St. Justin Martyr

Published by Angelico Press (

Significant insights into metaphysics, spirituality, poetry, and social questions are lights usually sought in the work of at least four diferent competencies. A Catholic Mind Awake, however—“catholic” in both upper and lower case—presents us with an impressive array of such insights, all from a single mind. That Bernard Kelly was not a specialized academic (he worked as a bank clerk), makes the wellspring of these insights even more intriguing. A humble and thoughtful man, Kelly possessed a mind that moved with ease through philosophical queries ranging from Europe to India and back again, with a heart at home in the folds of contemplative prayer and Christian devotion, and a muse that sang with one of the most remarkable poets of modern English. He was also passionately committed to the problems of a world tottering between the contending behemoths of capitalism and communism. Both broad in its conspectus and penetrating in its analysis, the present collection allows this forgotten voice to speak again.

FORWARD by Philip Zeleski


Preface i
Acknowledgments iii
Foreword v
Introduction  Who Was Bernard Kelly? 1
From the Mind: Metaphysics East and West
1 A Thomist Approach to the Vedanta 19
2 Notes on the Light of the Eastern Religions 29
3 How May We Approach the Spiritual Traditions of the East? 49
4 The Metaphysical Background of Analogy 56
5 Some Considerations on Form 79
6 Obituary of A.K. Coomaraswamy 90
Book Reviews 92
From the Heart: Spirituality and Beauty
1 Passage Through Beauty 113
2 Solidarity 124
3 Continuity 127
4 Representation 130
5 A Dialectic of Self-Giving 133
Gestant Puellae Viscera 143
7 The Divisions of the Way of the Cross 145
Book Reviews 154
From the Muse: Poetry and the Arts
1 The Joy of Chastity in the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins 161
2 The Mind and Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins 165
Book Reviews 191
For the World: Reflections on Society
1 The Bourgeois Position 209
2 The Return of Abel 217
3 Christians and the Class Struggle 221
4 Synthesis on Social Transformation 229
5 The Basis of Ownership 235
6 Eric Gill’s Social Principles 241
7 Responsibility Again (I–IV) 246
Book Reviews 266
Bibliography of Bernard Kelly 280
Author and Editor 285

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Bernard Kelly was a truly great and wise scholar and thinker, one whose immense range of aptitudes, interests, and sympathies was born not only out of an enormous intellectual curiosity, but also — and perhaps more essentially — out of a huge reserve of Christian charity. This volume is overdue, and so now doubly a blessing.”

DAVID BENTLEY HART, author of The Beauty of the Infinite and The Experience of God

It would be a tragedy if Bernard Kelly’s unique contribution to Catholic thinking were to go unnoticed, unrecorded, and uncelebrated. In a world of theological confusion, ‘amidst th’encircling gloom’ as Cardinal Newman would say, Bernard Kelly was a beacon of light.”

WILLIAM STODDART, author of Remembering in a World of Forgetting

The articles and commentaries of this truly great man are simply magnificent: above all in his commentaries on Hindu religion, which in Christian literature are unsurpassed in their metaphysical comprehension and openness to all that is sacred and sublime — without however sacrificing one iota of Catholic truth. If von Balthasar is right in his prediction that ‘The Christian West’s engagement with India would rival its ancient engagement with Greece,’ one may surmise that Bernard Kelly stands at the forefront of that ecclesial endeavor.”

WOLFGANG SMITH, author of Cosmos & Transcendence and The Quantum Enigma

“A work of startling cleanliness and depth, Bernard Kelly’s A Catholic Mind Awake is exceedingly fresh and urgently needed. It is not the work of a brainy theological essayist holding theoretical or abstractionist court, but of a concentrated and prayerful layman who, as he articulates searing truth permeated by heart, uncovers a veritable trove of philosophical, theological, metaphysical, religious, artistic and cultural gems. With humility and balance, Kelly revisits a diversity of individual voices, schools of thought, and spiritual themes. In providing readers with new insights on thomism, Vedanta, the theology of beauty, A. K. Coomaraswamy, the meaning of work, and the spiritual necessity of poetry, he returns essential and textured legacies to relevance and radiance. BRAVO!”

THERESE SCHROEDER-SHEKER , Chalice of Repose Project


National Catholic Register (2018):

Bernard Kelly and the Vigor of Lay Thought

Review of Metaphysics (2019):

 A Catholic Mind Awake

Below are some photos of Bernard Kelly (1907-1958), courtesy of his family. One photo, at the bottom, shows his eldest daughter, Barbara, together with myself during a visit to their house in Wales in the mid-90s. Since Bernard was also a gifted sculptor, we decided to display his wooden statue of St. Francis. Barbara is also in another picture as an infant in her father’s arms.