Born to a Jewish mother and Protestant father in 1923 Berlin, Gregory Baum has devoted his career to a humanistic approach to Catholicism. In The Oil Has Not Run Dry, Baum shares recollections about his lifelong commitment to theology, his atypical views, and his evolving understanding of the Catholic Church’s message.
Baum reflects on his groundbreaking work with the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and how it helped to open the Church to a new understanding of outsiders - one that advocated cooperation with world religions in support of peace and justice and respected secular philosophies committed to truth and social solidarity. Later embracing Latin American liberation theology, he became a leading thinker of the Catholic Left in Canada, adopting radical positions that initially earned support from Canadian bishops in the 1970s. Diverging from official Catholic doctrines regarding women and sexual ethics, Baum eventually left the priesthood, but continued to teach theology and remained active in the Church.
The Oil Has Not Run Dry also discusses the contrast between Catholicism in Quebec and English-speaking North America, and the ways in which Baum sees Quebec’s culture as more marked by social solidarity. This significant difference has inspired his own writings which present the original development of Catholic thought in Quebec to an English-speaking readership.