Item 10 - Letter from Marius Bewley to James Smith

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SMIJ/1/10

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Letter from Marius Bewley to James Smith

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  • 17 Oct. 1940 (Creation)

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3 single sheets

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[St Paul Seminary, St Paul, Minnesota.]—Is sorry he was unable to see Smith in New York, and apologises for appearing pessimistic about England. Today was the first registration for conscription, but he will not be able to declare himself as a conscientious objector till later, if at all. Is reading Stratmann’s 'The Church and War' and is trying to get hold of Gerald Vann’s book ['Morality and War']. Will send him the 'Catholic Worker'. Is expecting things to go well at the seminary, but a homecoming of old priests and a visit by the editor of the 'Irish Literary Review', ‘the worst sort of Bloomsbury man’, provoked personal crises. Recommends Berdyaev’s 'The Bourgeois Mind'. Is cheered by the contempt with which the other seminarians treat the compulsory course in education. Leavis’s article in September’s 'Scrutiny' shows that he is becoming increasingly discontent with his position of ‘standardless “strenuous centrality”’. Is praying for Leavis and for [F. W.] Bradbrook. Admits the justice of Queenie [Leavis]’s remarks on the ‘Catholic covert apologist’, as treated by Orwell, and refers to the cliquishness of the ‘Martindale–Ronald Knox group’. Asks for prayers in support of his desire to become a priest, and encourages Smith to consider the same step. Wilfrid is married and Dennis is consoling himself with gardening. Bewley now finds 'Scrutiny' even more justified than he did at Downing, but he would not want the ‘longingness’ with which he looks back to be fulfilled. Smith’s advice has helped him in his struggles with his attitude towards the Church. Is considering going into a third order with the Dominicans. Reiterates the archbishop’s plans for him [see 1/8]. Asks how long Smith will be in Venezuela, and suggests he consider joining the priesthood in America.

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