OUT OF DUE TIME - Catholic University of America Press
Out Of Due Time
Out Of Due Time
Wilfrid Ward and the Dublin Review
Dom Paschal Scotti
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Scotti, Paschal, –
Out of due time : Wilfrid Ward and the Dublin review / by
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
isbn : ---- (alk. paper)
isbn : --- (alk. paper)
. Ward, Wilfrid Philip, –. . Dublin review (Dublin, Ireland)
. Catholics—Ireland. . Ireland—Church history—th century.
. Ireland—Church history—th century. . English literature—Irish
authors—History and criticism—Periodicals. . Ireland—
Civilization—Periodicals. I. Title.
. The Intellectual Politician
. English Catholicism and the Dublin Review
. Transcendence, Revelation, and Immanence
. Foreign Affairs
. The Great War
Appendix: Contents of the Dublin Review,
/Looking back on the last century, so filled with war, pestilence, and
famine, in which tens of millions were offered up on the pyres of competing ideologies, where every sort of evil received its followers and
apologists, and even the ideas of a common culture and normative
ethics were denied, the early years of the twentieth century look remarkably placid and unified.1 For some a nostalgic glow colors them
and a sense of loss clings to them. While it is true that the Edwardian
Age was the final phase of that relatively long era of European peace
that began with the fall of Napoleon in and continued, with brief
interruptions, to the First World War, yet it did not seem as idyllic and
peaceful to those who lived in it. The century began with the death of
Queen Victoria (January , ), an event that led many to ponder
the future in trepidation. Already, in his “Recessional,” written for
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in , Kipling had recalled some
of the great empires of the past whose pride had destroyed them, and
warned Britain of hubris. Humility, however, was not in evidence at
the coronation of Victoria’s heir, King Edward VII, where the majesty
of empire was displayed in all its grandeur, and for which A. C. Benson’s famous anthem “Land of Hope and Glory,” set to the music of
Elgar, called upon God to make the great British Empire even greater.
“God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.”
The British Empire was still the greatest the world had ever seen,
but doubts had begun. The Boer War (–), and the effort it
took to defeat a rabble of backwoods Dutch farmers, had revealed
. See Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (New York: W. W. Norton,
); Stéphane Courtois et al., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, ); and Gertrude Himmelfarb, The Demoralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values (New York: Knopf, ).
“Contrary to its promise, the twentieth century became mankind’s most bloody and
hateful century, a century of hallucinatory politics and of monstrous killings.” Zbigniew
Brzezinski, Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the st Century (New York: Scribner’s, ), –.
Britain’s weakness; and the fact that so many of those who had tried to enlist
were found unfit began a widespread discussion about national degeneracy.
This sense of decline was only intensified by the phenomenal growth of Germany and the United States in trade and economic power, so that Britain’s
mercantile and industrial preeminence was no longer a given. To say that the
age was one of transition and change is merely to state the obvious. Change is
always with us and adaptation is as old as Adam. Yet at this time the pace of
change did take on an intensity and depth all its own. While it may not be
that human character changed “on or about December ,” as Virginia
Woolf maintained, many traditional assumptions about human nature and
society were being challenged.2 As Samuel Hynes has pointed out, it was an
age that stood in an odd pivotal position between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, not quite Victorian nor altogether modern.3 While modernity
has brought many benefits, it is not without its darker side. Its most dangerous characteristic is, in the phrase of the philosopher Leszek Kolakowski, “the
disappearance of taboos,” by which he means the application of a narrow rationality which cuts away at all inherited beliefs and customs.4 Newman too
had warned of the destructive power of modernity, though he had a different
name for it. As the British Empire was undergoing change, so too was the English Catholic Church, but with her change had not led to a crisis of confidence but to a growth in it. Its members were becoming more numerous,
more prosperous and educated, more cohesive, and more integrated and accepted into national life. The Church had finally reached the level where its
corporate capacities were beginning to match its universalistic ambitions.
While change can be a difficulty, it can also be an opportunity. Wilfrid Ward,
remembered today for his biography of Cardinal Newman and a leading
Catholic intellectual and man of letters of the day, saw in the times a great op. See Virginia Woolf ’s “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” in The Captain’s Death Bed and Other
Essays (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, ), –.
. Samuel Hynes, The Edwardian Turn of Mind (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ),
. Leszek Kolakowski, Modernity on Endless Trial (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ),
–. “The point is that in the normal sense of ‘rationality’ there are no more rational grounds for
respecting human life and human personal rights than there are, say, for forbidding the consumption of shrimp among Jews, of meat on Friday among Christians, and of wine among Muslims.
They are all ‘irrational’ taboos. And a totalitarian system which treats people as exchangeable parts
in the state machinery, to be used, discarded, or destroyed according to the state’s needs, is in a
sense a triumph of rationality” ().
portunity. In he took charge of the Dublin Review, the leading Catholic
journal in the English-speaking world, believing that it provided the best
means of achieving his long-held goals. He wished to bring the best of the
Catholic mind to the nation at large, revealing the intrinsic power and beauty
of the faith which alone, he believed, could counter the dissolving forces of
modernity, and to expose the Catholic faithful to the best of the changing
world around them. The story of this book is the story of these pursuits.
Assembling an exceptional group of contributors, Ward achieved something unique. Under his guidance the Dublin experienced a golden age, gaining for the Catholic side a hearing from the larger world rarely accorded it.
An editor molds his journal by his selection of contributors and articles, and
many of the Dublin authors are of more than historical interest. While a few
names should be familiar to the reader, others deserve to be. This work is,
therefore, not just about Ward but about the journal itself under his editorship, its tone and characteristics, its interests and opinions. The Dublin belonged to the belletristic tradition of the great English quarterlies in its desire
to speak to the entire educated public on the whole range of topics without a
narrow erudition and with literary style. It is for this reason that I have tried
to let its authors speak in their own words as much as possible. (Also, for a
better understanding of the journal’s range, I have listed in the Appendix all
the articles published in the Dublin during Ward’s tenure.) This was probably
the last generation to which such an attempt really seemed possible. Our own
age has become far more specialized, and if that was to be expected, it has also
led to a far more fragmented and disjointed world. I have great admiration for
Ward and great sympathy for what he tried to do. Ward was a man much misunderstood in his own time and ignored in our own, and it is hoped that this
work can partially rectify that situation. This is not a neutral work, but I hope
that it is an accurate and objective one.
Many debts were incurred in the writing of this book. I wish to thank our
school librarian, Mrs. Roberta Stevens; Vincent Martin, who faithfully drove
me to the URI library; Fr. Ian Dickie, the archivist of the Westminister Archdiocese; Fr. Augustine Kelly, O.S.B.; Matthew Papi and Daniel Betz; Dr. M.
N. E. Tiffany; Dr. John Haldane of St. Andrews University; the librarians of
the British Library and the St. Andrews University Library; the Very Rev. Brian M. Canon Halloran for his great personal kindness to me during my
month at St. Andrews; the administration of St. Andrews University for my
accommodation there; and the graduate students of Deans Court who treated
me so well. I wish also to thank the community of Ealing Abbey for their great
kindness during the month I spent in London, and Dom Dunstan O’Keefe
and the community of Downside Abbey for their few days of hospitality. I
wish to thank Dr. Norman Reid, the Keeper of Manuscripts, University of St.
Andrews Library, for permission to quote from Ward’s letters, and Mr. Oliver
Hawkins for permission to quote from a letter of Wilfrid Meynell; the Catholic University of America Press for permission to use material from my article,
“Wilfrid Ward: A Religious Fabius Maximus,” and the Downside Review for
permission to use material from my article “Wilfrid Ward and the Dublin Review.” I wish to thank Dom Matthew Stark and Dom Edmund Adams for
reading my manuscript and for their comments, and the unnamed reviewers
who did the same. Finally, I wish to thank my editor, Suzanne Wolk, for the
exemplary job she did. It is deeply appreciated. This book is dedicated to my
parents, Patrick (†) and Rose Scotti, to whom I owe everything.