Archives For Catholic


Haunting Characters
A Feature Review of 

The Ninth Hour: A Novel
Alice McDermott

Hardback: FSG Books, 2017.
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Carolyn Miller Parr

Alice McDermott, winner of the National Book Award and three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written another unforgettable novel.

It opens in a poor Irish-American section of New York City in the early twentieth century. While his pregnant wife is out shopping her young unemployed husband rips the gas hose from his stove, lies down, and breathes deeply.

Continue Reading…


A great interview with Alice McDermott
about her new novel:


The Ninth Hour: Novel
Alice McDermott

Hardback:  FSG Books, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ] [ Amazon ]

Give this interview with Scott Simon a listen… 

Continue Reading…


Seeking Reunion for Christ’s Sake
A Review of
Catholics and Protestants:
What Can We Learn from Each Other?
Peter Kreeft

Paperback:  Ignatius Press, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Joseph Johnson

I should probably blame my interest in ecumenism on books. Reading theology introduced me to the voices of genuine and deeply learned men and women living out their faith in a wide variety of Christian traditions, and while I happily worship as part of a United Methodist congregation, I know my spiritual life wouldn’t be the same without the writings of Catholics like Thomas Merton, Anglicans like N.T. Wright and Rowan Williams, and Presbyterians like Eugene Peterson, just to name a few. This experience has given me a deep-seated appreciation for the depth and breadth of common ground shared by believers of all stripes—whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant—and it’s made me rather wary of works that exhibit more sectarian tendencies, arguing either explicitly or implicitly that only certain parts of the Church are “real” followers of Jesus.

Given all these things, it’s understandable why I felt a spark of excitement upon finding out that Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft was working on a book exploring the question of how Protestants and Catholics can learn from one another. In terms of structure and style, Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other? is inspired by Blaise Pascal’s Pensées, and it shows (117). Kreeft is a gifted communicator, writing in a direct style that for the most part stays away from overly-technical theological language.

Continue Reading…



Today is the birthday of novelist Graham Greene, born 1904.

“Graham Greene is perhaps the most perplexing of all the literary converts whose works animated the Catholic literary revival in the 20th century. His visions of angst and guilt, informed and sometimes deformed by a deeply felt religious sensibility, make his novels, and the characters that adorn them, both fascinating and unforgettable.

His fiction is gripping because it grapples with faith and disillusionment on the shifting sands of uncertainty in a relativistic age. His tormented characters are the products of Greene’s own tortured soul, and one suspects that he was more baffled than anyone else at the contradictions at the core of his own character and, in consequence, at the heart of the characters that his fertile and fetid imagination had created.”

– Joseph Pearce, “Graham Greene: Doubter Par Excellence

*** Books by Graham Greene ***

Here is a British documentary “England Made Me” (in four parts) that serves as a wonderful intro to Greene’s life and work:

Continue Reading…


Pope Francis


Yesterday saw the release of the English translation of Pope Francis’s Encyclical:

Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home.

We encourage you to download the PDF of this encyclical and read it yourself.


Here are two lovely prayers that were included in the encyclical…
Perhaps you can find ways to use these prayers in the life of your church.


A prayer for our earth
Pope Francis

Continue Reading…


Light, Logos, Love.

A Review of

Tolkien’s Sacramental Vision: Discerning the Holy in Middle Earth
Craig Bernthal

Paperback: Second Spring, 2014.
Buy now: [ AmazonKindle ]


Reviewed by Alden Lee Bass

At an event in San Francisco in 2003, when literary critic Joseph Pearce explained to a gathering of Tolkien fans that the author’s Catholicism was an integral and crucial part of The Lord of the Rings, several members of the audience got up and left. Yet it’s not only casual readers who miss this obvious point – Tolkien scholarship is divided between those who emphasize the pagan elements of his great works and those who see an underlying Christian infrastructure. For those versed in Christian theology, the Christian elements of Tolkien’s epic are unmistakable: from Gandalf’s death and resurrection to Gollum’s failed redemption to Frodo and Sam’s march up Mount Doom to destroy the ring. Tolkien himself said in one of his letters, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”

Continue Reading…

John Henry Newman – 5 Poems

February 20, 2015


John Henry Newman

Tomorrow (Feb. 21) is the birthday of Cardinal John Henry Newman…
Here are a few of our favorite poems of his:


The Sign of the Cross

John Henry Newman

WHENE’ER across this sinful flesh of mine
I draw the Holy Sign,
All good thoughts stir within me, and renew
Their slumbering strength divine;
Till there springs up a courage high and true
To suffer and to do.

And who shall say, but hateful spirits around,
For their brief hour unbound,
Shudder to see, and wail their overthrow?
While on far heathen ground
Some lonely Saint hails the fresh odor, though
Its source he cannot know.


Continue Reading…


A Flemish Master Returns to the Church
A Feature Review of

The Catholic Rubens: Saints and Martyrs.
Willibald Sauerländer

David Dollenmayer, Trans.
Getty Research Institute, 2014.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Sarah Jane Holsteen


For a book examining the Counter-Reformation altarpieces of a Baroque artist, Willibald Sauerländer begins in an unexpected spot: with the painting of a pagan suicide. Peter Paul Rubens’s The Death of Seneca (circa 1612), depicts the Stoic philosopher fulfilling Emperor Nero’s order of death, his (likely wrongful) punishment for plotting against the Roman ruler. Sauerländer commits the whole first chapter of The Catholic Rubens to a discussion of this painting. Why? Stoicism’s exhortation to self-control and reason run counter to the heightened emotions and tumultuous narratives of the Baroque art which Rubens helped define.  And why begin a consideration of Rubens’s artistic service to the Catholic Church with this “Pagan Prelude” (the title of Chapter One)?

Continue Reading…


Our Latest Book Giveaway…

We’re giving away FIVE copies of the new book

The Church of Mercy:
A Vision for the Church

Pope Francis

Paperback: Loyola Press, 2014

Read our review of THE CHURCH OF MERCY


“What did we do to deserve such a man as Pope Francis? Every day the world drops its jaw in wonder at the work of art that is Jorge Mario Bergoglio.  Read this book, and see how he is doing it.”
–Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
“I can’t even tell you the sense of wonder and gratitude I am feeling reading The Church of Mercy. Every Christian in at least the western world should read this man…at least read enough to know what Christianity has come upon or been given or will be watching develop over the next few years. This man sees, and is of, the Kingdom of God.”
–Phyllis Tickle

Continue Reading…


The Abounding of Humility

A Feature Review of

Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church
Pope Francis

Paperback: Loyola Press, 2014
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Tom Tatterfield

*** This book was chosen as one of our Best Books of the first half of 2014!
It has become rather commonplace to acknowledge the election of Pope Francis as a breathe of fresh air for the Roman Catholic Church, both in the western world and globally. Throughout the first year of his papacy, Christians and non-Christians alike have, with intrigue, fixed their gaze on Francis, having a curiosity stirred in them by his acts of compassion and humility. The Church of Mercy has finally arrived in print as a welcome work compiling various teaching moments of Francis throughout this initial year as Pope. The book is a collection of excerpts derived from homilies, addresses, his first encyclical (Lumen Fidei) and his apostolic exhortation (Evangelii Gaudium). The editorial work deserves special mention, gathering several texts and arranging them thoughtfully in order to properly portray the breadth of Pope Francis’s spiritual wisdom. The excerpts, each no longer than a couple pages in length, have been organized categorically around certain topics/themes (i.e. the gospel, evangelization, the Holy Spirit, pastoral ministry, idolatry, etc…), resulting in a very readable book replete with profound insight for the life of the Church. It is a window through which one might see the heart of Pope Francis and his vision for the Church.

Continue Reading…