Thursday, 24 October 2013

'The Inn Catholics' - Mike Hennessy to speak on Father Vincent McNabb OP...

Tuesday the 12th of November at 19.30 at the Greencoat Boys in Victoria.

Father McNabb was - with some notable exceptions, principally within his own Order - held in high esteem by his contemporaries, even by those such as George Bernard Shaw or the Webbs, founders of the socialist Fabian Society, who could have most been expected to dislike him. During Father McNabb’s life, G K Chesterton wrote of him, in the introduction to his, Father McNabb’s, book, Francis Thompson and Other Essays:

“Now I am nervous about writing here what I really think about Father Vincent McNabb for fear that he should somehow get hold of the proofs and cut it out. But I will say briefly and firmly that he is one of the few great men I have met in my life; that he is great in many ways, mentally and morally and mystically and practically... nobody who ever met or saw or heard Father McNabb has ever forgotten him.”

Hilaire Belloc, who was in many ways temperamentally similar to Father McNabb, wrote this about him after his death in the Dominican journal Blackfriars in 1943:

“The greatness of his [Father McNabb’s] character, of his learning, his experience, and, above all, his judgement, was altogether separate from the world about him... the most remarkable aspect of all was the character of holiness... I can write here from intimate personal experience [here, Belloc refers to Father McNabb visiting Belloc - at the latter’s request - immediately after the premature death of Elodie Belloc, his wife, in 1914] ... I have known, seen and felt holiness in person... I have seen holiness at its full in the very domestic paths of my life, and the memory of that experience, which is also a vision, fills me now as I write - so fills me that there is nothing now to say.”

Mike Hennessy, long-time Bellocian and a student of fine red burgundy wine, encountered the life and work of Vincent McNabb at the turn of the Millennium and has never recovered. A home-schooling father of eight children and a parliamentary official, he sees at close hand many of the glories and idiocies of which McNabb spoke and wrote, and has deepened his appreciation of, and admiration for, this saintly Dominican with each passing year.”