Sunday 18 February 2018

Biography on Frank Duff misses point

Study on religious worker has failed to recognise the full extremity of his religious views, writes John-Paul McCarthy

Finola Kennedy's new biography of Frank Duff has made some waves. Judging by her joint essay with Diarmaid Ferriter on Duff in the Dictionary of Irish Biography, Kennedy sees Duff as a man of contemporary resonance.

There is even an attempt to burnish Duff's credentials as a social radical, given the kindliness he showed to unmarried mothers and many other careworn hearts.

Ferriter and Kennedy make the standard correlation between Catholicism and social justice. They mention Duff's personal devotion to John Henry Newman, but there is a far more subtle connection that looms large in Frank M Turner's engrossing intellectual profile of Newman from 2002.

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