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Watkin Path


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About the Author

Magdalen Goffin, the daughter of E I Watkin is a graduate of St Annes College, Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


"This is a fine and much-needed biography of a remarkable man whose life and work has been almost forgotten among Catholics today. . . . This book would be fascinating just for the vivid account of the vicissitudes of a remarkable family but it is Watkin's intellectual achievements and the integrity and courage with which he fought for his beliefs that make it outstanding." --Newman Studies Journal
"A fascinating story." --Catholic Herald
"In the era before the Vatican Council E.I. Watkin was, like Lambert Beaudouin, Henri de Lubac and John Courtney Murray, a voice crying in the wilderness. He pleaded that the Church witness in a more living and general way to a number of values latent in her more deep-seated and venerable tradition and desperately needed by the contemporary world, but which had been swept to the margins by the working imperatives of a more circumscribed vision of the Christian vocation which temporarily enjoyed the ascendancy. This he came to call 'ecclesiastical materialism'. The three great causes for which Watkin contended in order that Catholicism might attain its fullness were a more general practice of contemplative prayer, a more widespread participation in the Liturgy and a bolder stand, particularly by the bishops, in the cause of peace. He was convinced that his own vocation was not to be a priest or an organizer, but to give himself entirely to writing. Without setting out to court trouble, he nevertheless found himself having brushes with the ecclesiastical censors. Although the issues involved were not serious, it pained him to have received the attentions of the church's thought-police whose very existence spread doubts in the general public about the intellectual integrity of catholic writers. ... It is good that a man of so many insights and contacts has received the memorial he deserves. The charm of Mrs. Goffin's candid biography is that it is written from within the family and invites the reader to join in with the family. It would be all too easy to present E.I. Watkin as a lonely eminence, but in fact his life was thickly populated with relatives and friends, each of whom treads on the stage here to tell his own story. Mrs. Goffin has also explained with crystalline clarity all the issues with which her father became involved and the constantly shifting historical and social context of each of them. She has indeed written a work of pietas, but pietas in the Watkin fashion." --Downside Review

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