Public figure’s quest for truth
FAITH THROUGH REASON
by Janne Haaland Matláry
(UK: Gracewing Publishing)
Paperback: 220 pages
Rec. price: AUD$33.00
This excellent book is about a young Norwegian woman, who later served as her country’s deputy foreign minister, who throughout school and university sought constantly for some truth in life and the meaning of goodness.
This search led her from the study of law to a study of politics and philosophy.
She raised the question of what makes a man “good and wise” and how can “ethics be applied to politics?”
During a year spent in America she was influenced by discussions with a Catholic professor where all the old philosophers were studied.
When she returned to Norway she contacted a Dominican priest, who was a specialist on St Thomas Aquinas, and with whom she had many discussions and eventually developed a love for the Church and Catholic social teaching.
Another person vital to her eventual conversion was a Benedictine priest whose spirituality she continued to follow.
She gradually found over time a real joy in entering a church. This led her to a wonderful experience that the truth was to be found in Jesus Christ.
She married, had four children, became professor of international politics at the University of Oslo, and served as a diplomat for the Holy See at various UN conferences. She also became the deputy foreign minister of Norway (1997-2000).
She traveled a lot and one day saw a French slogan, “Voir la vie autrement – to see life differently”.
She says that this “slogan stayed with me, because it denotes what the Christian must decide to do and indeed to renew the will to do over and over again”.
After a lot of Christian and political activity and witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall, she recognised that communism was indeed a failure, but warns in her book that we must not be tempted by the lure of consumerism and capitalism.
She claims that there is a place for social development along Christian lines, and that involvement as a Christian in politics entails both sustaining family life and promoting economic justice for all.
The challenge is there, to protect the concept of marriage and family, the lives of unborn babies, the elderly, the poor and the destitute.
This book – which comes with a preface by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, shortly before he became Pope – is exciting reading and a wake-up call for us all.