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The Ben Op: Conservative Book Of The Year

My book is ISI's 2018 Paolucci Book Award winner

Well, that’s a great surprise. I was shocked and honored to be nominated, but had no anticipation at all that I would win, given that I was up against the great Yuval Levin, whose book The Fractured Republic was easily one of the best political books of the year, and one on which I drew in writing The Benedict Option

Thanks so very much to the ISI judges. Seriously, this is quite an honor. I noticed on the list of past winners that I’m in the company of TAC publisher Brad Birzer, who won last year for his Russell Kirk biography, as well as Brad Gregory and Charles Taylor, whose books I drew on for The Benedict Option. 

Readers, if you’d like to come to the April 7 dinner in Philadelphia where I’ll be receiving the award and giving a talk about the book, click here for more information. 

There won’t be any late-night tippling for me, though. The awards dinner is on the eve of Pascha, which is to say, Orthodox Easter. An Orthodox friend has already invited me to spend the holiday with him and his family. They will pick me up at the awards dinner and we’ll drive to the liturgy.

It delights me to report that Massimo Faggioli, the Philly-based liberal Catholic theologian, tonight implied that I and Catholic readers who like my book give aid and comfort to Fascists:


Uh-huh. A couple of weeks ago, the top Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica likened me to a modern-day Donatist heretic — read Sandro Magister on that controversy here — and now a liberal Catholic theologian says I fist-bump Mussolini. Why are these guys so afraid of The Benedict Option, when all it does is call on Catholics (and all Christians, within their own traditions) to be more prayerful, to study Scripture more, and to live more disciplined Christian lives in community? Because they know, at least from the Catholic side, that the more knowledgeable their fellow Catholics are about what their Church teaches, and the more thoroughly they are formed by authentic Catholic tradition, the less likely they are to be duped by the modernist revisionism sweeping through the Catholic Church now.

Thanks, you guys: you make my case for me. Catholics who can see what’s coming from the Faggiolisti in power in the institutional Church will read my book and start making plans for enduring the long siege ahead.

As a monk told me during the writing process of this book: Those Christians (not just Catholics!) who don’t take some form of the Benedict Option are not going to have what it takes to make it through what’s coming with their faith intact. I don’t know why the Paolucci Award judges chose The Benedict Option this year, but I suspect it’s because the book is a call for a creative return to Christian tradition in the face of postmodern dissolution.