misery in Latin America and decidednthey were doing God’s work. He sawnevil, in short, and pronounced it wrong.nBut never, once he began dispensingnmoral judgments on political questions,ndid he consider that nuclear war wouldnnever be possible if the Soviet Unionndid not threaten it, or that Marxistsnmight prove to be cruder than any set ofnLatin oligarchs when it came to establishingnand enforcing political dominance.nMerton was a true believer, and itnnever occurred to him that his beliefsnmight be somewhat askew in a world innwhich the spiritual life was under virulentnattack by unbelievers. Like manynother Christian activists, he had spentnyears training himself in moral reflection;nif moral reflection is the primaryncalling of the clergyman, that is ofncourse the only kind of training thatnmakes sense. But few Christian clergyntoday, especially among the Catholicnpriesthood and the mainline Protestantnministry, are uneducated in the realmnof world affairs, hence they ought to benable to recognize the hard politicalnmeaning of, for example, Marxistnspeeches. Strangely enough, it is thenless-learned preachers of America’snfundamentalist sects who seem to benmore aware of the distinction betweennpolitical and moral judgments.nWhat is occurring in the establishednChristian churches today is that multitudesnof clergy, hoping to keep in stepnwith multitudes of laymen who are by nonmeans regular churchgoers, are abandoningnany semblance of rationality innjudging political events. Recently, morenthan one hundred American churchmennand -women endorsed an ad hoc organizationncalled the U.S. Committee innSolidarity with the People of El Salvador,nwhich urged an end to U.S. military assistancento El Salvador, but made nonmention of the flow of weapons from thenSoviet Union and Eastern Europe to thenMarxist guerrillas in that country.nAmong the endorsers of the Committee,nthese names scattered among those ofnthe good clergy, were Jane Fonda, BellanAbzug, Marcus Raskin, Isabel LeteliernChronicles of Culturenand many more whose political slant cannonly be described as fawningly pro-Soviet.nYet the Christians who signed onnwith the Committee are far more knowledgeablenand experienced in world affairsnthan Thomas Merton ever was.nThe tragedy, and the irony, of currentnclerical social activism is that it hasnmoved so far beyond the moralistic questioningnof Thomas Merton, who, duringnthe 60’s, was one of the first Catholicnpriests to adopt uncritically leftist positions.nToday the Reverend Ernesto Cardenal,none of Merton’s closest friendsnin his last years, is minister of culturenin the Sandinista regime that rulesnNicaragua, an obsequious Soviet-Cubannsatellite, “a puppet of a puppet,” in thenwords of one democratic-minded Nicaraguan.nA Mary knoll priest, the ReverendnMiguel d’Escuto, is Nicaragua’s foreignnminister. In Central America—nwhich Merton hoped to visit but wasnnot allowed to by his superior —thenJesuit and Maryknoll orders have beennlargely radicalized. “Liberation theology,”na grotesque attempt to caricaturenChrist as an urban guerrilla, is thenreigning liturgical style, as it is amongnleftist clergy the world over.nLooking back at Thomas Merton’snwhole life, one guesses he would havenbeen sympathetic but confused at thisnaspect of his legacy. While he providednthe literary armament for radical activistsnand worse in the protest years, henremained a thoroughgoing idealist. ThatnIn the Mailnhis ideals would be seized upon and corruptednby grim revolutionaries withinnand without the Church was a possibilitynthat simply would not have registerednwith Merton. To disbelieve or distrustnthose whom he heard repeating his ownnsentiments was not in his bones.nX. he beauty of Monica Furlong’s approachnto Merton’s life is the sincerenreverence she shows for the man as annidealist. She documents thoroughly thenevolution of his disillusionment withnthe world, his acceptance of the Church,nhis hurried application to the monasterynand his eventual detachment from it.nWe learn from her that he was ill-at-easenwith the world: during his youth becausenof what he considered his own failings,nbut later, as he found his own limitednpeace, because he perceived the yawningngap between his intense conviction ofnthe innate goodness of the human spiritnand the tragedy and violence of thenworld in which it exists.nFurlong makes clear, however, thatnMerton’s political meanderings did notndistract him from his investigation ofnthe contemplative aspect of man —nwhich is to say, the investigation of hisnown soul. He was, from the first, learnednin the writings of the early Fathers ofnthe Church, especially St. Benedict andnhis Rule, who mapped out the purpose ofnthe monastic life. But he looked farthern—into Zen, Hinduism and Buddhismn—and eventually was permitted to makenThe Language of American Popular Entertainment by Don B. Wilmeth; Green”woodnPress; Westport, Connecticut. A very informative glossary and guide to the vernacularnof entertainment slang and terminology, with origin and etymology provided where possible.nHighly recommended for reference shelves.nInternational Security Review, Vol. VI, No. I edited by Stephen P. Gibert; Centernfor International Security Studies of the American Security Council Foundation;nBoston, Virginia. A quarterly publication devoted to commentary on foreign policy andnnational security.nChristianity in a Neo-Pagan Society edited by Paul L. Williams, Ph.D.; NortheastnBooks, Div. of Cultural Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania; Scranton, Pennsylvania.nThe proceedings of the Third Convention of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholarsntreating such issues as theological questions, moral and secular values.nnn