Volume 16, Issue 2, 2004
Joseph S. O’Leary
Questioning the Essence of Christianity
In accord with the motto of the Passionists—“We preach Christ crucified”—Breton located the essence of Christianity in a faith and love marked by open-ended questioning and dialogue and by an exodic movement of the spirit. Neoplatonism enabled him to raise his love of free inquiry to a high spiritual plane, and to bring into lucid focus the figure of Christ, ridding it of false absolutizations. Seeing the encounter with Buddhism as the next step in this purification of Christian vision, he pored over Nagarjuna in his last days. The totality of Breton’s life and work enacts a lighter, humbler understanding of the Gospel, one fully responsive to modern and postmodern questions.