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By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 20, 2012

Image Books, which once published so many Catholic classics, has put out a new volume: Vatican II: The Essential Texts. That’s odd. With so many compilations of the Vatican II documents already on the bookshelves, why would we need a new one? From the publisher’s perspective, what is the “added ingredient” that could spark sales?

Image touts the book’s two introductory essays: one by Pope Benedict XVI, the other by James Carroll. What an astonishing mismatch!

James Carroll walked away from his priestly ministry almost 40 years ago, and has spent most of the intervening years writing a column for the Boston Globe, in which he continually attacks the history, teaching, and integrity of the Catholic Church. A shamelessly partisan writer, Carroll has been frequently caught massaging the facts to suit his ideology.

What in the world gave Image editors the idea of pairing this author—a paragon of the “anti-Catholic Catholic”—with Pope Benedict? And who at the Vatican consented to the pairing? Why bother including the Pope’s appeal for a “hermeneutic of continuity,” if it will be cancelled out by another essay claiming that Vatican II reversed traditional teachings?

Not recommended.

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