BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD by Rt. Rev. Msgr. J. Patrick Carroll-Abbing


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This refers not to the victims but to the victimizers in World War II, but it might as well be applied to the thousands of persons whose lives were cut short or torn by the catastrophe of war. Monsignor Carroll-Abbing is noted for responding to the plight of Italian war orphans by setting up over forty children's villages where they might forget the ways of the streets and learn to be happy citizens informed by the love of man and God. An Irishman, the author spent the war in Italy, standing by at more than a thousand operations in the military hospital of the Knights of Malta, helping to save the people of the bombed hill towns in the Anzio campaign, enduring the rigors of Rome's occupation and liberation, which found over 100,000 children on the road. He has told much of this story before in A Chance to Live (and less effectively, in fictional terms, in Journey to Somewhere), but in spite of its lack of form it is still moving. It is easy to understand from his descriptions of encounters with boys all clearly individual to him his capacity for aiding the homeless, often embittered, waifs he salvaged; in his modesty, the more stringent facts of administration are underplayed. The place of the Republics in this period when war children have grown up is not fully explored.

Pub Date: Dec. 4th, 1965
Publisher: Delacorte