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Eight challenging and inspirational new and recently released spring titles
Renew your mind and spirit with our new and recently released spring titles
Finding True Happiness Fr. Robert Spitzer Softcover, 320 pages $19.95 Finding True Happiness is both a philosophical itinerary and a practical guidebook for life’s most important journey—from the mundane and the meaningless to transcendent fulfillment. No other book currently available combines such breadth of practical advice and such depth of philosophical, psychological, and spiritual wisdom. Read a sample
Who Designed the Designer? Michael Augros Softcover, 244 pages $17.95 Here is essential reading for all people who care about contemplating God, not exclusively as a best-explanation for the findings of science, but also as the surprising-yet-inevitable implication of our commonsense contact with reality. Augros takes the reader on an easygoing yet extraordinary journey, beginning from the world as we all encounter it and ending in the divine mind. Read a sample
Vatican Council Notebooks: Volume 1 Henri de Lubac Softcover, 557 pages $34.95 “Surprising news!” With these words, Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J., whose orthodoxy had been so vigorously attacked, responded to the announcement of his selection to participate in the 2nd Vatican Council. His participation as a theologian and expert would make a lasting impact on the Council, and his insights and comments are recorded in this long-awaited volume. Read a sample
Communion with Christ Sister M. Regina van den Berg Softcover, 165 pages $15.95 Pope Saint John Paul II declared that the great challenge for Christians today is to become "the home and school of communion." St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein) in her life and her writings, is a sure guide to attaining the communion for which every human heart longs. This work considers St. Teresa's life and writings in the context of the "spirituality of communion." Read a sample
From the Kippah to the Cross Jean-Marie Élie Setbon Softcover, 158 pages $15.95 Jean-Marie Élie Setbon, the son of non-observant Jews, was first attracted to Jesus when he saw a crucifix as a child. His conversion story is about the battle between loyalty to his identity and fidelity to the desires of his heart. It is a love story between Christ, the Lover—the relentless yet patient pursuer—and man, his beloved. Read a sample
The Coup at Catholic University Peter Mitchell Softcover, 320 pages $19.95 1968 witnessed perhaps the greatest revolution in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. It was led by Fr. Charles Curran, professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America, with more than 500 theologians who signed a "Statement of Dissent" that declared Catholics were not bound in conscience to follow the Church's teaching in Humanae Vitae. Read a sample
The Wife of Pilate and Other Stories Gertrud von le Fort Softcover, 175 pages $14.95 These three novellas from the acclaimed German writer Gertrud von le Fort are from her later works of historical fiction, in which she displays her mastery as a dramatist of ideas. In these three stories von le Fort presents lyrical portrayals of conflicts in the souls and minds of powerful people. These are thought-provoking stories by a keen observer of humanity. Read a sample
Radical Discipleship Francis Cardinal Arinze Softcover, 112 pages $11.95 Since 2015 has been deemed the Year of the Consecrated Life by Pope Francis, this work by Cardinal Arinze is a very timely one-for this year, and for any time. A reflection on the consecrated life, Radical Discipleship represents a beautiful way for faithful Catholics to participate in this Church-wide theme and celebration by coming to a deeper understanding of the consecrated life. Read a sample
One of the hottest topics in contemporary culture is happiness—so much so that the United Nations declared an International Happiness Day in response to the immense popularity of Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy”. The explanation for this current fixation seems to lie in the contrary phenomenon—unhappiness. Despite the fact that we have tremendous access to every imaginable form of entertainment, we experience a pervading sense of insecurity, emptiness, and malaise amid sporadic peak experiences.
The problem seems to lie less in the external environment than in the internal one. We seem, in the words of Viktor Frankl, to be suffering from an absence of meaning that pervades both individuals and societies, giving rise to a collective emptiness, loneliness, and alienation.
Finding True Happiness attempts to provide a way out of this personal and cultural vacuum by helping people to identify and then reach for happiness. As Aristotle noted 2,400 years ago, happiness is the one thing we can choose for its own sake—everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness.
After an exhaustive investigation of philosophical, psychological, and theological systems of happiness, author Fr. Spitzer developed the “Four Levels of Happiness”, which he based on the classical thinkers Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas; the contemporary philosophers Marcel, Scheler, Buber, Ricoeur, and Jaspers; and the modern psychologists Maslow, Frankl, Erikson, Seligman, Kohlberg and Gilligan.
Finding True Happiness is both a philosophical itinerary and a practical guidebook for life’s most important journey—from the mundane and the meaningless to transcendent fulfillment. No other book currently available combines such breadth of practical advice and such depth of philosophical, psychological, and spiritual wisdom.
Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. is the former president of Gonzaga University and the founder of the Magis Institute, which educates the public about the relationship between physics, philosophy, reason, and faith. He is the chief education officer of the Ethics and Performance Institute, which delivers web-based ethics education to corporations and individuals, and President of the Spitzer Center of Ethical Leadership, which delivers similar curricula to non-profit organizations. He is the author of Healing the Culture, Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life, and Ten Universal Principles.
Praise for Finding True Happiness:
"Even in the darkest hours, happiness is available to us; it is always a choice. In our culture--riddled with cynicism, nihilism, envy, and anger--recognizing that this choice exists is difficult. With reason, with the logic of both the mind and the heart, Robert Spitzer not only convinces us that happiness is within everyone's grasp but also shows us how to seize it. This is an intelligent, warm, and life-changing book." - Dean Koontz, N Y Times #1 Best-selling Author
“How refreshing to hear from a mind like Fr. Robert Spitzer on the topic of happiness. Too often, books in this genre offer platitudinous advice that is only an inch deep. In refreshing contrast, Fr. Spitzer offers us a meaty book that dives deep into history, philosophy, and science to provide answers that truly satisfy.” - Jennifer Fulwiler, Author, Something Other Than God
“Fr. Spitzer is a fine guide to the one thing that every human being in the world is seeking: happiness. Read this book and grow wiser in the things of the Spirit.” -Mark P. Shea, Author, By What Authority?
“One of the most dangerous and destructive illusions of the modern era is the notion that individuals are entirely free to choose what will make them happy. Fr. Spitzer shows that there is a genuinely objective dimension to human happiness, and that some approaches to life are simply incapable of actually bringing about the happiness that human beings desire. He offers a timely explanation of the routes that are really productive of fulfillment and true happiness.” - Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J., Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University
“All who are interested in true happiness—and finding it—will find this book a very valuable contribution to their search. Spitzer identifies many practical steps for finding the happiness that so many find illusive. I especially admired his rationale for the validity and importance of his highest level of happiness, that which is found in our experience of the transcendent. I recommend that all examine his brilliant summary of evidence for transcendence --and for its fundamental contribution to happiness. This is a book to read and ponder.” - Paul Vitz, Ph. D., Institute for the Psychological Sciences
Wolfe, Innocence, Literature, and Rock Monsters | John Herreid | IPNovels.com
In the past week I’ve ended up saving a number of links to read and re-read, and in the hopes that others may also get some enjoyment and interest from them I’m sharing them with you.
First up, there’s a short piece in the New Yorker about science-fiction writer Gene Wolfe, titled Sci-Fi’s Difficult Genius:
Moments [in his books] have turned many of Wolfe’s fans into something like Biblical exegetes, who dig deep into his texts in the hope of finding clues not only to the plots and the characters but to Wolfe’s larger intentions. Partly what readers are excavating is Wolfe’s Catholicism, which he is quick to say figures into his writing. “What is impossible is to keep it out,” he told me. “The author cannot prevent the work being his or hers.”
Over at The Catholic Thing, Daniel McInerney writes about Catholic Literature and the discussion about it between writers such as Gregory Wolfe, Paul Elie, and Dana Gioia. I’m not so sure I agree with his take on it, but it’s an interesting contribution to the discussion.
Fr. Robert Barron, author of "Seeds of the Word" (www.WordonFire.org) and Dr. James A. Patrick, author of "Essays on Modernity and the Permanent Things" (www.TowerPressBooks.com)
Two Approaches To Culture: Evangelistic & Diagnostic | Carl E. Olson | CWR Editorial
New books by Fr. Robert Barron and Dr. James A. Patrick are exceptional guides to the confused and confounding dominant culture
“The best is the betting of one's very life on behalf of Christ, the good, the self-denying and the dangerous.” — Dr. James A. Patrick
"The authentically Christian spiritual itinerary never ends with something as bland as 'self-discovery.' Rather, it ends with the splendid privilege of participating in God's own work in bringing grace into the world." — Fr. Robert Barron
[Robert] Graves really is writing about our own age, not of some remote future: of life in today's United States .... He is saying that culture arises from the cult; and that when belief in the cult has been wretchedly enfeebled, the culture will decay swiftly. The material order rests upon the spiritual order.” — Russell Kirk, “Civilization Without Religion?”
A friend, having recently read Fr. Robert Barron's review of Kenneth Branagh's movie, “Cinderella”, sent me this quote from Cardinal John Henry Newman:
“With Christians, a poetical view of things is a duty. We are bid to color all things with hues of faith, to see a divine meaning in every event.”
It's an apt description of a Christian cultural critic, and Fr. Barron is an especially fine commentator on culture, whether it be “high”, “low”, or “pop” culture. His new book Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture (Word on Fire, 2015) is a collection of over 80 of his essays about movies (“Imago Dei: God in Film”), literature (“Take and Read: God in Books”), politics (“City On a Hill”), and culture at large (“Rays of Truth”). It is an exceptional example of an accomplished academic—Fr. Barron is a skilled theologian and the Rector/President of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago—engaging with the good, bad, beautiful, and ugly found throughout American culture.
It's important to point out that Fr. Barron, who I've had the pleasure of working for on two catechetical series (“Catholicism” and “Priest Prophet King”), is fundamentally motivated by a love for God, truth, and souls. In an homage written a week ago for the late Cardinal Francis George, Fr. Barron highlights the missionary vision and heart of the late Archbishop of Chicago. He notes that Cardinal George was not satisfied with Catholics taking a “counter-cultural” stance only, as “this can suggest a simple animosity, whereas the successful evangelist must love the culture he is endeavoring to address":
But he saw a deeper problem as well, namely, that, strictly speaking, it is impossible to be thoroughly counter-cultural, since such an attitude would set one, finally, against oneself. It would be a bit like a fish adamantly insisting that he swims athwart the ocean. Therefore, the one who would proclaim the Gospel in the contemporary American setting must appreciate that the American culture is sown liberally with semina verbi (seeds of the Word).
This approach, as he explains in his book, is an adaptation of the patristic method of seeking out “seeds of the Word”—“hints and echoes of the Gospel that can be found, often in distorted form, in the high and low contemporary culture.”
A Jewish convert’s remarkable journey to Catholicism recounted in a fascinating new book from Ignatius Press
San Francisco, April 23, 2015 – Ignatius Press has published another poignant and astonishing story of a Jew who discovers the truth of the Catholic faith. This latest book, From the Kippah to the Cross tells the moving conversion story of Jean-Marie Élie Setbon. Raised in a non-observant Jewish family, Jean-Marie first encountered Jesus Christ on a crucifix at the age of eight. He felt an inexplicable attraction to Christ on the cross and would spend hours contemplating Him and began to develop a deeply personal relationship with Christ.
Jean-Marie knew that this growing love for Jesus would not be tolerated by his family but his attraction to Christ was so intense that he could not fight it. His practice of making the sign of the cross and praying after his family went to bed soon turned into sneaking off on Sundays to visit Sacré-Coeur church and even to attend Mass. Finally, at fifteen, unable to bear his double-life any longer, Jean-Marie resolved to convert to Catholicism in spite of the scandal it would cause. But God had other plans.
Instead, Jean-Marie ended up delving deeper into the faith of his ancestors, moving to Israel to pursue rabbinical formation and returning to France eight years later as an ultra-Orthodox Jew. There he found work at a Jewish school and synagogue, married and had seven children. But, in spite of his sincere dedication to his Jewish faith, Jean-Marie’s love and attraction to Jesus remained, becoming the source of a long and difficult internal struggle.
Jean-Marie’s moving and unusual conversion is a story is about his battle between loyalty to his identity and fidelity to the deepest desires of his heart. Above all, it is a love story between Christ, the lover —the relentless yet patient pursuer— and man, his beloved.
Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, author of Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures, calls From the Kippah to the Cross, “An absolutely riveting story! Filled with twists and turns, it will keep you on the edge of your seat.”
“Conversion stories touch the heart and mind deeper than a mere theology. They are theology put to story and song. From the Kippah to the Cross is such a story. It takes us soaring on the wings of eagles as Setbon’s story unfolds and we glimpse the panorama and beauty of the whole story of salvation,” says Steve Ray, author of Crossing the Tiber.
“From the Kippah to the Cross takes the reader on a remarkable journey. It is a witness to the persistent and transformative love of Christ, and gives readers valuable insight into the unique difficulties and questions of Jewish seekers and converts,” says Holly Ordway, author of Not God’s Type.
Roy Schoeman, author of Salvation is from the Jews, is another Jewish convert who was drawn to Christ and eventually converted to Catholicism. He says this book is “A gripping, unspeakably beautiful account of a human soul intensely in love with and seeking God, and a God who is intensely in love with, and seeks us. Along the way the reader learns a great deal about how Jesus works in the soul, the many ways He reaches out to us, and the way that the Catholic Church is the ultimate fulfillment of Judaism’s love for, and longing for, the Messiah – Jesus.”
About the Author:
Jean-Marie Élie Setbon was born in France in 1964. Trained in Israel as an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, he entered the Catholic Church in 2008. He is currently a lecturer and an educator specializing in theology and biblical exegesis.
Please note: The author of From the Kippah to the Cross does not speak English and therefore is not available for interviews. However, Roy Schoeman, a fellow Ignatius Press author, Jewish convert, and friend of the author, has agreed to do interviews and introduce readers to From the Kippah to the Cross.
To request a review copy or an interview with Roy Schoeman, please contact: Rose Trabbic, Publicist, Ignatius Press at (239) 867-4180 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Title: FROM THE KIPPAH TO THE CROSS A Jew’s Conversion to Catholicism Author: Jean-Marie Élie Setbon Release Date: April 2015 Length: 156 pages Price: $15.95 ISBN: 978-1-62164-018-9 • Softcover Order: 1-800-651-1531 • www.ignatius.com
A Message from Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. | IPNovels.com
Do You Ever Read Novels?
That’s a Yes or No question. Here are some thoughts on each possible answer:
No? Well, you should. Or if that sounds too moralistic: reading good novels can make you a better, happier person, a “new self and nobler me” (Hopkins).
Really? Why? The reasons are many and space is too short so I’ll give just one. You can call it an argument from authority. (I’ll omit bad reasons for reading even good novels.)
Who was the world’s greatest teacher? How did he teach? He sometimes held outdoor conferences, gave sermons—even an occasional homily—and he did use the method of the world’s second greatest teacher (Greek; name begins with “S”). But he taught “with authority” which means, among other things, that he was an “author” And mainly, he told stories.
God’s eternal Word became Incarnate in Jesus Christ. And Jesus incarnated his teaching in stories we call parables. He knew that was the best way for us to learn, to grasp the non-successive (eternal truth) in the successive (temporal plot).
Every good story is an incarnation of truth, beauty, and goodness—a participation in the Incarnate Word’s incarnate words.
Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell stars in a scene from "Wolf Hall," which premiered on PBS last Sunday. (CNS photo/PBS)
‘Wolf Hall’ and Upmarket Anti-Catholicism | George Weigel | CWR
The PBS series, based on Hillary Mantel’s novel, is brilliant television—and a serious distortion of history, rooted in the last acceptable bigotry
“Wolf Hall,” the BBC adaptation of Hillary Mantel’s novel about early Tudor England, began airing on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theater” Easter Sunday night. It’s brilliant television. It’s also a serious distortion of history.
And it proves, yet again, that anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable bigotry in elite circles in the Anglosphere.
The distortions and bias are not surprising, considering the source. Hillary Mantel is a very talented, very bitter ex-Catholic who’s said that the Church today is “not an institution for respectable people” (so much for the English hierarchy’s decades-long wheedling for social acceptance). As she freely concedes, Mantel’s aim in her novel was to take down the Thomas More of “A Man for All Seasons”—the Thomas More the Catholic Church canonized—and her instrument for doing so is More’s rival in the court of Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell.
Hillary Mantel does not lack for chutzpah, for Cromwell has long been considered a loathsome character and More a man of singular nobility. In the novel “Wolf Hall”, however, the More of Robert Bolt’s play is transformed into a heresy-hunting, scrupulous prig, while Cromwell is the sensible, pragmatic man of affairs who gets things done, even if a few heads get cracked (or detached) in the process.
All of which is rubbish, as historians with no Catholic interests at stake have made clear.
1968 witnessed perhaps the greatest revolution in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. It was led by Fr. Charles Curran, professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, with more than 500 theologians who signed a "Statement of Dissent" that declared Catholics were not bound in conscience to follow the Church's teaching in the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, that said artificial contraception is morally wrong because it is destructive of the good of Christian marriage.
The battle at Catholic University centered on the major question in Catholic higher education during the turbulent years after the Second Vatican Council, "What is the meaning of academic freedom at a Catholic university?" Curran and the dissenting theologians maintained they needed to be free to teach without constraint by any outside authority, including the bishops. The bishops maintained that the American tradition of religious freedom guaranteed the right of religiously-affiliated schools to require their professors to teach in accord with the authority of their church.
This book uses never-before published material from the personal papers of the key players at CUA to tell the inside story of the dramatic events that unfolded there. Beginning with the 1967 faculty-led strike in support of Curran, this book reveals the content of the internal discussions between the key bishops on the CUA Board of Trustees.
This work attempts to disprove both the standard "liberal" and "conservative" interpretation of the events of 1968, suggesting that the culture of dissent was a direct fruit of the excessive legalism and authoritarianism which marked the Church in the years preceding Vatican II. Because the polarization in 1968 has continued to define the experience of many American Catholics and has had an ongoing effect on Catholic education, this work should be extremely interesting to those who want to understand the past so as to move forward with a greater awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of Catholic education in the United States.
Praise for The Coup at Catholic University:
"Fr. Peter Mitchell's book explains the ideological roots of the identity crisis that Catholic higher education has suffered for the past 50 years and a way out of the confusion. Packed with fascinating historical detail and conclusive evidence, it will stimulate a lively discussion of the meaning of academic freedom within a Catholic university." - Fr.Frederick Miller, S.T.D., Spiritual Director, College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception
"In this riveting history Fr. Mitchell tells a compelling story which reveals the origins and gives theological insight into the tensions still present in Catholic higher education. The Coup at Catholic University reveals hope for strengthening the identity and mission of our Catholic Universities by shining light on our recent past." - Most Rev. Andrew Cozzens, S.T.D., Bishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis
From Rev. Dr Michel Remery M.Sc., the Vice Secretary General of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), comes
the ideal book for young men and women who are curious about the Catholic faith!
For new Catholics and current catechumens, for anyone who wants to share his faith or freshen up his knowledge of the faith – TWEETING WITH GODis a perfect companion to the wildly popular youth catechism known as YOUCAT.
Watch the Book Trailer here!
Twitter is one of the most popular social media websites, with more than 200 million users worldwide. But how can Catholics best connect with God and spread their faith, especially via the social media platform that limits them to 140-character tweets? In his new book, TWEETING WITH GOD, Father Michael Remery provides tweets to 200 daring questions from young people about God, faith, and morality — among other topics. Father’s responses are in 140 characters or less, and provide expanded explanations based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church,YOUCAT and the Bible.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Fr. Michel Remery is a Dutch Catholic priest. He was a member of an advisory commission for new media and youth at the Vatican Internet Service and worked with young people and university students in Leiden, Netherlands. He is currently vice secretary general of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE).
After purchasing, download the TWEETING WITH GOD mobile-friendly app titled #TwGOD available through Google and iTunes to connect to YOUCAT and other resources while reading the book!
It was, as wake services go, unremarkable. Marion Klein had been a faithful wife for twenty-one years, a gracious mother for seventeen, and a genuinely loved member of the St. Veronica parish staff for nearly six. She had more than what some might consider the usual number of close friends, due both to her highly visible position as parish secretary and her natural affinity for smiling one of those smiles that surges up easily and often to signal a deep and contagious appreciation of life.
Her easy disposition was a joy not only to her husband, Ryan, but also to her children, Truman and Dawn, both teens and both the only children of a St. Veronica parish staff member not named after a Roman Catholic saint—a meaningless aside that Father Mark Cleary had rolled his eyes over in mock dismay on more than one occasion during the half-dozen good years that he and Marion worked so closely together.
Since it had been her nature to find reason to smile in what others knew must be difficult circumstances, everyone wondered how Marion would handle the spreading cancer that her doctor whispered upon her exactly three years ago this month. But as everyone who came to the MacInnes Funeral Home agreed, she handled it as well as anyone could. She fought it with chemistry and good humor until a few days into June when she finally lay too weak to walk and too toxic to pretend and let Father Mark—her pastor, employer, and friend—anoint her with the oil of a sad and quiet blessing for what Father Mark said was her peace and healing but for what Marion knew was, in fact, her death.
Now, with a thin, gray Tuesday rain sprinkling the beginnings of another humid Michigan summer and 124 friends and relatives gathered to visit and cry and smile and say good-bye to a dear friend and companion, Father Mark recalled Marion’s cheerfulness and offered a prayer that she now, at last, would be completely and finally healed in God, the One in whom, for all of eternity, “Marion’s joy will be complete.”
He felt the loss of her company personally, and everyone knew it. It was appreciated. Then he invited others to share some memory and a number of them did, including Marion’s sixteen-year-old son, who told about having to eat tomato soup and bacon at his mom’s insistence every time he broke a fever, “to get salt back into my system”, and how his mother’s jokes had helped him through so many hard times of his own, even though he was only a teenager, and that he would really, really miss her. His thirteen-year-old sister talked briefly about carnivals and how her mom had always laughed a lot, and how that is the way she would like to be, and she would be, even though she was crying now. Others cried with her. Her dad chose to avoid speaking, not for lack of memories but from the weight of too many, too quickly passed. Ryan and Marion had been married in college, and this was a hard, hard night.
After fifteen minutes of memories, which passed quickly, Father Mark prayed his final blessing, and the service quietly ended. He shook hands with Ryan and Marion’s brother, Kerry, who lived on the west side of the state but seldom visited. Dawn hugged the priest briefly and then her dad, long and hard. Nearly a hundred people came slowly up to the casket, some in pairs, to kneel beside Marion’s body and make a quick sign of the cross, a few to touch her rigid hand, some hovering very near for a long moment of reflection or discomfort or both, some nodding quickly and moving on. One leaned over and seemed about to kiss her, but didn’t, whispering several words instead. Most stood at a safe distance and simply stared, perhaps thinking of Marion’s death, perhaps thinking of their own.
Good-nights were exchanged. Doors opened. Umbrellas were raised. Giles MacInnes and his two assistants, Dave Harmon and Giles’ own daughter, Melissa, still in college and still in training, stood in black and thanked everyone for coming. They smiled, but not too much.
The mourners filed into the night carefully, as though afraid something else in their life might break. Ryan Klein finally cried, barely, and Dawn and Truman did, too. They spoke briefly to Father Mark and to Giles about the next day’s service. Then it was time to close.
Melissa went to the office to note the evening’s service for her files. Dave Harmon quickly straightened the chairs that had been rearranged during the service, then checked the restrooms for lost articles. He found nothing. He slipped on his coat, said good-night to Giles, and walked with Melissa to the parking lot, locking the front door behind them. Giles, by his own choice, was also responsible for final lockup. He glanced quickly around the now-silent viewing room. He had an efficient eye. The room was in generally good order. It always was. He would leave the red-padded folding chairs in place, probably too many for the morning, but better too many than too few. A black silk scarf had slipped to the floor next to the couch. His assistant hadn’t noticed it. There was always something. Giles picked the scarf up with a casual sweep of his hand and placed it on the coat-rack by the door, where someone would certainly see and retrieve it if they made their way back for the morning service. If not, no matter.
With that, he straightened two more chairs, glanced briefly at his watch, and turned just in time to see Marion Klein’s crystal rosary slide with a terrible grace, like the world coming to an end in sickening slow motion, over the back of her rising left hand and across her trembling, rose-polished fingernails to drop with a click as tiny as death on her slowly stirring chest.
Chesterton around the Corner | James Casper | IPNovels.com
By the time I graduated from Loyola High School in Minnesota, I had read almost everything G.K. Chesterton had written.
Not long after, at St. Louis University, I found myself in the office of Dr. Edward Sarmiento as he shared the story of publishing a poem in G.K.’s Weekly years before I was born. Sarmiento, Professor of Spanish, had received for his youthful efforts a check for one pound sterling signed by G.K. himself.
“You did?!” I sputtered. I expected to see the check itself at any moment pulled from a drawer of his battered office desk.
“I cashed it, Jim.” He said it with that beautifully sad intonation and facial expression the Spanish manage so very well. “I was broke, and needed the money, but that must have disappointed Chesterton. I think he was hoping his autograph would be pay enough.”
Chesterton, among other things, was a canny businessman. Dr. Sarmiento, among other things, was a translator of St. John of the Cross’s poems.
Decades rolled by and my wife and I were at London’s Marylebone Station purchasing flowers and boarding the Chiltern train—destination: Beaconsfield, home of Chesterton. He had made this journey almost daily, traveling to and from his Fleet Street haunts to a town whose name Americans will mispronounce to the amusement of the British. For ever so many readers, his village home might remain a beacon, but it also beckons, and that is how it is pronounced.
Flowers in hand, we stood outside his homes, Overroads and Top Meadow. We wondered where the rail line and train station might have been in those days long past. The entrance to Top Meadow was wider than most. It had to be wide or he might have been trapped inside. We lingered before his grave, also that of his wife and secretary. I attempted to translate its Latin inscription all but worn away on a sadly weathered monument.
“You would think with all the people in this world so fond of themselves for revering Chesterton—some of them making money from writing about him—funds could be raised to restore this,” I muttered.
“We are hitchhikers, all of us,” said Kate.
This silenced me. We left our flowers.
An old, old man hailed us from afar as we stood in the cemetery.
To the Christian, faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an expression of certainty that the saying that seems to be only a beautiful dream is in fact true: "Love is strong as death" (Song 8:6). In the Old Testament this sentence comes in the middle of praises of the power of eros. But this by no means signifies that we can simply push it aside as a lyrical exaggeration. The boundless demands oferos", its apparent exaggerations and extravagance, do in reality give expression to a basic problem, indeed the" basic problem of human existence, insofar as they reflect the nature and intrinsic paradox of love: love demands infinity, indestructibility; indeed, it is, so to speak, a call for infinity. But it is also a fact that this cry of love's cannot be satisfied, that it demands infinity but cannot grant it; that it claims eternity but in fact is included in the world of death, in its loneliness and its power of destruction. Only from this angle can one understand what "resurrection" means. It is" the greater strength of love in face of death.
At the same time it is proof of what only immortality can create: being in the other who still stands when I have fallen apart. Man is a being who himself does not live forever but is necessarily delivered up to death. For him, since he has no continuance in himself, survival, from a purely human point of view, can only become possible through his continuing to exist in another. The statements of Scripture about the connection between sin and death are to he understood from this angle. For it now becomes clear that man's attempt "to be like God", his striving for autonomy, through which he wishes to stand on his own feet alone, means his death, for he just cannot stand on his own. If man--and this is the real nature of sin--nevertheless refuses to recognize his own limits and tries to be completely self-sufficient, then precisely by adopting this attitude he delivers himself up to death.
Of course man does understand that his life alone does not endure and that he must therefore strive to exist in others, so as to remain through them and in them in the land of the living. Two ways in particular have been tried. First, living on in one's own children: that is why in primitive peoples failure to marry and childlessness are regarded as the most terrible curse; they mean hopeless destruction, final death. Conversely, the largest possible number of children offers at the same time the greatest possible chance of survival, hope of immortality, and thus the most genuine blessing that man can expect. Another way discloses itself when man discovers that in his children he only continues to exist in a very unreal way; he wants more of himself to remain. So he takes refuge in the idea of fame, which should make him really immortal if be lives on through all ages in the memory of others. But this second attempt of man's to obtain immortality for himself by existing in others fails just as badly as the first: what remains is not the self but only its echo, a mere shadow. So self-made immortality is really only a Hades, a sheol": more nonbeing than being. The inadequacy of both ways lies partly in the fact that the other person who holds my being after my death cannot carry this being itself but only its echo; and even more in the fact that even time other person to whom I have, so to speak, entrusted my continuance will not last--he, too, will perish.
This leads us to the next step. We have seen so far that man has no permanence in himself. And consequently can only continue to exist in another but that his existence in another is only shadowy and once again not final, because this other must perish, too. If this is so, then only one could truly give lasting stability: he who is, who does not come into existence and pass away again but abides in the midst of transience: the God of the living, who does not hold just the shadow and echo of my being, whose ideas are not just copies of reality. I myself am his thought, which establishes me more securely, so to speak, than I am in myself; his thought is not the posthumous shadow but the original source and strength of my being. In him I can stand as more than a shadow; in him I am truly closer to myself than I should be if I just tried to stay by myself.
Balthasar, his Christology, and the Mystery of Easter | Aidan Nichols OP | Introduction to Hans Urs von Balthasar's Mysterium Paschale
Balthasar was born in Lucerne in 1905.  It is probably significant that he was born in that particular Swiss city, whose name is virtually synonymous with Catholicism in Swiss history. The centre of resistance to the Reformation in the sixteenth century, in the nineteenth it led the Catholic cantons in what was virtually a civil war of religion, the War of the Sonderbund (which they lost). Even today it is very much a city of churches, of religious frescoes, of bells. Balthasar is a very self-consciously Catholic author. He was educated by both Benedictines and Jesuits, and then in 1923 began a university education divided between four Universities: Munich, Vienna, Berlin — where he heard Romano Guardini, for whom a Chair of Catholic Philosophy had been created in the heartland of Prussian Protestantism  - and finally Zurich.
In 1929 he presented his doctoral thesis, which had as a subject the idea of the end of the world in modern German literature, from Lessing to Ernst Bloch. Judging by his citations, Balthasar continued to regard playwrights, poets and novelists as theological sources as important as the Fathers of the Schoolmen.  He was prodigiously well-read in the literature of half a dozen languages and has been called the most cultivated man of his age.  In the year he got his doctorate, he entered the Society of Jesus. His studies with the German Jesuits he described later as a time spent languishing in a desert, even though one of his teachers was the outstanding Neo-Scholastic Erich Przywara, to whom he remained devoted.  From the Ignatian Exercises he took the personal ideal of uncompromising faithfulness to Christ the Word in the midst of a secular world.  His real theological awakening, however, only happened when he was sent to the French Jesuit study house at Lyons, where he found awaiting him Henri de Lubac and Jean Daniélou, both later to be cardinals of the Roman church. These were the men most closely associated with the 'Nouvelle Théologie', later to be excoriated by Pope Pius XII for its patristic absorption.  Pius XII saw in the return to the Fathers two undesirable hidden motives. These were, firstly, the search for a lost common ground with Orthodoxy and the Reformation, and secondly, the desire for a relatively undeveloped theology which could then be presented in a myriad new masks to modern man.  The orientation to the Fathers, especially the Greek Fathers, which de Lubac in particular gave Balthasar did not, in fact, diminish his respect for historic Scholasticism at the level of philosophical theology.  His own metaphysics consist of a repristinated Scholasticism, but he combined this with an enthusiasm for the more speculative of the Fathers, admired for the depths of their theological thought as well as for their ability to re-express an inherited faith in ways their contemporaries found immediately attractive and compelling. 
Balthasar did not stay with the Jesuits. In 1940 they had sent him to Basle as a chaplain to the University. From across the Swiss border, Balthasar could observe the unfolding of the Third Reich, whose ideology he believed to be a distorted form of Christian apocalyptic and the fulfilment of his own youthful ideas about the rôle of the eschatology theme in the German imagination. While in Basle Balthasar also observed Adrienne von Speyr, a convert to Catholicism and a visionary who was to write an ecstatic commentary on the Fourth Gospel, and some briefer commentaries on other New Testament books, as well as theological essays of a more sober kind.  In 1947, the motu proprio Provida Mater Ecciesia created the possibility of 'secular institutes' within the Roman Catholic Church, and, believing that these Weltgemeinschaften of laity in vows represented the Ignatian vision in the modern world, Balthasar proposed to his superiors that he and Adrienne von Speyr together might found such an institute within the Society of Jesus. When they declined, he left the Society and in 1950 became a diocesan priest under the bishop of Chur, in eastern Switzerland. Soon Balthasar had published so much that he was able to survive on his earnings alone, and moved to Einsiedeln, not far from Lucerne, where, in the shadow of the venerable Benedictine abbey, he built up his publishing house, the Johannes Verlag, named after Adrienne von Speyr's preferred evangelist. She died in 1967, but he continued to regard her as the great inspiration of his life, humanly speaking.
Seewald: We are used to thinking of suffering as something we try to avoid at all costs. And there is nothing that many societies get more angry about than the Christian idea that one should bear with pain, should endure suffering, should even sometimes give oneself up to it, in order thereby to overcome it. "Suffering", John Paul II believes, "is a part of the mystery of being human." Why is this?
Cardinal Ratzinger: Today what people have in view is eliminating suffering from the world. For the individual, that means avoiding pain and suffering in whatever way. Yet we must also see that it is in this very way that the world becomes very hard and very cold. Pain is part of being human. Anyone who really wanted to get rid of suffering would have to get rid of love before anything else, because there can be no love without suffering, because it always demands an element of self-sacrifice, because, given temperamental differences and the drama of situations, it will always bring with it renunciation and pain.
When we know that the way of love–this exodus, this going out of oneself–is the true way by which man becomes human, then we also understand that suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people; he becomes hard and selfish.
Love itself is a passion, something we endure. In love experience first a happiness, a general feeling of happiness.
Yet on the other hand, I am taken out of my comfortable tranquility and have to let myself be reshaped. If we say that suffering is the inner side of love, we then also understand it is so important to learn how to suffer–and why, conversely, the avoidance of suffering renders someone unfit to cope with life. He would be left with an existential emptiness, which could then only be combined with bitterness, with rejection and no longer with any inner acceptance or progress toward maturity.
Seewald: What would actually have happened if Christ had not appeared and if he had not died on the tree of the Cross? Would the world long since have come to ruin without him?
Cardinal Ratzinger: That we cannot say. Yet we can say that man would have no access to God. He would then only be able to relate to God in occasional fragmentary attempts. And, in the end, he would not know who or what God actually is.
Something of the light of God shines through in the great religions of the world, of course, and yet they remain a matter of fragments and questions. But if the question about God finds no answer, if the road to him is blocked, if there is no forgiveness, which can only come with the authority of God himself, then human life is nothing but a meaningless experiment. Thus, God himself has parted the clouds at a certain point. He has turned on the light and has shown us the way that is the truth, that makes it possible for us to live and that is life itself.
Seewald: Someone like Jesus inevitably attracts an enormous amount of attention and would be bound to offend any society. At the time of his appearance, the prophet from Nazareth was not only cheered, but also mocked and persecuted. The representatives of the established order saw in Jesus' teaching and his person a serious threat to their power, and Pharisees and high priests began to seek to take his life. At the same time, the Passion was obviously part and parcel of his message, since Christ himself began to prepare his disciples for his suffering and death. In two days, he declared at the beginning of the feast of Passover, "the Son of Man will be betrayed and crucified."
Cardinal Ratzinger: Jesus is adjusting the ideas of the disciples to the fact that the Messiah is not appearing as the Savior or the glorious powerful hero to restore the renown of Israel as a powerful state, as of old. He doesn't even call himself Messiah, but Son of Man. His way, quite to the contrary, lies in powerlessness and in suffering death, betrayed to the heathen, as he says, and brought by the heathen to the Cross. The disciples would have to learn that the kingdom of God comes into the world in that way, and in no other.
Seewald: A world-famous picture by Leonardo da Vinci, the Last Supper, shows Jesus' farewell meal in the circle of his twelve apostles. On that evening, Jesus first of all throws them all into terror and confusion by indicating that he will be the victim of betrayal. After that he founds the holy Eucharist, which from that point onward has been performed by Christians day after day for two thousand years.
"During the meal," we read in the Gospel, "Jesus took the bread and spoke the blessing; then he broke the bread, shared it with the disciples, and said: Take and eat; this is my body. Then he took the cup, spoke the thanksgiving, and passed it to the disciples with the words: Drink of this, all of you; this is my blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me." These are presumably the sentences that have been most often pronounced in the entire history of the world up till now. They give the impression of a sacred formula.
Cardinal Ratzinger: They are a sacred formula. In any case, these are words that entirely fail to fit into any category of what would be usual, what could be expected or premeditated. They are enormously rich in meaning and enormously profound. If you want to get to know Christ, you can get to know him best by meditating on these words, and by getting to know the context of these words, which have become a sacrament, by joining in the celebration. The institution of the Eucharist represents the sum total of what Christ Is.
Here Jesus takes up the essential threads of the Old Testament. Thereby he relies on the institution of the Old Covenant, on Sinai, on one hand, thus making clear that what was begun on Sinai is now enacted anew: The Covenant that God made with men is now truly perfected. The Last Supper is the rite of institution of the New Covenant. In giving himself over to men, he creates a community of blood between God and man.
On the other hand, some words of the prophet Jeremiah are taken up here, proclaiming the New Covenant. Both strands of the Old Testament (Law and prophets) are amalgamated to create this unity and, at the same time, shaped into a sacramental action. The Cross is already anticipated in this. For when Christ gives his Body and his Blood, gives himself, then this assumes that he is really giving up his life. In that sense, these words are the inner act of the Cross, which occurs when God transforms this external violence against him into an act of self-donation to mankind.
And something else is anticipated here, the Resurrection. You cannot give anyone dead flesh, dead body to eat. Only because he is going to rise again are his Body and his Blood new. It is no longer cannibalism but union with the living, risen Christ that is happening here.
In these few words, as we see, lies a synthesis of the history of religion—of the history of Israel's faith, as well as of Jesus' own being and work, which finally becomes a sacrament and an abiding presence. ...
Seewald: The soldiers abuse Jesus in a way we can hardly imagine. All hatred, everything bestial in man, utterly abysmal, the most horrible things men can do to one another, is obviously unloaded onto this man.
Cardinal Ratzinger: Jesus stands for all victims of brute force. In the twentieth century itself we have seen again how inventive human cruelty can be; how cruelty, in the act of destroying the image of man in others, dishonors and destroys that image in itself. The fact that the Son of God took all this upon himself in exemplary manner, as the "Lamb of God", is bound to make us shudder at the cruelty of man, on one hand, and make us think carefully about ourselves, how far we are willing to stand by as cowardly or silent onlookers, or how far we share responsibility ourselves. On the other side, it is bound to transform us and to make us rejoice in God. He has put himself on the side of the innocent and the suffering and would like to see us standing there too.
Related IgnatiusInsight.com Articles and Book Excerpts:
All over the world, the best young people are seeking God. They would like to discover the paths where they can meet him, where they can experience him, where they can be challenged by him. They are tired of sociological and psychological expedients, of all the banal substitutes for the truly miraculous.
In order to respond to their desire—which corresponds, moreover, to that of true Christians of all ages—let us not delay: let us be spiritual men who live and know how to hand on the extraordinary mystery that is at the center of our faith, the mystery without which all Christianity becomes trivial and, thereby, ineffective.
At the center of our faith: the Cross
"For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2): there you have Paul's plan of action. Why? Because the entire Credo of the early Church was focused on the interpretation of the appalling end of Jesus, of the Cross, as having been brought about pro nobis, for us; Paul even says: for each one of us, thus, for me.
"The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20).
What effect can such an act of love have? Is it a manifestation of solidarity? But if I suffer from cancer, what good does it do me if someone else lets himself be stricken by the same illness in order to keep me company? In order to understand the original faith, we must certainly go beyond the simple concept of solidarity.
For the early Church, this "going beyond" was justified after the experience of the Resurrection. Far from being a private event in the history of Jesus, it is the attestation on God's part that this crucified Jesus is truly the advent of the kingdom of God, of the pardon offaults, of the justification of the sinner, of filial adoption.
The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times. Too often dismissed simply as burn-out or a midlife crisis…learn the symptoms and effects of this terrible affliction. Most important, learn the remedies for it!
The Noonday Devil Dom Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B Foreword by Marc Cardinal Ouellet Softcover, 208 pages, $16.95
The noonday devil is the demon of acedia, the vice also known as sloth, a combination of weariness, sadness, and a lack of purposefulness. It robs a person of his capacity for joy and leaves him feeling void of meaning. Feel like you might be battling the "noonday devil?" Let Abbot Nault show you the remedies for it in this book.
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"A must read for anyone who takes the spiritual life seriously. Christ's passion and death on the cross is the most perfect answer to the terrible evil that tells man his very existence is meaningless." - Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., Author, The Ear of the Heart
"With clarity and penetrating insight, Abbot Nault unmasks the pernicious demon of acedia, showing how it tempts souls in every state of life and why it may well be the zeitgeist of our time. A most helpful and encouraging book on a long-overdue topic." - Johnnette Benkovic, EWTN host; Founder, Women of Grace®
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San Francisco, March 25, 2015 – A group of Catholic publishers announced today plans to sponsor the first annual Catholic Stores Month, in July 2015.
Leading the initiative is Ignatius Press. Anthony Ryan, Marketing Director, said, “Ignatius Press is concerned about the plight of Catholic stores in an environment increasingly dominated by a handful of large online shops. We want to do our part to help keep the tradition of Catholic stores alive and well.”
Many distinguished Catholic publishers have already agreed to join Ignatius Press in this endeavor. Participating publishers will partner with independent Catholic businesses to encourage consumers to visit and support their neighborhood Catholic stores during the month of July.
Participating vendors and Catholic stores will provide a variety of special offers, and will sponsor customer events during the month of July. Specific offers are still in the planning stage, but likely will include bundles, special pricing discounts, and free items available exclusively from participating Catholic businesses.
By providing a concerted marketing and public relations effort through various media outlets, the businesses behind this initiative hope to raise awareness and support in the broad Catholic community.
“Initial reaction from the stores we have spoken to is very positive,” said Michele Sylvestro, Vice President of Sales at Catholic Word Publishing, “As a result, we are strongly encouraging our own publishing partners to join Catholic Word in this worthwhile venture.”
The Ignatius Press and Catholic Word sales teams will be spearheading efforts to involve Catholic stores in this new project. Stores can get more information and also register for Catholic Stores Month at the website for the program: www.catholicstoremonth.com
Interested stores should contact the sales office of Ignatius Press, at 800-360-1714 or via email at StoreSales@ignatius.com. Interested media should contact Ian Rutherford at 970-493-4840, or Ian@intrepidgroup.com
The Mystery of the Annunciation is the Mystery of Grace | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) | Ignatius Insight
The mystery of the annunciation to Mary is not just a mystery of silence.It is above and beyond all that a mystery of grace.
We feel compelled to ask ourselves: Why did Christ really want to be born of a virgin? It was certainly possible for him to have been born of a normal marriage. That would not have affected his divine Sonship, which was not dependent on his virgin birth and could equally well have been combined with another kind of birth. There is no question here of a downgrading of marriage or of the marriage relationship; nor is it a question of better safeguarding the divine Sonship. Why then?
We find the answer when we open the Old Testament and see that the mystery of Mary is prepared for at every important stage in salvation history. It begins with Sarah, the mother of Isaac, who had been barren, but when she was well on in years and had lost the power of giving life, became, by the power of God, the mother of Isaac and so of the chosen people.
The process continues with Anna, the mother of Samuel, who was likewise barren, but eventually gave birth; with the mother of Samson, or again with Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptizer. The meaning of all these events is the same: that salvation comes, not from human beings and their powers, but solely from God—from an act of his grace.
The Past is a Foreign Country: Liturgical Latin and Fiction | James Casper | IPNovels.com
Much we know about the world would be lost were it not for artistic renderings of the past. Memories otherwise would seldom outlive those who remember.
Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars forced professional historians and casual readers alike to revise assessments of the Catholic religion in England in the years immediately preceding the Reformation:
If medieval religion was decadent, unpopular, or exhausted, the success of the Reformation hardly requires explanation. If, on the contrary, it was vigorous, adaptable, widely understood, and popular, then we have much yet to discover about the processes and the pace of reform.
In the almost six hundred pages following this observation, Duffy develops support for this thesis: that the Reformation in England was more of a revolution against a popular, widely-revered institution than an effort to reform something rife with problems and corruption. He can only build his case by reference to contemporary written accounts and a study of Church artistic works that somehow managed to survive state-sponsored efforts to obliterate the past.
The Tudor and Puritan road he guides his readers down is littered with burnt books, defaced statues, destroyed altar screens, and melted down church vessels. Destroy the artistic creations and traditions of an age, and when the last person who remembers it dies, a world dies also. This is where the road ends.
In our own time, those of us old enough to remember the Catholic Church as it was prior to Vatican II are also living with an obliterated past on a road marked ‘Dead End’. Inevitably, as the days move along, we are a vanishing breed on an all but forgotten journey.
These days much is made of the Catholicity of celebrated writers Chesterton, Tolkien, and Waugh. The latter two lived long enough to experience firsthand changes wrought by Vatican II, and both railed against them. (Details are at hand in the Ignatius Press edition of A Bitter Trial.) Tolkien and Waugh would never again feel at home in the Church. G. K.’s childhood memory of successful businessmen, bankers, and shop clerks falling to their knees as Cardinal Manning passed by along Kensington High Street seems to come from a world other than this one. G. K.’s old nemesis, George Bernard Shaw, might think the Church has become a bit more palatable, but what would G. K. himself think? Given his sense of humor, he might have somehow managed whereas Belloc—had he lived to see the day—would have blown a fuse.
Tolkien is said to have been dismayed by the exiling of Latin to what would become in our time a liturgical antique shop.
The Importance of Knowing St. Joseph | Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. | The Introduction to The Mystery of Joseph by Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P. | Ignatius Insight
The publication of this serious, even profound study of a person intimately joined to the life of the Messiah and written by one of the most respected figures in our contemporary Catholic scene should cause serious attention to be paid to the often neglected figure of Saint Joseph.
Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P., an important French theologian who died only in 2006, was a man whose thought was of great influence and depth. He was also a man greatly devoted to the Church who founded the Community of Saint John. This new community is now recognized in several countries as a very successful attempt to restore a vibrant spirituality to the religious life, which in many places has seemed moribund for years.
The Brothers and Sisters of Saint John are a cause of hope to those who look ahead to the restoration of the authentic and powerful traditions of the religious life that have gotten lost in recent times. The Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal have welcomed them with joy.
Father Philippe's book on Saint Joseph is very consistent with the new biblical theology called for by Pope Benedict XVI. The author very impressively examines the sparse facts that we have concerning the life of Saint Joseph, teasing from them material that connects easily and well with a very impressive structure of theological teaching. This then becomes a means of providing a firm foundation for devotion to the Foster Father and Guardian of the Son of God.
Except for Christ and Saint Paul, New Testament figures attract little attention from the secular world and especially the secular media – even when they are in a kindly mood. Occasionally a small amount of attention is shown to the figure of the Blessed Mother but rarely is Saint Joseph or any of the Apostles mentioned. Even in cities named Saint Joseph or San José are the inhabitants really conscious of the fact that their hometown is actually named for a person – a person who played a role of immense importance in God's plan of redemption for humankind. This apparent obscurity finds at its root a kind of Protestantism that is focused intensely on the figure Christ and on the writings of Saint Paul, but which seems barely acquainted with Saint Joseph and even the Mother of God, herself.
Catholic theology, which takes a less constricted view of such things, opened up a world of devotion to Saint Joseph the humble carpenter of Nazareth as well as to the Mother of God. How could it be otherwise? These are the figures who stood at the manger on the first Christmas; they are the ones to whom the care of the Word Incarnate was entrusted by God.