Friday, October 29, 2010

Radio Replies

The life of Father Leslie Rumble MSC (1892-1975; see the entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography) was hard but fruitful ground for one of the clearest Catholic apologists working during the twentieth century. Sometime ago I made reference to books that are useful to keep on the desk (see here). Fr Rumble's work is more for the bookshelf  but still close at hand. There are three reasons I find them useful when answering day to day questions. (i) They are written in plain language. (ii) Each answer is dealt with concisely. (iii) He is obviously aware of the 'arguments against' and counters with biblical texts. His original audience, suburban Sydney, had been through a succession of 'revival movements' ranging from the evangelical to the theosophical. His replies originated in short talks for radio and were syndicated to reach a wider audience. Later editorial work included some more contemporary issues.

The questions put to Fr Rumble are fascinating in their own right. We tend to think that all the 'hot potatoes' really came to the fore in the 1960s. However you'll find most of them here with the exception of some of the more hairy bio ethical dilemmas that he only saw beginning just before his death. Of particular interest is the presence of 'new age' type questions and of a strong presence of social justice issues.

This week seems to have been one for moral and ethical questions. These have mainly originated in the extraordinary situations that we get ourselves into. Unfortunately clear thinking is the first things that seems to be discarded, at least so it seems to the onlooker. These books provide some firm clear exposition which have brought these volumes down on to my desk for the time being. You'll find them available on various on line book shops. My normal plug for Carmel books, as a worthy cause, not withstanding. I'm afraid it's the electric telephone or snail mail still!

CARMEL BOOKS. Yeoford Way Marsh Barton Trading Estate EXETER Devon EX2 8LB. Tel: 01392 824255.
Fr Charles Carty (d. 1964) was an American diocesan missioner who carried on a similar work to Fr. Rumble. They pooled resources to produce the editions that are currently available although they only actually met after Volume 1 had become a run away success.


  1. Do post the question about the British Israelites! "Needless to say, the ..... are unaware of the sublime dignity the British Israelites wish to thrust up on them, ..."

    It's been coming back to me a couple of times a year since reading it as an undergraduate, and I wish I could remember it verbatim.

  2. Can't find the specific entry just yet but connected and concerning the JWs with typical wit;

    "In the formation of the Hague World Court of the League of Nations," wrote Judge Rutherford, "Great Britain and America took the lead, and this is proof that the Anglo-American Empire is the two-horned beast." (Light, Vol. II, p. 98) The "British Israelites" won't like that, for they claim to have proved from the Bible that Britain and America form between them the chosen people of God! But we can leave the British Israelites and the Witnesses of Jehovah to settle that matter between themselves.

  3. My father, whose ship sailed in and out of Sydney for most of 1942-45, had a copy of "Radio Replies" on board which, not having a Missal, he read from every Sunday he was at sea. He always said it was one of the things which kept him Catholic during a period when he was forced by circumstance away from the Sacraments.


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