The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Porter, Thomas Aquinas, Fr., O.C.S.O.

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: 1956-1961

Volume: 13 item(s); 14 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Merton responds to Porter's criticism of his brochure "Basic Principles of Monastic Spirituality". Later letters between Dom James Fox and Porter were added from a collection of letters from a file kept at Gethsemani by Fox regarding censorship of Merton's essays and books.


Fr. Thomas Aquinas Porter was one of the Cistercian censors that needed to approve Merton's writings before publication. He writes from Holy Trinity Abbey in Huntsville, Utah.

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Related Information and Links

See also one published letter from Merton to Porter in The School of Charity, pp. 96-97.

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

SeriesDateTypeTo/FromFirst LinesPubFull TextNotes
 1956/07/20 (#01)TLS[x]from MertonIt would be simpler if I called you by your name as I never have the slightest difficulty  [addressed to "Father Censor no 2" - likely Fr. Thomas Aquinas Porter, O.C.S.O. from context, see also letter from Merton to Porter dated 1956/08/27]
 1956/07/20 (#02)other[x] CHANGES Basic Principles of Monastic Spirituality. 1- Page 4, second paragraph: delete paragraph and  [addressed to "Father Censor no 2" - likely Fr. Thomas Aquinas Porter, O.C.S.O. from context, see also letter from Merton to Porter dated 1956/08/27]
 1956/08/27 TLS[x]from MertonWhen I was at Collegeville recently, Dr. [Gregory] Zilboorg, who is a good judge of character,Yes [from Sub-Section H.7, Hart Working Files]
 1959/01/19 TLSto Fox, JamesJust a line to accompany Fr. Louis' Ms. Entitled <u>What Should I Do</u>?, and to say that all goes  "Wisdom of the Desert" [book / draft title, "What Should I Do?"]
 1960/01/15 TLSto Fox, JamesJust a few lines with the enclosed Ms. Of Fr. Louis to tell you that we finished our retreat  [referenced manuscript is not extant]
 1961/03/11 TLSto Fox, JamesAll my best wishes for an abundant increase of the grace of this feast! I am returning Fr. Louis'  Merton essay, "The English Mystics"
 1961/03/15 TLSto Fox, JamesThe day before yesterday I received your letter containing the three "little articles" by Fr. Louis,  "New Seeds of Contemplation" and "The Behavior of Titans" [books]
 1961/03/28 TLSto Fox, JamesThe censorship report is mailed Romewards containing my fullest approval of the New Seeds.  "Virginity and Humanism in the Fathers" [essay] and "Life and Holiness" [book / previously censored under the title, "Christian Perfection"]
 1961/06/15 other[x]by Sortais, GabrielTHE ENGLISH MYSTICS article du Père Louis Merton, N.D. de GethsemanI. NIHIL OBSTAT: fr. M Thomas  Merton essay, "The English Mystics" / Nihil Obstat and Imprimi Potest statement
 1961/06/20 HLSfrom Fox, JamesThe "little articles," the introduction to Pere Francois' book, written by fr. Louis was forwarded  Merton essay, "The English Mystics"
 1961/06/23 TALS[x]from Fox, JamesMy, my, my, what a surprise to receive your letter from Norwood, Ohio! Congratulations and prayerful  Merton essays, "Two Chinese Classics" and "The English Mystics"
 1961/06/26 TL[c]from Fox, JamesYou thought you had escaped us, but here we follow you over the waters.. Your good Rev. Father, Dom  Merton essay, "Two Chinese Classics"
 1961/07/11 HLSto Fox, JamesJust a line to say that I have read the two latest "little articles" of Fr. Louis and I am now  Merton essay, "Two Chinese Classics"

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