The Reason for the Seasons: Why Christians Celebrate What and When They Do by James V. Schall, S.J. (Sophia Institute Press). We can’t be joyful without knowing why we should be joyful, which is why the indefatigable Father Schall – the “thinking man’s priest” – presents these short but powerful chapters on the most important and joyful feasts of the Church’s liturgical year.
The Papacy: What the Pope Does and What Matters by Stephen K. Ray and Dennis Walters (Ignatius). Without a pope’s divinely guided leadership, the Church would suffer the contradictions and divisions familiar to non-Catholic Christians, and the Apostolic succession would be subject to arbitrary, relative, and numerous interpretations; holiness would be only a distant ideal, and the Church founded by Jesus would break apart.
In describing the Pope’s important and singular role as leader and teacher, the book addresses common misconceptions and objections to the papacy. It also explains how the papacy developed and how the Pope is elected.
The Great Discovery: Our Journey to the Catholic Church by Ulf and Birgitta Ekman (Ignatius). A former Lutheran and Pentecostal minister, Ulf and his wife Birgitta founded the largest megachurch in Sweden. This is the story of their road to Rome, from their own intense opposition to Catholicism to meeting with Pope Francis.
Black and Pro-Life in America: The Incarceration and Exoneration of Walter B. Hoye by Robert W. Artigo (Ignatius). The story of Rev. Hoye’s decision to fight California’s “bubble law.” He could have accepted a sentence of community service, provided he’d agree never to return to the abortion clinic to protest. But he preferred spending thirty days in the county jail to forfeiting his constitutional right to free speech and his Christian duty to offer help to women in need, most of whom were, as he is, black.
The Biblical Names of Jesus: Beautiful, Powerful Portraits of Christ by Paul Thigpen (TAN). Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, contains many names for Jesus and Dr. Thigpen explains how each reveals something new and essential about the Lord. Knowing all eighteen unique names provides a deeper knowledge of Christ and a fuller understanding of how the whole of the Bible points toward Jesus.
Celebrating a Merry Catholic Christmas: A Guide to the Customs and Feast Days of Advent and Christmas by Fr. William Saunders (TAN). In a beautifully illustrated book, the sometime TCT contributor explains the historical roots of traditions, such as the Advent wreath and Christmas tree, and also provides spiritual reflections and suggestions for practices to enrich your family’s Christmas preparation and celebration.
Ireland 1845-1850: The Perfect Holocaust and Who Kept It “Perfect” by Christ Fogarty (Fogarty Publishing). According to the author, there was no mid-19th-century Iriah famine in the ordinary sense of that word. It was genocide perpetrated by more than half of Britain’s army, which, at gunpoint, moved Ireland’s abundant meats, livestock, and food crops to the ports for export; thus starving the people.
Mind, Heart & Soul: Intellectuals and the Path to Rome, edited by R.J. Snell and Robert P. George (TAN). In a series of interviews, a cradle Catholic (George) and an adult convert (Snell), offer the stories of sixteen converts, each a public intellectual or leading voice in their respective fields, and each making a significant contribution to the life of the Church.
I AM_ Rewrite Your Name-REROUTE Your Life – Blessed Fearless Forgiven by Christ Stefanick (Real Life Catholic). The words you speak to yourself shape your self-perception. Your self-perception shapes your actions. Your actions shape your life. Affirmations pertaining thereto.
To Raise the Fallen: A Selection of the War Letters and Spiritual Writings of Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J. (Ignatius). A selection of vivid letters by and Irish chaplain from the front in WWI, along with diary entries, prayers, spiritual writings and extracts from the pamphlets that made him a publishing sensation across Europe in the early years of the twentieth century
Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence (The Last Years and Living Legacy) by Raymond Arroyo (Image). In the sequel to his bestselling biography of the founder of EWTN, the host of “The World Over” describes the private drama within Mother’s monastery, her personal supernatural encounters, and the prolonged suffering she endured. Arroyo describes Mother Angelica’s spiritual battles in her cell—including encounters with the devil—as well as previously unrevealed episodes of hilarity and inspiration. Now in paperback.
Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World by Anthony Esolen (Regnery). TCT contributor Tony Esolen writes that America’s political elite has a stake in the destruction of cultural memory—anything that resists the new management state and the elites’ own rootless. But it is a deeply human thing not only to have a home, which is rare enough in our time, but to long to return home. For Christians, this longing to return home not only makes us defenders of our homes and families here on earth but also wayfarers constantly moving towards our true home with God in eternity.
Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary: Unveiling the Mother of the Messiah by Brant Pitre (IMAGE). The author of Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist (that earlier book reviewed by Brad Miner here) casts new light on the Virgin Mary, illuminating her role in the Old and New Testaments. Dr. Pitre takes readers step-by-step from the Garden of Eden to the Book of Revelation to reveal how deeply biblical Catholic beliefs about Mary really are.
Made This Way: How to Prepare Kids to Face Today’s Tough Moral Issues by Leila Miller with Trent Horn (Catholic Answers). Once, Christian parents didn’t have to worry about how to explain transgenderism or how to help a teenager defend traditional marriage. Today, as our culture’s moral center continues to fly apart and with every form of deviance publicly aired and celebrated, we have no choice but to equip our kids to understand and to own the truth about such issues.
The Crucifix on Mecca’s Front Porch: A Christian Companion for the Study of Islam by David Pinault (Ignatius). The author focuses on Muslim interactions with the Christian tradition, examining (and taking issue with) the misguided approach of Christians and Muslims who, in the interests of rapprochement, minimize theological differences between the two faiths, especially in the area of Christology and, therefore, do a disservice to both religions.
Rethinking Mary in the New Testament by Edward Sri (Ignatius/Augustine Institute). Catholics and non-Catholics alike may be tempted to assume they already know everything there is to know about Mary. Whatever your degree of knowledge and personal devotion to the Mother of God, this book will help you see Mary with new eyes and greater appreciation.
The Sacraments: Discovering the Treasures of Divine Life by Fr. Matthew Kauth (TAN). The sacraments are the very lifeblood of our soul, yet in the midst of our busy lives, we can fail to understand their power and importance. Without them, we are spiritually dead. With them, the very life of God runs through us.
Know Thyself: 100 Guided Meditations on Humility of Heart by Rev. Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo, edited by Ryan Grant (TAN). The work of Cardinal Bergamo, from his classic Humility of Heart, is supplemented with writings from the saints and scripture passages. Humility is the key to all the virtues, the necessary foundation for growth in all the others.
Run That By Me Again: Selected Essays from “Absolutes” to the “Things that Can Be Otherwise” by James V. Schall, S.J. (TAN). TCT‘s beloved contributor one of our foremost thinkers and cultural commenters. A distinguished professor, the author of more than thirty books, and writer of countless essays, Fr. Schall has made a life of pondering the most important questions of this world and beyond.
Apostles of the Culture of Life by Donald T. DeMarco (TAN). Dr. DeMarco presents short profiles of individuals from various fields who worked heroically in defense of life. While some are Jewish and others Protestant, the majority are Catholic.
Discernment Do’s and Don’ts: A Practical Guide to Vocational Discernment by Fr. George Elliott (TAN). From a college chaplain, tech apostle, and parish priest comes a guide to discerning any vocation, married or celibate, teens or young adults, that combines the teachings of Scripture, Church documents, Church Fathers, and saints.
Everyday Evangelism for Catholics: A Practical Guide to Spreading the Faith in a Contemporary World by Cathy Duffy (TAN). From an RCIA director and expert in homeschooling. Evangelism isn’t a one-size-fits-all process, so the author helps sort out what is likely to work best in different situations. She advocates a relational approach rather than the ability to win apologetic arguments.
Cloud of Wintesses: A Child’s First Book of Saints edited by Katie Warner and illustrated by Meg Whalen (TAN). A pre-school child’s introduction to friendship with the saints in heaven. Lessons from well-known saints with short, memorable quotes and beautiful illustrations of the saint who spoke or wrote it.
Real Suffering: Finding Hope in the Trials of Life by Dr. Bob Schuchts (Saint Benedict Press). Suffering affects everyone. For many, it can be a stumbling block to faith in God and a catalyst to unhappiness. But it doesn’t have to be so. In fact, it can be the catalyst to something greater: union with Christ. Dr. Schuchts is founder and president of the John Paul II Healing Center in Tallahassee, Florida.
The Gift of the Church (Volume 1): How the Catholic Church Transformed the History and Soul of the West by Ryan S. Topping (TAN). An exploration and celebration, in word and image, of how our way of life, that is, the Western way of life, has been transformed, and continues to be shaped, by the Church s faith. For each generation, the life and teachings of Christ has provided an answer to its deepest and most probing questions.
Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child from Public School Before It’s Too Late by Mary Rice Hasson and Theresa Farnan (Regnery Gateway). Almost overnight, America’s public schools have become morally toxic. And they are especially poisonous for children from religious families of every faith—ordinary families who value traditional morality and plain old common sense. Parents’ first duty is to their children—to their intellect, their character, their souls.
Calm in Chaos: Catholic Wisdom for Anxious Times by George William Rutler (Ignatius). The renowned writer and churchman Fr. George Rutler addresses our current causes of anxiety and our never-changing and ever-new reasons for hope. His writings on the issues of our day are neither pessimistic nor optimistic because they are infused with the confidence that God will grant us the peace that no earthly circumstance can take it away.
The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism Is Betraying Women by Fiorella Nash (Ignatius). The author, a pro-life feminist, unashamedly calls mainstream feminists, journalists, and Western politicians to account for their silence and – in some cases – vocal justification of the persecution of women because of their absolutist loyalty to abortion.
Doors in the Walls of the World: Signs of Transcendence in the Human Story by Peter Kreeft (Ignatius). The “walls” of the material world, which we perceive with our senses and analyze with our intellects, have doors that open into the “More” beyond them. Prof. Kreeft explains that this More includes “The Absolute Good, Platonic Forms, God, gods, angels, spirits, ghosts, souls, Brahman . . . Nirvana, Tao, ‘the will of Heaven’, The Meaning of It All . . .”
8/23/18 The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church was Right All Along by Jennifer Roback Morse (TAN). The Sexual Revolution and the breakdown of the family have brought misery to millions. In Dr. Morse shows that it wasn’t all a force of nature, but deliberately created by elites, harnessing the power of the State and inflicting three false and calamitous ideologies: contraception, divorce, and gender.
Mr. Mehan’s Mildly Amusing Mythical Mammals by Matthew Mehan and illustrated by John Folley (TAN). A journey through an alphabet of mythical mammals unites the bright and bumbling Blug and the dear but downhearted Dally, who come to learn a thing or two about good, evil, courage, humor, sadness, hope . . . and how to govern their spirits and truly love their fellow mammals.
Building the Benedict Option: A Guide to Gathering Two or Three Together in His Name by Leah Libresco with a foreword by Rod Dreher (Ignatius). A combination spiritual memoir and practical handbook for Christians who want to build communities of prayer, socialization, and evangelization in the places where they live and work.
A Bloody Habit by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson (Ignatius). A novel set in 1900 with vampires and Dominican vampire killers.
Why Humanae Vitae Is Still Right edited by Janet E. Smith (Ignatius). A sequel to Smith’s classic Why Humanae Vitae Was Right, this new volume shows how the case—ethical, theological, spiritual, and sociological—for Paul VI’s controversial document remains strong. Indeed, it’s in some ways even stronger today, thanks to Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and in light of the problems caused by the sexual revolution. So, after half a century, how has the teaching of Pope Paul VI on marriage and birth control held up? Very well, says philosopher Smith and her contributors, who include TCT‘s Mary Eberstadt, plus (among others) Therese Scarpelli Corey, Michael Waldstein, Christopher West, and Obianuju Ekeocha. A book well-timed for the October Synod.
Faith and Politics: Selected Writings by Joseph Ratziner (Pope Benedict XVI) with a foreword by Pope Francis (Ignatius). The Pope Emeritus has explored various aspects of this subject in books, speeches, homilies, and dialogues throughout his career, from his years as a theology professor to his tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and most recently as Pope. The reader will find some of these texts collected in this volume.
The Evangelizing Parish by Francis Cardinal Arinze (Ignatius). Written by a highly respected cardinal and a former head of the Vatican office for worship and sacraments, this book shows how the local Catholic parish in any town has tremendous potential to evangelize its surrounding community. Francis Cardinal Arinze reveals the important roles of both priests and laity in spreading the Gospel within the parish and beyond.
Would you Baptize an Extraterrestrial? . . . and Other Questions from the Astronomers’ In-box at the Vatican Observatory by Guy Consolmagno, S.J. and Paul Mueller, S.J. (Image). With disarming humor, Brother Guy and Father Paul explore these questions and more over the course of six days of dialogue. Now in paperback.
Finding Hope on Vegas by Michelle Davis (BookBound Media). In the blink of an eye, a fifteen-hundred-pound bull named Vegas stomped seventeen-year-old Nathan Davis nearly to death. The true story of the relentless dedication and determination of a self-reliant family that suddenly found themselves completely dependent on Divine Providence and intervention.
The Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows by Mother Dolores Hart O.S.B. and Richard DeNeut (Ignatius). The 2013 bestseller now in paperback.
Reclaiming the Republic: How Christians and Other Conservatives Can Win Back America by Robert G. Marshall (TAN). While the election of Donald Trump as president may have slowed down the project of those who would continue to move America away from the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, the struggle is not over, and the next few elections may well prove decisive. This book shows Christians and all people of good will and traditional values how to use the levers of civil power to defeat anti-Christian and anti-Natural Law policies at all levels of government.
Dorothy Day: An Introduction to Her Life and Thought by Terrence C. Wright (Ignatius). Wright presents Day’s radical response to God’s mercy. After a period of darkness and sin, which included an abortion and a suicide attempt, Day had a profound awakening to God’s unlimited love and mercy through the birth of her daughter. Drawing heavily upon Day’s own writings, Wright discusses her love for Scripture, the sacraments, and the magisterium. He explores her philosophy and spirituality and shows how her understanding of the Mystical Body of Christ led to controversial positions such as pacifism.
On the Ignatian Way: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Saint Ignatius Loyola by José Luis Iriberri, S.J. and Chris Lowney (Ignatius). The Ignatian Way is connected with the thousand-year-old tradition of making pilgrimages. In 1521 Ignatius of Loyola decided to change his life, and to do that he became a pilgrim, setting out for Jerusalem. This book was written as a guide to offer Ignatian experience to modern pilgrims, with accounts by various modern pilgrims and guidance, following the lead of the Spiritual Exercises of the great saint himself.
Further Up & Further In: Understanding Narnia by Joseph Pearce (TAN). Catholic author Joseph Pearce invites readers to return with the eyes of an adult to C.S. Lewis’ magical land entered through that most important wardrobe in literary history. the Narnia books contain profound insights concerning the human condition. Pearce, however, goes beyond even that and illuminates the deeper riches and profound truths found therein: the highest truths, in fact, those concerning God.
One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler (Ignatius). The Sirius XM radio host challenges the idea that a woman can’t balance work and family, individuality and motherhood, the creative life and family life. One Beautiful Dream is a deeply personal, often humorous tale of what happened when Fulwiler dared to believe that you can have it all—if you’re willing to reimagine what having it all looks like.
Wrestling with God: Finding Hope and Meaning in Our Daily Struggle to Be Human by Ronald Rolheiser (Image). Father Rolheiser, O.M.I. writes from his own life experience, as well as from others’ literary, psychological, and theological insights in order to examine the fears and doubts that challenge us. It is in these struggles to find meaning, that Rolheiser lays out a path for faith in a world struggling to find faith, but perhaps more important, helps us find our own rhythm within which to walk that path.
An Immovable Feast: How I Gave up Spirituality for a Life of Religious Abundance by Tyler Blanski (Ignatius). An account of a modern spiritual journey that begins with a fundamentalist Baptist childhood, moves on to adolescence in emergent church spirituality, continues through hipster years as a house painter and musician, who marries and enters an Anglican seminary in Wisconsin. After years of preparing to be an Anglican priest, he boldly joins the Catholic Church.
On Islam: A Chronological Record, 2002-2018 by James V. Schall, S.J. (Ignatius). The indefatigable Father Schall’s main concern is the abiding existence of Islam: its constant prodding to achieve the submission of all to Allah as a political and cultural fact. This book is a record of Schall’s own reaction to and understanding of incidents in which Allah was claimed as the reason for sundry shootings, bombings, and killings.
The Fragility of Order: Catholic Reflections on Turbulent Times by George Weigel (Ignatius). One of America’s most prominent public intellectuals applies thirty-five years of experience in Washington and Rome to the turbulence that characterizes world politics, American public life, and the Catholic Church in the early twenty-first century. Through a distinctive cultural and moral lens, Weigel writes of such events as the First World War, the collapse of Communism, and the Obama and Trump presidencies, and offers new insights into the challenging pontificate of Pope Francis.
Two Wings: Integrating Faith & Reason by Brian Clayton and Douglas Kries (Ignatius). Two college teachers explain how believing and reasoning are two human activities that may be integrated to form a complete Christian view of existence. Two Wings takes its title from the opening of John Paul IIs encyclical Fides et Ratio, which speaks of how the human spirit rises on these two wings to ascend to truth.
Wrestling with God: Finding Hope and Meaning in Our Daily Struggles to be Human by Ronald Rolheiser (Image). Drawing from his own life experience, as well as a storehouse of literary, psychological, and theological insights, the author of Sacred Fire and The Holy Longing examines the fears and doubts that challenge us.
Marian Consecration for Children: Bringing Mary to Life in Young Hearts and Minds by Carrie Gress (TAN). Professor Gress offers reflections on the work of St. Louis de Montfort, weaving in tales of saints, kings, queens, knights, and princesses in order to to teach children about virtue, courage, and their spiritual mother who loves them. In addition, she draws valuable spiritual lessons from contemporary stories such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Winnie the Pooh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and many other fables and fairy tales that have brought children’s imaginations to life for decades.
Target Africa: Ideological Neocolonialism in the Twenty-First Century by Obianuju Ekeocha (Ignatius). Nigerian activist Ekeochs (Uju to her friends) argues that European and North American liberals, convinced of their good intentions, are ideological neo-colonial masters, aggressively pushing on Africa their views about contraception, population control, feminism, homosexuality, the sexualization of children, and abortion. Thus are many African nations put back into positions of dependency as new cultural standards conceived in the West become core policies in Africa.
Our Father: Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer by Pope Francis (Image). A very brief meditation by the pope illuminates the most important prayer in all of Christianity, verse by verse, in conversation with Father Marco Pozza, a theologian and a prison chaplain in Padua, Italy. Reviewed here by Brad Miner. Reviewed here by Brad Miner.
Interpretations: Reading the Present in Light of the Past by Jude P. Dougherty (CUA Press). A collection of essays by the distinguished philosopher (and TCT contributor) written to inform or to provide commentary on contemporary issues. In probing the past to interpret the present, they draw upon a perspective that one may call classical: the perspective of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and their followers across the ages, notably Thomas Aquinas, and his modern disciples, such as Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain.
I Will Think of Everything. You, Think Only of Loving Me by a Sister of Children of Mary (CreateSpace). A book that promises to teach very practical ways to increase your love for God, find peace of soul, and use your time here on earth in the best possible manner. As you grow in love for God, you will be protecting yourself from Satan. Part I is the ceaseless act of love as experienced by a Sister of Children of Mary; Part II is a reprint of a booklet by Fr. Lorenzo Sales, IMC about the messages to Venerable Sr. Consolata Betrone.
The Universe We Think In by James V. Schall, S.J. (CUA Press). This latest book from TCT‘s most-beloved contributor arises from a tradition of realism, both philosophical and political, describing a universe in which the common sense understanding of things is included in our judgement about them. The scope is both vast and narrow – vast because it is aware of the reality of things, narrow because it is the individual person who can and wants to know them.
Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock by Philip F. Lawler (Regnery Gateway). Faithful Catholics are beginning to realize it’s not their imagination: Pope Francis has led them on a journey from joy to unease to alarm and even to a sense of betrayal. They can no longer pretend that he represents merely a change of emphasis in papal teaching. Assessing the confusion sown by this pontificate, Lost Shepherd explains what’s at stake, what’s not at stake, and how loyal believers should respond.
Life Everlasting: Catholic Devotions and Mysteries for the Everyday Seeker by Gary Jansen (Image). The director of Image publishing “offers smart and practical advice on how to cultivate a rich spiritual life.” – James Martin, S.J.
The Fourth Cup: Unveiling the Mystery of the Last Supper and the Cross by Scott Hahn (Image). Dr. Hahn explains Christ’s Paschal sacrifice on the cross as the fulfillment of the traditional fourth cup used in the celebration of Passover, drawing symbolic parallels to the Last Supper and Christ’s death on Calvary.
The Light Entrusted to You: Keeping the Flame of Faith Alive by John R. Wood (Ignatius). Dr. Wood uses popular movies, songs, stories, sports, and life experiences to teach the faith. He shares the CDs, DVDs, books, and media that have helped him learn and love the Catholic faith and to pass it on to any age group. The book revolves around the words of the sacrament of Baptism, reminding Catholic parents that they have been entrusted with the duty of being the primary educators of the faith.
Ten Battles Every Catholic Should Know by Michael D. Greaney (TAN). Civilization needs to be defended. Mr. Greaney presents detailed accounts of pivotal engagements in the centuries-long defense of Christendom against militant Islam. The accounts of battles are amplified and expanded with historical footnotes and introductions. Though less well known than the struggle to retake Spain and Southern France, the battlefields of Armenia and Eastern and Central Europe were just as crucial in the preservation of Christendom.
Made for Love: Same-Sex Attractions and the Catholic Church by Fr. Michael Schmitz (Ignatius). Intended for homosexual people and their loved ones, Made for Love discusses different worldviews of the human person, the philosophical ideas of nature and purpose, the differences between objective and subjective truth, the principle of non-contradiction, and the fallen human nature that resulted from Original Sin.
Manual for Men by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted (TAN Books). The ordinary of Phoneix offers a guide for men who are in the arena, warriors for Christ and His Church. It is for those men who battle daily for their souls and for their families. It is often a struggle to shed the sins and vices the world offers men, but it’s a battle we must fight and win.
Slaying the “Spirit” of Vatican II with the Light of Truth edited by Rev. Robert J. Araujo, S.J. (The Bellarmine Forum). Despite the orthodox, plainly written documents that came out of the Council, churches were stripped of their beauty, teachings were twisted, and sacred hymns were replaced with hand-clapping folk music – all in the name of a “spirit” that bears no resemblance to that sacred gathering or tradition. Several dozen essays explain what went wrong.
Into His Likeness: Be Transformed as a Disciple of Christ by Edward Sri (Ignatius/Augustine Institute). A short but in-depth exploration of what it means to be a disciple, including the four habits of a disciple: prayer, the breaking of bread (the Sacraments), fellowship, and the teaching of the Apostles.
Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby (Saint Benedict Press). Fr. Kirby offers hope to the tired, overburdened, and unhappy, reminding us that we are made for happiness, AND showing us the path to achieving it. It’s not a new path. It’s the one Jesus showed us in the Beatitudes
Heroism and Genius: How Catholic Priests Helped Build — and Can Help Rebuild — Western Civilization by William J. Slattery (Ignatius). From the genius of Christianity and the cultures of the Jews, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Germanic peoples, the Catholic Church built a new and original civilization, embodying within its structures the Christian vision of God and man, time and eternity.
A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail by Charles A. Coulombe (TAN Books). The author examines the fabled vessel’s literary and historical connections but offers far more than a stuffy history of a dusty old cup. Rather, he shows how the Holy Grail is the key to an entire genre of glorious relics and miraculous phenomena that extend from the time of Christ to the present day.
Going Deeper: A Reasoned Exploration of God and Truth by Leo Severino (Ignatius). The author maps out a train of thought that begins with everyday events, reasons its way through proofs of the existence of God, then goes on to describe the deep purpose inscribed in every human heart. Going Deeper promises fresh perspectives on the classic arguments that demonstrate how faith and reason go hand in hand.
Modern Age: A Conservative Review (Intercollegiate Studies Institute). The latest issue of the journal founded by Russell Kirk in 1957 presents “Christianity & Politics: From the Reformation to the Benedict Option” and includes essays and reviews by R.R. Reno, Timothy George, Lee Edwards, and M.D. Aeschliman among other notables.
The Case for Catholicism: Answers to Classic and Contemporary Protestant Objections by Trent Horn (Ignatius). Answers arguments put forward by early Reformers like Luther and Calvin as well as contemporary defenders of Protestantism. It provides a meticulous defense of the biblical and historical nature of Catholic doctrines from Scripture and Church history, even citing modern Protestant scholars who question Reformation assumptions and show how evidence from Scripture and Church history support aspects of Catholic theology.
Manual for Conquering Deadly Sin by Fr. Dennis Koliński, SJC (TAN Books). It is of vital importance that each individual soul recovers the lost sense of sin and begins the struggle to conquer the ones that threaten salvation. Part I: Defines sin and distinguishes between mortal and venial sins. Part II: Compiles passages from Church teaching and Scripture, along with quotes from the saints.
Humility Rules: Saint Benedict’s 12-Step Guide to Genuine Self-Esteem by J. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B. (Ignatius). A Benedictine monk and high school teacher/coach’s guide to inner peace by not taking oneself too seriously as understood through the Rule of the founder of Western monasticism. (With color reproductions of sacred art embellished with comic flourishes: the great saint with a skateboard; medieval monks shooting hoops . . .)
In Defense of Purity (foreword by Alice von Hildebrand) and Liturgy & Personality (foreword by Bishop Robert Barron) both by Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977). Two reissues of seminal Hildebrand books from the Hildebrand Project at Franciscan University of Steubenville. The first is not a book of sexual ethics or a “how-to” guide to purity but a meditation on the nature, value, and beauty of purity. The second describes how Catholic liturgy the derivative effect of forming a healthy personality.
Reformation Myths: Five Centuries of Misconceptions and (Some) Misfortunes by Rodney Stark (SPCK Publishing). An entertaining and enlightening expose of over-inflated claims about the Reformation and what it has done for us, written by an historian of international standing. Containing scathing indictments of popular historical distortions and misrepresentations of the birth and legacy of Protestantism in the West, the book is a welcome antidote to all the triumphalist books on the Reformation flooding the market this year. Reviewed here by Brad Miner.
Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential Encounter with God by Fr. Donald Haggerty (Ignatius). Arranged as a collection of concise, meditative reflections, this book discusses the essential elements of a soul’s return to God, including the repercussions of sin, the proper understanding of mercy, and the importance of a more radical response to God’s will.
You Are the Beloved: Daily Meditations for Spiritual Living by Henri J.M. Nouwen (Convergent). The late, troubled Fr. Nouwen believed the central moment in Christ’s public ministry was His baptism: “You are my beloved son on whom my favor rests.” Nouwen wrote: “He is reminded in a deep, deep way of who he is. . . . I think his whole life is continually claiming that identity in the midst of everything.” Featuring the “best” of Nouwen’s writing from previously published works
Galileo Revisited: The Galileo Affair in Context by Dom Paschal Scotti (Ignatius). This account of the “Affair” presents a description of the historical context in its political, cultural, philosophical, religious, scientific and personal aspects, with a discussion of the relationship between religion and science in general and of the relationship between Christianity and science in particular. The author is a monk at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island.
Pope Francis and the Caring Society, Robert M. Whaples, ed. with a Foreword by Michael Novak (Independent Institute). An integrated perspective on Francis and the issues he has raised, examining the intersection of religion, politics, and economics, with essays by Samuel Gregg, Allan C. Carlson, and others.
Faith in Luther: Martin Luther and the Origin of Anthropocentric Religion by Paul Hacker (Emmaus Academic). Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI remembers Paul Hacker as “a great master, someone with an unbelievably broad education, someone who knew the Fathers, knew Luther, and had mastered the whole history of Indian religion from scratch. What he wrote always had something new about it, he always went right to the bottom of things.” The new edition is reviewed here by Russell Shaw.
The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism by Thomas Joseph White, O.P. (Catholic University of America Press). Fr. White’s accessible presentation of Catholicism is grounded in traditional theology, but engaged with a host of contemporary questions and objections. Inspired by the theologies of Irenaeus, Thomas Aquinas, and John Henry Newman, The Light of Christ presents major doctrines of the Christian religion in a way that is comprehensible for non-specialists. Reviewed here by Robert Royal.
Heroes & Heretics of the Reformation by Phillip Campbell (TAN). Not since the birth of Christ has an event shaken the foundations of the Western world as did the Reformation. Now, 500 years after Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door at Wittenberg—the sound of which served as the thunder presaging the storm to come—Mr. Campbell casts fresh eyes on that tumultuous time and its most influential characters.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism: The Killingest Idea Ever by Paul Kengor (Regnery). A brand-new installment of the Politically Incorrect Guide series P.I.G. to Communism is a critique of freedom’s greatest ideological adversary, past, and present. Prof. Kengor is the author of A Pope and a President (see below). He teaches political science at Grove City College.
Kidnapped by the Vatican? The Unpublished Memoirs of Edgardo Mortara (Ignatius). Presented with commentary by journalist Vittorio Messori, this is a possibly timely look at the strange case of a Jewish boy baptized by a Catholic maid and then forcibly removed from his parents to be raised and educated as a Catholic — and who became a priest. Steven Spielberg has wanted to make a movie about the case, although that remains in limbo. As the subtitle indicates, much of the book is Father Mortara’s own diary.
Five Proofs of the Existence of God by Edward Feser (Ignatius). Professor Feser provides as ambitious and complete a defense of traditional natural theology as is currently in print. The aim of Five Proofs is to vindicate the views of the greatest philosophers of the past— principally Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, and Leibniz — that the existence of God can be established with certainty by way of purely rational arguments. A refutation, therefore, of atheism and of the fideism that gives aid and comfort to atheism.
Grace & Justification: An Evangelical’s Guide to Catholic Beliefs by Stephen Wood (Family Life Center Publications). A former Protestant who crossed the Tiber, Mr. Wood presents a unique perspective on several contentious doctrines relating to justification (works, merit, infusion) by viewing them through the lens of our adoption by God the Father. He also encourages a simple, yet profound, way to grasp the priority of grace taught throughout the Catechism of the Catholic Church that many unfortunately miss.
What Did Jesus Do? The Biblical Roots of the Catholic Church by Thomas J. Nash (Incarnate Word Media). Mr. Nash seeks to present anew the real Jesus, the Word who became flesh (Jn. 1:14) to save all of humanity and to employ his Mystical Bride, the Catholic Church, as the instrument of salvation and life-transforming love (Mt. 16:18-19; Jn. 10:10). If the Church were merely a human institution, she would’ve entered the dustbin of history centuries ago.
The Reformation 500 Years Later: 12 Things You Need to Know by Benjamin Wiker (Regnery). For Catholics, it was an unjustified rebellion by the heterodox. For Protestants, it was the release of true and purified Christianity from centuries-old enslavement to corruption, idolatry, and error. An account of the world-changing event that rejects the common distortions of Catholic, Protestant, Marxist, Freudian, or secularist retellings.
From Islam to Christ: One Woman’s Path through the Riddles of God by Derya Little (Ignatius). Born and raised in Muslim Turkey, Mrs. Little [for obvious reasons, a pseudonym] wandered far and wide in search of her true home. After her parents’ divorce, she rejected her family’s Islamic faith and became an atheist. During her stormy adolescence, she tried to convince a Christian missionary that there is no God but was converted to Christ instead. Now she’s a Catholic.
The New Politics of Sex: The Sexual Revolution, Civil Liberties, & the Growth of Government Power by Stephen Baskerville (Angelico Press). The title comes from Newsweek and references controversial issues such as legalized same-sex marriage, liberalized abortion, and the admittance of women into combat. But Prof. Baskerville believes all that is just the tip of a very large iceberg, the full dimensions (and danger) of which we’re just beginning to see.
The Satisfied Crocodile: Essays on G.K. Chesterton by James V. Schall (ACS Books). The indefatigable and prolific TCT contributor presents a colorful, provocative, and always lively journey across the vast landscape of that is GKC. One great thinker taking on another, shedding light on light. As he writes in the Introduction: “When we read Chesterton we find ourselves in many worlds, and, yet, on rereading him carefully, we find that the world he is in is the world of what is.”
The Immortal in You: How Human Nature Is More than Science Can Say by Michael Augros (Ignatius). From the author of Who Designed the Designer?, this modern response to the ancient exhortation “Know thyself” delivers a wealth of fresh, powerful, and uplifting ideas about what it is to be human. You are not a machine, and you have an eternal destiny, and there is more to you than science can ever say.
Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s skewed statistics, fuzzy facts, and dodgy data by Austin Ruse (Regnery). The former TCT contributor says the truth is out there, although often not in the politicized science peddled by liberals. One after the another, Ruse debunks the so-called “facts” used to advance political causes, revealing how poorly they stand up to actual science.
By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment by Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette (Ignatius). Against the trend suggesting the Church must oppose the death penalty. In fact, the Church’s traditional teaching safeguards society, because the just use of capital punishment protects the lives of the innocent, inculcates a horror of murder, and affirms the dignity of human beings as free, rational, and responsible creatures.
1o1 Places to Pray Before You Die: A Roamin’ Catholic’s Guide by Thomas J. Craughwell (Franciscan Media). Five million visitors crowd into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York each year. Hundreds of thousands annually pay homage to the Blessed Virgin at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. But Catholic travelers don’t always realize that every state in the Union contains unique shrines, retreat houses, missions and other significant holy places.
Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace by Daniel C. Mattson with a foreword by Robert Cardinal Sarah (Ignatius). The author grew up believing he was gay, his life marked by constant turmoil. Finding the conflict between his sexual desires and the teachings of his church too great, he turned his back on God. Yet freedom and happiness remained elusive until he discovered Christ and his true identity.
Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music by Robert R. Reilly (Ignatius Press). Atonality and cacophony have characterized the work of some modern composers. Some but not all. It is the spirit of music that this book is most about, and in his efforts to discern it, Bob Reilly has discovered many treasures. The purpose of this book is to share them, to entice you to listen because beauty is contagious. Beauty and humanity are out there, waiting to surprise.
YOUCAT Bible with a preface by Pope Francis (Ignatius Press). From the team of German-language scholars who gave us YOUCAT (read: “youth catechism”) and DOCAT (on social teaching). It’s “filled with engaging photos, clever and fun illustrations by YOUCAT’s award-winning designer, insightful sidebar quotes from great thinkers, Catholic saints and leaders, past and present, and young people living their faith today.”
Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World by Jean M. Heimann (Saint Benedict Press). Few place-names in the Christian world conjure up such powerful images and associations as that of this humble town in Portugal, where Our Lady appeared to three children 100 years ago. This beautifully illustrated volume will be treasured by long-time devotees of our Blessed Mother.
The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis by Carrie Gress (TAN Books). As the world descends into chaos, Christians are thinking deeply about how to stem the tide. Many options and suggestions have been presented to deal with Christian persecution and cultural decadence, but none can hold a candle to The Marian Option. Mary’s intercessions make clear that Christ’s mother is indeed the most powerful woman in the world. She offers the answer to saving the world and bringing God’s people back into her Son’s heart.
Slaves in Paradise: A Priest Stands up for Exploited Sugarcane Workers by Jesús García (Ignatius Press). Fr. Christopher Hartley arrived in the Dominican Republic in 1997, he discovered another side to this paradise: the deplorable living and working conditions of the people who harvest the country’s sugarcane, and the illegal human trafficking that brings them to the plantations as slaves. Because of his strong criticism, Fr. Hartley endured harsh treatment, was threatened with death, and eventually had to leave the country.
Catholicism and Intelligence (Living Faith Series) by James V. Schall, S.J. (Emmaus Press). TCT’s Father Schall presents a collection of essays that challenge us to see God in what-is, in the reality of our world. Engaging some of the finest minds of the past – Chesterton, Plato, Augustine, and even Charlie Brown – Schall speaks to the present with incisive clarity, illustrating how revelation informs and strengthens the natural light of reason, enabling humanity to see reality most clearly.
The Light Shines on in Darkness: Transforming Suffering through Faith by Robert Spitzer, S.J, Ph.D. (Ignatius). Questions and answers from the former president of Gonzaga University, including: Why would an all-loving God allow suffering? Aren’t suffering and love opposed to one another? Does suffering have any benefit for this life?
A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century by Paul Kengor (ISI Books). Even as historians credit Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II with hastening the end of the Cold War, they have failed to recognize the depth or significance of the bond that developed between the two leaders, which included a spiritual connection between the Catholic pope and the Protestant president— and drove the two men to confront what they knew to be a great evil: Soviet communism.
Angels, Barbarians, and Nincompoops . . . and a lot of other words you thought you knew by Anthony Esolen (TAN Books). From the indefatigable TCT contributor comes a book in content recognizable to his Facebook friends, wherein he mines words, finding their precious depths.
The Cardinal Müller Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, with Carlos Granados (Ignatius Press). The head of CDF responds to four key questions: What can we hope for from Christ? What can we hope for from the Church? What can we hope for from the family? And what can we hope for from society?
Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other? by Peter Kreeft (Ignatius). Kreeft seeks to find the common ground between the two major Christian groups. The author characterizes his book as like a sheepdog, “herding and hectoring God’s separated sheep back to His face.”
The Dawn of Christianity: How God Used Simple Fishermen, Soldiers, and Prostitutes to Transform the World by Robert J. Hutchinson (Thomas Nelson). Using the most recent studies by top Christian and secular scholars, Mr. Hutchinson reconstructs all the known accounts of Christ’s resurrection appearances and follows the witnesses as they experience brutal persecution to become committed evangelists. “A riveting thriller of the most improbable history-changing movement imaginable.”
Don’t Divorce: Powerful Arguments for Saving and Revitalizing Your Marriage by Diane Medved, Ph.D. (Regnery Publishing). Not quite thirty years ago, Dr. Medved published The Case Against Divorce, which got a lot of well-deserved attention. Unfortunately, the number of broken marriages continues at an alarming rate, and Medved returns (with a brilliantly declarative title) to offer commonsense about making marriage last.
The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible by Sarah Ruden (Pantheon Books). A Quaker lady from the Ivy League (Ph.D. from Harvard; visiting professor at Brown) looks at God’s Word without religious awe or orthodoxy, as we might understand it, but with great appreciation for the exquisite language and profound wisdom of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.
God’s Gamble: The Gravitational Power of Crucified Love by Gil Bailie (Angelico Press). Drawing primarily on the insights of René Girard and Hans Urs von Balthasar, Bailie shows that the Cross of Christ has left a crater at the center of history, an inflection of sacrificial love toward which everything before and after this event is ordered and properly understood.
The Heart of Holiness by Fr. Gary Lauenstein (Ignatius), which is subtitled “Friendship with God and Others,” which teaches an important lesson: that “our everyday experience of our friendships with others are our stepping stones to holiness.”
The Lion of Münster: The Bishop Who Roared Against the Nazis by Fr. Daniel Utrecht (TAN) is a biography of Cardinal Clemens August von Galen, the German Catholic leader who dared to speak out against Hitler. Fr. Paul Scalia says von Galen’s story should remind pastors today to “guard. . .against a different kind of tyranny – the dictatorship of relativism.”
Littlest Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ by Austin Ruse, with a foreword by Raymond Cardinal Burke (TAN). These stories began life here at The Catholic Thing. Beautiful, heartbreaking, and faith affirming, these are stories of children taken too soon by the Lord; kids who have “led others to varying degrees of belief and practice.” Now reviewed here by Robert Royal.
Liturgy & Personality by Dietrich von Hildebrand (Hildebrand Project in partnership with the Franciscan University of Steubenville). The book has an introduction by Bishop Robert Barron and an afterword by Alice von Hildebrand. Bishop Barron: “Hildebrand insists. . .that the primary purpose of the liturgy is not to form the personality but to give proper praise to God, the supreme good.”
Mary of Nazareth by Michael Hesemann (Ignatius): “The first archaeological and historical biography of the most fascinating and revered woman in history, the Mother of Christ.” Paul Thigpen says of Hesemann, “His personal devotion to the Virgin shines through his extensive scholarship to create a delightful and enchanting portrait of the Mother of God.”
Monaghan: A Life by Joseph Pearce (TAN). The prolific biographer (Hilaire Belloc, Roy Campbell, G.K. Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis) profiles the founder of Domino’s Pizza, and former owner of the Detroit Tigers, and the founder of Ave Maria University, at the core of whose life “is an unwavering Catholicism that has strengthened him amidst adversity and grounded him amidst prosperity.”
Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story by Sally Read (Ignatius). Staunchly atheist, Read converted to Catholicism in the space of nine electric months. Feminist and deeply anti-Catholic, she spoke with a Catholic priest. The interview led her on a dramatic spiritual quest that ended up at the Vatican.
Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture by Anthony Esolen (Regnery). What do you do when an entire civilization is crumbling around you? You do everything. The Catholic Thing contributor and Thomas More College professor offers analyses and solutions. Reviewed here by Brad Miner.
Peter: Keys to Following Jesus by Tim Gray (Ignatius/Augustine Institute). Dr. Gray, a Biblical scholar, offers a guide to the tumultuous, inspiring life of the Apostle and first pope – with lessons from Peter’s life: casting into the deep; avoiding discipleship at a distance; repenting to receive mercy; and becoming a bold witness for Christ.
The Porn Myth: Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography by Matt Fradd (Ignatius). The downside of the Internet is the lack of restraint when it comes to flesh and the devil. Mr. Fradd, an entrepreneur in cyberspace, explodes illusions: that porn isn’t addictive; that porn relieves pressure among rapists; that women don’t struggle with porn.
The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Cardinal Robert Sarah with Nicolas Diat (Ignatius). Silence is the indispensable doorway to the divine. Within the walls of the La Grande Chartreuse, a Carthusian monastery in the French Alps, Cardinal Sarah answers the following questions: Can those who do not know silence ever attain truth, beauty, or love? Do not wisdom, artistic vision, and devotion spring from silence, where the voice of God is heard in the depths of the human heart? Fr. Murray comments here.
Racketeer for Life: A Memoir by Joseph M. Scheidler (TAN): The longer subtitle is “fighting the culture of death from the sidewalk to the Supreme Court.” Proclaimed the “godfather of pro-life activism,” Scheidler has been the target of a racketeering lawsuit from pro-abortion NOW.
Real Music: A Guide Through the Timeless Hymns of the Church by Anthony Esolen (TAN). A commentary on Catholic music (with an accompanying CD of 18 hymns) as it should be: good music, real music that combines timeless poetry with doctrinally sound lyrics and beautiful melodies.
Saint Mary Magdalene: Prophetess of Eucharistic Love by Fr. Sean Davidson (Ignatius). A much needed book, since Magdalene has become a lightning rod for New Age and neo-gnostic nonsense. She loved the Lord as much as anyone – perhaps more than anyone while He was on the earth. Her example can help readers “to enter more deeply into adoration of Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.”
Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female by Ashley McGuire (Regnery). The gender revolution isn’t just ridiculous, it’s dangerous: boys will be girls and vice versa. The irony – from a feminist point of view – is that the trend mostly hurts women more than men.
Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (Henry Holt & Company). Robert Royal reviewed this gem here: “Life Comes from the Archbishop”
That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion by Father Paul Scalia (Ignatius). The TCT contributor reveals a scholar’s mind and a pastor’s heart in inspiring reflections on a wide range of Catholic teachings and practices. Rooted in Scripture, the beauty and truth of these insights places the reader on a path to a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God. Marvelous interview with Fr. Scalia here.
The Unholy Trinity: Blocking the Left’s Assault on Life, Marriage, and Gender by Matt Walsh (Image Books). With the GOP in charge of Congress and the White House (and maybe the Supreme Court) it is time for conservatives to act, because abortion has redefined life, same-sex “marriage” has redefined the family, and new gender “theories” have redefined sexuality. Enough!
Who Am I to Judge? Responding to Relativism with Logic and Love by Edward Sri (Ignatius/Augustine Institute). This isn’t what you may be thinking: not a reaction against the famous statement by Pope Francis, who has said “relativism wounds people” and it is “the spiritual poverty of our time.” Dr. Sri provides answers to the questions people pose about why the Church isn’t in sync with the “modern” world.
Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values by Nonie Darwish (Regnery Faith). Ms. Darwish, a convert to (Evangelical) Christianity from Islam writes that Western countries are ignorant of true Islamic values. She is frustrated with mainstream America’s talk of tolerance and assimilation. The narrative is both personal and political. And hers is a unique perspective.