J.R.R. Thomas Chesterton of Hippo? | Francis J. Beckwith | Catholic World Report
Moody Publishers and its safely dead Catholic authors.
Several months ago I was invited to contribute to a festschrift in honor of a dear friend of mine, a well-known Christian philosopher who is a professor at a well-known Evangelical university. I was, of course, eager to contribute to this volume, to honor a man who I have known, as both friend and collaborator, for over a quarter of a century. The editors, I am pleased to announce, were able to secure a publisher, which is difficult to do, given the book’s genre. In fact, I was present, on the evening of November 14 at a reception sponsored by the Evangelical Philosophical Society, when a representative of Moody Publishers revealed that his press had offered the editors a contract for this tome. I was delighted to hear the news.
Several days later, however, the editors informed me that the publisher had forced them to disinvite me. Why? Because the members of Moody’s board, as the editors put it, “are not ready as an institution to allow Catholic contributors for their books,” even though in my prospective chapter—“The Reclamation of First Philosophy”—I had planned to do nothing distinctly Catholic. I had intended to defend the honoree’s understanding of philosophy and its relation to other disciplines. (To get a sense of what I mean by “first philosophy,” see my essay, “In Defense of First Philosophy,” published last June at The Catholic Thing.)
Although I was disappointed by the dis-invitation, I was not offended. Nor did I think that I had lost something to which I was entitled. For reacting in such ways would have been inconsistent with what I believe about theological integrity and the obligation that I have to respect the confessions of my fellow Christians, even when I think they are mistaken.
Nevertheless, out of curiosity, I went to Moody’s website to find out what sorts of books it is publishing. I was surprised at what I found.