Category: On Books

Book Review: <i>Mortal Blessings</i>
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Book Review: Mortal Blessings

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I am a daughter of aging parents. While I don’t know the day or the hour, I know that the time is coming when I will need to walk with them on their final journey home. Death is part of life, and as a Catholic, I understand that it is the doorway to a different […]

Wake Up, The Glory of the Martyrs Shines Upon You!
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Wake Up, The Glory of the Martyrs Shines Upon You!

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In his moving novel, Silence, Japanese-Catholic author Shusako Endo once described the continent of Asia as a “swamp” that choked the sapling of the Gospel and made it uninhabitable for Christianity. That image has always haunted me because a part of my own journey — as a convert to Christianity from Buddhism — has been to […]

Frustrations in Prayer
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Frustrations in Prayer

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Fr. Ronald Knox, an English Catholic of the early 20th century and convert, gave retreats and talks to lay people to help them deepen and improve their spiritual life. In his Spiritual Guidance for Christian Living: A Retreat for Lay People, he gathers two dozen talks and homilies written for lay people and the troubles they […]

Book Review: <i>Redeeming Administration</i>
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Book Review: Redeeming Administration

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With summer vacations winding down and the world getting back to the business of school and work, it is the perfect time to read Redeeming Administration: 12 Spiritual Habits for Catholic Leaders (Ave Maria Press, 2013). Author Ann Garrido serves as a program director at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Lewis. Having been […]

Laughing With the Lord
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Laughing With the Lord

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A well-timed one-liner allows for a lighthearted look at ourselves and the world. It affords an opportunity to appreciate amazing ironies in our life. It encourages us to start talking with others. When delivered well, an amusing line elevates language to the level of art and leaves us laughing, wanting more. In Prayer Works! Getting […]

Seven More Books for Catholic College Students
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Seven More Books for Catholic College Students

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The college semester is upon us again, and at most universities the new academic year is either now beginning or has recently begun [1]. For the returning students, this means a return to familiar stomping grounds and reunions with friends before the courses really buckle down into the semester grind. For the new students, it […]

Catholic Romance Novel Shows Sacrifice at the Heart of Love
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Catholic Romance Novel Shows Sacrifice at the Heart of Love

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Just as the movie Brokeback Mountain paved the way for widespread acceptance of homosexual love affairs, the novel The Lion’s Heart is poised to do the same for the Catholic view of homosexuality. Almost certainly the first of its kind, this gay Catholic romance novel was written by Dena Hunt (also author of Treason) and published by Full […]

Five Books for the Catholic Mom’s Soul
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Five Books for the Catholic Mom’s Soul

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Living my vocation is hard. So, so hard. However, when I truly invest myself completely in loving and serving these humans that God has given me, the graces flow and joy abounds. Its true, what they say: If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. To that end, over the last few years I’ve been seeking […]

<em>Theology of the Body, Extended</em>: A Review
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Theology of the Body, Extended: A Review

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When John Paul II used his first years as pope forming the Theology of the Body, he meant it as a springboard for further reflection by theologians. In Theology of the Body, Extended: the Spiritual Signs of Birth, Impairment, and Dying, Susan Windley-Daoust takes that invitation and runs with it. John Paul II focused on […]

<i>Mr. Blue</i> - The Anti-Gatsby
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Mr. Blue – The Anti-Gatsby

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In the June 2014 issue of Columbia Magazine, published by the Knights of Columbus, Alton J. Pelowski offered a profile of Myles Connolly (1897 – 1964), a former editor of that publication. A graduate of Boston College, he would serve in the Navy during the end of World War I, work as a reporter for […]

NCR Blogger's Memoir Breaks Mold
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NCR Blogger’s Memoir Breaks Mold

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National Catholic Register blogger Jennifer Fulwiler just published her long awaited memoir, Something Other Than God. The book is enjoying exposure and praise typically reserved for secular tales. When I saw the book profiled on Forbes.com, a real feat for a Catholic conversion story, I braced myself for something compelling. The memoir is written with […]

<em>Divergent</em> Trilogy Tackles Genetic Engineering and Genetic Discrimination
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Divergent Trilogy Tackles Genetic Engineering and Genetic Discrimination

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Warning! Spoilers Ahead!! Divergent is the latest of the teen dystopian future trilogies to hit the big screen. I have read all three books, Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant. Is it not my favorite trilogy in this growing genre, but I know that teens everywhere love it. I do appreciate that Veronica Roth has tackled some […]

A Place for Family Prayer
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A Place for Family Prayer

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Life today is fast-paced and can lead us astray, so we need to slow down sometimes and reset our direction toward God. The best way to begin this reorientation is by making space – both physically and spiritually – for prayer in the home. This is the message of the book The Little Oratory: A […]

<i>Journey of Our Love: The Letters of St. Gianna and Pietro Molla</i>
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Journey of Our Love: The Letters of St. Gianna and Pietro Molla

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St. Gianna Beretta Molla is a popular saint, not only because she was so profoundly pro-life as to give up her own life in order to save her unborn child, but also because she was a modern woman and a working mother. She is someone mothers of today can relate to and aspire to imitate […]

Book Review: <i>Dear God, You Can't Be Serious</i>
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Book Review: Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious

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Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious (Liguori Publications, 2014) is the sequel to Patti Maguire Armstrong’s Dear God, I Don’t Get It, but one need not have read the first one to enjoy the second. While the first book focused on older brother Aaron, a sixth grader who had to move to a new state […]

Lust, Love, and Demons: A Review of <em>Tobit's Dog</em>
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Lust, Love, and Demons: A Review of Tobit’s Dog

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The Biblical story of Tobit’s marriage to Sarah, whose previous seven husbands had been slain by demons, has been cleverly reimagined in a new novel (released April 2014 by Ignatius Press) called Tobit’s Dog, by Michael N. Richard. The novel is set in the backwoods of Depression-era North Carolina. The plight of blacks in the […]

Book Review:<em> Chesterton’s America</em>
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Book Review: Chesterton’s America

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To recommend any book, I should at least be able to say to you that it is a pleasure to read. This book is a pleasure indeed! But saying the least is not my problem with reviewing Chesterton’s America: A Distributist History of the United States. My problem is having the space to say all […]

Book Review: <em>The Heart of Catholicism</em>
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Book Review: The Heart of Catholicism

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Dr. Bert Ghezzi, well-known Catholic author of several books on the saints and the sacraments, has now written a book about how Catholics live. The Heart of Catholicism: Practicing the Everyday Habits that Shape Us (Ave Maria Press, 2014) “is a book about what Catholics do and why they do it. It describes the practices […]

How I Accepted the Challenge of Christian Fatherhood
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How I Accepted the Challenge of Christian Fatherhood

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Emily and I drove home from the hospital in complete silence. The gravity of the moment eleven years ago hit me: we were responsible for someone else’s life. Gulp. At this time, I had been a Catholic for only three years. Through conversion, I fell in love with the theology and the sacraments. Yet, I […]

Book Review: <em>Something Other Than God</em>
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Book Review: Something Other Than God

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I have a bone to pick with Jennifer Fulwiler:  she kept me up late for about week reading her book, Something Other Than God. And we’ve got four kids aged five and under, so sleep is at a high premium around here. I wasn’t planning on reading Something Other Than God at all right now.  […]

Book Review: <em>Three Persons, One God</em>
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Book Review: Three Persons, One God

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In Three Persons, One God: Growing in Relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Leonine Publishers), Allison Gingras offers a primer in developing a personal relationship with the three persons of the Blessed Trinity. In her introduction, Gingras refers to the Gospel passage of Luke 8:4-15. That parable is about the farmer who went […]

The Magic of Belief
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The Magic of Belief

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Through the years I have been asked to review a good many books on topics from microbiology, to evolution, biomedical ethics, spirituality, and even the life of Cardinal Newman. It’s always a privilege to do so, to be a part of the birthing of an author’s dream, to help bring forward an idea, a perspective, […]

Without Dogma, Science is Lost
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Without Dogma, Science is Lost

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At the end of Science Was Born of Christianity: The Teaching of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki, I wrote, “If a reader gains anything from this book, let it be that one may confidently say that Catholic dogma positively and directly influenced the Scientific Revolution.” I proposed that perhaps the argument in the book that “science was born […]

Praying With Children
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Praying With Children

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It’s a troubling fact today that many Catholic children don’t know the basics of the faith. Many come to religious instruction in parishes without knowing how to make the Sign of the Cross or recite the Our Father or Hail Mary. Teaching children growing up in a secularized world, catechists and teachers can’t assume that […]

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