Michael D. O'Brien
Born in Ottawa in 1948, Michael O’Brien is the author of twenty-eight books, notably the novel Father Elijah and eleven other novels, which have been published in fourteen languages and widely reviewed in both secular and religious media in North America and Europe. His essays on faith and culture have appeared in international journals such as Communio, Catholic World Report, Catholic Dossier, Inside the Vatican, The Chesterton Review and others. For seven years he was the editor of the Catholic family magazine Nazareth Journal. He has given hundreds of public talks and lectures at universities and churches throughout Europe and North America, and has frequently appeared as a guest on television programs in several nations.
Since 1970 he has also worked as a professional artist and has had more than 40 exhibits across North America. Since 1976 he has painted religious imagery exclusively, a field that ranges from liturgical commissions to visual reflections on the meaning of the human person. His paintings hang in churches, monasteries, universities, community collections and private collections throughout the world. O’Brien lives near Combermere, Ontario. He and his wife Sheila have six children and twelve grandchildren.
"The human community is never more endangered than when totalitarianism appears to be benevolent. The new totalitarian’s idealism, his “humanitarianism,” his public image, may all communicate to us many good things, and thus our imagination is captured to the detriment of real discernment. We soon find ourselves succumbing to a magnetic attraction, and voting for leaders whose agendas mix admirable elements and fatal flaws. We then discover that we have elevated to positions of maximum influence men who would sacrifice human lives for the sake of “peace” or a thriving economy or some other value. Our guilt is denied, our sense of personal responsibility is numbed, to the degree that we perceive the sacrificed lives as statistical abstractions and our personal comforts as more real. By such choices we are revealed to ourselves. Where our treasure is, there is our heart. By and large, in the once-Christian democracies of the West we have been measured in the scales and found wanting."
-Excerpt from The Family and the New Totalitarianism: