A Pilgrimage to Eternity

A Pilgrimage to Eternity

From Canterbury to Rome in Search of A Faith

Book - 2019
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At a time when Britain, America, and much of Europe have never been so secular--and when his mother's death and his Irish Catholic family's complicated history with the church prompted a reckoning with his own beliefs -- Timothy Egan decided to follow in the footsteps of centuries of seekers. He embarked on a thousand-mile pilgrimage through the theological cradle of Christianity, to explore one of the biggest stories of our time: the collapse of religion in the world that it created. Egan sets out along the Via Francigena, once the major medieval trail leading the devout to Rome, and makes his way overland via the alpine peaks and small mountain towns of France, Switzerland and Italy. The goal: walking to St. Peter's Square, in hopes of meeting the galvanizing pope who is struggling to hold together the church through the worst crisis in half a millennium. Making his way through a landscape laced with some of the most important shrines to the faith, Egan finds a modern Canterbury Tale in the chapel where Queen Bertha introduced Christianity to pagan Britain; parses the supernatural in a French town built on miracles; and journeys to the oldest abbey in the Western world, founded in 515 and home to continuous prayer over the 1,500 years that have followed. He is accompanied by a quirky cast of fellow pilgrims and by some of the towering figures of the faith--Joan of Arc, Henry VIII, Martin Luther.
Publisher: New York City : Viking, [2019]
ISBN: 9780735225237
Branch Call Number: 263.042 EGAN
Characteristics: 367 pages : maps ; 23 cm


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Jun 09, 2020

This book reads with the ease of an airport paperback yet it is filled with historical and philosophical wisdom. Egan takes up the puzzling questions that confront any true believer. How can a church based on Christ’s teachings condone the Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of early Protestants? Why does God let good people die and evil people prosper? Why did it take so long for the Church to own up to the damage done by pedophile priests? It’s not a problem for me that the questions are probed but not answered. In Zorba the Greek, I learned that “the use of all your damn books” is not to answer questions about the inequities of life and death but to “tell me about the agony of men who can't answer [such] questions.…” And this book tells me about Egan’s tussle with them as he works his way slowly from Canterbury to Rome.

May 06, 2020

Although I am not Catholic or particularly religious, this set of essays while traveling from Canterbury to Rome was inspiring and engaging in unexpected ways. At certain stops along the via Francigena, the author discourses on the land, people, history, and significance of each place. This very well written with acute observations and musing that lead one to greater thoughts.

Mar 21, 2020

Writer and columnist, a cradle Catholic, married to a Jewish wife, he embarks on a 1,000 mile pilgrimage after his mother's death. Priestly abuse and suffering from cancer cause the author to question his faith. Tightly written and introspective.

Jan 23, 2020

The best book to read as 2019 turned into 2020. Filled with everything I like: travel, history, religion, philosophy but most of all unanswerable questions. On a pilgrimage across Europe to Rome, author Timothy Egan examines his believes as a Catholic and raises so many questions such as why most of Christian beliefs is based on, not the words of Christ, but of men who wrote about Christ. Does Christianity reflect Christ or those who followed him. I made the mistake of reading this book on a Kindle. I should have used a regular book. There were so many notes I wanted to make in the margins and questions I had in the reading. This would be a worthy book to use in a thought-provoking church group or in a serious book discussion group. It’s one of Egan’ best books.

Nov 25, 2019

A personal pilgrimage story as well as a somewhat simplified history of Catholicism. It includes many good descriptions of old towns and religious sights, along with theological musings.

SnoIsleLib_BrianH Nov 14, 2019

At the heart of the pilgrimage is really a coming to terms with an upbringing in the Catholic church and the residual effect on a family raised in the Spokane WA catholic community. Thankfully this coming to terms involved a significant journey from Canterbury to Rome with the pilgrim/author providing the reader with vivid beautifully written vignettes on history about European social/religious themes and characters.


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