The Ephemeral Man by Anthony Esolen

The Ephemeral Man

by Anthony Esolen

Sometimes the grace of God comes through unlikely and even unseemly channels. When I was an undergraduate at Princeton, surrounded by disaffected materialists, and as yet almost entirely innocent of the Christian intellectual heritage, I happened upon Father Hans Küng's book, Does God Exist? I have it still, though I have not opened it in thirty years, nor have I found a need to do so. Küng decided the question in the affirmative, but in doing so he took the reader through a Grand Tour of the question, visiting, usually with a real desire to find what was true or good in each author, anyone important who had taken it up.

His book was therefore my introduction to other authors who would be far more important to me than Küng himself was—Pascal, most notably. For this, and for some intellectual ammunition when I most needed it, I owe him a debt of gratitude. But Küng, unlike the far more original Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, seems to have been a proud man, conscious of his clerical celebrity, and unwilling to be corrected. His liberal political opinions became predictable, and his ecclesiological opinions became indistinguishable from them. He was a Catholic dissident to the end. His day has passed. May God have mercy on his soul.

Anthony Esolen is the author of over thirty books, including Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius). He has also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House). He and his wife Debra publish a web magazine, Word and Song (anthonyesolen.substack.com), on poetry, hymnody, language, classic films, and music. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more from the online archives

31.6—November/December 2018

Virtue Gone Mad

Victimhood Culture Scapegoats Its Very Source by Michael P. Foley

17.6—July/August 2004

Reality & Reluctant Science

Old Science Confronts a Formidable Challenge in the Scientific ID Movement by Jay W. Richards

24.5—Sept/Oct 2011

Pupils Delighted

on Wondering or Wandering Through College Education by Anthony Esolen

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00