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Censors Reports

Series 88, Miscellaneous Correspondence Concerning Censorship

Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1948-1968
Volume: 449 item(s); 565 pg(s)

Scope and Content

This file includes documents allowing or banning publication of Merton's essays, books, and introductions to others' books. The standard procedure was to have him submit these works to two censors (who were to remain anonymous). If they saw nothing of d


Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

Series List

Series NumberSeries NameTotal Records
1 A Dream at Arles on the Night of the Mistral 1
2 A Messenger from the Horizon 1
3 A Picture of Lee Ying 1
4 A Practical Program for Monks 1
5 Absurdity in Sacred Decoration 3
6 Active and Contemplative Orders 2
7 Advent Mystery 1
8 Advice to a Young Prophet 1
9 Alone with God 1
10 An Elegy for Ernest Hemingway 1
11 An Elegy for Five Old Ladies 5
12 And So Goodbye to Cities 1
13 And the Children of Birmingham 1
14 Apologies to an Unbeliever 2
15 Approach to Creativity 1
16 Art and Worship 19
17 Artist Soul - Roger Durey [book by Dom André Malet; translated from the French by Mother Mary St. Thomas (of Tyburn)] 1
18 Ascent to Truth 23
19 Ash Wednesday 3
20 Atlas Watches Every Evening 2
21 Attente dans le silence: le père Marie-Joseph Cassant, O. Cist. S. O., by Marie-Étienne Chenevière with preface by Merton 1
22 Balanced Life of Prayer 4
23 Baptism in the Forest [introduction to anthology, "Mansions of the Spirit: Essays in Religion and Literature"] 1
24 Baroque Gravure 2
25 Barth's Dream [included in book "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander"] 1
26 Basic Principles of Monastic Spirituality 2
27 Behavior of Titans 1
28 Black Revolution and Cold War [unpublished book in this form, see also "Seeds of Destruction"] 6
29 Black Revolution: Letters to a White Liberal [included in book "Seeds of Destruction"] 2
30 Blessed Are the Meek: the Roots of Christian Nonviolence 1
31 Bread in the Wilderness 4
32 Carmelite Sanctity 2
33 Chant to Be Used in Processions around a Site with Furnaces 2
34 Christian Action in World Crisis [part of unpublished "Black Revolution and Cold War"] 4
35 Christian Ethics and Nuclear War [part of unpublished "Black Revolution and Cold War"] 19
36 Christian in World Crisis [book, published as "Redeeming the Time"] 1
37 Christian Life of Prayer [early draft section of "Contemplative Prayer"] 3
38 Christian Perfection [article for "The Catholic Encyclopedia for School and Home"] 3
39 Christianity and Mass Movements 1
40 Christmas Devotion 2
41 Cistercian Contemplatives 3
42 City of God by St. Augustine, preface for the Modern Library Edition by Thomas Merton 1
43 Classic Chinese Thought 1
44 Clement of Alexandria: Selections from the Protreptikos 1
45 Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander 2
46 Contemplation 1
47 Contemplation and the Priesthood 1
48 Contemplation in a Rocking Chair 1
49 Death of a Trappist 2
50 Disputed Questions 5
51 Early Legend 1
52 Easter: The New Life 5
53 Edifying Cables or Familiar Liturgies of Misunderstanding [book, published as "Cables to the Ace or Familiar Liturgies of Misunderstanding"] 2
54 Elegy for James Thurber 1
55 English Mystics 4
56 Exile Ends in Glory 1
57 Faith and Violence 2
58 Few Questions - Fewer Answers 1
59 First and Last Thoughts [preface to "A Thomas Merton Reader"] 1
60 Gethsemani: The Life of Praise 1
61 Gloss of the Sin of Ixion 2
62 Good Samaritan 2
63 Grace's House 1
64 Hagia Sophia 1
65 Herakleitos the Obscure 1
66 Hermit Life 1
67 Homily on Mary 1
68 Human Way Out, The [preface to book, "Breakthrough to Peace"] 2
69 Humanity of Christ in Monastic Prayer 1
70 In Search of a Yogi, by Denys Rutledge [preface] 2
71 Integrity 1
72 Is Mysticism Normal? 1
73 Jesuits in China 2
74 Jorge Carrera Andrade 1
75 Last of the Fathers 5
76 Laudate Dominum [sound recording] 2
77 Let the Poor Man Speak 1
78 Letter to Pablo Antonio Cuadra Concerning Giants 4
79 Letters in Time of Crisis 1
80 Life and Holiness 2
81 Light in Darkness 1
82 Liturgy and Spiritual Personalism 3
83 Living Bread 1
84 Loretto and Gethsemani 1
85 Love Winter When the Plant Says Nothing 2
86 Macarius the Younger and Macarius and the Pony 1
87 Machine Gun in the Fallout Shelter 2
88 Miscellaneous Correspondence Concerning Censorship 14
89 Monastic Peace 5
90 Monk in the Diaspora 1
91 Morte d'Urban, by J.F. Powers [book review] 1
92 Mount Athos 1
93 Mystery of the Church in St. Ignatius of Antioch (Church and Bishop in St. Ignatius of Antioch) 3
94 Mystics and Zen Masters 4
95 Name of the Lord 1
96 Nativity Kerygma 2
97 New Man 5
98 New Seeds of Contemplation 11
99 Night Flowering Cactus 1
100 No Man Is an Island 4
101 Notes for a Philosophy of Solitude 5
102 Notes on Art and Worship 3
103 Notes on Sacred Art 3
104 Notes on the Lord's Prayer [book foreword] 1
105 O Sweet Irrational Worship 1
106 On Remembering Monsieur Delmas 1
107 Original Child Bomb 2
108 Pasternak, Boris (The Pasternak Affair in Perspective, and Boris Pasternak and the People with Watch Chains) 6
109 Peace in the Post-Christian Era 5
110 Peace: Christian Duties and Perspectives 5
111 Portait of Peter Damian 1
112 Postulant's Guide 1
113 Prayer for Peace 1
114 Présence a Dieu et a soi meme, by Fr. François de Sainte-Marie, O.C.D. 1
115 Primacy of Contemplation 1
116 Primative Carmelite Ideal 3
117 Prometheus 5
118 Prophetic Ambiguities: Milton and Camus 1
119 Rain and the Rhinoceros 1
120 Reflections on the Character and Genius of Fenelon 1
121 Russian Mystics, by Sergius Bolshakoff with a preface by Thomas Merton 1
122 Sacred Art and the Spiritual Life (Sacred Art and Religion) 2
123 Saint John of the Ladder 2
124 Saints for Now, by Clare Boothe Luce with an essay by Merton regarding St. John of the Cross 8
125 Seasons of Celebration 2
126 Secular Journal 16
127 Seeds of Contemplation 2
128 Seeking God 1
129 Selections from Gandhi, selected and with an introduction by Thomas Merton 3
130 Seven Archaic Images 2
131 Sign of Jonas 18
132 Signed Confession of Crimes against the State 1
133 Some Poems of Raissa Maritain 2
134 Song for Nobody 1
135 Song for the Death of Averroes 2
136 Song: If You Seek 1
137 Soul of the Apostolate 3
138 Spirit of simplicity 3
139 Spiritual Direction [article for the New Catholic Encyclopedia] 1
140 Spiritual Direction 1
141 Spiritual Father in the Desert Tradition 2
142 Spiritual Life 1
143 Target Equals City 5
144 Tears of the Blind Lions 2
145 The Fall 1
146 The Moment of Truth 1
147 The Moslems' Angel of Death: Algeria 1961 1
148 The Ox Mountain Parable 1
149 There Has to Be a Jail for Ladies 1
150 Third Spiritual Alphabet, by Francisco de Osuna [book review by Merton] 1
151 Thoughts in Solitude 8
152 To Alphonso Cortes 1
153 Tower of Babel 4
154 Trappist Cistercian Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen) [meditation on the text] 1
155 Trappists Go to Utah 1
156 Tribute to Greatness 4
157 Two Chinese Classics 5
158 Universe as Epiphany 2
159 Virginity and Humanism in the Fathers 1
160 Vocation to Solitude 4
161 Waters of Siloe 1
162 Way of Chuang Tzu 1
163 Way of Perfection 1
164 What Are These Wounds? 1
165 What Is Contemplation? 1
166 What Is Meditation? 1
167 Why Some Look Up to Planets and Heroes 1
168 Wisdom in Emptiness: A Dialogue between Daisetz T. Suzuki and Thomas Merton 1
169 Wisdom of the Desert 6

Container List

Series#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
Series 88 #1.
«All Series«
1947/06/02 TLS[x]  from Fearns, John / to James Laughlin I am enclosing the official sheet bearing the "nihil obstat" and "imprimatur" for Father Louis [one page of letter and one page censorship form for Figures for an Apocalypse] «detailed view»
Series 88 #2.
«All Series«
1947/06/02 TLS by Fearns, John I have returned your manuscript to your publishers, "New Directions" and have also sent them notice that Nihil obstat from Fr. John M. A. Fearns, Censor Librorum of the Archdiocese of New York, was sent to Merton's publisher, New Directions - does not state which book, but is likely "Figures for an Apocalypse" [book of poems] given the date / concerning publishing in secular magazines «detailed view»
Series 88 #3.
«All Series«
1947/07/10 TLS  from Fadiman, Clifton / to Merton Thank you for your kind letter of June 19. I ask you to believe me when I say that many of us Clifton Fadiman writes on behalf of the short-lived magazine '47: The Magazine of the Year, which survived through 1948 and presented a wide range of contemporary topics in the United States. Fadiman was best know for book reviews and recommended reading lists. Merton wrote him on June 19 (letter not extant), and Fadiman encourages Merton to contribute (see related letter of Fearns, 1947/July/21). «detailed view»
Series 88 #4.
«All Series«
1947/07/21 TLS by Fearns, John For the writings of a cleric, there are two provisions in canon law. The first is, that to do any Fr. John M. Fearns was Censor Librorum for the Archdiocese of New York and responds to a letter of Merton's (letter not extant), in which Merton seems to be asking about the censorship process for publication in secular magazines. Merton seems to have forwarded a letter of Clifton Fadiman (see related letter of Fadiman, 1947/July/10). «detailed view»
Series 88 #5.
«All Series«
1947/10/07 HLS by O'Connell, Gabriel This article is, on the whole, is [sic] clear, well-connected and stimulating. It strikes me, Nihil obstat for an unknown essay from censor Fr. Gabriel O'Connell, O.C.S.O., of the Abbey of Our Lady of the Valley in Valley Falls, Rhode Island «detailed view»
Series 88 #6.
«All Series«
1948/04/17 TLS by Fearns, John The usual procedure is to have the publisher submit an entire volume at one time, and if I may, from Fr. John M. A. Fearns, Censor Librorum of the Archdiocese of New York, asking publisher to submit complete book of poetry and not individual poems / concerning publishing in secular magazines «detailed view»
Series 88 #7.
«All Series«
1952/01/05 other[c]  from Sortais, Gabriel / to James Fox There have been brought to Our attention some abuses which might have been introduced from Abbot General Gabriel Sortais to Dom James Fox, Abbot of Gethsemani - pointing out certain rules from the censorship requirements from the general chapter of 1927 that were not being well observed «detailed view»
Series 88 #8.
«All Series«
1952/09/25 TLS by Sortais, Gabriel A côte de la longue lettre que je viens de vous écrire relative à vos livres je vous en dois from Abbot General Gabriel Sortais, O.C.S.O. «detailed view»
Series 88 #9.
«All Series«
1952/no/no (#01) other   Ordre des Cisterciens de la Stricte Observance STATUT DE LA CENSURE DES PUBLICATIONS «detailed view»
Series 88 #10.
«All Series«
1952/no/no (#02) other   Ordre des Cisterciens de la Stricte Observance STATUT DE LA CENSURE DES PUBLICATIONS «detailed view»
Series 88 #11.
«All Series«
1953/11/06 TALS by Sortais, Gabriel Vous m'avez réjoui en me dissant que vous avez écrit un livre de méditations. J'ai déjà eu occasion from Abbot General Gabriel Sortais, O.C.S.O. «detailed view»
Series 88 #12.
«All Series«
1954/07/13 other[c]  from Sortais, Gabriel / to James Fox Certaines prescriptions du Statut de la Censure, edicte par le Chapitre General de 1952, ne sont pas from Abbot General Gabriel Sortais to Dom James Fox, Abbot of Gethsemani - pointing out certain rules from the censorship requirements from the general chapter of 1952 that were not being well observed «detailed view»
Series 88 #13.
«All Series«
undated/09/21 HLS by Bourne, Paul Of course you may keep your New Yorker section intact! It was really rather priggish of me from censor Fr. Paul Bourne, O.C.S.O. (see also the "Bourne, Paul" file in the correspondence) «detailed view»
Series 88 #14.
«All Series«
undated/no/no TL  from American Trappist Abbot / to James Fox There is one further matter, Reverend Father, which I hesitate to speak of, but which I feel complains of Merton publishing in "the very radical paper" The Catholic Worker, "which some Americans believe is a tool of the Communists" / does not like the association between Merton's "radical" views and the rest of the Trappist Order - will cause confusion among the faithful «detailed view»

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