Archives For Catholicism


Our Different, Blurry Places
A Brief Review of 

I [Heart] Francis:
Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer

Donna Schaper

Paperback: Fortress Press, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
Reviewed by Kelsey Maddox
I can remember a picture of the pope (John Paul, to be exact) positioned above my grandma’s recliner on the peach and maroon colored wallpaper of the farmhouse. I never understood why she had a picture of someone on the wall who wasn’t in our family. I never understood any of that, and neither did Donna Schaper, a progressive queer women from New York City.  It seems esoteric, that is, until Pope Francis.

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A Parable on Grief and Healing

A Review of 

The Abbey:
A Story of Discovery

James Martin, S.J.

Hardback: HarperOne, 2015
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Reviewed by Ryan Johnson.
Noted for his depth of insight and his light-hearted wit, James Martin, SJ constantly delivers best-selling spiritual works such as A Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and his more personal Jesus: A Pilgrimage which recounts his own pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  The Abbey is at once both a continuation of these earlier works and a departure.  It marks Martin’s first excursion into fictional writing and while the genre may be new territory for him, the spiritual insights and his signature humor continue to pervade the entire book.  Perhaps not an instant classic as his previously mentioned works, The Abbey is nonetheless an enjoyable read for anyone who is eager for the practical spiritual wisdom that Martin is known for.

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Chris Haw - From Willow Creek to Sacred HeartMixing Contemplation and Action

Review of

From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart

Chris Haw

Paperback: Ave Maria Press, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Christopher Brown.

Chris Haw’s newest book, From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart, recounts how his pursuit of a Christ-like life led him to convert to Catholicism through the Sacred Heart parish of Camden, NJ. Though subtitled “Rekindling my Love for Catholicism,” this book is not an idealistic or triumphal story of an evangelical’s quest for the true Church.  Instead, it’s a gritty memoir of Haw’s own journey of discipleship in very different but very specific contexts.  Part One tells the story of Haw’s own spiritual journey: a childhood in a Catholic parish in Ohio, the blooming of his faith in the youth program of a suburban megachurch, education and anti-war activism at Eastern University, all the way to his migration to the inner-city.  Part Two presents Haw’s theological musings not as abstract apologetic arguments, but as authentic reflections of the questions Haw asked with his feet firmly on the ground in Camden.

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To Joan of Arc
Saint Therese of Lisieux

When the Lord God of hosts gave you the victory,
You drove out the foreigner and had the king crowned.
Joan, your name became renowned in history.
Our greatest conquerors paled before you.

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God’s Jury – Cullen MurphyTorture and the Modern World

A review of

God’s Jury:
The Inquisition and
the Making of the Modern World

Cullen Murphy

Hardback: HMH Books, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Alex Joyner.

Somewhere in the souvenir stack from our family trip to Disney World in the early Aughts is a picture taken on the Tower of Terror.  As with many other thrill rides, this one offers you the opportunity to capture and preserve forever the look on your face when you realize that the bottom has just dropped out.  Only in the picture my brother-in-law’s face is hidden by a large orange bag that he had strategically placed over his head for just this moment.  We lovingly refer to the picture as “Gitmo goes to Disney.”

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An excerpt from the new book:

Night of the Confessor:

Christian Faith in an Age of Uncertainty

By Tomás Halík

Paperback: Image Books, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Watch for our review of this book later this week…


A Brief Review of

Shirt of Flame:

A Year with Saint Therese of Lisieux.

Heather King.

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2011.
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Reviewed by Stephen Taylor.

The moment I began to read Shirt of Flame: A Year with Saint Therese of Lisieux, I knew that something very special was happening; an epiphany if you like.  Heather King does not pull any punches or hide her own sins.  In fact, she hangs them out for all to see and then places them in the context of her relationship to God.  There is a bravery in this act that most writers would never dream of attempting.

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St. Francis De Sales
William Edward Heygate

Why should I wish to have my will
And seeking good secure an ill
Mid life and age have only brought
Fresh proof of what youth’s trials taught

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“Making the Claims of
Truth and Goodness Meaningful

A review of
Beauty Will Save the World:
Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age

by Gregory Wolfe

Review by Jonathan Master.

BEAUTY WILL SAVE THE WORLD - Gregory WolfeBeauty Will Save the World:
Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age

by Gregory Wolfe
Hardback: ISI Books, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

There never was a golden age for art and the church.  Not one in which the church fully understood and supported her artists, or where the artists, for their part, practiced their work in constant service to the greater glory of God. But there have been better and worse times.  Our age, by anyone’s reckoning, is not one of the better ones. In general, the church is concerned, confused, or downright hostile to high art; and artists return the favor, often scorning traditional norms of decency, order, and Christian transcendence. Some have ventured into this breach, but few as successfully as Gregory Wolfe, writer, critic, and founder of the journal Image.  Wolfe’s work is a gift to us, deserving of our gratitude.

This ambitiously titled book, Beauty Will Save the World (“tell us what you really think, Mr. Wolfe”), is a hybrid of sorts.  It contains elements of autobiography, and sections which can best be described as intellectual match-making, introducing readers to important voices in contemporary art and literature. Along the way, Wolfe employs his incisive critical skills, showing once again why he is such a valuable resource in the efforts at rapprochement between art and the church.

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Alternatives to
Economic Darwinism

A Review of
New Financial Horizons:
The Emergence of
an Economy of Communion
Lorna Gold.
Paperback: New City Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Margaret D’Anieri.

In her introduction, author Lorna Gold writes:

The end of the twentieth century was marked by the so-called “triumph of capitalism” and the failure of the socialism regimes in  Eastern Europe. It was accompanied by a wave of optimism that the “evils” of communism could be overcome by the forces of the free market… just two decades on … the world appeared a very different place. A world of prosperity delivered by free market globalization seemed like a distant dream. All over the world, governments were forced to step in to shore up banks, the stalwarts of market capitalism. Massive inequalities in opportunity remain the norm. Environmental destruction threatens. A series of truly global crises challenges us to think carefully about the assumptions on which economy and society is based.

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