BOOKS OF INTEREST
Catalyst May Issue 2009
Recently, there have been quite a few books published that may be of interest to Catholic League members. In many cases, the publishing house is not big and it is therefore easy to overlook them. That is why we decided to give the following books a push: all deserve more attention than they have received thus far.
The New Ecumenism: How the Catholic Church after Vatican II Took Over the Leadership of the World Ecumenical Movement by Kenneth D. Whitehead, published by St. Paul/Alba House:
Ken Whitehead is a prolific author and former Assistant Secretary of Education under President Reagan; he is also a member of the Catholic League’s board of directors.
Whitehead traces how Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have pioneered ecumenical relations with fellow Christians. Following the mandate from Vatican II to do exactly this, both popes have done more than most Catholics and Protestants realize in fostering Christian unity. Whitehead makes such encyclicals as Ut Unum Sint (“That They May Be One”) and Dominus Iesus (“The Lord Jesus”) accessible to the general reader, thus making his own contribution to evangelization.
Whitehead, a convert to Catholicism, is nothing if not orthodox: “This book starts with the basic premise that the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church—described in the Nicene Creed still professed by Catholics on Sundays and holy days and taught by the popes and the bishops in union with him—is the true Church of Christ, and that those who believe in Christ ought therefore to be part of this Church in fulfillment of Christ’s prayers.”
The Truth Will Set You Free: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Pope Pius XII by Sister Margherita Marchione, published by Paulist Press:
Sister Margherita has done it again—she has produced another excellent book on Pius XII. In this slim volume, she begins with an historical overview of the pope’s confrontation with the Nazis, making a vigorous defense of his actions. She also addresses the cause for canonization, directly taking on the pope’s most vociferous critics in the media. The book also contains a chapter on some newly discovered documents.
In his Foreword, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone writes, “How profoundly unjust it is to judge the work of Pius XII during the war with the veil of prejudice, forgetting not only the historical context but also the enormous work of charity that the pope promoted, opening the doors of seminaries and religious institutes, welcoming refugees and persecuted people, helping all who were in need.”
Pope John Paul II: Confronting the Language Empowering the Culture of Death by William Brennan, published by Sapientia Press of Ave Maria University:
William Brennan is a professor at St. Louis University School of Social Service. He specializes in analyzing the linguistic terms that have historically been used to justify oppression. His previous work, Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives, was favorably reviewed in Catalyst for charting the terms and rationales used by those who have enslaved or otherwise persecuted men and women who were summarily denied the status of a human being. In this volume, Brennan brings his keen eye to bear on those who are responsible for the culture of death.
What makes this book so special is Brennan’s examination of the powerful way in which Pope John Paul II dissected the language of the death merchants. The Holy Father saw right through the verbiage employed by those lawyers and doctors who made a career out of smoothing over the rough edges of the language of death. “What is needed,” the pope said, “is the courage to speak the truth clearly, candidly and boldly, but never with hatred or disrespect for persons.”
Brennan has a splendid chapter on the “Ideological Foundations of Verbal Duplicity” and another on “The Universal Appeal of John Paul II’s Message.”
Who Do You Say That I Am?—120 Questions and Answers About Jesus Christ by James J. Drummey, published by C.R. Publications:
Readers of the Wanderer know Jim Drummey as the Q&A man on Catholic issues, and readers of Catalyst may remember that we previously flagged his books, Catholic Replies and Catholic Replies 2; we use those two reference books a lot at the Catholic League.
This time Drummey has set his sights on Jesus. He offers 120 questions about the life and teachings of Jesus, drawing on the Gospel accounts and other sources. His answers are authoritative, clear and concise. From questions like, “How do we know that Jesus is a real historical figure?,” to “How do we to understand Jesus’ statement about His coming to earth to spread not peace but division among families?,” the reader gets a quick education in answers that are easy to digest. This is a book that practicing Catholics, as well as Catholics who have fallen away from the Church, will benefit from enormously.
Patrick Madrid gets it just right when he says that “In this book you will encounter a wide and illuminating array of scriptural truths about who Jesus Christ really is, the testimony of the early Church Fathers, the teachings of the popes and councils and saints over the centuries.”
What Your Money Means (And How to Use it Well) by Frank J. Hanna, published by Crossroad:
In some Catholic circles, wealth is scorned and those who have made a lot of money are treated as if they were all greedy individuals. While obviously there are legions of affluent persons who fit this description, there are many who have used their fortunes responsibly. One such person is Frank Hanna, a Catholic entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Hanna has two parts to his intriguing book. The first part discusses such things as “How much is enough?” and “The fundamentals and non-essential wealth.” The second part covers such issues as virtue, wealth creation and giving, what Hanna calls the “three vocations of those with money.”
Hanna’s style is light, yet informed. His book is a primer on the responsible use of money, complete with ten tips to donors on how to decide which causes to support. No wonder his book has been endorsed by people like Ray Arroyo, Father Robert Sirico and Tom Monaghan—there is much to chew on and it is a great read.
Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories From Well-Known Catholics by Al Kresta and Nick Thomm, published by Servant Books:
Al Kresta is president and CEO of Ave Maria Radio and a prolific author; Nick Thomm is the executive producer of Al’s radio show. Their book contains short stories by more than two dozen Catholics in public life, all of whom share some personal experiences that are of interest to the Catholic community.
There is a striking interview with Norma McCorvey, the woman in the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. She explains why she got involved in this case and how and why she eventually turned to God; she is now a Catholic.
Others who share some personal moments include Ralph Martin, Patrick Madrid, Russell Shaw, Bob Lockwood, Father Frank Pavone and Regis Martin; Bill Donohue has an entry as well. It’s the kind of book anyone can pick up at any point and learn something they never knew before about some Catholics who have made their mark on our society. All of the contributions are inspiring, in one way or another.
The Seal: A Priest’s Story by Timothy J. Mockaitis, published by Xlibris:
Lawyers have their clients, psychologists have their patients, journalists have their sources and priests have their penitents. Confidentiality is a crucial criterion to all of these working relationships, and that is why it is rarely compromised. But something happened in 1996 that threatened to change all that, at least with regard to the priest-penitent relationship.
When inmate Conan Wayne Hale in Lane County Jail in Eugene, Oregon, asked to see a priest, Father Timothy Mockaitis went to the jail as he often did to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Little did either man know that D.A. Doug Harcleroad had obtained a court order to tape the confession.
Father Mockaitis offers in grand detail exactly what happened and why, providing an account that has historical, theological, legal and sociological ramifications. Some of what he endured is mind-boggling. When this occurred, the Catholic League conducted a major public relations campaign against Harcleroad. At first the D.A. was obstinate, but eventually he apologized and pledged never to record a priest in the confessional again.
Francis Cardinal George wrote a Foreword to the book. Anyone who likes first-hand accounts of what it is like to be a priest in a hostile environment won’t be able to put the book down. This was the first time the seal of confession was violated in a capital case in the U.S.
The New Ecumenism sells for $19.95 and can be ordered by calling 800-343-2522.
The Truth Will Set You Free sells for $16.95 and can be ordered by calling 1-800-218-1903.
Pope John Paul II sells for $22.95 and can be ordered by calling 888-343-8607.
What Do You Say That I Am?—120 Questions and Answers About Jesus Christ sells for $10.95 and can be ordered by calling 877-730-8877.
What Your Money Means (And How to Use it Well) sells for $21.95 and can be ordered by calling 800-888-4741.
Moments of Grace sells for $14.99 and can be ordered by calling 800-488-0488.
The Seal sells for $19.99 and can be ordered by calling 888-795-4274.