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Letter to a Priest
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Letter to a Priest

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  107 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Simone Weil, the renowned French philosopher and political activist, originally wrote this letter to a priest in the autumn of 1942 while waiting in New York to join the Free French movement. The most accessable discussion that exists of her complicated ideas on religion and her lifelong spiritual struggle, Letter to a Priest outlines thirty-five key questions about Cathol ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published February 25th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 1951)
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Erika Sajdak
Once upon a time, Simone Weil was a huge influence on my religious development. I felt that I had found a soul mate when I stumbled upon Waiting for God, and this book was an obvious next step.
Her struggle with God and Catholicism is almost as desperate as her struggle with food and with corporations.
This letter is much like a treatise Martin Luther would have written, but her issues with Christianity are more pronounced in our worldly society. She studied more than most of her age, and we are
...more
Harry Allagree
This is the first I've read anything by Simone Weil. Written to an unnamed priest in 1942, there's no evidence that he ever responded to her before her death the next year. One thing that fairly jumps out from the quality of her questions re: the Catholic Church & its teaching is her encyclopedic grasp of literature, both secular & sacred, & history. The other very apparent fact is her deep commitment to truth & honesty in matters of religion. I realized that, as a former Roman C ...more
Pedro
Je étais curieux de lire ce livre après avoir vu le court métrage éponyme Letter to a priest, dont la première à la JMJ 2013 à Rio de Janeiro.

Comme il existe une version française libre, me plaisait la suggestion que le GoodReeds me ont fait, et je l'ai lu.
Très intéressant. Bien que, malheureusement, la réponse ne est pas venu dans la vie de l'auteur; dans Concile Vatican II, ans plus tard, plusieurs questions sont répondues.

"Il n'y a pas d'urgence. Je demande seulement une réponse catégorique."
...more
Aaron Jacob
Weil's letter, to which it is thought that she received no reply, is wondrously paradoxical in that each point seems to lead Weil—and the reader, rather significantly—ever closer and closer to Christianity, yet ever further and further from the Church and its exoteric tradition. Hers is perhaps the best articulation in the available literature of a Christianity which does not accord any privilege to Israel or to Rome. She notes such striking likenesses between the ethical and aesthetical themes ...more
H
Mar 25, 2014 H added it
Shelves: religion
Certain facts can be the results either of what takes plce in the flesh, or of the action of the devil upon the soul, or of action on the part of God. Thus one man weeps with physical pain; another by the side of him weeps for thinking about God with a pure love. In both cases there are tears. These tears are the results produced by a psycho-physical mechanism. But in one of the two cases a wheel of this mechanism is a supernatural one; it is charity. In this sense, although tears are such an or ...more
elliot
simone weil has a dark, delirious, and captivating way of thinking about the religious experience--particularly askesis, the dark night of the soul. her theodicy puts human suffering (or affliction, or wretchedness, or malheur) at its center: through creation, god renounced his perfection, drew back the the curtain of his total dominion and allowed for the creation of the universe in the remaining void. it is the minds of men that bear the brunt of filling in the resultant vacuum: "[the soul] tr ...more
Stevie Hine
I thoroughly enjoyed this little book. Most of her arguments and ideas seem silly to me, she skips around from literal interpretations of scriptures and stories, to allegorical interpretations, to myth crossing back and forth at random. Other ideas she tosses around appear to be completely speculative or whimsy. However I see a lot of wisdom in a few of the arguments, and plenty of intriguing thoughts. These make the book worth both reading and recommending.
Eduardo Moraes
“It is written that the tree shall be known by its fruits. The Church has borne too many evil fruits for there not to have been some mistake made at the beginning. Europe has been spiritually uprooted, cut off from that antiquity in which all the elements of our civilization have their origin; and she has gone about uprooting the other continents from the 16th century onwards. (...) America remained for 16 centuries withouth hearing Christ spoken of and the nations living there were destroyed in ...more
Abailart
Revisiting. Sort of 35 theses from Weil. I am reading it concurrently with one of Bonhoeffer's prison letters; interested in the concept of 'religionless Christianity' and looking at what the two thinkers reveal about themselves psychologically (I am interested in how the 'psychological self' shapes the rest, be it metaphysical, ideological, moral or whatever.
Reading Weil is like having a curry with a wasp. But worth it.
Sean
"Letter to a Priest" by Simone Weil is an unvarnished work from one of the twentieth-century's most interesting philosophers. Written in New York in 1942 before Weil returned to Europe to join the Free French, the letter catches the author a decisive moment in her short life. In the letter, she explains over thirty points raising questions or objections about modern Christianity, its relationship to other religions, and the faith as embodied in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a short distillati ...more
Jan Carlo Evangelista
Jan 30, 2014 Jan Carlo Evangelista rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anybody questioning the morality and logic of the Church's teachings
A few years ago, I had a lengthy discussion with my cousin about philosophy and religion (and my lack thereof) and he lent me this book. It's pretty short, but I took very long to finish it — even discontinued reading it a few times and then picking it up again whenever I felt like it — because it was very difficult to read. Simone Weil, who herself seems vastly educated on theology and the history of the Christian religion, addressed this to a priest, whom we can expect to have had spent years ...more
Simon Hall
Simone Weil was a contrary lady.

it's impossible to describe her in a brief review. You should read up on her life. A deeply comitted Christian who never joined a church, a highly educated woman who chose to live and work among the poor (and died for it). A friend of the existentialists and a student of spirituality. An enigma.

In her Letter to a Priest, Weil lays out all the reasons she cannot be a communicant member of the Catholic Church. Techincally, they are laid out as a question: can The Ch
...more
Matthew Butson
Having been left truly in awe at some of her other works, this was much less accessible. In the book, Weil outlines the moral struggle she has with some aspects of her Christian faith. It displays both Weil's great learning and great compassion, but it is an earnest theological discussion that was never intended for the general reader.
Lucas
Some great ideas about the benefits and limits of Roman Catholic theology - the good of the mystery and the dangers of dogma and a dogmatic magisterium. Some really dated comparative religion and disturbing thoughts about Hellenistic philosophy redeeming Israelite theology.
Padraic
The reason I sit in an Episcopal Church each week, and refuse to disavow my Roman Catholic heritage, and do not feel a need to reconcile opposites. The need to sit out the formal church is compelling - it's where most of the world sits.
Bria
Feb 24, 2013 Bria added it
While she makes some valid critiques of Catholocism, Weil seems to base most of her difficulties on faulty historical information and ignorance of the Bible. Sad.
Swan
I just picked up a first-edition in Berkeley. Very lucky. And happy.
mahdieh
نامه به یک کشیش / سیمون وی
Mahdieh
Oct 16, 2008 Mahdieh is currently reading it
نامه به یک کشیش
سیمون وی
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Simone Weil was a French philosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist. Weil was born in Paris to Alsatian agnostic Jewish parents who fled the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. Her brilliance, ascetic lifestyle, introversion, and eccentricity limited her ability to mix with others, but not to teach and participate in political movements of her time. She wrote extensively with both in ...more
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