Archives For Catholic

 

Graham-Greene

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:
 

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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.

*** DOWNLOAD PDF ***

 
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

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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.”

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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.
 

NEXT POEM >>>>>

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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)?

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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

 
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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.

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Best Friend and Lord

 

A Feature Review of

Jesus: A Pilgrimage

James Martin, SJ

Hardback: HarperOne, 2014
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by Jon M. Sweeney

 

Best known today as the chaplain to Stephen Colbert’s alter ego on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” or as the Catholic priest who presided at the funeral mass in New York City for actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Martin SJ also writes great books. He’s been doing so for a long time. I suspect the simplicity of the title of this one is deliberate.

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The Pope who Quit (One Year Ago)

BenedictXVI

 

 Jon M. Sweeney

 

I woke up on February 11, 2013 and was as shocked as everyone else. At least for the first few seconds.

By 10:30am I was sitting in the offices of CBS News in Chicago, being interviewed by Jay Levine for the evening news. He was asking a lot of questions about my book published a year earlier, The Pope Who Quit. What did I know? When did I know it? I didn’t predict that this would happen, I told Jay. I simply suggested that it could happen. There was a precedent, and there were signs.

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Pope Francis and the Future of the Church
 
A Feature Review of

Francis: A New World Pope

Michel Cool

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]
 
Reviewed by Tim Høiland

 

Ever since Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by the papal conclave this past March, becoming the 266th pontiff and the first to take the name Francis, it seems the whole world has been abuzz with prognostications about what new directions the Catholic Church will take with the “People’s Pope” at the helm.

 

Indeed, from the moment he first appeared on the balcony at St. Peter’s it became clear that Pope Francis was serious about trying to live up to his medieval namesake. Notably absent was the regal dress of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. And before he blessed the people, he instituted a powerful reversal by asking the people to pray for him.
 
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