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Joseph McCabe
Joseph Martin McCabe (12 November 1867 – 10 January 1955) was an English writer and speaker on freethought, after having been a priest earlier in his life.

Early life

McCabe was born in Macclesfieldmarker in Cheshire, but his family moved to Manchestermarker while he was still a child. He entered the Franciscan order at the age of 15, and spent a year of preliminary study at Gorton Monasterymarker. His novitiate year took place in Killarneymarker, after which he was transferred to Forest Gatemarker in London (to the school which is now St Bonaventure's Catholic Comprehensive Schoolmarker) for the remainder of his priestly education. In 1890 was ordained into the priesthood with the name Father Antony.

He was recognised as an outstanding scholar of philosophy, and was sent for a year (1893-1894) to study at the Catholic University of Louvain. Here he was successfully taught Hebrew by A van Hoonacker, and less successfully, Syriac by T. J. Lamy. He also studied under, and befriended, Mercier. He returned to London and resumed priestly and educational duties, until in October 1895 he was put in charge of the newly founded Franciscan college in Buckinghammarker, (which is now St Bernardine's Catholic Church, Buckinghammarker). He had gradually been losing his faith and he left that post and the priesthood in February 1896.

Writing career

Shortly after leaving the priesthood, McCabe began writing. He wrote a pamphlet on his experiences, From Rome to Rationalism, published in 1897, which he then expanded to book length as Twelve Years in a Monastery (1897). From 1898–1899 he was secretary of the Leicester Secular Society, and he was a founding board member in 1899 of the Rationalist Press Association of Great Britainmarker. He wrote prolifically on science, religion, politics, history and culture, writing nearly 250 books during his life. Many of his books and pamphlets were published by E. Haldeman-Julius, both as Little Blue Books and Big Blue Books. Over 100 Big Blue Books by McCabe were published.

McCabe was also respected as a speaker, and gave several thousand lectures in his lifetime.

McCabe is also known for his inclusion in G. K. Chesterton's book Heretics. In a previous essay he took Chesterton to task for including humor in his serious writings. By doing so, he allowed Chesterton to make the quip "Mr. McCabe thinks that I am not serious but only funny, because Mr. McCabe thinks that funny is the opposite of serious. Funny is the opposite of not funny, and of nothing else."

In about 1947, McCabe accused the Encyclopædia Britannica of bias towards the Catholic Church. He claimed that the 14th edition, which had been published in 1929, was devoid of the critical comment about the church that had been in the 11th edition. McCabe similarly accused the Columbia Encyclopedia of bias towards the Catholic Church in 1951. These and similar actions have made him be termed a "Catholic basher" by his Christian critics. Biographer Bill Cooke, however, disputes the allegation, citing McCabe's opinion that "Catholics are no worse, and no better, than others", and "I have not the least prejudice against the Catholic laity, which would be stupid." .

McCabe was also active in organizations, although his biographer notes that he had a difficult relationship with some of their leading figures, and consequently relations between McCabe and various groups could also be strained. McCabe's freethought stance grew more militant as he got older, and he joined the National Secular Society in the year before he died.

Works

The 'Big Blue Books': (a selection of titles available online)

Some Other Works:



References

  1. Joseph McCabe Twelve Years in a Monastery
  2. The Secular Web: Joseph McCabe
  3. Joseph McCabe The Lies and Fallacies of the Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. Joseph McCabe The Columbia Encyclopedia's Crimes against the Truth
  5. American Scientific Affiliation (An organization of Evangelical Christians) article by Kenneth E. Hendrickson in ASA journal Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Volume 57, Number 4, December 2005, pp. 295, 296
  6. Catholic League 2002 Report on Anti-Catholicism Media/Internet
  7. Cooke, Bill. A Rebel to his Last Breath. p.211


Bibliography

  • Cooke, Bill (2001). A rebel to his last breath: Joseph McCabe and Rationalism. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-878-X.


External links




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