God's Mirror explores how French Catholic intellectual culture in the mid-twentieth century was caught up in the process of transition from a closed, defensive and conceptual theological structure of the late-nineteenth century to an open, "authentic" and "experientially" committed faith. It offers a series of stories of different expressions of renewal and engagement of Catholicism, by addressing the nature of this transition and the tensions contained therein. What unites these stories is their anchoring in the day-to-day experience of living: in one way or another, they illuminate a Catholicism that is increasingly concerned with the human-being and the concrete; the lived reality of faith.
These renewals and engagements are examined against the backdrop of the interwar years of cultural and political crisis, the inexorable slide to the war years, and the post-war reconstruction period in France and Francophone Canada. This periodization brings into focus the continuity between the 1930s and the nouvelle theologie movement that preceded Vatican II.
God's Mirror enters into scholarly debates about the relationship between Catholicism and modernity, unshackled from the "secularization thesis." It sheds new light on the historiographical narrative of reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the modern world by exploring the shifting cultural, theological and philosophical contours of faith and its political and social commitments. Richly interdisciplinary in scope, contributions range across literature, philosophy, theology, politics and music, including amongst them discussions of Jacques and Raissa Maritain, Emmanuel Mounier, Gabriel Marcel, Paul Valery, Jean Grenier, Charles Du Bos, Olivier Messiaen, Simone Weil, Georges Bernanos, Marie-Madeleine Davy, Robert Charbonneau, Paul Beaulieu, and Louis Massignon. These figures were all engaged in the task of revitalizing or reconfiguring Catholicism, from within or on the margins, and contributed to sketching the possibilities and parameters of modern Catholicism and Catholic identity."