She lost her husband and even loses custody of her surviving son. Prof. Brugger provides a compelling case for recognizing that Trent did indeed define the indissolubility of marriage and not merely the Church’s authority over the sacrament. Frequent Hearses, about a dysfunctional movie studio making a glitzy film about Alexander Pope, is probably the best of the novels, with some passages worthy of Wodehouse. Her prizewinning Jesus Approaches is aimed at women but equally powerful and helpful for men in understanding women (and also understanding themselves). Mother Teresa. Much breezier was layman Peter J. Kreeft’s Catholics and Evangelicals, which in sparked a reappreciation of Louis Bouyer’s The Spirit & Forms of Protestantism. By thirteen, he concluded there was no God. And the bad guys get it in the end. Before the American-led invasion in 2003, Iraq’s Christians numbered 1.5 million, compared to merely 300,000 today. Here’s a roundup of our favorites: five must-read books for Catholic tots, kids, tweens and teens.If you’re looking for a way to engage your kids in the Mass, check out my book: To Hear His Voice – A Mass Journal for Catholic Kids! On the one hand, there is the rise of second-generation immigrants who are seeking to return home to their once totalitarian-occupied homelands. Why did I wait so long? ), and an often incisive explanation of how to live as baptized, divinized men and women in a secular wasteland. A word of caution: neither book is written from a Catholic perspective (and sometimes, far from it)—but both are extremely powerful, and do reveal basic truths about the human condition compatible with a Christian outlook, including the depths of parental love, and a refusal to give up even in our darkest hours. Lauren Daigle’s “You Say.” The perfect CCM single, with powerhouse vocals and production flourishes to match improbably impeccable lyrics. Not included by the author among his “best,” but well worth the trouble if you can find it.). Tocqueville’s Democracy in America reveals itself as a standing pillar of analysis and prescription amid the radical shifts in the democratic age. Though the trail of the table isn’t fully revealed until the end of the book, two stories weave together thematically to show how humanity survives through its brokenness with the assistance of faith and love. Brad Birzer’s Russell Kirk: An American Life brought home the glorious Catholic mind of an American original whose thought is experiencing a deserved rediscovery. Beguiling hat tricks both. The elder Muromets is a Templar, a Knight of the Church charged with guarding a thin spot between these realms and preventing the servants of the Dark Tower from entering and dominating our own world. And yet the reader of depth and sensitivity (so this reader imagines) will discover that there are treasures to be discovered in the bromidic adventures of Bertie Wooster: joy, the interplay of order and disorder, the last vestiges of a truly Christian culture, and self-sacrificial loyalty to one’s family and friends. This is another reflection on evangelization. , by D.C. Schindler (James Clark & Co, Cambridge, 2017). David P. Deavel is editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture and a visiting assistant professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota). The array of available Catholic books is vast and I wish I could hit pause on my life, curl up on my patio, and read for eleven years. Set in Reformation-era England, the lawyer Matthew Shardlake deals with a range of powerful and lowly characters while struggling with a variety of internal tensions, not least his religious beliefs. Stallings, Works and Days (Penguin, 2018), Dietrich von Hildebrand, Aesthetics vol. Don’t miss it. Among the best books I read this last year would be Mons. Happy 5th Anniversary to The Best Catholic! And Merry Christmas to all of the readers of our treasured CWR! I had the pleasure of reading most of St. John Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew for a course I’m teaching on the New Testament and found a wonderful devotional to our Blessed Mother from Father Edward Looney, entitled A Heart Like Mary’s. I used both books in my classes and have to say, the millennials enjoyed them. Mark Brumley is president and CEO of Ignatius Press. You can find children’s Mass books and guides here and children’s missals here. Somewhat. That said, I did manage to get to a few actual books this year. As he rightly notes, “our culture isn’t wrong to recognize that moral actions have an inherently public dimension; it’s just committed to enforcing a disordered mentality.” Written for a popular audience, Hahn manages to blend moral theology, sacramental theology, and social doctrine into a bracing call for fidelity and witness. For all the hoary portraits of Freud as some kind of atheistic revolutionary, his family life in Vienna was remarkably conservative and convivial, with everyone gathering daily for the main meal and wide-ranging conversation. A priest of Ravenna, Agnellus Andreas (d. c. 845) composed a topography of his beloved city, an amazing trek through the Roman Empire’s later capital and important Christian port town. Every year, I look forward to watching holiday-themed movies on the Hallmark Channel. Catholic journalist Miller writes on everything from H.P. His Grant lives. This year, I also read two fine new books about Solidarity, the nonviolent movement strongly tied to the Catholic Church that helped end communism in Poland and, eventually, across Eastern Europe: Bernard Brien’s Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko: Truth Versus Totalitarianism and Seth G. Jones’ A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland. Other than Gondolin, the only 2018 book I read was Ron Chernow’s Grant, a magnificent achievement. 10 Best Catholic Bibles 2020 Dating back over 2,000 years, the Roman Catholic religion 10 Best Christian Books 2020 Prayer is the cornerstone of a strong, stable, and 10 Best Vegan Books 2020 For those who already practice a vegan diet and James V. Schall, SJ taught political philosophy at Georgetown for many years, and is the author of numerous books. The other manuscript of his was a Lenten spiritual itinerary, constructed around the Lord’s Prayer and the weeks of the penitential season. It begins with a substantial foreword by Andrew Louth and is the only book I have so far discovered that contains a reflection on St. Frideswide who is the patron saint of Oxford University. The Trinitarian Christology of St. Thomas Aquinas by Dominic Legge, OP. Appleby’s wife may or may not be pregnant—yet again—and Appleby’s dissertation is woefully behind. My favorite book of the year circles back to Tolkien territory with major Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey’s Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings (2018). Another bright spot was my first full reading of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. This story beautifully reflects on the sometimes compassionate, yet sometimes abrasive ways that Christianity has encountered native religions and cultures. If you want more Hawthorne you can check out my anthology of Hawthorne’s short fiction. The perfect posthumous tribute, with 64 songs proving the boxed set died too soon. Astute pattern-spotter Michael Burleigh outlines the power structures upholding Yi Jinping, Putin, and Trump in The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: A History of Now (2017). While the book is more likely to spur discussion than provide a blueprint of action, Fulwiler’s main thesis is that anyone (man or woman) will find more fulfillment and happiness in their daily duties if they seek an appropriate outlet, within the context of their family and vocation, to pursue the particular creative gifts God gave them—their “blue flame,” as she calls it—and in fact make that a part of their family’s life and goals. And yes, with Fastiggi: Mary of Agreda, the Life of the Blessed Virgin (this book has unction, no doubt, and read, once again ‘cum grano salis’, has a singular ability to lift up the mind and heart. Thomas L. McDonald is a Catholic journalist who writes about the unusual side of Church history at WeirdCatholic.com. A useful book for those engaged in pastoral counseling (with the caveat that the insight we gain from such books does not preempt the need people often have for competent, properly trained psychological and medical professionals). Thank you for your generosity! Both Louis L’Amour’s High Lonesome and Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda fit the bill nicely. by A.R.K. Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed has taken the intellectual world by storm in its contentions that liberalism’s very success has guaranteed its failure, and that a new framework for understanding political life is needed. $9.99 Retail: $12.99 Save 23% ($3.00) Availability: In Stock. This book is undoubtedly great for young adults, but “older folks,” will also enjoy the music scene theme. The best thing about it is Illich’s intense musings on the mysterium iniquitatis and the deep paradox that the Incarnation will bring (and is bringing) out the worst possibilities of human history. One needs the virtue of “stick-to-it-tiveness” to read all three huge volumes of Foote’s history of the American Civil War. You can treat your children, and yourself, to no better Christmas present. Put another way, his poems are deeply rooted in the messiness of life while drawing upon and pointing to the mysterious edges of eternity. As I look over the books I read in 2018, I realize that another year has come and gone where I did not read as much fiction as I would have liked. All of life is here. Things are hardly ever what they seem. My undisputed favorites (and yes, I was only reading them for the first time) were Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). The Smoke of Satan: How Corrupt and Cowardly Bishops Betrayed Christ, His Church, and the Faithful…and What Can Be Done About It (Tan Books, 2018), is veteran Catholic editor and journalist Philip F. Lawler’s contribution to the growing stack of such titles. I’m embarrassed to say that before this year, I’d never picked up Wodehouse. Although the subject matter is dense and the chapter titles a little ‘scary’, Schindler does manage to present his analysis in language that is much clearer than is commonly encountered in academic books on German idealism. A solid account of one of the most decisive battles in Christian history. Finding a good novel that isn’t either shallow, sinful, or just plain nasty is really hard to do. failed to write. The reader quickly sees that this is not the usual Church-masochism piffle of the obsequious Seventies or Eighties. The political philosopher and politician Ryzard Legutko’s book is capable of doing just that. To Raise the Fallen, ed. Born and brought up in poverty in Edinburgh, this young woman, known for her cheerfulness and good humor, worked in a factory and lived in what we would today regard as unacceptable housing in a bleak area. Copleston explores the transcendent and enduring and the immanent and culturally conditioned in philosophy. And there’s one scene with the most terrifying pixies…. Other great lives to ponder included the Problem Called Maria and her family, via Agathe (the real eldest child) von Trapp’s Memories Before and After The Sound of Music. It provided this single man with many valuable insights. Prominent Catholic speaker and evangelizer Katie Prejean McGrady shares her testimony about why being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a joyous, lifelong pursuit. If that were not enough, the book also gives unsparing insight into the severe mercy lived and practiced by a great master of a spiritual discipline almost entirely lost to the popular consciousness, at least in the West. The translators, however, provide the reader with an elegant rendering of a classic work in a genre little known outside academic circles: Italo-Greek monastic spiritual biography. Lewis was published in 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death. I used the Francis Peabody McGoun, Jr. version in print and the Keith Bosley reading from Audible. This is a modern spiritual classic. my anthology of Hawthorne’s short fiction. Catholics need to know our Faith better, and Bible master Jeff Cavins takes us on a tour de force through the Bible in a way that provides us with a clear and cogent presentation of the sequence of Salvation History within the Sacred Scriptures. Wright. Oscillating back and forth between these two poles, according to Tocqueville, pushes democratic citizens to increase their love, not for freedom, but for equality. Dr. Dreadful’s interest is more than academic, however, and Illya witnesses him opening a portal, to the realm of the Dark Tower. There’s a great deal of pretense in human behavior. A charming take on the traditional “clown of God” folktale, which Cooney transforms into a Christmas story graced by her own delightful art. Another slightly unlikely read: the new Walsingham Pilgrimage Handbook. No Man Knows My History, by Fawn Brodie, a biography of Joseph Smith by the niece of a Mormon prophet. My three most 2018-instructive books were Father Louis Bouyer’s The Word, Church, and Sacraments in Protestantism and Catholicism (Ignatius Press), Antonio Socci’s The Fourth Secret of Fatima (Loreto Publications) and the Book of Exodus in Sacred Scripture. Here you will find stories of faith and hope to encourage and uplift readers, as well as solid guidance and advice from trusted authors. Congratulations to the best books of the year! This adventure may appeal particularly to boys ages 7-13, but I’m telling you—I was mighty tempted to hide in a closet and continue reading on my own after telling the kids I had to take a break from reading aloud to them. I’ve passed my copy on to a friend and now wish I hadn’t, so I’m buying it again for a January read. When I first read the book 40 years ago that would have seemed impossible—although Muggeridge often wrote with warnings about the West’s moral collapse. God Is Not Nice: Rejecting Pop Culture Theology and Discovering the God Worth Living For by Ulrich Lehner (Ave Maria Press, 2017). Although the subject matter is dense and the chapter titles a little ‘scary’, Schindler does manage to present his analysis in language that is much clearer than is commonly encountered in academic books on German idealism. Somewither also won the 2016 Dragon Award for Best Sci-fi Novel, Buy the Audiobook for $25.95 or Free with an Audible Account. ’s speech titled ‘The God Question Today’. So the novel, even as it weaves many stories together, is essentially about Big Angel: his journey, his sins, the gifts he’s leaving and, in the end: his gratitude. Each selection has something memorable about it. They know no slogans, and they do not lie. Anyone interested in preparing to receive the Word proclaimed liturgically, or looking for help in preparing to preach on the Word proclaimed, will greatly benefit from Carl’s work when it appears. In the broad realm of political philosophy, my book, The Universe We Think In, came out in April. This year I also returned to Peter Ackroyd’s The Life of Thomas More. O’Donnell’s biography—meticulously researched and years in the making (it exceeds 500 pages)—thankfully remedies that. Many of the authors of these new books, be they conservative or liberal, at least share one thing in common: they are turning to the same source for guidance, namely, Alexis de Tocqueville. A wonderful book to read along with the Morse book is Leon Kass’ Leading a Worthy Life: Finding Meaning in Modern Times. Between working with the police, avoiding marriage to pushy debutantes, and filing the paperwork for a suspicious new branch of the Masonic Lodge, Kemp will have to struggle to keep his life normal, boring and sane; just the way he likes it. This presentation of Ratzinger/Benedict’s many insights into the theological crises of our times is a virtuoso performance. Everyone loves a good booklist. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Although an atheist, Danish journalist Klaus Wivel was moved by their predicament and has written a harrowing account of the persecuted, shrinking Christian populations in Egypt, the Holy Land, Iraq, and Lebanon (Lebanon’s sizeable Christian minority is not persecuted, but because of poor economic prospects many Lebanese Christians are emigrating). The author focuses on the “ancient calling of bookselling and an interesting business for which increased training is needed if our present day is to be served adequately.” I did not know much of the bookselling education. I reread Clerical Celibacy in East and West by Roman Cholij, a must-read for all interested in celibacy. Scott Hahn, who is also a fine Scripture scholar, has written a powerful, blunt, and sometimes surprising work, The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order, that makes an uncompromising argument for upholding the Catholic truth about marriage in a public square almost entirely set on destruction such truth. John J. Miller’s Reading Around—a must-have collection of essays for booklovers. Mother Seton is widely known as the first American-born saint—but that’s all most people do seem to know about her. The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholicism by Taylor Marshall. Father Christiaan Kappes, The Immaculate Conception: Why Thomas Aquinas Denied, While John Duns Scotus, Gregory Palamas & Mark Eugenicus Professed the Absolute Immaculate Existence of Mary (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2014). This factual account of the chronology of the Church’s handling of the contentious third part of the Fatima secret (especially in the years between 1960 and 2000) does not smear high Vatican officials, speculate about unknowable unknowns, or engage in fatuous gossip. The Jesuit historian continues his series of books on recent (relatively) Church councils. The layman will be disabused of any of James Bond’s flashy glamor—think instead of the gritty realism of Alan Furst’s spine-tingling spy stories. It is an astounding trilogy work of medieval historical fiction, centered on a powerful female protagonist. It’s beautiful in its own worldly way. Because this protagonist is essentially a good person, though, escape from responsibility for his actions is not really what he’s about. (Incidentally, I also strongly recommend a de la Mare story called “Miss Jemima” about an unhappy little girl and a malevolent fairy. Or to the Vigil? This book was also a nominee for the Dragon Award, a feat in and of itself for Indie & Catholic book. Books St. Thomas More becomes more human and, indeed, more Catholic in Ackroyd’s expert hands. Also published in 2018 was something quite different—a small booklet, A Beautiful Fragrance by a Scottish writer, John Watts. I’ve got a bit of an idiosyncratic mix. Main Catholic Store; Add To Cart Add To Wishlist. The older I get the more I loathe contemporary books in the “spirituality” category for their candy-floss “options” comforting the bourgeoisie. Blessed John Henry Newman credited Scott for promoting enthusiasm for the Middle Ages during the Victorian era. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check these out or don’t know what to read next these adventures are sure to grow your faith and your imagination. Absolutely essential for a theological library is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The volume covers the arguments for and against such a proclamation and highlights the efforts of Cardinal Mercier of Belgium. The subtitle, The Journey to Quantum Gravity, shouldn’t deter the non-scientists among us: Rovelli’s genius is teasing the cosmic down to earth. But how are we each called to live out that discipleship? It is rather through the making of binding promises that our humanity realizes i. book avoids academic jargon, and is accessible to anyone with an interest in truth, beauty and goodness. Her pious anecdotes that may be unknown to many readers are sure to provide deeper insight and plenty of inspiration. My husband and I do this in-home-retreat together every year. I interviewed Tierney about the book for CWR, The dark reality the porn industry doesn’t want you to see, The practical “do’s” and “don’ts” of vocation discernment, Why Catholics can’t afford to dismiss their own history, The Best Books I Read in 2018 - Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, "Best Books of 2018" Lists Update - December 16th - Music News | Best Music Festival Blog By Festival Gear, “The Best Books I Read in 2019” – Catholic World Report, “The Best Books I Read in 2019” - Catholic Daily. It is pithy, witty, and funny. Highly recommended. The Big Picture by Sean Carroll. Could it be called Spirit?”. Rather, Christianity’s insistence that “[a]ll the world’s diffuse erotic energy was to be cramped into one, frail, sacred union” represented a veritable sacralization of sex, and thus a direct attack on a Roman sexual economy dominated by venal pleasure (Harper details just how rife the prostitution trade was, for example), restrained only by social codes of honor and shame. Sign up to receive a weekly email with news, analysis, and commentary from a voice you can trust! Editor, Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. Deneen argues that liberalism’s inherent contradictions bring about liberalism’s self-destruction. Open the doors and go about doing what the church is suppose to be doing. As we move through time all the options we had, or thought we had, close themselves off. Joanna Bogle is a journalist in the United Kingdom. These vignettes of his work as an investigative journalist embedded with American units in Vietnam are trippy, nightmarish, hilarious, and devastating. 4) Book by a Catholic Novelist – Silence by Shusaku Endo. The Table has also won two 2018 Catholic Press Association Awards; 1 st place for Best Book Category and 3 rd place in Catholic Novels. Thank you so much for your support. The small village in Norfolk, about six miles from the sea, became “England’s Nazareth” in the last days of Saxon rule, when the local noblewoman had a vision of Mary who told her to build a replica of the Holy Family’s Nazareth home. Next up is an interview-format book by Ivan Illich and David Cayley, Rivers North of the Future: The Testament of Ivan Illich as Told by David Cayley (Anansi, 2005). To read and understand Legge’s exposition is to come to love the Trinity more and to praise Jesus, the Spirit-filled Father’s Son, in all of his glory. I was glad I did. The book that perhaps goes best along with the consideration of gentlemanliness is Rachel Fulton Brown’s Mary and Prayer: The Hours of the Virgin in Medieval Christian Life and Thought. Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report. Von Trapp’s book lovingly describes Old-World customs following the liturgical year, as well as the ways her family adapted many of them when they immigrated to the United States and began touring the country with their musical act. This novella is brief but over a year after first reading it still stays with me. Marmion is an excellent spiritual writer who truly knows Jesus. But she is surrounded by people who are unstable and even wicked: they resent her purity and gratitude to God, and so try to undermine her at every turn—much like today’s secularists try to shake committed Christians. View results. Wodehouse, Gawain and the other works of the Pearl poet, and the tales of Arthur Machen, William Hope Hodgson, M.R. The short stories are neat little puzzles, while the novels are more expansive character pieces. And I’ll readily confess I’ve already bought a few books based on reading the entries. Two books in political philosophy to be read carefully are the Ignatius Press edition of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s Faith and Politics and Leo Strauss and His Catholic Critics. Catholic Albanian Families in Skopje, Documents, Pictures and Testimonies, published in 2018 in Shkup/Skopje, Macedonia. There, now everyone’s happy. Aliens (Overlords) put limits on human earthly aggression. The second volume is told from the view of Vibiana, a young convert to Christianity As the Boxer rebellion erupts around her she is plagued by visions of St. Joan of Arc, and reflects on the reality that this ancient Christian saint fought for the same cause as these Boxer rebels: the unity and freedom of her country. Cayley’s introduction is excellent, as is a forward by Charles Taylor. There haven’t been many days since I finished this book last spring in which some image or scene or line of dialogue hasn’t come to my mind. Madre Teresa, Una Goccia d’Acqua Pulita by Angelo Colamastri, published in 2016 in Milan, Italy, by Paoline on the occasion of Mother Teresa’s canonization. Robert D. Kaplan, author of 18 books on foreign affairs, demonstrates, year after year, his prescience for shifts in the global struggle for power. Religion is around, some people seem to believe what it teaches, but many more use it to establish their place in society and maintain the aura of respectability. Blessed John Duns Scotus: Marian Doctor (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2011). Sweeney’s emphasis on theosis (though he rarely, if ever, used the word) is especially welcome. Molly’s story is a great way to show how charity goes beyond sharing toys or giving food to the homeless, after all. Both are instances of great Christian literature, neither of which, to my knowledge, has been described that way. Anthony E. Clark is an associate professor of Chinese history at Whitworth University. Good books, however, remind us that there is good news, just as the Good Book tells us the true and saving story of Good News, which broke into the narrowness of history two thousand years ago in a most radical and astounding manner. I read and deeply enjoyed the amusing tale of a real cat that lives at the Birmingham Oratory, Pushkin the Pontifical Puss: Tails of an Oratory Cat. Rachel is insane. Alec Nevala-Lee’s Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard and the Golden Age of Science Fiction (2018) combines biography and cultural history while tracing the tangled relationships among magazine editor Campbell and three of his principal writers. Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock (Convergent Books, 2018), Rick Wilson, Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever (Free Press, 2018). The Little Juggler written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. 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