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Liturgical Press

A Focus on Truth

Thomas Merton's Uncensored Mind

Patrick W. Collins; Foreword by Jonathan Montaldo

A Focus on Truth
A Focus on Truth

ISBN: 9780814688496, 8849

Details: 216 pgs, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 3/8
Publication Date: 04/15/2021

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The published writings of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton were always censored from two sources during his lifetime. First, by Merton himself, as he certainly didn’t write everything down or share all of what he included in his drafts. He selected carefully what he considered appropriate for publication. Second, Thomas Merton was extensively censored by his religious superiors. They regularly judged that things Merton chose to write should not be made available in print. This was not infrequently a source of great frustration to Merton.

In this book, Fr. Patrick W. Collins presents an uncensored view of the life and thoughts of Thomas Merton by plumbing his correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues over the years. Merton’s personal and professional correspondence was previously published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. In this volume, Collins extracts and organizes from these sources many of the significant subjects about which Merton wrote and presents each topic chronologically. In this way, readers can easily follow the development of Merton's thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and impressions over the years on a variety of topics of concern to him.

Fr. Patrick W. Collins, PhD, is an author, preacher, musician, and former university professor. Collins is a senior priest of the Diocese of Peoria, having served that diocese in campus ministry at Bradley University, as director of the Office of Christian Worship and Music, as rector of St. Mary's Cathedral, and as chairman of Diocesan Synod Six Preparatory Commission. He was also director of campus ministry at The Catholic University of America. In addition to numerous books and articles, Fr. Collins has produced forty-five TV programs and a number of videos, among them Thomas Merton: Man, Monk, Myth with Music.


"A Focus on Truth is an insightful and informed guide adding up to an intimate, endearing portrait of Merton."

"The chronological arrangement is truly one of the strengths of the book. With each selection, Thomas Merton is revealed in greater depth as well as the vicissitudes of the unique time period, the early to mid-twentieth century, which encompassed his life."
The Catholic Post

"This book is an accessible and inviting introduction not only to his correspondence, but to Merton biography and some of his most important ideas."
Cistercian Studies Quarterly

"This book is a necessary addition to the library of any Merton scholar, amateur and professional alike."
Catholic Books Review

“Now, decades after the publication of five lengthy volumes of Thomas Merton’s selected letters, A Focus on Truth: Thomas Merton’s Uncensored Mind reminds us of the wonderful, simple, direct, insightful, and frequently prophetic way Merton addressed a wide myriad of issues, along with the timelessness of his uncensored wisdom.”
Paul M. Pearson, Director, Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University