted that AvH's Memoirs of a Happy Failureis now out (what a terrific title choice!). She provides an arresting counterpoint to the current narrative of preconcilar Catholics as uptight pre-Freudian American puritans. Really, how many 80-somethings do you know who would not hesitate to go toe to toe with someone like Christopher West when the rest of us pause as he starts mouthing words like "orgasm" and "stimulation"? And how many Catholics do you know who can manage to demur from a Pope and still give an after-the-fact accounting of their audience with him that's convincingly respectful and affectionate? She is just an example all-around. She conveys class and charm.

This interview is striking because of where it is found. Christian Book Distributors is an Evangelical outfit. I can't imagine many Catholics knowing about it, much less using it. And the few interviews they have on their site are buried deep -- pretty much easier to miss than to notice. So the number of people who have seen it must be nil.

It is also striking because CBD must have had someone within its ranks who read AvH and actually became a fan as a result. There is no other explanation for this interview's appearance. As such it is an instance of the real spiritual bond that we often find does exist between a faithful Catholic and a faithful conservative Christian outside the bounds of the Church. We think of Bible Christians as demonizing us, but often when a real encounter takes place they turn and tell their friends, "Something must be there. In this regard, I recall a letter printed in the Evangelical World Magazine (ads for Ignatius Press they ran in the late 1990s proved to be small stepping stones on my own way into the Church). The writer says: "I strongly disagree with a letter published … criticizing you for carrying Roman Catholic advertisements …. My grandmother, a staunch Presbyterian, had a close friend who was an equally staunch Catholic. The two ladies had frequent and learned theological debates, each being well versed in her own creed, but neither of them ever found a chink in the other’s sectarian armor. The debates invariably ended with: 'Minnie dear, you are a Catholic and you don’t know it;' and 'Cora darling, you are a Protestant and you don’t know it!' [(Machen 1991, 22)]

Finally the interview is striking for some fascinating pieces not found elsewhere. A comparison of CS Lewis with DvH. That's something I'd love to read!

Speaking of other books, it appears Image Books will be releasing its own von Hilderbrand title this month, one that sounds like it offers a galvanizing portrait of the other Dr. Hilderbrand's years in Germany. Together these two seem to comprise a bonafide real life dynamic duo.

1 comment:

Son of Ya'Kov said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Prof Von Hildebrand once at a conference given in NYC by the Association of hebrew Catholic. Ronda Chervin brought her (who I also got to meet face to face).

Brillant women! She called me a "Nice young Man"
(no accounting for taste never the less that warmed my heart).

Good times. Good times.