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D'arcy, Martin Cyril


English Jesuit lecturer and author; b. Bath, 1888; d. London, Nov. 20, 1976. He was educated at Stonyhurst and joined the Society of Jesus in 1906. He read for a classical degree at Oxford (191216), taught at Stony-hurst (191619), and was ordained in 1921. Later he went to Rome for a biennium in philosophy. From 1927 he was at Oxford as researcher and lecturer, then as Master of Campion Hall (1933). D'Arcy succeeded Fr. Cyril Martindale as the dominant Catholic radio speaker on BBC. During World War II he lectured in the U.S. and in Portugal at the request of the British government. In 1945 he was appointed provincial of the English Jesuits and took up residence at Farm Street, London, where he remained for the rest of his life. His term of office ended in 1950. In 1953 he lectured in the Far East (some of his works have been translated into Japanese) and from 1956 until the early 1970s lectured annually for some months in the U.S.

D'Arcy's outstanding books include: The Mass and the Redemption (1926); Catholicism (1927); Christ as Priest and Redeemer (1928); The Spirit of Charity (1929); Thomas Aquinas (1930); Christ and the Modern Mind (1930); The Nature of Belief (1931); Mirage and Truth (1935); Death and Life (1942); The Mind and Heart of Love (1945); Communism and Christianity (1956); The Problem of Evil (1957); The Sense of History, Secular and Sacred (1959); No Absent God (1962); Facing God (1966); Facing the People (1968); Facing the Truth (1969); and Humanism and Christianity (1971).

D'Arcy's originality lay in his gift for integrating the beliefs and experiences of others into a new enlightenment, his refusal, as one critic put it, to leave them scattered on the ground for the birds to pick at. The essential D'Arcy appeared in The Mind and Heart of Love in which he sought a clue to the working of the human spirit in the duality running through creation and experience: the active and passive, egoism and sacrifice, the classical and the romantic, life and death, masculine and feminine, the dominant and the recessive, Eros and Agapē, the lion and the unicorn: animus, the reason dominating passion, anima, the great longing, the breakaway of desire from self.

In The Sense of History D'Arcy rejected the cruder forms of the providential theory and did not attempt to verify the rise and fall of historic societies against theology. He argued, however, that out of God's Revelation and man's relation with God something could be garnered to illuminate man and his development through the ages, and to enlarge the vision of human effort and achievement. Bringing sacred and profane wisdom together, he saw human history working towards a communal fulfilment in Christ. His position was that Christians could see more in history than others and point to its destination. The historian or philosopher equipped with Christian insight could dig deeper into the evidence.

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