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Amusing, inspirational and underpinned by a radiant reverence for its subjects, this collection shares the indomitable acts of fifteen fascist-fighting “loose canons”, toppling the perception that Christians of the cloth are meek and mild. The acts of opposition are framed within the context of Christianity’s ideological history: ”Since the days of St Paul, Christianity has had a lack of internal ethnic distinction as a key tenet of its teaching (if not, regrettably, always of its practice). Paul wrote that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female; all are one in Christ.”
Within these dynamic accounts we meet a bedazzling band of brave clerics from across the continent. Take Abbé Pierre, the “miraculous mountaineering monk”, for example. He started out as “an awkward and gangly young would-be monk” and“ended his career the most respected and popular man in France” on account of his pivotal role in the Resistance against the Nazis and Italian Fascists. Enduring the massacre of comrades and incarceration, and having engaged in numerous audacious acts of Resistance, plucky Pierre’s spirit and ethos (“to serve the most needy first”) lives on today in his charity that spans thirty-seven countries.
The author duly acknowledges that, “for every tale of bravery related above, there were tales of cowardice and collaboration”. He also points out that many of the men and women of the Resistance exhibited “the frailty of humanity” and goes on to posit the view that “true strength is achieved in embracing our weakness”. Sage words to conclude a book that’s suffused in the vitality of its subjects’ inspirational acts and the author’s affable wit.
Whoever said that Christians had to be meek and mild hadn't met Father Kir - parish priest and French resistance hero, immortalised by the Kir Royale. And they probably weren't thinking of Archbishop Damaskinos who, when threatened with the firing squad by the Nazis, replied, `Please respect our traditions - in Greece we hang our Archbishops.'
Wherever fascism has taken root, it has met with resistance. From taking a bullet for a frightened schoolgirl in Alabama to riding on the bonnet of a tank during the liberation of France, each of the hard-drinking, chain-smoking clerics featured in Priests de la Resistance were willing to give their lives for a world they believed in - even as their superiors beckoned them to safety.
In this spellbinding new collection, the Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie, bestselling author of A Field Guide to the English Clergy, presents fifteen men and women who dared to stand up to fascism, proving that some hearts will never be conquered.
‘Brace yourself for 250 pages of unbelievable goodness in the face of unbelievable evil…Butler-Gallie’s determination to applaud the ones who refused to toe the line always makes bracing and lively prose.' Times
`Deserves a wide readership. It could be argued that it took allegiance to a higher power than secular Messiahs to support resistance to the most hateful regimes of the 20th Century.' - Church of England Newspaper
`The history of Christianity during World War II is not pretty, as many leading Church figures collaborated with the Nazis and gave succour to anti-Semitism. A handful of religious people stood tall and met the challenge - the little-known men and women vividly described in these fascinating pages opposed both fascism and religious authority to fight the true good fight. If only there had been more like them!' -- Matthew Cobb, author of The Resistance
Praise for A Field Guide to the English Clergy:
`A group biography of ecclesiastical nuttiness... All gloriously mad.' The Times, Books of the Year 2018
`Eye-popping tales of lunacy, debauchery and depravity...Butler-Gallie knows whereof he writes, being a curate himself, and he has done a splendid job presenting a smorgasbord of most peculiar parsons.' Sebastian Shakespeare, Daily Mail
`We have...always kept a special haven for oddballs in the Church of England, as Fergus Butler-Gallie demonstrates in this entertaining compendium...Their foibles cover all bases from absentmindedness to epic drunkenness...I'm glad I read this one. It's a lot of fun.' The Times
`Entertainingly erudite...But it is also a surprisingly profound work...For all its mischief, Butler-Gallie's work of lightly worn erudition is a paean to a great English institution, finely tuned to the temper of its representatives, good, bad and indifferent. We should treasure it more.' Literary Review
`A humorous compendium of some of the oddball clergy who have served the Church over the centuries...These thumbnail portraits reveal a very broad church indeed.' New Statesman
`The Church of England has produced some real oddballs in its time, and this is an entertaining gallop through several centuries' worth of them...Butler-Gallie has done his homework, digging out some rare gems...This is the story not just of eccentrics, but also of a leisured age that is no more.' Harry Mount, Spectator
`Wonderfully entertaining...A hilarious yet thoughtful reminder that the Christian faith wasn't always thought incompatible with a sense of humour or a healthy bolshiness.' Sunday Times
`It may have the makings of a modern classic...Butler-Gallie chronicles not just Anglican follies, but also human weaknesses which we all share and with which we can perhaps sympathise.' The Catholic Herald
`This is a ridiculously enjoyable book: funny, compassionate, and wonderfully well-written.' Tom Holland
`A delightful, sympathetic, humorous and earthed cocktail of quirky English clergy.' The Rt Revd David Wilbourne
Publication date: 10/10/2019
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
|Publication date:||10th October 2019|
|Author:||The Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, History,|
|Categories:||Fascism & Nazism, Biography: historical, political & military,|
The Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie is Assistant Curate at Liverpool Parish Church and the author of A Field Guide to the English Clergy, a Best Book of the Year for The Times, Mail on Sunday and BBC History. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Oxford and a bachelor's degree in theology from the University of Cambridge. He once accidentally appeared on Only Connect. This is his second book.More About The Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie