Commentary: Book and Media Reviews

The most recent Commentary items which review books and other media.

Will Many Be Saved?

We’ve all experienced it; we’ve all been affected by it: The endemic lack of concern about evangelizing others so that they can be saved. I’ve already given my most heartfelt response to this problem in The Catholic Side of Salvation, but I’ve hardly exhausted everything...

The Church and the Market

With some frequency in recent years, both Phil Lawler and I have insisted that Catholics are not bound to accept, approve and follow the prudential judgments of their bishops, or even of the pope, in matters of public policy. This is because, as the Church herself has repeatedly insisted, the...

Correcting History Personally: Stages on the Road

How shall I interpret my title? It could be a call to sanctity, certainly. But I have in mind the remarkable work that Sigrid Undset did in Stages on the Road. As you may already know, Undset was a Nobel prize-winning Catholic novelist in the first half of the twentieth century, the author of such...

Aidan Nichols: Chalice of God

Fr. Aidan Nichols is a Dominican theologian who resides at the Dominican house in Cambridge, England. With roots in the Russian theological tradition and a special expertise in the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar, Fr. Nichols combines shining orthodoxy with an appreciation of the traditions of both...

Is Christopher (the novel) a myth?

The number of Catholic writers attempting fiction appears to be growing by leaps and bounds. Among a handful of novels which have come across my desk over the past six months—which I am admittedly very slow to get to—is one that I managed to finish a couple of weeks ago. Then I let it...

Surviving Hitler: A Memoir of the Austrian Chancellor’s Son

Kurt von Schuschnigg was the devoutly Catholic Chancellor of Austria when Hitler invaded and took control of his country. For several years prior to the invasion, von Schuschnigg negotiated desperately both with Hitler and with potential allies in an effort to preserve Austrian independence. He...

Words of Wisdom: The Book

There is no questioning the importance of Thomas Aquinas for the Catholic intellectual tradition. Nor can one question the difficulty of reading him, in translation, nearly 750 years after his death. Indeed, to read any author separated from oneself by massive cultural and intellectual changes...

US military strategy fails when religious liberty is ignored

On Memorial Day, appropriately enough, I finished reading a new history of World War II: The Storms of War, by Andrew Roberts. Having examined some of the strategic errors that Hitler made, and traced their consequences, Roberts concludes by reminding his readers that the war could have turned out...

How Civilizations Die: an ambitious, brilliant book

Europe is “wounded,” Pope Benedict XVI told an assembly of Italian bishops today. What if the wound is fatal? We know that European culture is in distress. What if it cannot recover? Civilizations rise and fall; they do not last forever. In an ambitious and fascinating book, David Goldman has...

Children Do Matter, and the Book is Free

Johann Christoph Arnold is a Christian pastor, teacher, writer, and expert on family life and conflict resolution. He’s written more than one book about raising children, and he has also written on sex, marriage, forgiveness and overcoming the fear of death. He also gets around; his book on...

The Natural Law and Sex

Let’s suppose you want to construct an effective case for confining sexual relations to lifelong marriage between one man and one woman, in which each marital act is open to both life and love. You might turn directly to official Catholic teaching, but not unless your intended...

Why Philosophy Matters

Reviewing God, Philosophy, Universities by Alasdair MacIntyre, which was first published in paperback last year, is a little like writing a summary of a summary. But it is an important summary. Subtitled “A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition”, the book teaches us...

European liberals, American conservatives, and the 'social issues'

Now that the contest for the Republican presidential nomination is effectively over, we can expect the presumptive winner, Mitt Romney, to tack leftward as he prepares for the general election in November. While he was wooing the true believers of his own Republican party, and trying to allay the...

Across My Desk: The Effects of the Pill

I received a review copy of Mary Eberstadt’s Adam and Eve after the Pill, which is undoubtedly an excellent book. I’m not looking closely at it only because I’ve been sufficiently immersed in the subject that I will not gain much from going through it again, and I already know...

God: Philosophical Proofs and the Transcendentals

In my In Depth Analysis Proving God, I introduced a book by Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, entitled New Proofs for the Existence of God. I concentrated on the scientific arguments, which occupied the first part of the book. I should now like to discuss the philosophical arguments (Part Two) and Fr....

Roger Dubin: A Novelist in our Ranks

Well over a year ago, while I was in the midst of reviewing a series of new “Catholic” novels (beginning with Catholic Novels: The Big Question), a user and supporter of CatholicCulture.org by the name of Roger Dubin kindly sent me an autographed copy of his own novel. He had published...

A More Contemporary Sigrid Undset

If you are a Sigrid Undset fan (and you should be), it is probably because you’ve read one of her great medieval works, either the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy or the Master of Hestviken tetralogy. But this Norwegian novelist and biographer, a winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, was...

Breezy, Self-Help Politics…Before It’s Too Late?

An unusual book slid across my desk the other day. It is the “Ignatius Press Edition” of Indivisible by James Robison and Jay W. Richards. The purpose of the book is to provide a thumbnail guide to how we should understand and respond to many of the cultural and political challenges of...

Proving God

Robert J. Spitzer, SJ wrote an impressive book in 2010 entitled New Proofs for the Existence of God. It was impressive because Fr. Spitzer sought to update both the physical and the philosophical proofs for the existence of God, taking into account the kinds of problems which have been introduced...

Russell Shaw’s Book on Clericalism

Please note that I have just reviewed Russell Shaw's interesting book, To Hunt, to Shoot, to Entertain: Clericalism and the Catholic Laity. You'll find it in the In Depth Analysis section here:...