Read C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church by Joseph Pearce Online


There are many Protestants and Catholics who have been deeply affected and spirituality changed by the writings of C.S. Lewis, including many converts to Catholicism who credit C.S. Lewis for playing a significant role in their conversion. But the ironic and perplexing fact is that Lewis himself, while “Catholic” in may aspects of his faith and devotion, never became a RomThere are many Protestants and Catholics who have been deeply affected and spirituality changed by the writings of C.S. Lewis, including many converts to Catholicism who credit C.S. Lewis for playing a significant role in their conversion. But the ironic and perplexing fact is that Lewis himself, while “Catholic” in may aspects of his faith and devotion, never became a Roman Catholic. Many have wondered why. Joseph Pearce, highly regarded literary biographer and great admirer of Lewis, is the ideal writer to try to answer that question. The relationship of Lewis to the Roman Catholic Church is an important and intriguing topic of interest to both Catholics and Protestants. Pearce delves into all the issues, questions, and factors regarding this puzzling question. He gives a broad and detailed analysis of the historical, biographical, theological, and literary pieces of this puzzle. His findings set forth the objective shape of Lewis’s theological and spiritual works in their relation to the Catholic Church. This well-written book brings new insights into a great Christian writer, and it should spark lively discussion among Lewis readers and bring about a better understanding of the spiritual beliefs of C.S. Lewis. “Joseph Pearce has tackled the great Unasked Question and produced an answer with both muscle and heart. How good an answer? Daring, authoritative, discriminating; intellectually daunting and vastly suggestive. This book is a banquet of argument so provocative, important and inviting that the master himself would find it irresistible. What wouldn’t I give to watch Lewis dig in!” -James Como, Author, Branches to Heaven: The Geniuses of C.S. Lewis...

Title : C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church
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ISBN : 9780898709797
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 175 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church Reviews

  • Didymus Bibliophilus
    2019-05-20 11:07

    There is so much that is interesting about C. S. Lewis, and his relationship with the Church of Rome is no exception. I remember being absolutely bamboozled while reading The Great Divorce – this was precisely my Catholic Church’s teaching about what the soul may experience after death! Similarly, while reading Mere Christianity I was startled at the importance Lewis places on the sacramental aspects of Christianity, so often ignored or even denigrated and condemned by certain Protestant Evangelical groups. Pearce goes through the life and works (and influences and relationships – he had many Catholic friends) of Lewis in an attempt to unravel the mystery of the man’s views on and interactions with the Church of Rome. The man identified as an Anglican – and yet his belief in Purgatory is explicitly condemned by the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. He was a Medievalist who thought that the traditional elements of Christianity were essential to it – yet he really refused to ever discuss or address the role of the Communion of Saints or the Blessed Virgin in the Christian life. How peculiar.Joseph Pearce points out an oddity that I also noticed in one of my favorite books That Hideous Strength. He quotes another author writing on the same topic as this book: Merlin is casting about for allies, for people he could expect to be crucially useful in his fight for Christendom; and as his enquiry proceeds progressively, he casts his net wider and looks higher. Can we get help from the king and his nobles? If not, can we get help from the priests and bishops? If not, can we get help from the Emperor? If not, can we get help from … ? But the obvious final and climactic question is not asked. Instead we get a pause, a brief silence which I take to be the silence of embarrassment, on Lewis’ part rather than Merlin’s … Almost any other novelist who found himself devising such a sequence, whatever his personal belief, would have considered it artistically right to make Merlin ask Ransom about the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. …There was something within Lewis that caused him to replace it, almost as though self-consciously, with silence …The silence here is what is significant. Lewis could have put Ulster anti-Catholic rhetoric into the mouth of his angelically-guided Ransom in response to Merlin’s appeal to the Papacy. Instead Lewis leaves the question unasked and unasked, apparently too uncomfortable with the discussion to even address it. This in fact explains much of his work.It would seem, upon conclusion of the book, that Lewis’ general public silence as regards Catholicism was due to two factors – Protestant prejudice, of which he was, to some degree, aware; and a perhaps too-strong desire for Christian unity that at times stopped him from converting to Rome, and sometimes stopped him from criticizing her in his public work.(At the same time he wasn’t too concerned about Christian unity, because Lewis’ Mere Christianity definitely excludes some self-identified Christians from that unity – they would have to agree with his definition, or butt out).I love C. S. Lewis, warts and all. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a clearer picture of his life (I read a biography last summer, which enriched this reading experience).

  • Ben De Bono
    2019-05-22 05:05

    I read this back to back with Christopher Derrick's similarly titled C.S. Lewis and the Church of Rome. The danger of reading multiple books on the same subject so close together is that can you can easily feel as though you've just read the same book twice. Despite a certain amount of natural overlap between the two, I'm please to report that this is not the case of Derrick and Pearce's books on this subject. On the contrary, the different takes the two authors use on identical material makes them imminently complementary. Despite their being written twenty years apart with no collaboration by the authors, they feel like two parts of a whole. Neither seems complete without the other. Derrick's book is fairly critical and combative toward Lewis as it attempts to show fundamental contradictions in his thought on Catholicism and an unwillingness to resolve these inconsistencies. Pearce discusses this as well but his tone is more scholarly. The book follows a mostly chronological progression through Lewis' life giving it greater breadth than Derrick's work. While it too inevitably demonstrates inconsistencies in Lewis' thought, its purpose is primarily to describe rather than comment. Far from contradicting Derrick's points, this approach strengths them. Pearce gives additional context that only add to the weight of Derrick's critiques. The two books thus become mutually dependent - in a sense - and create a wonderful portrait of Lewis' interactions with Catholicism. After reading both books I've come to the conclusion that this is a sorely neglected aspect of Lewis' thought and life. In part, this is due to Lewis' own neglect of the question which, given the amount of material suggesting Catholic sympathies, he ought to have answered. Nevertheless, I'd love to see more authors take up this subject. Given that both Pearce and Derrick are Catholics, I think it would be especially interesting to see Anglican and Protestant scholars take on the subject. In lieu of that happening, however, audiences interested in Lewis' take on Catholicism will find themselves amply rewarded by reading both Pearce and Derrick's discussions on the subject.

  • Keith
    2019-05-17 11:14

    This is the second of two books I read recently with a Roman Catholic "bent." Pearce tries to answer the question of Lewis' professed Christianity: was he a "Catholic Protestant" or a "Protestant Catholic?" Though Catholic himself, Pearce does a pretty good job of maintaining a theological neutrality as he reviews Lewis' life (pretty good, by his own admission, some RC bias comes through). I found the book enjoyable to read for a variety of reasons. First, he treated CS a human being who discovered his own personal brilliance with considerable humility. Second, Pearce traced the significant impact of Chesterton, Tolkien, and George MacDonald (among others) upon his life. He revealed both their personal and spiritual impact upon Lewis. Thirdly, Pearce traces the writings of Lewis in such a way as to put both a chronological tag as well as an apologetic purpose and summary of many, if not most, of Lewis more popular and significant works. Pearce traces these developments with brevity and clarity; I found it very intriguing. I had my own preconceptions as to which side of the Catholic/Protestant argument of Lewis' life I would settle. However, after reading this work, I have a greater respect for Lewis as he trudged through his own spiritual heritage and conclusions; not all necessarily quite where I thought Lewis might land!

  • Othy
    2019-04-24 04:02

    Completely disappointing. Pearce's close-minded reading of CS Lewis' life attempts to argue that Lewis was too much a bigot and coward to do what, deep down, he "really" wanted (join the Catholic church). Pearce construes facts and influences to show Lewis is being surrounded by mostly strong Catholics, both dead and alive, though forgets such men as Charles Williams (among others) and ignores George MacDonald not being Catholic. Certain views Lewis held (such as small-government and appreciation for local labor) Pearce writes as being specifically Catholic (or Catholic influenced), forgetting that Lewis was a thinking, considerate person himself (that he couldn't consider such points on his own seems beyond Pearce). In the end, Pearce's depiction of Lewis is "interpretation heavy," and he seems to think that the only people who still read Lewis are Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants (where he gets this from, I really don't know). I'm sure CS Lewis had his reasons for not becoming Catholic, and as I share some of them that I have gathered while studying him, I was hoping for an honest discussion...

  • grey1066
    2019-05-10 08:04

    I enjoyed this book, but have a few disappointments with how it ended. The author, in the last few chapters, speaks of the decline of Anglicanism which is fair enough, but he goes on and on to no end about the "evil" of female priests, as if this was the soul cause of it's disintegration. He trows a few statements around about "modernism" in general, but keeps coming back to those evil hussy "priestesses". Now, one may or may not believe women should be priests, but the author REALLY seems to focus on that. And there is a delicious irony that many married Anglican priests joined the Roman Catholic Church because women priests were "against tradition and scripture". Yet they were ALLOWED to stay married. So...where does all the Tradition we're talking come into play. Why is it okay for Roman Catholic converted priests to be married? That goes against Roman tradition at least as much as female presbyters.

  • Tom
    2019-05-01 08:52

    In his book, Pearce seems to approach the question of Lewis's church affiliation from the high position of a committed Catholic and can't quite understand why Lewis almost, but could not quite endorse the Catholic Church. He argues that had Lewis lived a few more years he no doubt would have converted, since the only alternative he had would be to stay in the Anglican Church which became liberal and modernist. Pearce doesn't consider the possibility that CSL could have remained a protestant in any other church than the Church of England. The book is a bit hard to read at times, in that it does not flow smoothly, but bumps along with starts and stops. It was interesting enough to hold my attention because I kept waiting for the conclusive evidence, which sadly, never really came.

  • Josh
    2019-05-10 12:09

    Joseph Pearce gives us a very interesting book that explores the relationship of C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church. Peace effectively demonstrates the theological and spiritual similarities of Lewis with those of Catholicism, but he also dives into the background and convictions of Lewis that prevented him from entering the Church. The book is filled with quotations from the writings of C.S. Lewis as well as commentary on Lewis from those that knew him well. Whatever your opinions might be of this subject, after reading this book you will have a hard time disproving the fact that, throughout most of his life, C.S. Lewis was very close to the Catholic Church.

  • Cate
    2019-04-28 03:55

    This book was outstanding!! I read it in the course of an afternoon. A fascinating look at the effect of Lewis' upbringing in ultra-Protestant Ulster, Ireland. Pearce takes a fascinating tour of Lewis' friendships, literary feats, and life; All the while tracing his evolving beliefs through literature and letters, comparing them with the views of Lewis' own Anglican Church and the Catholic Church,to which so many of his friends, mentors, and fellow writers (J.R.R. Tokien, of course, among them)became converts. The middle of the book slowed a bit, but it was well worth reading to the end.

  • Andrew Stout
    2019-05-20 11:12

    Pearce offers a very interesting discussion of some of Lewis' views toward the Catholic Church, as well as a helpful analysis of the theological battles against modernism carried out by the Inklings. However, Pearce seems completely incapable of acknowledging that being influenced by and sharing a general outlook with traditional Christian thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, and Dante (as Lewis clearly was) does not automatically make one a crypto-Catholic. This same irritating tendency shows up in Pearce's most recent books on Shakespeare and Catholicism.

  • Michael Waugh
    2019-05-22 11:56

    A highly intriguing and informative piece this book kept me interested all the way through. I agree with Pierce that Lewis did have an attraction to the Catholic faith. But it could be true that Lewis was attracted more to medievalism rather than Catholicism. I thought Pierce was evenhanded and provided good insights into Lewis's thought life.

  • Sofia
    2019-04-23 06:04

    No es para una lectura de relajo. Este libro habla no solo del cristianismo sino de la Iglesia Anglicana, de la de Inglaterra y hace mención a varios movimientos religiosos y no religiosos. Es un buen libro de estudio, no solo para cristianos, sino para todo el mundo. =)

  • Gary Beckmann
    2019-05-22 09:05

    Well, it was well written. The research seems well done. Unfortunately, towards the end Mr. Pearces's biases come roaring out. Ah well, these type of inter-church struggles are one of the things that drove Lewis up the wall.

  • Eric
    2019-04-23 10:14

    Some good little nuggets about C.S. Lewis' leaning towards Catholicism but a little slow towards the end. A lot about his relationship with Tolkien which was interesting. Inspired me to want to read The Great Divorce and Pilgrim's Regress.

  • Tim Morris
    2019-05-20 05:09


  • Douglas Wilson
    2019-04-23 06:02

    Pretty fair.

  • Steve
    2019-05-06 11:07

    Read long ago