Nearer My God – An Autobiography of Faith
William F. Buckley Jr.
Doubleday, 1997, 300 pp. (including appendicies)
This is Buckley's story of his faith. He was at first hesitant to undertake the project and ended up postponing the project for five years past the original 1992 publication deadline. His hesitation lay in the fact that he felt that he could not adequately contribute to the faith by writing about it. But, after thinking further, he realized that no human is really capable of such a task and that all we can do is present our best effort.
While Catholic belief and doctrine are discussed along with Buckley's views on some of the changes in the post Vatican II Church, the scope is much larger and covers important aspects of Buckley's life and other views. He freely draws upon both his own Catholic as well as non-Catholic sources as inspirations for his faith. He describes the strong faith of his mother (to whom the book is dedicated) and reminices about his youth, growing up in the years before World War II with his parents in the U.S. and England.
Buckley is open and candid about his beliefs and how they affect his world view. But this book is not an emotional appeal to faith. Instead it is a very thought provoking book about the role of religion in life. Buckley clearly feels that faith in God is important if one is to lead a good life. He is not dogmatic, but he is also not afraid to state what he feels is right and what is wrong. His faith is not a private activity practiced only on Sundays. But it is also not something that he broadcasts daily to the secular world. Rather, like most people who have both a strong religious faith and a desire to participate actively in the secular world, it is a way of life that is quietly made known to the broader world through his character and actions.
This report prepared by Chuck Nugent