Geoffrey has a problem. All his life he’s lived according to ‘sensible’ sceptical, secular values. Then, his true love left him for a New Age community in Scotland. But it gets worse: now she wants to be a traditional Catholic nun!
Geoffrey is bewildered, angry, lost. Until, one Valentine’s day in Ireland, he meets a mysterious guide – the Gentle Traditionalist.
Together they commence a most unusual dialogue of ideas concerning:
- The Heart of the Gospel
- The Real Nature of the Church: A Supernatural Mystery
- The Crisis in Catholicism today: the Loss of Tradition
- The New Age Movement
- Catholic Ireland
- Why Secularism gets away with murder
Both whimsical and serious, the dialogue in this book offers a probing exploration of the Catholic Mystery, Christendom and the crisis of the West today.
Join us for a very special Valentine’s day when Geoffrey’s barren, rational world gets turned upside down …
There is also an archive of posts with further extracts from the book here.
Praise for The Gentle Traditionalist
What Reviewers say …
“This is one of the most unusual books I’ve ever read. It’s a spiritual journey, a romance and a quest; a reflection on history and a discourse on faith and tradition; a fable and a meditation about place and location. It’s sometimes surreal, sometimes eccentric, sometimes didactic, but written throughout with passion and engagement, with a touching and deep-seated love for Ireland and for the sweetness and humanity that have been embedded in Irish country values.
Some readers will want to argue with the text. Others will be stimulated to ponder the question whether in the course of modernisation globalised Ireland has lost the essence that was its soul.”—MARY KENNY, author of Goodbye to Catholic Ireland and Crown and Shamrock
“The Socratic Dialogue is a literary form quite literally as old as Western Civilisation. Boethius, Joseph de Maistre and Vladimir Solovyov—among countless others—made use of it to critique the societies and world-views under which they lived.
Now Roger Buck in The Gentle Traditionalist employs this age-old genre to examine that which would prefer not to be examined —the Western secular ‘religion’ that has come to define the society under which we in the so- called ‘developed’ world all live. Keen, sarcastic, and for all that warm-hearted, Buck’s teaching figure is understanding and genial—even while refusing to pardon the unpardonable. His protagonist is as wooly-headed as most of us, but withal wanting to know the truth—especially if it allows him to understand the woman he loves.
As brilliant a guide for the perplexed as this age is capable of producing.”—CHARLES COULOMBE, author of Puritan’s Empire and The Pope’s Legion
“This striking novel by Roger Buck set in Ireland is composed with extraordinary sensitivity and insight. The Catholic Church is travelling through a time of seemingly paralysing crisis. It has lost touch not only with its roots but also with its unique sacramental nature.
However, periods of crisis can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, create openings—and one prays that the Church will again become an instrument of salvation, prayer and God-centred worship. We are indebted to Roger Buck for his spiritual clarity and striking mental lucidity.”—COLIN MAWBY KSG, Choral Director of Radio Telefis Eireann (RTÉ), Artistic Director Emeritus of Ireland’s National Chamber Choir
“An unusual book: part love story, part theological dialog. But more importantly, its author, Roger Buck, is that altogether too rare Catholic who understands the importance of what I have called the geo-cultural forces that have shaped the modern world—thinking here especially of how Anglo-American Protestant capitalist culture has waged a relentless war against Catholic culture everywhere in the world—and pointedly in Ireland, a country which the author loves and where he sets his story.
Unless Catholics come to recognize the historical place of the Church and Catholic culture in the world, as also the forces that work against her, then whatever our personal piety may be, our action in the public square will be at worst, counterproductive, at best confused.”—THOMAS STORCK, author of From Christendom to Americanism and Beyond
“The Gentle Traditionalist is a book with a ‘strange magic,’ like unto the Ireland it loves and mourns. With unforgettable images and a wry sense of humor, Buck unfolds a tale of whimsical fantasy, melancholy realism, and supernatural joy, ever so gently exposing the intolerance and incoherence of the New Secular Religion that is destroying Ireland today, just as it has destroyed every culture that has surrendered to it. The remedy to this scourge is not ‘Christianity lite’ or the ‘spirit of Vatican II,’ but the real religion that raised Western civilization to its glory: the traditional Catholic Faith.
Buck’s deftly-reasoned post-modern apologetic for full-blooded Catholicism—a Syllabus of Errors in narrative form, a rousing hymn to ‘meaning, grace, beauty, life’—will be salutary for those who are still wandering and for those already arrived in port.—PETER KWASNIEWSKI, Wyoming Catholic University; author of Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis
“This is a beautiful, moving book drawn from Roger Buck’s own experience of both the sacramental and secular perspectives. He has managed to explain these perspectives, but perhaps more importantly, he has enabled us to feel the consequences.
To read this work was a joy, and I thank the author for helping me realize that, despite the passing of three generations and 150 years in the Irish-Australian diaspora, my heart is still Irish. I can still be moved with longing for what sacramental Christianity has to offer, not only in eternity, but also for the here and now.”— GERARD O’SHEA, University of Notre Dame, Australia; author of As I Have Loved You
“The Gentle Traditionalist is a book long overdue. Writing with great wisdom, insight, and a most warm sense of humor, Roger Buck offers us a contemplation of the religious predicaments of our time in the spirit of Chesterton and Belloc.
He takes on everything—from the reforms of Vatican II to the New Age, from the postmodern religion of science to the fallout from agnostic ennui—in a charming (and disarming) manner sure to delight readers already participant in Christian tradition, and to prove at least intriguing to those who are not. It is a wonderful book.”—MICHAEL MARTIN, author of The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics
“The Gentle Traditionalist is a tremendous book: moving and humourous, opening up the most profound issues, engaging the most strident of polemics with the lightest touch. Ireland’s place in the English-speaking world, the revolutions and counter-revolutions of the Enlightenment and the modern era, and the human weakness and divine resilience of the Catholic Church, are the book’s themes.
But it remains for all that an easy read, above all a gentle appeal to those outside the Church to reconsider the hostility which, for so many, is now an unthinking, bred-in-the-bone prejudice.
Today it is hard to know what to say to the sincere enquirer, when the Church appears to send out such mixed signals and internal disputes are take up so much of her time and energy. Roger Buck is to be congratulated for making the case for the Church at this moment of confusion. For Christ has not ceased to be our one hope, the Spes Unica; and the Church is today, more than ever, the only path back from the barbarism that seems to be engulfing the West.”— JOSEPH SHAW, President of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales