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The Gentle Traditionalist: A Catholic Fairy-tale from Ireland

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Geoffrey has a problem. All his life he's lived according to "sensible" sceptical, secular values. Then, his true love left him for a New Age community in Scotland. But it gets worse: now she wants to be a traditional Catholic nun! Geoffrey is bewildered, angry, lost. Until, one Valentine's Day in Ireland, he meets a mysterious guide--the Gentle Traditionalist. Together they commence a most unusual dialogue of ideas concerning: The Heart of the Gospel The Real Nature of the Church: A Supernatural Mystery The Crisis in Catholicism today: the Loss of Tradition The New Age Movement Catholic Ireland Why Secularism gets away with murder

Both whimsical and serious, the dialogue in this book offers a probing exploration of the Catholic Mystery, Christendom, and the crisis of the West today. Join us for a very special Valentine's Day when Geoffrey's barren, rational world gets turned upside down...

"This is one of the most unusual books I've ever read ... written throughout with passion and engagement, with a touching and deep-seated love for Ireland."--MARY KENNY, author of Goodbye to Catholic Ireland

"As brilliant a guide for the perplexed as this age is capable of producing."--CHARLES COULOMBE, author of Everyman Today Call Rome

"The Gentle Traditionalist is a book with a 'strange magic, ' like unto the Ireland it loves and mourns. With unforgettable images and a wry sense of humor, Roger Buck unfolds a tale of whimsical fantasy, melancholy realism, and supernatural joy."--PETER KWASNIEWSKI, Wyoming Catholic College; author of Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis

"Writing with great wisdom, insight, and a most warm sense of humor, Roger Buck offers us a contemplation of the religious predicaments of our time in the spirit of Chesterton and Belloc. He takes on everything in a charming (and disarming) manner ... a wonderful book."--MICHAEL MARTIN, author of The Submerged Reality

"To read this work was a joy, and I thank the author for helping me realize that, despite the passing of three generations and 150 years in the Irish-Australian diaspora, my heart is still Irish."--GERARD O'SHEA, University of Notre Dame, Australia; author of As I Have Loved You

"This striking novel by Roger Buck, set in Ireland, is composed with extraordinary sensitivity and insight."--COLIN MAWBY KSG, Choral Director of Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE)

"An unusual book: part love story, part theological dialog. Roger Buck is that altogether too rare Catholic who understands the importance of the geo-cultural forces that have shaped the modern world."--THOMAS STORCK, author of From Christendom to Americanism and Beyond

"The Gentle Traditionalist is a tremendous book: moving and humorous, opening up the most profound issues, engaging the most strident of polemics with the lightest touch."--JOSEPH SHAW, President of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales

ROGER BUCK is a Catholic convert, who once resided at Findhorn, Scotland-probably the most renowned New Age community in the world. He is also the author of Cor Jesu Sacratissimum (forthcoming from Angelico Press) and a traditional Catholic website of the same name. He is very happily married and lives in the rural northwest of Ireland."

194 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2015

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About the author

Roger Buck

6 books50 followers
Roger Buck is a Catholic convert who once lived at Findhorn, Scotland - probably the most renowned New Age community in the world. He is passionate about Ireland, where he now lives with his beloved wife.

He is the author of Cor Jesu Sacratissimum and a traditional Catholic website of the same name.

THE GENTLE TRADITIONALIST is his first book and the opening chapter can be read online here:


His latest book is The Gentle Traditionalist Returns

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5 stars
40 (50%)
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25 (31%)
3 stars
13 (16%)
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Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Crysta.
55 reviews1 follower
January 4, 2017
My father just recently finished reading this book and described it at once as a romance and an apologetics book. And a good one. Cue the curiosity.

GPL (Gentle Perplexed Liberal) has a love interest who has swung from New Age beliefs all the way to trad Catholic. Struggling to understand these beliefs (and his love's sudden decision to become a nun of all things), he decides to humor a sign that reads "The Gentle Traditionalist – Clarifications Provided, Questions Answered, Arguments Asserted – All in the Most Gentle Manner humanly possible (Entirely Free of Charge to all Genuine Enquirers).”

Okay. Let’s admit it. The Socratic style of the book is just plain cool.

The author hooked me about the time that he had GT (Gentle Traditionalist) very carefully define the difference between gentle (aka loving and humble) and nice (aka Politically Correct). I stayed for the fascinating apologetics and impromptu Irish history lesson. And then it was 2:20 am.

This book seems very useful for young trad Catholics like myself who want to be devout witnesses of the Faith and find themselves in a position to have a sincere conversation on such beliefs, as many of these arguments help put into words many things that we happen to simply internalize and take for granted. It might even help modern Catholics understand where trad Catholics are coming from!

Lastly, I would like to thank the author very much for his generous book list on the last pages. It will certainly be put to good use at my local library!

Now, off to return my father's copy of this book and head off to bed! (Thank goodness I have no work tomorrow.) And I believe this is one of the lengthiest reviews I’ve ever written. Do please blame the late night hour!
8 reviews3 followers
December 20, 2016
I decided to purchase this book in 2016 after catching wind of it within the traditional Catholic blogosphere. I thought it would make an interesting Christmas present for my (at-the-time) fiancé, because the synopsis indicated there were some interesting parallels between Roger and his wife's conversion story and our own. Much like his wife discovered the spiritual riches of her Irish ancestors before converting, my husband and I had our eyes opened to our mutual Acadian heritage, which is inextricably Catholic at heart. I was also thrilled that both our romances had a common center in devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

My favorite part of the whole book was the timeline of Irish Catholic history! This book is likely to make you want to do some research (and take advantage of the reading list at the end) and for that reason alone I can recommend it. It is a quick and friendly read because the majority of it is written in dialogue style.

On a more critical note, I think it's somewhat unfortunate that Roger Buck decided to intermix his conversion story with a "fairy tale". The author's efforts are earnest, but I think the synthesis he attempts to make between narratives of fantasy and reality was not as successful as a more forthright account would have been. The glimpses of the personalities and histories of he and his wife are limited, but they are still both more genuinely mysterious and compelling characters than the figure of "The Gentle Traditionalist" who seemed over-constructed to me. I wanted to spend more time with the lovers, and to hear their dialogue! The socratic style conversation with GT was packed with useful information and sign posts for seekers, but sometimes seemed to lack a natural flow and often felt forced. It's hard for me to say how it would come across to a lapsed or non-catholic person because I went into reading it well educated about the differences between traditional and post-conciliar Catholicism.

In conclusion, this is book with a good heart which provides some basic catholic catechism alongside a trove of information on the history of Catholic Church's struggle against "enlightened" forces of revolution and modernism throughout Europe, particularly in Ireland, leading up to the tragic obscuration of Catholic tradition caused by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960's. It is a bit clumsy in some ways, and not very strong as a novel, but I would recommend that anyone who is curious about the subject matter give it a read.
Profile Image for Joe Morovich.
7 reviews2 followers
May 9, 2017
A fairy tale that comes off as true and not pedantic

This book, in the guise of a bit of a fairy tale or fantasy, uses the medium to argue for the stability of the old Catholic tradition vs the new consortium of globalist capitalism. I must admit, despite the militant theology, the book presents itself as the title state: it is a "Gentle Traditionalist." Overall the book reminds me more of Chesterton than the author's stated following of Hillaire Belloc. In short more charm than fire.

Christians of all denominations will find much about the book to ponder and highlight; at least those that are concerned about the Church and its place in this modernist world. A good companion read with the Benedict Option, in my opinion.
495 reviews25 followers
January 5, 2016
Clearly and beautifully explains the geographical and cultural forces that ruptured our world into the no-longer-Sacramental and the still-Sacramental, the English-speaking world and the rest of the world, and mourns the deep losses that occur when the spiritual is banished for the material. The focus is Ireland, not America, per se, for a new look at a not very old problem. Humorous at times, with a touch of whimsy, but conveys a deep sadness and sense of loss.
Profile Image for Michael Fitzgerald.
Author 1 book49 followers
March 13, 2019
A phenomenal tale that is both humorous and deadly serious. It is fictional yet parallels the author's real life.
Profile Image for Katie Fitzgerald.
Author 3 books200 followers
April 20, 2019
#CathLit2019 challenge - A book about apologetics

This fascinating novel about a young man's struggle to understand his girlfriend's conversion to Catholicism is a must-read for any Catholic who is concerned about the future of the Church in an increasingly secular society. Though the problems Buck explores here belong to Ireland, many of them are reflected in American culture as well, and the fact that Buck is able to explain each one so clearly and with respectful consideration of all counter-arguments makes me want to compare him to C.S. Lewis. Though this is not an explicit guide to apologetics, it is very useful for making the teachings of the church clear and could be helpful for teens and adults who want to be better able to explain their beliefs to non-Catholics and future Catholics. I found the book both entertaining and educational, and I look forward to the sequel, which the author says will be out in 2019.
34 reviews
December 17, 2016
For those who are looking for a concise, congenial, credible, and convincing rational argument for why secularism and materialism are failing modernity. This book is a full 5 stars.

It presents a short, interesting Socratic dialogue between a traditionalist and a secularist. The secular character in this book is actually an open minded thinker.

Not wanting to see the error in their "rational materialism", most of today's rabid secularists would never be open minded enough to pick up a book like this. Thus, those looking to use this book to open a dialog with the less concessionary would likely rate the work lower.
2 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2016
I'm biased! He's my husband ... but I still think this book is truly wonderful - apologetics wrapped up as a novel. Both light and serious at the same time, easy to read, often hilarious and deeply challenging secular assumptions, wherever they exist, whether modern Ireland or anywhere else in the West. First chapter is online here ...

5 reviews
May 1, 2018
The atheist' s religion

The book gives very interesting reading. As a Catholic from India , it was quite informative for me. Many of the extracts from the history of church were new to me. At the same the book retains its romantic fictional format, keeping it interesting. The role played by Ireland in the scheme of things comes through beautifully. The concerns of the author about the young generation are shared by many Catholic parents. The idea that everybody has a religion, even an atheist, is fascinating.
114 reviews1 follower
January 27, 2018
What an extra-ordinary, most unusual book. Words fail to express what a tremendous read this novel is. It is short, pithy, and packed with content. Part history lesson, part mini Catechism, part love story, this novel explores more than any review can summarize succinctly. Read it. If I could, I would have an endless supply of this novel on hand at all times to share with people I encounter. Thank, Mr. Roger Buck, for truly profound little book. Happy reading!
Profile Image for Jovan Weismiller.
10 reviews3 followers
December 5, 2017

This book is by an 'online friend' of mine. I've had it on my Kindle for months, but I just started it last night and finished it this evening. I laughed uproariously and I shed tears whilst reading it. I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone who is concerned about the state of the modern world.

52 reviews2 followers
April 17, 2018
it runs long, and the author rather loses himself in the weeds toward the end, but the main part of the book is worthwhile.

I would recommend reading this yourself before giving to someone else, to make sure you are on same page with all opinions expressed (e.g., I found his comments on Baptism were unfortunately incomplete)
Profile Image for Roy.
3 reviews
January 2, 2018
I enjoyed this short parable.

While I am a Protestant, I enjoyed the story immensely. The tale spends a great deal of time on dialogue, but it is what makes the story interesting. I recommend the story as I found it fun to read.
4 reviews
March 6, 2018
Excellent read! Restores your hope for a restored Christendom.

Ingenious use of historical fact in the face of modernity and its hopes of fanciful and fleeting, secular "treasures." Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Bryanna.
16 reviews
May 4, 2018

This boom is a great and enjoyable discussion and overview of the Catholic faith and objections. Thank you for writing this.
Profile Image for Christopher Covey.
10 reviews1 follower
February 18, 2019
Great book

Answered most of my questions about pre Vatican II Catholicism. I recommend it to anyone else that might be curious about Catholicism, its inner meaning.
Profile Image for Randy Shed Jr..
17 reviews2 followers
May 26, 2021
A great surprising book

There are some phenomenal passages that offer a synthesis of our current environment. Not at all what I expected but definitely worth the read.
Profile Image for Katie.
239 reviews4 followers
December 7, 2022
It’s hard to give a star rating to this because, well, it’s not a great novel. It’s more of a treatise in the form of barebones fiction.
Profile Image for Dave Wilson.
20 reviews
December 12, 2016
Absolutely wonderful

I'd recommend this great, brief book to anyone who'd like to know the Church better, whether they are Catholic, or just curious. Mr. Buck has done a wonderful job here. I read most of this just this afternoon. Enjoyed by candlelight in part, I'll be re-reading in the near future. I look forward to more from this author, as I understand another is coming soon. Thank you, sir.
310 reviews8 followers
January 23, 2016
Actually would give it 4.5 stars....loved everything but the authors unbridled criticism of capitalism...I am 100 % opposed to crony capitalism but capitalism itself has improved millions of millions of lives. Crony capitalism under secular law makers is the pits and that is what we have arrived at theses days. I would not throw out the baby with the soiled water...just change the water (the corrupt rulers). Other than that this book is a gem.
Profile Image for Chris.
30 reviews
April 10, 2017
Modern societal examen

I found it to be like reading Chesterton's What's Wrong with the World in a story format. Nice tale. Worthwhile.
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews

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