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Bring Mary of Nazareth to a parish or school near you!
Fresh from an extremely successful sponsored theatrical release and seen by tens of thousands in theaters across North America, the highly acclaimed MARY of NAZARETH, an epic motion picture on the life of the Blessed Mother from her childhood through the Resurrection of Jesus, is now available to be shown in your own church or school!
IGNATIUS PRESS is pleased to announce the MARY of NAZARETH Parish Screening Program.
Now you can bring the life of the Mother of Christ to the “Big Screen” in your own facility to entertain, evangelize, educate, change hearts and even raise funds for your own worthy cause!
Father Donald Calloway MIC, considered one of the foremost experts on the life of Mary, had this to say about the film, “Mary of Nazareth offers the best presentation of Our Lady I have ever seen. Mary of Nazareth is an absolute theological and Mariological masterpiece! It will make you want to love her more than ever. Mary's beauty is pure and ageless; her feminine mystery filled with wonder and virtue, and her divine motherhood is both tender and captivating. Without a doubt, this is the most stunning portrayal of the Virgin Mary on film!”
Packages will include the following:
Site License – allows licensee to show the movie unlimited times at one venue for 12 full months from date of purchase. License cannot be shared with another church, school, individual or organization.
Mary of Nazareth DVDs to sell (MSRP $29.95) or gift. Each DVD case contains two discs – one is the Mary of Nazareth movie in English with Spanish and English subtitles. The exciting contents of the second bonus disc includes an interview with Alissa Jung, who starred as Mary; an interview with Fr. Donald Calloway MIC, author and Marian expert; “behind the scenes” footage; a film photos slide show; segments from Mary: Mother of God, part of the acclaimed “Footprints of God” DVD series; “Pieta” song by M.J. Poirier; and testimonies from the San Francisco premiere of Mary of Nazareth. Plus, there is a 24-page collector’s booklet with study questions included in each case.
Mary product brochures to give out with each DVD.
One additional Mary of Nazareth DVD for screening purposes
13x19 full-color promotional posters with write-in space for event place, date and time
full-color souvenir tickets
1 full-color 24 x 36 souvenir poster
Downloadable event planning guide and other downloads will be available at www.MaryFilm.com
Packages are available in 10-, 25-, 50-, and 100-DVD sets and, for a time until mid-October, license holders will have exclusive sales of the DVDs.
To see a trailer of this film, package contents and prices, endorsements from prominent Catholics and much more, check out the www.MaryFilm.com website.
Bring this incredible movie to your community for the first time or bring it back! Many are asking where they can see it again!
An Iconic Screen Presence | Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle | CWR
Actress Olivia Hussey discusses starring in Mother Teresa: “I had always wanted to play her…She was one of the saints that I revered—absolutely!”
Actress Olivia Hussey was so sick during the filming of the movie Mother Teresa that she could have easily given up. During intense moments, she felt she lacked the strength and health to continue. But one day, out of sheer necessity, she sat down in her chair on the set, closed her eyes, and asked God and Mother Teresa to help her. Unexpectedly, a profound peace instantly came over her. And when a “bright light” came into her head as she finished voicing the prayer, she felt an unfathomable calm envelop her which thoroughly convinced her that she would be able to get through each intense day of filming on location in Sri Lanka and Italy.
Ms. Hussey was born in Buenos Aires City, Argentina on April 17, 1951. She began drama school in England at age seven and delighted in the creative acting education for the next five years. Soon after, Ms. Hussey landed a role, portraying Jenny in a stage production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. As it happened, Italian director and producer Franco Zeffirelli—who had auditioned over 500 young actresses for the role of Juliet in his film of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1968)—was in the audience watching.
Zeffirelli subsequently awarded Ms. Hussey the part of Juliet. Just 15 during shooting, Ms. Hussey played the celebrated role to great acclaim. Her acting won a Golden Globe and two successive Best Actor Donatello Awards (Italy’s Oscar equivalent). Interestingly, since Ms. Hussey was under 18 years of age, she was not legally allowed to attend the London premiere of Romeo and Juliet since the film contained nudity—even though she was the one who was nude in the film.
Ms. Hussey has appeared in over two dozen films and guest-starred in numerous television series. Continuing in an acting career throughout her life, she has portrayed some notably “holy” roles: the Virgin Mary in Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth; Therese, the faithful wife and mother in the screen adaptation of The Jeweler’s Shop, Karol Wojtyla’s (now St. John Paul II) play; and most recently, as Mother Teresa.
Ms. Hussey renders an inspiring and compelling portrayal of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the determined and compassionate saint of the gutters. Portraying Mother Teresa was a long-awaited dream role for Ms. Hussey, and she was delighted when an Italian film company invited her to take the part.
“I had always wanted to play her … She was one of the saints that I revered—absolutely! This little lady, just through her sheer faith and will stepped out into the streets of Calcutta and founded an order of nuns and helped the poorest of the poor. I mean, I get goose bumps thinking about it!”
Ms. Hussey recently took time from her busy schedule to speak with The Catholic World Report about her roles as Mother Teresa and Therese. Incidentally, Pope John Paul II called The Jeweler’s Shop film “the best possible film based on my play.” And, according to Ms. Hussey, sisters of the Missionaries of Charity told Ms. Hussey, “We felt as if we were watching Mother. It’s as though Mother came through you!”
Catholic World Report: I observed on your website that you completed “your life’s dream” in portraying Mother Teresa. Would you kindly explain?
Olivia Hussey: I was shooting Jesus of Nazareth with Franco Zeffirelli. After it was over, we did a lot of interviews and publicity, and some publicity people started saying, “What do you do after playing the Virgin Mary? [She chuckles.] You’ve played Juliet, and now you’ve played the Virgin Mary. What role could you possibly want to play?”
Without hesitation I said, “Mother Teresa of Calcutta!”
CWR: Wow. You said that before—
Hussey: Yes, I did! This was a long, long time ago. I was 27 years old. So, interviews and things over the years—people would ask, “If you could play anything what would you like to play?” And I said, “Mother Teresa of Calcutta!”
John Paul II Brightens the Earth with His Holiness and Truth | Fr. Zbigniew Tyburski, Ph.D. | HPR
Engaged so deeply in earthly human affairs and believing in each persons’ goodness, John Paul seems to be calling us from heaven with a special request for solidarity of those who live on earth, and those living, though yet unborn.
Being a significant thinker and a moral conscience to the world, Karol Wojtyla—who from 1978 to 2005 was known as Pope John Paul II—provided a clear diagnosis of the moral sickness of man in modern society. At the same time, he drafted a long-term outline for the spiritual and moral renewal that he consequently implemented into the practice of the Church’s life, through all 27 years of his papacy, despite the criticism he faced.
Based on his philosophy that the human being is the pillar of society on its most fundamental level, John Paul II began to strongly promote the concept of “personhood” in the modern world. He reminded us that each human life is sacred, and that men are characterized by a free will and a conscience, both granted by God.
In his first pastoral visit to America, during his homily at Mass on the Washington Mall on October 7, 1979, John Paul said the following words: “I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life—from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages— is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God.” He then strongly underlined his point: “We will stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life …” (Homily, No. 3 & 6).
The two most important factors by which the human being is characterized are conscience and freedom. Some people recognize conscience as an “inner voice” in the human heart based on natural moral law, by which a person is able to distinguish good from evil, and truth from fallacy. This is a proper understanding, but John Paul II expands upon this definition of the conscience by adding that it is the “most secret core” and our innermost “sanctuary” in which we are “alone with God” to listen to his voice (Tyburski 95). Our conscience, the inner voice from God in every human heart, is the foundation of Christian morality. However, John Paul strongly underlines that “conscience is no lawmaker.” Conscience itself does not create norms, but discovers them from God’s laws.
John Paul II was aware that in the modern secular world, many people have disfigured their consciences, and have false philosophies of human freedom, because of the crisis of truth.
Key to Balthasar’s response to modern biblical studies is his concept of beauty … Balthasar links beauty to human perception, and the way human beings gain knowledge.
Over the past 100 years—amidst the confusion and darkness surrounding the Church’s attempt to evangelize a post-Kantian world—few figures have aided the Church more than Hans Urs von Balthasar. At his death, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn described him as a “thoroughly Catholic figure” with an “incomparable reverence for the Word of God” who found “a sure path between the reductionism of a one-sided use of the historical-critical method and the dangers of fundamentalism.” Schönborn praised his approach to Scripture because Balthasar recognized the “inner unity of ecclesiality and spiritual experience.” 1 Pope Emeritus Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) also confirmed Balthasar’s works, saying that in extending him the honor of becoming a Cardinal, “the Church, in its official responsibility, tells us that he (Balthasar) is right in what he teaches of the Faith, that he points the way to the sources of living water … (he was) a witness to the word which teaches us Christ, and which teaches us how to live.” 2 Finally, St. John Paul II also described Balthasar after his death as “an outstanding man of theology and the arts, who deserves a special place of honor in contemporary ecclesiastical and cultural life” and whose person and life’s work were held in “high esteem … by the Holy See.” 3 While there are certainly controversial areas of Balthasar’s theology (especially his position on Christ’s “abandonment” by the Father), this essay will examine one reason why he was praised by such eminent Catholic theologians. It will examine how the first volume of his series, The Glory of the Lord, entitled Seeing the Form, can help the Church respond to the crisis in modern biblical studies, by appealing to our encounter with beauty. By incorporating the insights of modern historical studies into a hermeneutic of faith, Balthasar provides the light necessary to overcome the problems of the historical-critical method. Furthermore, his project of “theological aesthetics” reveals that Mary should be the model of the Church’s biblical interpretation.
The Problem of Modernity: The Legacy of Immanuel Kant
Few people have influenced modern society more than Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Building on the work of Bacon, Descartes, and Hume, Kant sought to reconcile empiricists and rationalists in their search for knowledge. While he wrote many things, Kant is best known for establishing the foundation of modernity by absolutizing the split between the person and reality, between the thinking subject and the external object. While an adequate summary of Kant’s philosophy, and the influence of the Enlightenment on modern society, is not possible in this essay, a brief treatment is helpful in understanding how Balthasar’s project responds to Kant, and aids the Church’s biblical hermeneutic in the modern world.
Kant’s legacy is evident whenever one encounters the modern dogma that humanity is cut off from genuine knowledge; that our mind’s innate concepts and categories constitute reality as they impose themselves on an unintelligible reality, like sunglasses shading and constituting our view. According to Kant, man is stuck within the categories of his own mind, and unable to know reality in itself, or what he called the “noumenal” realm. One consequence of this was that the traditional notion of “truth,” as the mind’s conformity with reality, was dismissed as naive conservatism. According to Balthasar, two main traditions in biblical studies developed after Kant.
This Father's Day, give your dad a gift that is out of this world.
Choose one of our new films or spiritually enriching titles, and touch not just his heart, but also his soul.
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Francis: The Pope of Renewal
All the Insights into an Already Historic Papacy
This film shows the striking ascension to the top of world's popularity of the almost unknown Argentinian cardinal. It also reflects the renewal of the Catholic Church's image that he has generated. A brief street poll with people of various nationalities and beliefs suggests the extension of this phenomenon. What can be the causes of such spectacular change in the public opinion?
This new film is the world's biggest documentary on the new saint. It utilizes exclusive archival footage featuring John Paul II, as well as a lot of original shots made for this comprehensive film. Produced in HD quality, and four years in the making, it was filmed in 13 countries. It features many world famous figures from the Church, Politics, Entertainment and News industries, and their inspiring, insightful thoughts about and experiences with John Paul II. 90 minutes, $19.95 Watch the trailer
When he opened the historic Second Vatican Council in 1962, the "Good Pope" launched a spiritual revolution in the Church and the world. He summoned the bishops of the world to engage in straightforward discussions about the direction and future of the Church, and the relationship of the Church to the modern world. Few events in the history of the modern Catholic Church have been as far-reaching as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). And few have been as controversial. 55 minutes, $19.95 Watch the trailer
Rev. Mother Dolores Hart, a former film star who became a Roman Catholic nun, is the TCM Guest Programmer for May. Now Prioress of the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., Hart made 10 films in six years in the 1950s and '60s, appearing with such costars as Elvis Presley (Loving You, 1957), Anna Magnani (Wild Is the Wind, 1957) and George Hamilton (Where the Boys Are, 1960).
Hart chooses Lisa (aka The Inspector, 1962), a film in which she starred as a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. She remembers the film (a TCM premiere) as "a deep experience of the meaning of suffering." Laura (1944) is a reminder of Hart's childhood, when she gazed at Gene Tierney and thought, "I want to do that too!" She also has fond memories of The Song of Bernadette (1943) and agrees with host Robert Osborne that Jennifer Jones was "luminous" in that movie. Hart's final pick is The Rose Tattoo (1955), because Magnani, its star, "taught me what acting was about."
Word on Fire has recently posted a video (the first of two) of Fr. Robert Barron talking about the great Swiss theologian, Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar. Fr. Barron discussed von Balthasar's life, his place in Catholic theology, and his friendships with St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Catechetical and Pastoral Emphasis in the Apologetics of Frank Sheed | James Iovino | HPR
Vatican II calls the laity to take a more active role in not just the worshipping life of the Church, but the teaching life, too. While Sheed agrees … we evangelize best principally through a pastorally oriented and properly formed apologetics
Despite falling into disfavor in the middle of the 20th century, apologetics has had a long and storied history in the life of the Catholic Church. 1 As an increasingly confident and hostile secularism exerts a massive influence in the daily lives of both the faithful and unbeliever alike, Church leaders have urged a renewal of the apologetic discipline in the life of the Church to cultivate future generations of confident Catholic evangelists and meet the challenges of secularism. Pope John Paul II, in 1999, called for a “new apologetics, geared for the needs of today” while a decade later the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Levada, argued that an urgent new apologetics was “the principle task of (the Church’s) mission at the beginning of the third millennium of Christianity.” 2 Implicit in the calls for a new apologetics is not simply a return to doing apologetics, but rather fashioning new and different ways to explain, defend, and make relevant the Catholic Faith. However, in formulating the new apologetics, today’s Catholic apologists would do well to revisit the theories and methods of Frank Sheed, one of the 20th century’s most prolific defenders of the Catholic Faith. An examination of Sheed’s apologetics, and its relevance to today’s new formulation, is especially fruitful because Sheed was a prolific writer who left an extensive corpus of apologetic materials with clear views on methodological best practices. He also worked within the cultural context of both a great Catholic intellectual renaissance (the 1920s and 1930s) and a dark period of religious decline (1960s and 1970s). While specific recommendations for the “new apologetics” is beyond the scope of this paper, I will examine Sheed’s apologetics, and argue that his explanation and defense of Catholicism were never divorced from solid catechesis, and were always tied to an explicit and urgent pastoral mission, two essential aspects of any successful “new apologetics.”
Catechesis is absolutely central to Sheed’s understanding of apologetics, beginning with the apologist’s own relationship with God. 3 While he acknowledges that God desires a loving relationship with us, and that we are saved through love of him, Sheed argues that we cannot love him adequately if we first do not know him well. Sheed understands the relationship of catechesis to apologetics in three stages: knowledge, possession, and saturation. Knowledge of God is important because “knowledge serves love … in one way by removing misunderstandings which are in the way of love (and) because each new thing learned about God is a new reason for loving him.” 4 By knowing more about God, we do not just love him more; we love him better. God would be a strange God, indeed, if he could be loved better by being known less. 5
Mere knowledge, however, is not enough for successful apologetics. Thus, Sheed emphasizes a robust catechesis wherein the apologist possesses what the Church teaches by its doctrines and dogmas. Central to this catechesis is the development of certain catechetical habits: “We must live with the idea, make it our own, learn to handle it comfortably.” 6 But proper apologetic formation does not end with possession of the great dogmas and doctrine, nor even when we have made them our own. Sheed complains that most Catholics of his day knew the Catechism answers, but fell into deep trouble when asked the meaning of the answers.
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk addresses the faithful in front of Santa Sofia in Rome during the weekend of April 26-27. (Photo courtesy of author)
A “Preacher of Peace” Amid Conflict | Brett R. McCaw | CWR
An interview with His Beatitude, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
At age 44, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk leads the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest Eastern Church in communion with Rome. Having previously served as a seminary rector in L’viv and then as bishop for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Argentina, Shevchuk was selected to be head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in March of 2011. A skilled polyglot (he is fully conversant in English, Russian, Italian, Modern Greek, Polish, Italian, and Spanish) and a dynamic pastor, Shevchuk has emerged as a foremost moral and religious voice within a nation mired in political crisis. During his stop in Rome to participate in the canonization ceremony of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, Shevchuk paused to reflect on Ukraine’s Maidan movement, ongoing tensions with Russia, and ecumenism with the Russian Orthodox Church.
CWR: Your Beatitude, priests and bishops of your church have been visibly present in both the Orange Revolution of 2005 and in the Ukrainian Maidan movement earlier this year. In general, how would you describe the role of your church in the renewal of post-Soviet Ukrainian society.
Major Archbishop Shevchuk: First of all, I would like to underline that the whole phenomenon of the Maidan was a bit of a surprise for everybody—even the Church. This was because it was an appearance of civil society in Ukraine whose existence was debated for decades. Moreover, many wondered whether the Ukrainian people were able to peacefully stand together for a European future for their country on the basis of such values as rule of law, rejection of corruption, abhorrence of violence, and intolerance of authoritarian behavior. Many scholars would analyze the situation in Ukraine and would say that Ukrainians were not able to realize such a movement. Nevertheless, that European project became the project of social development in Ukraine and the churches helped to develop this. Last year, before the Maidan movement, the Ukrainian Council of Churches visited Brussels twice and sent several appeals to Ukrainian society concerning the discussion of European values. As churches, we were involved in promoting that discussion and were trying to be, as a church, part of civil society in order to awaken the people. To help them undertake their responsibility for their own country. Not only government or politicians have responsibility, but each, individual citizen.
No one expected that when our president suddenly changed his mind, such a large protest would emerge. So we as a church, as the churches—we did not call the people to protest. We were not those who would encourage such a protest. Yet we followed our people, because we recognized that those people were standing at the Maidan for those values, which we were promoting. If people take a stand for human dignity, rule of law, rejection of violence and corruption—we as a Church have a duty to recognize the moral power of such claims. It is why churches, not just the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, but Orthodox, Protestant, as well as Jewish and Muslim communities, were all present with their people on the Maidan. In some way, the people were leading us. For those three months, we were trying to be with our people and to keep the protest peaceful. I felt I needed to be a “preacher” of peace in order to reach the goals of the Maidan and emphasize peaceful methods were always more powerful and transformative in society than any other form of demonstration.
CWR: In mid-March, Fr. Mykola Kvych, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest and chaplain to the Ukrainian navy in Crimea was kidnapped and interrogated by Russian militants. In light of the Russian annexation of Crimea, what is the situation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic parishes on the Crimean territory? What do you foresee for your church there in the coming years under Russian occupation?
German Cardinal Walter Kasper, right, speaks with cardinals as they arrive for the afternoon session of a meeting with Pope Francis in the synod hall at the Vatican Feb. 21, 2014. Also pictured are Cardinals Roger M. Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles, left, Carlos Amigo Vallejo, retired archbishop of Seville, Spain, and Giuseppe Betori of Florence. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The Confounding and Curious Pontifications of Cardinal Kasper | Carl E. Olson | Editorial | Catholic World Report
Is the German prelate and theologian promoting a book on mercy or pushing a dubious agenda at the expense of fellow bishops?
Cardinal Walter Kasper, noted German prelate and theologian, has been on a book tour in the States in support of his most recent work, Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life (Paulist Press). I'm not sure how much interest he has generated regarding his book, but In the course of just a few days, he has managed the rather remarkable (which is not to say admirable) combined feat of slighting the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (a fellow Cardinal, Gerhard Müller), essentially dismissing the pastoral authority of the USCCB, praising an openly dissenting theologian while positively comparing her to St. Thomas Aquinas—and doing so while talking of "humility" as if only he and a few others have even heard of it before.
Frankly, I'm aghast. I've never seen anything quite like it. Certainly not from someone of Cardinal Kasper's stature. And I've talked to several others in the past two days—all of them lifelong Catholics and all working in some capacity for the Church—and they say the same thing.
Cardinal Kasper's resume is undoubtedly impressive: he was president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity for almost a decade (2001-2010) after ten years as bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart (1989-1999). He has taught at several schools, including the University of Tubingen and the Catholic University of America. He has long had a reputation of being a "liberal"—although that is certainly relative—and he has had some interesting and high profile, um, discussions about various theological points over the years, as when he and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger went round and round in 2001 about the nature and relationship of particular churches and the universal Church (see this ZENIT piece by Cardinal Avery Dulles for details and analysis).
He got back into the bigger spotlight in February, when he gave a two-hour-long address to an extraordinary consistory on the family at the Vatican, and was then praised for it by Pope Francis. But not everyone was so impressed. In fact, it soon became clear that many of those present were deeply critical of Kasper's ideas about how to better address the situation of Catholics who have been divorced and remarried. In late March, Edward Pentin reported:
Calling Men to Be Icons of God the Father | Carl E. Olson | CWR
An interview with Devin Schadt, whose new book challenges men to recognize that fathers are not defined by their occupations but by their vocations
Devin Schadt is a husband, father, and speaker whose book, Joseph's Way: Prayer of Faith (80 Days to Unlocking Your Power as a Father) was recently published by Ignatius Press. The book is the first of a two-volume series that seeks to “transmit the message of the glory, necessity, and power of fatherhood.” Devin is the cofounder of the Fathers of St. Joseph, an apostolate that works for the renewal of authentic fatherhood, and he lives in the Midwest with his wife and five children. He recently corresponded with Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, about the family as an icon of the Trinity, the example of St. Joseph, and how families goes the way of the father.
CWR: What was the inspiration, or origin, of Joseph’s Way: Prayer of Faith? How did your own experience as a Catholic, husband, and father shape this book and the second volume, Prayer of a King?
Devin Schadt: Joseph's Way was born out of crisis. Our third daughter, Anna Marie, was born at 28 weeks gestational period. After an emergency caesarian section, she spent a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in order to develop her lungs and digestive system, and eventually returned home with our family. After five days she contracted the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is a type of cold that attacks premature infants’ lungs, often causing death. We readmitted Anna Marie to the pediatric unit at the local hospital, but the team was not equipped, nor did they have enough experience, to care for a child that small. Due to neglect, and ten hours of apnea, Anna Marie suffered a hypoxic event, wherein not enough oxygen was transmitted to her brain. By the time the Medivac team stabilized her on life support and she had arrived by helicopter at a children's hospital a couple of hours away, she had suffered three clinical death experiences and permanent brain injury.
Because of this, my wife implored me to discontinue my participation in youth ministry and to focus on being a husband and father. At that time, I viewed fatherhood as a second-rate vocation, not capable of fulfilling the great commission given by Christ in Matthew 28. In fact, I sensed that fatherhood was essentially a way to dismiss oneself from following Christ and becoming one of His disciples.
For years, I had lived in the tension of wanting to follow Christ, but also acknowledging that I was needed at home, and because of this I concluded that I was not called by God to be one of His followers. I went on a pilgrimage and confessed my interior struggles to one of the spiritual directors accompanying us. She said, "Go home and be Joseph." Those words initially crushed me. Couldn't she have said, "Go home and become St. Paul", or "Go home and start a mission"? Who was this St. Joseph, not a word of whose is recorded in Sacred Scripture, and who, in so much of Christian art, is depicted as lacking vitality and youth? St. Joseph appeared to be an extra, a tack-on, someone needed to "fill in" and make the Virgin's teenage pregnancy acceptable.
I went home and, being consecrated to Our Lady, asked her to introduce me to her "most chaste spouse"—and she did.
I started a writers’ group—not because I am a writer, but because my brother is an excellent writer, and had a couple of projects that he had been working on; I had hopes that the writers’ group would give him the accountability needed to complete his works. Each week, one of the members would share his latest writings. I was the odd man out, in that I was the only one among the men who was not a writer. When it was my turn to share, I would share brief reflections on fatherhood through the lens of St. Joseph. At one of these meetings, my friend (aptly named Joe) turned to me and said, "You are called to write on fatherhood through the lens of St. Joseph." His words resounded in my being. I was leaving for a four day retreat later that day, and by the time I had returned, God had given the entire outline for what originally constituted four books, which now comprise the two volumes of Joseph's Way.
I originally wrote Joseph's Way as a letter to myself, in hopes of discovering what it truly means to be a great father. Four books later, which now constitute two volumes, I sensed that God had given me something very special. Joseph's Way is unique, in that it provides a theological vision of fatherhood through the lens of St. Joseph. It is theological, yet practical—sometimes painfully practical. The books present a chronological, theological account of St. Joseph's life—from his first step to fatherly greatness, returning to his vocation after originally fleeing from it, and embracing his role as protector of woman, Mary, to his commissioning of Jesus to be built into a temple of sacrifice.
There are books written on the subject of fatherhood, and there are also books written on the subject of St. Joseph. But there are very few that offer an integration of fatherhood and St. Joseph in a practical, yet theological manner. Joseph's Way accomplishes this.
CWR: There are two sources, in particular, that inform Joseph’s Way: Sacred Scripture and the writings of St. John Paul II. Can you comment on the importance of both for your work and thought?
“Remembering one’s tradition is at the heart of both the Jewish and Christian identity. Israel’s remembering is essential for her continued existence as God’s covenant people, forgetting God’s saving acts would bring her destruction. ‘You shall remember the Lord your God…that he may confirm his covenant which he swore to your fathers, as at this day. And if you forget the Lord our God…I solemnly warn you that you shall surely perish’ (Deut. 8: 18-10). Through her remembering, Israel’s redemptive history continues in a living tradition where the divine commands perdures as historical events challenging successive generations to decision and that obedience which enables Israel to share in the redemption of here forefathers.”
The most memorable passage that I recall from many years of knowing Father John Navone, of corresponding with him, and of reading him is the following: “You are what you remember.” Whether this insightful sentence is unique to John Navone, I do not know, but he often used it. I have cited it many times myself, or, in a similar spirit: “Tell me what you remember, and I will tell you what you are.” From this angle of remembrance, I will approach my appreciation of John Navone’s work. “To remember” implies the existence of time and its passing-ness. From there it gets us to tradition and history.
Fr. John Navone, SJ (David P. P. Persyn/Wikimedia Commons)
These considerations lead us, not to deadly “timelessness,” but rather to eternity, to the nuc stans, to the “now” that stands in hushed stillness, as Aquinas put it. The reason that the silence, the stillness, is hushed is because this is our first reaction to seeing something of immeasurable, or even measurable, beauty. Beauty is a prominent theme of John Navone. He talks about “remembering” because he thinks that something to remember is constantly before us. The classic definition of beauty was: Quod visum, placet—“What is seen or heard pleases us.” This capacity to be pleased by anything is one of the most curious things about us. We not only encounter lovely things, but they please us, delight us, as if we are made both to receive and to acknowledge the glory of what we have received, of what is not ourselves
In an article by Julie King in Spokane’s Spokesman-Review (June 21, 2008), Father Navone, recalling the Spokane part of his early education, remarked: “It was at Mt. St. Michael’s here in Spokane, with its superb instructors, that I began to study philosophy and learned about what I call ‘The Life of the Mind'.” In 2006, ISI Books published a book of Schall’s entitled, precisely: The Life of the Mind: On the Joys and Travails of Thinking.” I had no idea at the time that I was echoing John Navone, due, no doubt, to a loss of memory! But Navone was right. The instructors at Mt. St. Michaels in our time were superb. I was in the class ahead of John. I think of professors like Alexander Tourginy, Theodore Wolf, John Sullivan, Edward Morton, and especially Clifford Kossel, one of the best minds ever. We also had a good man we called “Machine Gun Ferretti”, who taught logic. He spoke so rapidly few besides the likes of John Navone could keep up with him.
One other passage from this Spokesman-Review column I would like to cite as indicative of Father Navone’s insights:
The opening pages of Catherine of Siena | by Sigrid Undset, the Nobel Prize winning author of Kristin Lavransdatter | Ignatius Insight
In the city-states of Tuscany the citizens—Popolani—businessmen, master craftsmen and the professional class had already in the Middle Ages demanded and won the right to take part in the government of the republic side by side with the nobles—the Gentiluomini. In Siena they had obtained a third of the seats in the High Council as early as the twelfth century. In spite of the fact that the different parties and rival groups within the parties were in constant and often violent disagreement, and in spite of the frequent wars with Florence, Siena's neighbour and most powerful competitor, prosperity reigned within the city walls. The Sienese were rich and proud of their city, so they filled it with beautiful churches and public buildings. Masons, sculptors, painters and smiths who made the exquisite lattices and lamps, were seldom out of work. Life was like a brightly coloured tissue, where violence and vanity, greed and uninhibited desire for sensual pleasure, the longing for power, and ambition, were woven together in a multitude of patterns. But through the tissue ran silver threads of Christian charity, deep and genuine piety in the monasteries and among the good priests, among the brethren and sisters who had dedicated themselves to a life of helping their neighbours. The well-to-do and the common people had to the best of their ability provided for the sick, the poor and the lonely with unstinted generosity. In every class of the community there were good people who lived a quiet, modest and beautiful family life of purity and faith.
The family of Jacopo Benincasa was one of these. By trade he was a wool-dyer, and he worked with his elder sons and apprentices while his wife, Lapa di Puccio di Piagente, firmly and surely ruled the large household, although her life was an almost unbroken cycle of pregnancy and childbirth—and almost half her children died while they were still quite small. It is uncertain how many of them grew up, but the names of thirteen children who lived are to be found on an old family tree of the Benincasas. Considering how terribly high the rate of infant mortality was at that time, Jacopo and Lapa were lucky in being able to bring up more than half the children they had brought into the world.
Jacopo Benincasa was a man of solid means when in 1346 he was able to rent a house in the Via dei Tintori, close to the Fonte Branda, one of the beautiful covered fountains which assured the town of a plentiful supply of fresh water. The old home of the Benincasas, which is still much as it was at that time, is, according to our ideas, a small house for such a big family. But in the Middle Ages people were not fussy about the question of housing, least of all the citizens of the fortified towns where people huddled together as best they could within the protection of the walls. Building space was expensive, and the city must have its open markets, churches and public buildings, which at any rate theoretically belonged to the entire population. The houses were crowded together in narrow, crooked streets. According to the ideas of that time the new home of the Benincasas was large and impressive.
Lapa had already had twenty-two children when she gave birth to twins, two little girls, on Annunciation Day, March 25, 1347. They were christened Catherine and Giovanna. Madonna Lapa could only nurse one of the twins herself, so little Giovanna was handed over to a nurse, while Catherine fed at her mother's breast. Never before had Monna Lapa been able to experience the joy of nursing her own children—a new pregnancy had always forced her to give her child over to another woman. But Catherine lived on her mother's milk until she was old enough to be weaned. It was all too natural that Lapa, who was already advanced in years, came to love this child with a demanding and well-meaning mother-love which later, when the child grew up, made the relationship between the good-hearted, simple Lapa and her young eagle of a daughter one long series of heart-rending misunderstandings. Lapa loved her immeasurably and understood her not at all.
From Anti-Catholic Atheist to Church-Loving Convert | Catherine Harmon | CWR
“And what I saw was that the Church was right, and that nobody else was right—no one else on the face of the planet was speaking these truths.”
Jennifer Fulwiler is a popular Catholic blogger and homeschooling mother of six who writes about faith, family, media, and culture at her website, Conversion Diary. Fulwiler, whose memoir about her spiritual journey from atheism to Catholicism is titled Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It and is available today from Ignatius Press, has been published in America, Our Sunday Visitor, Envoy, and National Review Online and has appeared on Fox and Friends and Life on the Rock. She was also the subject of the reality show Minor Revisions with Jennifer Fulwiler for New York’s NET TV. She recently spoke with Catholic World Report'smanaging editor Catherine Harmon about the new book, blogging through the process of conversion, and the personal challenges she faced when the practice of the Faith became more than an intellectual pursuit.
CWR: Let’s start with the title of your book, Something Other Than God. Where did the title come from and why did you choose it?
Jennifer Fulwiler: The title came from this wonderful C.S. Lewis quote, which is particularly meaningful because C.S. Lewis is also an atheist-to-Christian convert. The full quote says, “All that we call human history…is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” And the reason I chose that is because at first, I thought this story was just a standard conversion story, but as I got into the writing I realized this was more of a story of a search for happiness. So that’s why I chose that quote, because it talks about how we’re all searching for what will really make us happy, and we can only find that in God.
CWR: In the book you describe the very intense, almost arduous intellectual process you went through of coming to understand Christianity and what Christians believe. During that time what was your attitude toward “cradle Christians” or those who believed in Christ in a perhaps somewhat unreflective—or at least less intellectually rigorous—way?
Fulwiler: It changed over time. When I was younger, because I had had some bad experiences with Christians, I was very disdainful of “cradle believers” and just thought that they bought into these lies for self-serving reasons. As I got older, though, I began to see it as just a cultural thing. I didn’t think that people’s religion actually meant anything to them; I thought that’s what they did because it was the tradition in their family, or whatever.
CWR: At what point do you think your attitude started to change?
An Interview with Robert Ovies, author of The Rising | IPNovels.com
Robert Ovies is the author of the thrilling new novel The Rising, which tells the story of a young boy who mysteriously gains the ability to bring the dead back to life. He also maintains a website about the book. Ignatius Press Novels interviewed him via e-mail.
Ovies: Yes, it is. I’ve written about spiritual matters extensively and am writing two books along those lines now, but The Rising is my first novel.
It’s fascinating (and scary!) to think of all the implications of what rising from the dead would really be like. And that’s one of the things that really grabs the reader right away in “The Rising”. What kind of research did you do?
Ovies: My research has been grounded more in lived experiences than focused studies. I was a staff assistant at a funeral home, for example, a number of years ago, so I know those processes and procedures well. My daughter is Director of the Neuropsychology Department of the Illinois Neurological Institute (and author of a wonderful book for parents of special needs children) and was able to advise me relative to major hospital procedural issues in helpful detail. As a former advertising Creative Director, I’m very aware of the media and alert to its goals, tools and attention-oriented priorities. And, as a married deacon for thirty-eight years and former Director of Detroit’s Archdiocesan Offices for Family Life, Young Adult and Youth Ministries, I believe I’m well aware of church priorities and expectations across a wide range of issues. All of which, of course, have a direct bearing on the story being told in The Rising.
On a surface level, C.J., the young boy astonished by his ability to raise the dead, is the protagonist of “The Rising”. But it’s also about his parents, Lynn and Joe. And about his pastor, Father Mark. And then there are others—one of the strengths of the book is how the pivotal events in the story create tension in how each character reacts. How did you go about getting a handle on all of these characters?
A banner shows new Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII and Jesus during an April 28 Mass of thanksgiving for the canonizations of the new saints in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Two Patron Saints of Christian Unity | Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille | CWR
John XXIII and John Paul II were responsible for historic advances in overcoming the problems of division and estrangement between Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants
Regardless of what one thinks of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, and prescinding from comment on certain aspects of their legacy as papal administrators, there is one outstanding feature of both popes that merits them a place in the pantheon of outstanding figures of our time: their deep and abiding desire to overcome the problem of division and estrangement between peoples, Christians above all.
It is difficult for many of us today to conceive of what relations between Christians were like even fifty years ago. I’ve spent more than a decade teaching undergraduates, and their knowledge of church history is even more abysmal than their knowledge of relatively recent history. Few of us can conceive of a time when Presbyterian pastors (as my grandmother saw first-hand) took to the streets in annual Orange parades to denounce the Catholic Church as the “whore of Babylon.” Few can remember when Catholic priests forbade their flocks from attending non-Catholic weddings. Few can remember the ringing denunciations (“heretics!” “schismatics!”) of each other, heard and uttered with some regularity.
The relatively friendly atmosphere that prevails today between almost all Christians, especially in North America, is the direct result of the Second Vatican Council called by “good Pope John.” While various ecumenical discussions were taking place between Catholics and Protestants prior to John XXIII's pontificate, the Council marked a most significant move forward, especially on the official level. The problem of Christian division was explicitly mentioned by Pope John XXIII in both announcing the council (see Humanae Salutis) and in his opening speech to its first session in 1962. Much of John’s concern for unity stemmed from his own background as nuncio in countries such as Bulgaria and Greece with huge Orthodox populations. His time in France, too, overlapped with a burgeoning Orthodox community in Paris (around l’Institut Saint-Serge), many of them refugees from the Bolshevik revolution and its persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union. He learned much from his interactions with Orthodox Christians, not least that they were in fact real Christians and not contumacious “schismatics.”
The council which John called would produce the landmark documents, Unitatis Redintegratio and Orientalium Ecclesiarum.
Yes, but you must first of all see that these structures are supposed to be those of service. The pope is thus not the chief ruler–he calls himself, since Gregory the Great, "Servant of the servants of God"–but he ought, this is the way I usually put it, to be the guarantor of obedience, so that the Church cannot simply do as she likes. The pope himself cannot even say, I am the Church, or I am tradition, but he is, on the contrary, under constraint; he incarnates this constraint laid upon the Church. Whenever temptations arise in the Church to do things differently now, more comfortably, he has to ask, Can we do that at all?
The pope is thus not the instrument through which one could, so to speak, call a different Church into existence, but is a protective barrier against arbitrary action. To mention one example: We know from the New Testament that sacramental, consummated marriage is irreversible, indivisible. Now, there are movements who say the Pope could of course change that. No, that is what he cannot change. And in January 2000, in an important address to Roman judges, he declared that in response to this movement in favor of changing the indissolubility of marriage, he can only say that the Pope cannot do anything he wants, but he must on the contrary continually rekindle our sense of obedience; it is in this way, so to speak, that he has to continue the gesture of washing people’s feet The papacy is one of the most fascinating institutions in history. Besides all the instances of greatness, the history of the popes certainly does include some dramatic and abysmal low points. Benedict IX, for example, reigned, even after being deposed, as the 145th pope, as well as the 147th and the 150th. He first mounted the throne of Peter when he was just twelve years old. Nonetheless, the Catholic Church holds fast, with no exceptions, to this office of the vicar of Christ upon earth.
Simply from a historical point of view, the papacy is indeed a quite marvelous phenomenon. It is the only monarchy, as people often put it, that has held out for over two thousand years, and this in itself is quite incomprehensible.
I would say that one of the mysteries that point to something greater is quite certainly the survival of the Jewish people. On the other hand, the endurance of the papacy is also something astonishing and thought provoking. You have already suggested, with one example, how much failure has been involved and how much damage the office has had to suffer, so that by all the rules of historical probability it should have collapsed on more than one occasion. I think it was Voltaire who said, now is the time when this Dalai Lama of Europe will finally disappear, and mankind will be freed from him. But, you see, it carried on. So that’s something that makes you feel: This is not the result of the competence of these people–many of them have done everything possible to run the thing into the ground–but there is another kind of power at work behind this. In fact, exactly the power that was promised to Peter. The powers of the underworld, of death, will not overcome the Church.
Angelo Roncalli and Priestly Celibacy | Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J. | Ignatius Insight
(Note: The following was originally posted on Ignatius Insight in June 2008.)
Since his death on June 3, 1963, many biographies and studies of Pope John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli) have appeared. In the month of his death was the article of Roger Aubert, "Jean XXIII: Un 'pape de transition' qui marquera dans l'histoire". The same year, and revised in 1981, is Leone Algisi's John the Twenty-Third / Giovanni XXIII. In 1965 there appeared that of Edward Elton Young Hales, Pope John and His Revolution. In 1973 Pope John XXIII by Paul Johnson, and in 1979 Bernard R. Bonnot's Pope John XXIII: An Astute, Pastoral Leader.
We are told the writer who had access to the greatest quantity of primary, original sources is Peter Hebblethwaite. In 1984 the British edition of his John XXIII: Pope of the Council appeared, and in 1985 the American version was published as Pope John XXIII: Shepherd of the Modern World.  The Hebblethwaite contribution is considered the "definitive" biography. It was reprinted in 1994. In 2000 and 2005 it was reprinted in a revised and abridged edition by Margaret Hebblethwaite, Peter Hebblethwaite's wife whom he married after leaving the priesthood and the Society of Jesus.
Yet Hebblethwaite never refers to the only source we have on Angelo Roncalli and the question of priestly celibacy. This is curious because the topic has recurred as a burning one during the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, at the time of the French Revolution, and during the Restoration period of the nineteenth century, especially in the German universities. After the collapse of the Austrian Empire it was addressed specifically by the famous consistorial allocution of Pope Benedict XV on December 16, 1920, when Benedict said priestly celibacy was "irrevocable". A formal schism in Bohemia ensued. 
In the period of the Second Vatican Council this was even more exacerbated with reports of neo-concubinage being practiced in parts of Western Europe, South America, Africa, and the Philippines. Some bishops at the Council wanted the question re-examined. The rationale for abolishing it is not new, either, because as early as the time immediately following the French Revolution the "shortage of priests" has been traditionally adduced as sufficient in itself to merit a change in what is looked upon as mere discipline.
Images of the Priest in the Life and Thought of John Paul II | George Weigel | HPR
If there is one great truth to be learned from the luminous, world-transforming priestly ministry that Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, gave to the Church, it is this: a true priestly vocation begins with a commitment to radical discipleship.
It has been nine years since the remarkable events that unfolded between February and April, 2005—and still our minds and imaginations, and perhaps our prayers as well, come back, time and again, to the last illness and death of Pope John Paul II. Those memories take on special resonance as his canonization draws near.
It was an extraordinary human drama—perhaps one of the few genuinely global dramas in history. An entire world gathered, metaphorically, around the bed in the papal apartment to help John Paul II through what he called, in his spiritual testament, his “Passover.” Yet, February, March, and early April 2005 unfolded as not just an extraordinary human drama, but as an extraordinary Christian drama and, indeed, an extraordinary priestly drama. For what the world saw (whether it recognized it in these terms or not), and what the Church lived through (and hopefully recognized as such), was manifestly the death of a priest. For the last time, Karol Wojtyła led the Church and the world into an experience of the Paschal Mystery. And that is the essence of the vocation of priests: to lead the Church, and the world, into an experience of the mystery of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.
How did the late pope do that? As my mind’s eye turns back to those dramatic days, certain vignettes, etched in poignancy, stand out.
I remember the Pope returning to the Vatican from the Policlinico Gemelli hospital on February 10 and March 13, 2005, with throngs of Romans crowding the streets to welcome back the man they had once thought of as lo straniero (“the stranger”) but whom they now thought of, quite literally, as il papa (“father”).
I think of the Pope with a palm branch in his hand at the window of the Apostolic Palace on Palm Sunday.
I remember the Pope in his chapel in the papal apartment on Good Friday evening, holding fast to a crucifix while watching the Via Crucis at the Roman Colosseum on television. On that occasion, the Pope was back-shot, the television camera behind him so that all that you saw were his back and his hands holding that cross. Why, some television commentators asked? It was not, I replied, in order to hide his tracheotomy and his suffering, but rather to underscore the message this most visible of men in history (who had been seen live by more human beings than anyone else, ever) had taken around the world: “Don’t look at me; look at Jesus Christ.”
"This is one of those books that, in its simplicity, is full of substance and depth, and it deserves to be read."
- Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
Francisco ("Kiko") Argüello was an award-winning painter, and an atheist. Struggling with the contrast between his desire for justice and the lack of justice in the world, he adopted existentialism and its explanation of life: everything is absurd.
But if everything is absurd, why paint? For that matter, why even live? Such questions led Argüello to the brink of despair. He called out to God and personally experienced the reality of divine love as revealed in Jesus Christ.
Dedicating his life to Christ, Argüello began living among the very poor. While in a slum on the outskirts of Madrid, Argüello met the lay missionary Carmen Hernández, and together they began proclaiming the good news of salvation to the poorest of the poor. Their method of transmitting faith in Christ and building Christian community has become a model of evangelization. Now known as the "Neocatchumenal Way", it has spread to cities throughout the world and received the approval of the Vatican.
"The Neocatechumenal Way is an itinerary of Christian initiation and of permanent education in faith. Kiko's catechesis, published here, is a strong lesson for disciples. In this catechesis the entire announcement of the Gospel is impressively condensed." - Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn
"The Neocatechumenal Way a gift of the Holy Spirit to help the Church." - Pope Benedict XVI
Francisco José Gomez-Argüello Wirtz was born in Leon, Spain, in 1939. He studied fine arts at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, where he became a professor of painting and drawing. In 1959 he received Spain's National Prize for Painting. Along with Carmen Hernández he founded the Neocatechumenal Way.