Illness, Providence, Ireland – and H. J. A. Sire

Normally, I resist speaking too personally at this site. However, after long weeks of absence from it, some sort of explanation seems in order.

Thus, I begin by pasting in a very personal notice I originally wrote for Facebook:

Some of you may have wondered what happened to me – given that I’ve neither been on Facebook, nor been blogging, nor active on any forums, etc.

It is high-time I said something – or past high-time. I fear I may have offended some of you with non-responsiveness and if that’s true of any of you reading this, I truly am sorry. Please forgive me.

The reason has been illness – fairly prolonged and frustrating – but not of serious consequence in the end. I finally seem to be recovering and really, for the most part I’ve not been suffering much, apart from total loss of energy – complete, utter exhaustion.

Compared to what some of you friends are suffering, my illness has been downright cushy!

Still, I had to drop  everything non-essential. As I say, I’ve hardly been on the Internet for weeks.

I’ve also been held up in finalising the text of my very big book – whose publication is unfortunately now pushed back to Autumn. And I’m further behind than ever in correspondence (which, alas, I’m always behind on).

Somehow, though, it all seems providential to me. As some of you know, my feelings about the internet remain ambivalent.

On the one hand, I’ve recently been converted to Facebook. I really do see value – which I didn’t always in the past – in even the very small exchanges Facebook makes possible. These can  be very supportive, like a smile, a nod, a wink in ordinary life. I will be slowly returning to FB and am actually looking forward to it.

On the other hand, I, for one, need to get away from the internet at times – completely. Thus, every Christmas is a sacred retreat for me – where I consciously unplug myself during those holy days. And the spiritual fruits they yield are alway considerable.

And it feels the same now – as if Providence forced me to shut down – for another ‘sacred retreat’. And yet I feel I am returning to life with real gifts from it.

And there’s a bit more personal stuff here at my Facebook page, should anyone be interested

Here I will mention, though, that a real gift from this enforced ‘down time‘ has been reading and re-reading H. J. A. Sire’s truly profound book Phoenix from the Ashes: The Making, Unmaking, and Restoration of Catholic Tradition.


Joseph Ratzinger, quoted copiously in Sire’s masterpiece.

This seems to me the best book in many years on the crisis in the Church.

Crisis … somehow that word sounds too trite. What Sire amply demonstrates is the sheer, utter WORLDLINESS openly introduced into the Church during the 1960s.

He makes very clear indeed how much our Church of today – where it is so hard to speak of realities like sin, hell, the devil, the uniqueness of Christianity etc. – hardly springs from a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but rather one fearful concession after another to the spirit of our secular and liberal world.

He demonstrates how that clearly started with the Second Vatican Council and has since spread out through seminaries, universities, dioceses, Catholic media and more.

Above, I called Sire book’s  ‘profound’ – and I don’t use that word lightly. This book is a masterpiece. Indeed, it is another one from my publisher Angelico Press – I believe the greatest I have read so far.

I fear all my gushing about Angelico’s books may start to sound insincere. But my enthusiasm is real and would exist whether they were publishing my books or not.

Sire’s work alone has changed me, during this illness. For, as I shall elaborate soon in a review, it has deepened my sense of the full extent of the sickness of the Church. As I write in my soon-to-be-published review:

Phoenix from the Ashes … provides a bracing dose of  both wisdom and grim reality. And it calls me to be more real and less frivolous: Time to roll up my sleeves and work.

For I have been to countless zany masses in my life. I have long read of the grotesque antics of Kung, Schillebeckx, Rahner and all the rest – covered in these pages in merciless detail. And I have witnessed the way the Catholic Church ever more resembles the false, happy New Age-ism of my misspent youth.

But Sire challenges me to be serious.

I will also say something similar has happened to me, during my illness, in regards to the plight of modern Ireland. Clearly, this is not unrelated to the above. The worldliness of the post-conciliar Church cannot be absolved when considering the worldly materialism of secular Ireland.

Obviously, there are other factors too. Amongst these is the deluge of Anglo-American media that, not so long ago, Patrick Pearse, Éamon de Valera and many other pioneers of Irish independence were so gravely concerned about.

Here I am hinting at something – for during my illness, a definite project for Ireland started forming in my prayer.

Just like Sire has encouraged me to be more existentially serious regarding the Church, so has my reading and reflection on Ireland’s loss of independence. This is to say, her ongoing transformation into yet another province of the Anglo-American Protestant-turned-secular-world.

To speak of Providence here may strike some as strange. But I needed to be slowed down, to get the full force of Sire’s arguments, to see Ireland’s situation more starkly and to allow this new Irish project to come into focus …

Finally, I apologise, again, to any one of you who might feel slighted or ignored for my now terribly long delays in responding, I beg forgiveness. I read and appreciate every serious letter I receive, but please note it may take me awhile to catch up.

Alas, I now have a greater backlog of mail than I have ever had in my life! And again, I’m in the process of finalising of my very big book, so that it can be sent to the editors next month.

So I ask you for your patience and thank you for your continuing to read this site. God bless you all.


Click to buy at Amazon Worldwide!


This entry was posted in Roger's Weblog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Trackback

  1. […] very overdue announcement – overdue because, during my recent extended (if not serious) illness, I remained completely unconscious of […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • Books from Roger Buck

    Foreword by Roger Buck

    Support Our Work

  • The Gentle Traditionalist Returns!

    New Book from Angelico Press!

    "The Gentle Traditionalist returns with a vengeance in this stand-alone sequel ... this book skewers the modern malaise with the kind of sanity we have come to expect from this author” — CHARLES A. COULOMBE

    ”Buck’s latest foray is a grand success ... The story features the same singular combination of whimsy and surprise, keen social commentary, and deft argumentation as the first [book]. The Gentle Traditionalist Returns appeals to what is best and deepest in us, so that we will reengage with that which ultimately matters while there is yet time.” — PETER KWASNIEWSKI

    ”A brilliant diagnosis of the spiritual malaise of modern society, written with gentleness, generosity, humour, pathos ... and, above all else, love”— MAOLSHEACHLANN Ó CEALLAIGH

    buy-at-amazon Video about New Book here:

  • Books from Roger Buck


    The Gentle Traditionalist


    ”Roger Buck ... in the spirit of Chesterton and Belloc ... takes on everything—from the reforms of Vatican II to the New Age ... a wonderful book.”— MICHAEL MARTIN

    ”A tale of whimsical fantasy, melancholy realism, and supernatural joy ... 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’.” — PETER KWASNIEWSKI

    "As brilliant a guide for the perplexed as this age is capable of producing” — CHARLES A. COULOMBE


    See Reviews in Full Here!


    Read First Chapter Online Here!


    Cor Jesu Sacratissimum



    ”Buck goes to the heart of the problem paralyzing our broken-hearted world ... moving beyond the spirit of the age to the Spirit who moves all ages.” — JOSEPH PEARCE

    ”In this elegant feast of a book, Roger Buck ... expertly skewers the modern world ... without a drop of malice in his compassionate soul ... to reveal the bright, shining love and truth at the center of the universe—symbolised by the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and incarnate in the Catholic Church.” — CHARLES A. COULOMBE

    ”A great service to the Church ... Buck shows that the New Age is an attempt, however flawed, to escape the materialism of modernity, and that it is Catholicism in its traditional forms that can best reveal the immense reality of the suffering and love for all mankind of Christ’s Sacred Heart.”— JOSEPH SHAW


    See Reviews in Full Here!


  • EWTN Interview with Roger Buck here!

    TWO-part “Celtic Connections” EWTN  Interview!

    Part One here.

    Part Two here.

  • First Video from Kim Buck!