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Commentary: Book and Media Reviews

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

Matching Books to Readers, II: Stroik’s The Church Building as a Sacred Place

Duncan Stroik has, over the past several decades, led a crusade to restore a sense of the sacred to Church architecture, gradually forcing the Modernists into retreat and establishing a beachhead of spaces clearly set apart for God for the purpose of communicating the mysteries of Faith. A...

Matching Books to Readers, I: Monti’s A Sense of the Sacred

Occasionally a truly fine book will come across my desk which deserves to be more widely known, meriting close and enthusiastic reading by a particular Catholic audience, but which simply does not cover a subject in which I have the requisite personal interest. Two perfect examples have...

Evangelical Catholicism: George Weigel’s Vision of Catholic Reform

George Weigel, whose biography of Pope John Paul II was brilliant, and whose analysis of Catholic affairs is always incisive, has a theory about the modern Church. Most of us would point to the Second Vatican Council as the starting point of a vast and difficult Catholic renewal, but Weigel argues...

Pope Benedict on Prayer: The Complete Set

Readers of CatholicCulture.org will remember that over about an eighteen month period before the start of the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI had devoted many of his weekly general audiences to an extended catechesis on prayer. Earlier he had done similar series on great spiritual figures...

Epistemic Authority: Preferring the True and the Good to the Self

Catholics who have made a deep commitment to their faith find the modern world puzzling. Every time they try to argue a position they are met not so much by counter-arguments as by ridicule. This ridicule takes the form of dismissing out of hand all those who permit a religious authority to...

How to Reach People? Christopher West on filling hearts.

We fail so often to “get through” to others with the love and joy of our Faith that we all have to wonder if there is a better way. I discussed several different approaches recently in Models of Apologetics. That title may seem to blur the question, because it implies argument,...

Catholic Social Thought? Not Your Father’s Encyclopedia!

Would it not be wonderful to have an encyclopedia of Catholic social thought? I’m not referring to something like the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church issued in 2004 by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace—which is available in the CatholicCulture.org library....

Chesterton via Ahlquist: Marvelous

Here is a book which took me by surprise: Dale Ahlquist’s explication of the thought of G. K. Chesterton in The Complete Thinker. Subtitled “The Marvelous Mind of G. K. Chesterton”, Ahlquist’s book explains Chesterton’s writing not only through many apt quotations but...

Help for Homilists

I had never heard of a “homiliary” before one of our colleagues in England, Mark Alder (www.christendom-awake.org), called my attention to the four-volume homiliary for the Roman Liturgy by the Dominican priest, Fr. Aidan Nichols (see my review of his outline of systematic theology,...

The English Bible According to Msgr. Ronald Knox

Baronius Press has just brought out an attractive edition of the Knox Bible—the English translation of the Bible done single-handedly by the famous Catholic apologist Msgr. Ronald Knox between 1936 and 1945. This is a gilt-edged, leather-bound edition with two colored ribbons; its verse...

Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

I've just read the third and final volume of the Pope's study of Jesus of Nazareth. This was originally projected as a separate monograph, in which the Pope applies his special brand of exegesis, which is really a profound renewal of exegesis, to the infancy narratives. Chronologically, of...

Grace through Suffering

Elie Gilges died in her parents arms on March 11, 2004. Elie had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when she was eight months old, and her parents expected to lose her almost immediately. Hope was rekindled when they found surgeons who would operate, but Elie had a stroke during or...

Douthat's excellent critique of American heresies

Ross Douthat will forgive me, I hope, for saying that it is remarkable Bad Religion was written by such a young man. I don’t mean to patronize him. A conservative Catholic writer who has established himself as a regular op-ed columnist for the New York Times doesn’t need a...

Reading the Greats during the Year of Faith: Newman and Chesterton

There are all kinds of special reading we could and should be doing during the Year of Faith. The Church recommends the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism and so, as far as study goes, these should be at the top of our list. But neither of these is properly spiritual reading, and that...

James Likoudis: The Defense against the Claims of Eastern Orthodoxy

James Likoudis was one of several mentors from whom I was privileged to learn when I was struggling to become more effective in defending and advancing the Catholic faith some forty years ago, in my twenties. Likoudis was already established as a proponent of authentic Catholic renewal, a leading...

Paying the Price of Faith: Muhammad Fadel-Ali Becomes Joseph Fadelle

If you lived under a militantly Muslim regime and wanted to convert to Christianity, you would probably assume you could quietly make contact with one of the small Catholic communities in your region and so seek entrance into the Church. But your assumption would very likely be wrong. Because of...

Catholic Myth Busting: One Step Is Often Enough

One of the interesting things about misunderstandings of the Catholic Church is this: If we are able to dispel one misunderstanding for a particular person, we’re well on the way toward dispelling all of that person’s misgivings concerning the Faith. This is true largely because of the...

Climatism’s Mad, Mad World: A Review

[The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism, Steve Goreham, New Lenox Books, 2012, vii+301 pp, paperback and Kindle (see links following review)] The theme of this book is the unsound science behind “global warming” and “climate change”, and the irrational behavior that it has...

Sherry Boas: Wing Tip

Sherry Boas is back with a new novel entitled Wing Tip. Boas, author of the Lily Trilogy which I reviewed in late 2011 (Lily: Real Life, Real Literature), now turns her attention to the life and ministry of a priest, Fr. Dante De Luz, who learns that his father is not the man who raised him but a...

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...