The always informative and challenging Austen Ivereigh has an interesting post on the America blog, concerning Archbishop Rembert Weakland’s assessment of his fellow monk, Thomas Merton. Here is how he sums up Weakland’s view:
In sum, Weakland is saying that Merton was arrogant, formulaic, not very Benedictine, and he wrote not very good theology — and the speech he gave before he died was inappropriate and badly received. Phew.
I am not quite certain of the exegesis of “phew,” but I confess to sharing some of Weakland’s unease. Without gainsaying that many have found Merton’s writings helpful, they often struck me as more “notional” than the fruit of a matured experience.
But I would be interested in others’ views, based on their reading of Merton.