Tel: 3456 43 4473456

Padre, prisoner and penpusher: the world war one experiences of the reverend benjamin o’rorke - Padre, prisoner and pen-pusher : the World War One.


Padre, prisoner and pen-pusher
The World War One experiences of Reverend Benjamin O’Rorke
By Peter Howson
Published by Helion & Company, Solihull, 2015
ISBN 978 1 910294 70 3
Hardback 163pp including bibliography, no index, illustrated
Cover price not stated
Reviewed by Chris Baker

The production of the book is at the very high standard we have come to expect from Helion, with good paper and binding and a readable font. There are some maps included – mainly town plans of some of the rear-area places in which O’Rorke worked – from the National Archives collection. They are physically very large and I am sorry to say that on being reduced down to fit this relatively small format book the text simply becomes almost illegible. It’s a small gripe, for overall this is a well written and absorbing work that will also be a useful and lasting work of reference.

Padre, prisoner and pen-pusher
The World War One experiences of Reverend Benjamin O’Rorke
By Peter Howson
Published by Helion & Company, Solihull, 2015
ISBN 978 1 910294 70 3
Hardback 163pp including bibliography, no index, illustrated
Cover price not stated
Reviewed by Chris Baker

The production of the book is at the very high standard we have come to expect from Helion, with good paper and binding and a readable font. There are some maps included – mainly town plans of some of the rear-area places in which O’Rorke worked – from the National Archives collection. They are physically very large and I am sorry to say that on being reduced down to fit this relatively small format book the text simply becomes almost illegible. It’s a small gripe, for overall this is a well written and absorbing work that will also be a useful and lasting work of reference.

It is late on Christmas Eve and I am reflecting about the true meaning of Christmas in a world where hope seems to be dying before our eyes. This morning I preached in my Chapel from the Christmas story in the Gospel of St. Luke, the same passage I preached on a week or so ago with the German NATO contingent. The story of the incarnation, of God coming in the weakness of a tiny baby who would grow up and be crucified not far from where he was born is of profound importance for my faith, because it is not a pie in the sky promise of prosperity and power, but God who can be present in midst of the human made hell of war.

I think most of my readers know that I am a career military officer and have served in peace and war as a chaplain. That service includes a tour in Iraq, a war, which by almost any standard would have been considered unjust and illegal, yet I served there, and came back a changed man. As such the stories of those who served in war, especially those who serve in hopeless battles, and even in evil causes during Christmas have a special place in my heart. One of those men was a German pastor and medical doctor named Kurt Reuber.

As I said, Reuber was a theologian, pastor and medical doctor, likewise he was an accomplished artist and used that medium to convey his own faith, and doubts. He was a friend of Albert Schweitzer and in 1939 he was conscripted to serve as a physician in the Germany Army. By November 1942 he was a seasoned military physician serving with the 16th Panzer Division, part of the German 6th Army, which had been fighting in the hell of Stalingrad. When his division along with most of 6th Army was surrounded by the Soviets, cut off from most supply and without real hope of relief, he like other physicians continued to serve the soldiers committed to his care.

Reverend Benjamin O’Rorke was a Church of England army chaplain. Interestingly he had been commissioned in 1901 and had accompanied troops in the South Africa campaign.

The book itself is split into several parts. There is a detailed look at his examination of O’Rorke’s life and ministry, and his theology based on surviving sermons. The overview of his wartime experiences is concise but contains plenty of detail. There is also a look at chaplains’ view of the post-war world based on contemporary documents, and a general overview of diaries as a source about chaplains (including where they are held and what they contain). This is supplemented by an annotated bibliography.

A separate section provides the edited transcript of O’Rorke’s diary from January to June 1918. This is quite disjointed, in that it is not a ‘narrative’ diary but rather provides details of his movements and, activities, and conversations. An appendix lists summary details about the chaplains and others mentioned in the diary.

José Ramón Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, S.J., also known as Blessed Miguel Pro (born January 13, 1891 – executed November 23, 1927) was a Mexican Jesuit Catholic priest executed under the presidency of Plutarco Elías Calles on charges of bombing and attempted assassination of former Mexican President Álvaro Obregón . [2]

Pro's arrest, lack of trial, and evidential support gained prominence during the Cristero War . Known for his religious piety and innocence, he was beatified on September 25, 1988, by Pope John Paul II as a Catholic martyr , killed in odium fidei (in hatred of the faith).

At the time of Pro's death, Mexico was ruled by fiercely anti-clerical and anti-Catholic President Plutarco Elías Calles who had begun what writer Graham Greene called the "fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of Elizabeth." [3]

Padre, prisoner and pen-pusher
The World War One experiences of Reverend Benjamin O’Rorke
By Peter Howson
Published by Helion & Company, Solihull, 2015
ISBN 978 1 910294 70 3
Hardback 163pp including bibliography, no index, illustrated
Cover price not stated
Reviewed by Chris Baker

The production of the book is at the very high standard we have come to expect from Helion, with good paper and binding and a readable font. There are some maps included – mainly town plans of some of the rear-area places in which O’Rorke worked – from the National Archives collection. They are physically very large and I am sorry to say that on being reduced down to fit this relatively small format book the text simply becomes almost illegible. It’s a small gripe, for overall this is a well written and absorbing work that will also be a useful and lasting work of reference.

It is late on Christmas Eve and I am reflecting about the true meaning of Christmas in a world where hope seems to be dying before our eyes. This morning I preached in my Chapel from the Christmas story in the Gospel of St. Luke, the same passage I preached on a week or so ago with the German NATO contingent. The story of the incarnation, of God coming in the weakness of a tiny baby who would grow up and be crucified not far from where he was born is of profound importance for my faith, because it is not a pie in the sky promise of prosperity and power, but God who can be present in midst of the human made hell of war.

I think most of my readers know that I am a career military officer and have served in peace and war as a chaplain. That service includes a tour in Iraq, a war, which by almost any standard would have been considered unjust and illegal, yet I served there, and came back a changed man. As such the stories of those who served in war, especially those who serve in hopeless battles, and even in evil causes during Christmas have a special place in my heart. One of those men was a German pastor and medical doctor named Kurt Reuber.

As I said, Reuber was a theologian, pastor and medical doctor, likewise he was an accomplished artist and used that medium to convey his own faith, and doubts. He was a friend of Albert Schweitzer and in 1939 he was conscripted to serve as a physician in the Germany Army. By November 1942 he was a seasoned military physician serving with the 16th Panzer Division, part of the German 6th Army, which had been fighting in the hell of Stalingrad. When his division along with most of 6th Army was surrounded by the Soviets, cut off from most supply and without real hope of relief, he like other physicians continued to serve the soldiers committed to his care.

Padre, prisoner and pen-pusher
The World War One experiences of Reverend Benjamin O’Rorke
By Peter Howson
Published by Helion & Company, Solihull, 2015
ISBN 978 1 910294 70 3
Hardback 163pp including bibliography, no index, illustrated
Cover price not stated
Reviewed by Chris Baker

The production of the book is at the very high standard we have come to expect from Helion, with good paper and binding and a readable font. There are some maps included – mainly town plans of some of the rear-area places in which O’Rorke worked – from the National Archives collection. They are physically very large and I am sorry to say that on being reduced down to fit this relatively small format book the text simply becomes almost illegible. It’s a small gripe, for overall this is a well written and absorbing work that will also be a useful and lasting work of reference.

It is late on Christmas Eve and I am reflecting about the true meaning of Christmas in a world where hope seems to be dying before our eyes. This morning I preached in my Chapel from the Christmas story in the Gospel of St. Luke, the same passage I preached on a week or so ago with the German NATO contingent. The story of the incarnation, of God coming in the weakness of a tiny baby who would grow up and be crucified not far from where he was born is of profound importance for my faith, because it is not a pie in the sky promise of prosperity and power, but God who can be present in midst of the human made hell of war.

I think most of my readers know that I am a career military officer and have served in peace and war as a chaplain. That service includes a tour in Iraq, a war, which by almost any standard would have been considered unjust and illegal, yet I served there, and came back a changed man. As such the stories of those who served in war, especially those who serve in hopeless battles, and even in evil causes during Christmas have a special place in my heart. One of those men was a German pastor and medical doctor named Kurt Reuber.

As I said, Reuber was a theologian, pastor and medical doctor, likewise he was an accomplished artist and used that medium to convey his own faith, and doubts. He was a friend of Albert Schweitzer and in 1939 he was conscripted to serve as a physician in the Germany Army. By November 1942 he was a seasoned military physician serving with the 16th Panzer Division, part of the German 6th Army, which had been fighting in the hell of Stalingrad. When his division along with most of 6th Army was surrounded by the Soviets, cut off from most supply and without real hope of relief, he like other physicians continued to serve the soldiers committed to his care.

Reverend Benjamin O’Rorke was a Church of England army chaplain. Interestingly he had been commissioned in 1901 and had accompanied troops in the South Africa campaign.

The book itself is split into several parts. There is a detailed look at his examination of O’Rorke’s life and ministry, and his theology based on surviving sermons. The overview of his wartime experiences is concise but contains plenty of detail. There is also a look at chaplains’ view of the post-war world based on contemporary documents, and a general overview of diaries as a source about chaplains (including where they are held and what they contain). This is supplemented by an annotated bibliography.

A separate section provides the edited transcript of O’Rorke’s diary from January to June 1918. This is quite disjointed, in that it is not a ‘narrative’ diary but rather provides details of his movements and, activities, and conversations. An appendix lists summary details about the chaplains and others mentioned in the diary.




514kGO6oXrL