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In Quest of Catholicity

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WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN WHEN TWO OF THE MOST EXPANSIVE AND ORIGINAL Catholic thinkers of our times engage in a discussion on issues that profoundly affect our understanding of the Church past, present and future? In a two-year correspondence with Malachi Martin, Wolfgang Smith broaches a wide spectrum of topics, to which Fr. Martin responds in a way that may surprise many readers. What ultimately stands at issue is the meaning of authentic Catholicity—the universality of Catholic truth.
It emerges from the exchange that when it comes to this fundamental issue, theologians have long been stymied and misled by what Malachi Martin refers to as an “intellectual impasse” that needs to be “deblocked.” It proves to be needful, after all, “to open doors and windows,” not in the name of an aggiornamento, but for the very opposite reason: to rediscover an ancient wisdom, theological and cosmological at once.

In this profound dialogue—ranging from Jacob Boehme to Catherine Pickstock’s esoteric Thomism—between a great Catholic historian and a great Catholic metaphysician and physicist, we catch a glimpse of a Church risen to the fullness of its Christ-given Catholicity by encompassing, mystically speaking, all truth.

This luminous exchange will be welcomed by all readers seeking deeper currents in contemporary Catholic thought.

“A fascinating exchange of letters between two celebrated Catholic traditionalists, on topics from Boehme to Balthasar, Thomism to Kabbalah, depth psychology to quantum physics. Both Malachi Martin (Hostage to the Devil) and Wolfgang Smith (Christian Gnosis) hold strong, sometimes controversial views, making for a provocative, vastly enjoyable read. Highly recommended.”—PHILIP ZALESKI, co-author of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings

“This is a book of extraordinary interest. It touches on nothing less than the intellectual credibility of the Catholic faith. Presenting this faith in a system narrowly contained in time and space can only have a provisional value. For the serious seeker, any truth claim has to be congruent with both the most ancient wisdom of humankind and the insight of contemporary science. Here Wolfgang Smith engages in a very personal dialogue with a priest whose over-riding concern is the welfare of souls. The salvation of a generation – at least – turns on an understanding that reaches as deeply into the truth as they do. We can no longer rely on the formulations of the past. In Quest of Catholicity is a providential stimulus and source for thought deep enough to establish us unshakeably in saving truth.”—LUKE BELL O.S.B., author of The Meaning of Blue: Recovering a Contemplative Spirit

“In this fascinating correspondence, Wolfgang Smith and the late Malachi Martin tackle an essential question, sadly much avoided, in Catholic letters: What is it that constitutes a Catholic worldview? It is not a simple answer! In these cordial discussions, Smith and Martin consider Jacob Boehme, quantum theory, the natura pura debate, Perennialism, and various esoterica in their search for the core of Catholicism, both within and without the precincts of Mater Ecclesia. The result is an exhilarating journey at the frontiers of Catholic thought, frontiers which, even now, are little explored. Theirs is a welcome engagement.”— MICHAEL MARTIN, author of The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics