Caring About Meaning: Patterns in the Life of Bernard Lonergan


271 pages
ISBN 0-919409-05-9




Edited by Pierrot Lambert, Charlotte Tansey, Cathleen Going
Reviewed by A.J. Pell

A.J. Pell is editor of the Canadian Evangelical Review and an instructor
of Liturgy, Anglican Studies Program, Regent College, Vancouver.


Bernard Lonergan is the first Canadian theologian to have produced work of worldwide and long-term importance for the direction of Christian thought. His two key volumes, Insight and Method in Theology, represent an achievement equal to Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics or Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica. Caring About Meaning is the transcript of a series of two-hour interviews with Lonergan at the Thomas More Institute in Montreal. The chief interviewers and editors are Catherine Going and Charlotte Tansey of the Institute and Pierrot Lambert, chief of the Interpretation and Translation Services of the House of Commons, Ottawa, and one of the French translators of Method in Theology.

These interviews present the reader with an autobiography of sorts. Gradually the life, work, and thinking of Bernard Lonergan emerge from the conversations, guiding the reader, although not in a chronological progression, from the early influences on Lonergan’s thought to his current work-in-progress. But it is the mind of Bernard Lonergan that is at the center of these conversations. As he moves quickly and easily from philosophy to mathematics, from economics to theology, from Latin to Greek to German to French, Lonergan leads the reader from one well-furnished chamber to another in the library that is his mind. In the midst of these conversations the interviewers coax from Lonergan such thoughts as his concise explanation of the critical method, an understanding of Christ’s consciousness, and the historical background to many current theological endeavours within Catholicism.

The interviewers’ editors are to be congratulated for keeping within this document the atmosphere of what was an oral encounter. Their decision to retain the eloquence of his frequent “eh?” and the multitude of personal reminiscences in the midst of his explanations of weighty concerns allows the immediacy and vitality of this Canadian Jesuit’s personality to shine through the pages.


Lonergan, Bernard, “Caring About Meaning: Patterns in the Life of Bernard Lonergan,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,