Skip to content

Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Bishop Who Stood in the Way

by Jim Forest In 1941, after a period of neutrality, Bulgaria allied itself with Nazi Germany. This was a decision partly motivated by the Bulgarian government’s wish to regain neighboring territories that it had lost in previous wars. Early in 1943, the government in Sofia signed a secret agreement with the Nazis to deport 20,000 […]

Some reservations about Plowshare actions

February 12, 1993 Dear friends at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, I was one of the Milwaukee 14, a group that burned draft records in 1968. This was the action that followed the Catonsville Nine. The discussion of Plowshares-style property damage and destruction in the November issue of The Catholic Agitator really got me thinking. […]

Knock knock… Is your life complete?

By Jim Forest >> Dutch MPs on Wednesday held their first debate on the government’s plans to legalise assisted suicide for elderly people who consider their lives to be complete. The proposal follows years of discussion in parliament and in society at large about the right of people who consider their lives have reached the […]

Loving Our Enemies, Climbing the Ladder of the Beatitudes

Athens Lecture / 10 October 2016 By Jim Forest Probably you know the British saying about carrying coals to Newcastle. It’s used to refer to something that is obviously unnecessary and pointless. Newcastle is a coal-mining city. It has no more need of coal than the Sahara Desert has need of sand. Such sensible advice […]


opening chapters in my book Religion in the New Russia (NY: Crossroads, 1989) by Jim Forest While he let it be known that he had been baptized as a child, during his first three years as General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev seemed to ignore the churches. He had been preoccupied with strengthening his leadership position within […]

Thomas Merton’s Affinity with Albert Camus

A paper presented at the Thomas Merton conference in Prades, France in May 2006. by Jim Forest Where would we be without our friends? Friends who glimpse our true face? Friends who help us see doors we hadn’t noticed? Friends who accidentally reveal possibilities in ourselves that, left to ourselves, we might never have found? […]

Capital Punishment: A Few Points to Consider

from a letter by Jim Forest to a friend in the United States We are followers of Christ, who killed no one nor blessed anyone to kill and who on one occasion prevented a legal execution, saying to those who intended to take part, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” The […]

The Root of Sin is Fear

[an extract from The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers by Jim Forest] Speaking before the US Congress, Pope Francis described Thomas Merton as “above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was […]

first two chapters of “The Root of War is Fear”

 Jonas in the belly of a paradox In The Sign of Jonas, Thomas Merton wrote: “Like Jonas himself I find myself traveling toward my destiny in the belly of a paradox.”[1] Paradox was a word Thomas Merton appreciated, in part because there were so many paradoxes within himself. One of these was that he belonged […]

Dorothy Day, Dan Berrigan and the Coffee Cup Mass

Question from the Dorothy Day Guild: “We are reviewing a story that I know you are familiar with — perhaps witnessed — Dan Berrigan or another priest used a coffee cup as a chalice, Dorothy buried it in the yard, and so on. Our question is—did it really happen? And were you a witness? Have […]