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Ignatius Press delivers one stop for resources into hotly debated topics at Vatican meeting
SAN FRANCISCO, August 26, 2014 – Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, the indissolubility of marriage, cohabitation and contraception are just a few of the many controversial topics to be discussed when Catholic bishops from across the globe meet with Pope Francis at the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops Oct. 5-19 at the Vatican. Ignatius Press, one of the largest religious publishers in the world, is publishing four books in the fall that will address issues of the upcoming synod. The Catholic publisher will also have a number of authors available to comment on the topics before and during the Synod.
THE HOPE OF THE FAMILY: A Dialogue With Cardinal Gerhard Muller, written by Gerhardt Ludwig Muller, addresses some of the main problems with the family in the Church today — the large number of Catholics who live together before marriage, who marry civilly, or who do not even bother with marriage, as if these choices were sound options for Catholic living.
In this engaging conversation, Cardinal Müller, one of Pope Francis' top advisers in the Vatican, discusses the challenges facing marriage and family life today. The loss of faith in many traditionally Christian societies has led to a crisis. In turn, cohabitation, civil marriage, and divorce and civil remarriage, further undermine faith because they harm the family as the “domestic Church” and the place of initial evangelization. The solution, according to Cardinal Muller, is that the Church must undertake a robust new evangelization of the family — sharing the fullness of truth about marriage and family in Christ, encouraging families to worship and pray together, and helping them witness by their lives to the joy of the gospel.
Cardinal Müller stresses mercy and compassion in pastoral ministry with struggling Catholics, without contradicting the teaching of Jesus about divorce and remarriage and minimizing the power of grace to transform lives. He proclaims hope for the family rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The authors appreciate certain elements of Kasper’s proposal while criticizing some of its doctrinale, pastoral, and pastorals elements. The book is a positive contribution providing an alternative merciful pastoral approach inspired by the Magisterium and by the testimony of Saint John Paul II, whom Pope Francis has held up to the whole Church as “the Pope of the Family.”
REMAINING IN THE TRUTH OF CHRIST: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, written by Robert Dorado, O.S.A, is an in-depth response by five well-known Cardinals — Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Leo Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Velasio De Paolis, C.S., and Gerhard Ludwig Müller — and four other scholars — Dodaro, Paul Mankowski, S.J., John M. Rist and Archbishop Cyril Vasil, S.J. — to Cardinal Kasper’s proposal regarding marriage, civil re-marriage and reception of the Eucharist.
The book draws on both biblical texts and early Christian writings on marriage, and shows how the Church’s longstanding fidelity to the truth of marriage is the irrevocable foundation of its mercy in its pastoral practice with civilly remarried, divorced people.
ON HUMAN LIFE: Humane Vitae, written by Pope Paul VI and rereleased featuring a new foreword from Mary Eberstadt and a new afterword from James Hitchcock, is Pope Paul VI’s explanation of why the Catholic Church rejects contraception.
Paul VI referred to two aspects, or “meanings,” of human sexuality — the unitive and procreative aspects. Paul VI also warned of the consequences if contraception became widely practiced — greater infidelity in marriage, confusion regarding the nature of human sexuality and its role in society, the objectification of women for sexual pleasure, compulsive “family planning” and contraceptive policies by government, and the reduction of the human body as an instrument of human manipulation, all of which have come to pass. Other dangers such as genetic engineering and human cloning are on the horizon.
St. John Paul II’s popular “theology of the body” drew deeply on the insights of Paul VI. Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis have upheld the long-standing teaching. Indeed, a new generation of Catholics is embracing ON HUMAN LIFE: Humane Vitae. For more information, to request a review copy or to schedule an interview with any of the key experts, please contact Kevin Wandra (404-788-1276 or KWandra@CarmelCommunications.com) of Carmel Communications.
An Interview with Roger B. Thomas, author of The Accidental Marriage | IPNovels.com
Roger Thomas is a lifelong Michigan resident, has been married to his wife Ellen since 1981. They have six grown children and eight grandchildren. He is a self-employed computer consultant. He loves reading, and his favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Rudyard Kipling, and P.G. Wodehouse. He has had two collections of short stories published by Ignatius Press, including The Last Ugly Person which was recently featured in a list of 5 More Short Stories That Every Catholic Should Read. Ignatius Press Novels interviewed Roger via email regarding his new novel The Accidental Marriage.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
Thomas: Oddly, it was a chance line in an online article. It was written by a woman who considers herself a lesbian, and discussed the costs and challenges of getting pregnant. She made an offhand comment that one last resort option is always to just call up a guy friend for an informal “contribution” to facilitate the pregnancy. I pondered that comment, and that it reflected a very shallow understanding of the intricacy and intimacy of what happens when two people join to bring a child into being. I began imagining what kind of complexities might follow such an interaction, and before long the characters of Scott and Megan were coming to life.
Recently, Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco made this appeal to people critical of the Church’s position on same-sex marriage: “Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings… It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart.” During the course of the book, Scott and Megan find that their stereotypes and expectations about others are challenged, both in positive and negative ways. Do you hope your book can help draw out that “encounter” between people with divergent opinions?
Thomas: I certainly hope so. Archbishop Cordileone’s statements cut two ways, as he and other church leaders have made clear. We, especially as Catholics, must not judge on stereotypes and media images, but get to know one another personally.
A drawback of our current cultural dialog, fraught as it is with friction and antagonism, is that was start defining ourselves by our differences. I’m male, she’s female; I’m white, he’s black; I’m a veteran, she’s never served, and so on. This has an isolating effect which you can see expressed in statements like, “You couldn’t possibly understand, because you’re not X”, whatever X might be. Pressed to the extreme, this increasingly isolates us from one another, because nobody is ever going to completely share another’s personal conditions and life experience.
As St. John Paul the Great frequently reminded us, one of the roles of the arts is to reach across those walls and reconnect us with each other in our common humanity. When we read a story or hear a song or see a film and find ourselves saying, “Yes! That’s exactly how it is!”, then we’re connecting with one another. And even as Scott and Megan find their categories getting broadened by their life experiences, I hope the readers of The Accidental Marriage come to see the main protagonists for what they are: simply humans, fellow humans searching for love. Easy as it would be to pigeonhole them as a couple of Bay Area gays living out their mistaken world views, I hope the story brings out their essential humanity in a way that resonates with every reader.
It often seems that the business world of tech startups—the way that there is constant agitation for change and growth without much regard for how that change and growth affects the real people involved—is reflective of a view of relationships that values novelty and change over permanence and depth. Was the setting of the book intentional in this regard?
Thomas: Actually, that was unintentional, but it’s interesting to look back on the story and see that correspondence. There is a disturbing similarity between the interchangeable-persons outlook of the modern corporate world and the similar view of “relationships” – of any type – that is common in our culture. Both reflect a short-term, immediate-return outlook. If this employee (or investment, or partner) isn’t “performing”, then it’s time to change it out.
Love is normally portrayed in romantic fiction as a form of self-fulfillment. Do you think our culture’s emphasis on “romance” helps or hinders love?
The present, future, and quality of Catholic online education | CWR Staff | Catholic World Report
An interview with Patrick Carmack, President of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, about Catholic online education, technology, and Great Books
Patrick S. J. Carmack, J.D. is the President of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, and the founder of the Angelicum Academy Homeschool Program and of the Great Books Academy Homeschool Program (2000 AD). In addition to earning his Juris Doctorate, Patrick has completed additional courses in psychology and philosophy, as well as studies at the Institute of Spirituality at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the “Angelicum”). He is a former Judge at the Oklahoma State Corporation Commission, member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, former CEO of an independent petroleum exploration and production company, founder and former Chairman of the International Caspian Horse Society, and President of a non-profit educational foundation.
Patrick was a participant in Dr. Mortimer J. Adler’s last several Socratic discussion groups in Maryland and California in 1999 and 2000, and he moderated the first live-audio Socratic groups online and numerous online groups since. He has spoken on educational topics at various conferences in the U.S. and in Europe. He is the recipient of the International Etienne Society’s Pope John Paul the Great Thomist Humanist Award for his work in education.
CWR: Online education has had exponential growth in the last decade; has Catholic online education kept pace?
Patrick S. J. Carmack: No, but it is catching up. There is a conservative tendency in Catholic education with respect to the use of modern technology, which results in a reluctance to embrace it. This is probably partly due to a kind of nostalgia for the golden age of Catholic education in the scholasticism of the High Middle Ages and the later, very successful Jesuit pedagogy developed during the Counter-Reformation period. But there is another reason as well, one articulated by Marshall and Eric McLuhan, which recognizes that technology and media themselves change us, and hence society, regardless of the content. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this, but overall the changes are troubling, especially if one connects them to the increasing secularization of the West, where technological change is most rapid. In a word, there is a dehumanizing element to technology that disembodies us to some degree—a discarnation of a sort. That, of course, runs counter to the Catholic love of all reality, including the body and the incarnational aspect of the faith.
CWR: It is surprising to hear you criticize educational technology since you work so much with it. Are you opposed to the use of technology in education, to online classes for instance?
Over the centuries, Saint Anthony of Padua has been acclaimed as a great example of holiness through countless works of art, sculpture and books. Many Catholics, and even non-Catholics, think of Saint Anthony as the first one to turn to when something is lost. Yet amid this widespread veneration and devotion, we may miss the story of a man who began his life like all of us.
This film reveals the journey of Fernando Martins de Bulhões, a 13th century Christian whom we know today as Saint Anthony. Here, we discover a young man who was often "lost" and searching for direction in his life. He wanted to make a difference in the world of his time. As we encounter his humanity, we find someone we can relate to, someone who struggled in life, someone we could have easily called a friend.
Shot on historic locations in Portugal and Italy, Finding St. Anthony: A Story of Loss & Light is a documentary film that focuses on the experiences of Fernando (Anthony) in his search for the life God is calling him to lead. And as we look closely at the journey of St. Anthony, what we find may surprise us: a reflection of ourselves. His story gives us insight and inspiration for our own spiritual journey.
"With his outstanding gifts of intelligence, balance, apostolic zeal and, primarily, mystic fervor, Anthony contributed significantly to the development of Franciscan spirituality." - Pope Benedict XVI
In his History of France, so characteristic of the nineteenth century, Jules Michelet has painted a fresco in which he shows the Church of the thirteenth century in Languedoc checking "the spirit of free thought" that represented heresy. The sentences pour out, nervous, breathless, romantic . . . and inexact. "This Dominic", he writes, "this terrifying founder of the Inquisition, was a Castilian noble. No one surpassed him in the gift of tears, a thing so often joined to fanaticism."  And in the following chapter he continues: "The Pope could only vanquish independent mysticism by himself opening great schools of mysticism: I refer to the mendicant orders. This was fighting evil with evil; attempting that most difficult of contradictions, the regulation of inspiration, the determination of illuminism . . . delirium unleashed!" Pedro Berruguete's (d. 1504) tableau, the Scene of Auto da fé in the Prado museum in Madrid, is equally well known. St. Dominic, recognizable by his mantle ornamented with stars, is seated on a throne presiding over a tribunal and surrounded by six magistrates, almost all of them laymen. Below, to the right, are heretics roped to stakes soon to be set ablaze. The contrast is striking and the composition noteworthy. The tableau was doubtless intended for the glory of Dominic: the same painter designed several altar pieces for the Dominican convent in Avila at the request of Thomas of Torquemada (d. 1493), Inquisitor General in Spain in 1483.
If we go back a little further in history we shall find Dominican witnesses to show how Dominic took part in the first Inquisition against the Catharists and Vaudois in Languedoc. A reference made by Bernard Gui (1261-1331) in aLife of St. Dominic does not hesitate to claim for his Founder the title of First Inquisitor, following the "legendary" texts of the thirteenth century.  Nor has the author of the celebrated "Manual for Inquisitors" hesitated to interpolate on his own authority the Albigensian History of Pierre des Vaux de Cernai in order to prove Dominic's presence at the Battle of Muret during the bloody Albigensian Crusade on September 12, 1213: the Saint is pictured holding in his hands a crucifix riddled with wounds, which is still shown at St. Sernin in Toulouse. 
Lacordaire, on the contrary, at the moment when he was pleading before his "country" the cause of the reestablishment of the Order of Preachers in France in 1838, that is to say, a few years after the impassioned words of Michelet about the foundation of the mendicant orders, affirmed boldly (chap. 6) that "St. Dominic was not the inventor of the Inquisition, and never performed the duties of an inquisitor. The Dominicans were never the promoters or principal agents of the Inquisition." The historical demonstration following these claims must unfortunately be viewed with some reserve. It was - and not only on the basis of historical accuracy - vehemently attacked, in particular by his friend Dom Prosper Guéranger, the restorer of the Benedictines of Solesmes; he accused Lacordaire of not having the courage to "accept his heritage".
What, then, are we to believe? Was Dominic the first of the inquisitors? The answer is categorically: by no means! Simple chronology suffices to resolve the problem: Dominic died in 1221, and the office of Inquisitor was not established until 1231 in Lombardy and 1234 in Languedoc.
Religious life continued to evolve in the thirteenth century as it had in the twelfth, and the evolution necessarily involved the retention of some traditional elements as well as the introduction of original creations. In fact, the variety of new forms of religious life reached such a point that the Lateran Council in 1215 and the Council of Lyons in 1274 prohibited the creation of new religious institutes henceforth.
Nevertheless, two new orders came into existence in the thirteenth century: the Franciscans and the Dominicans. As mendicant orders they both emphasized a strict observance of poverty; as apostolic orders, they were dedicated to the ministry of preaching. Yet there was a noticeable continuity between the newly founded mendicant orders and the older forms of monasticism and the life of the canons regular. At the risk of oversimplifying, we may say that the Franciscans adapted Benedictine monasticism to new needs while the Dominicans adapted the monastic observances of the Premonstratensians to the assiduous study of sacred truth, which characterized the Canons of St. Victor.
The mendicant orders, however, were not simply a development of monasticism; much more than that, they were a response to vital needs in the Church: the need to return to the Christian life of the Gospel (vita apostolica); the need to reform religious life, especially in the area of poverty; the need to extirpate the heresies of the time; the need to raise the level of the diocesan clergy; the need to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments to the faithful. This was especially true of the Dominicans, who were consciously and explicitly designed to meet the needs of the times and to foster the "new" theology, Scholasticism. The Franciscans, as we shall see, were more in the tradition of the old monasticism and sought to return to a life of simplicity and poverty.
St Dominic Guzmán, born at Caleruega, Spain, in 1170 or 1171, was subprior of the Augustinian canons of the cathedral chapter at Osma. As a result of his travels with his bishop, Diego de Acevedo, he came face to face with the Albigensian heresy that was ravaging the Church in southern France. When they learned of the failure of the legates to make any progress in the conversion of the French heretics, Bishop Diego made a drastic recommendation. They should dismiss their retinue and, travelling on foot as mendicants, become itinerant preachers, as the apostles were.
In the autumn of 1206 Dominic founded the first cloister of Dominican nuns at Prouille; towards the end of 1207 Bishop Diego died at Osma, where he had returned to recruit more preachers. The work of preaching did not end with the death of Bishop Diego, but during the Albigensian Crusade under Simon Montfort, from 1209 to 1213, Dominic continued the work almost alone, with the approval of Pope Innocent III and the Council of Avignon (1209). By 1214 a group of associates had joined Dominic and in June, 1215, Bishop Fulk of Toulouse issued a document in which he declared: "We, Fulk, ... Institute Brother Dominic and his associates as preachers in our diocese . . . . They propose to travel on foot and to preach the word of the Gospel in evangelical poverty as religious." (56) The next step was to obtain the approval of the Holy See, and this was of special necessity in an age in which preaching was the prerogative of bishops. The opportunity presented itself when Dominic accompanied Bishop Fulk to Rome for the Lateran Council, which was convoked for November, 1215. According to Jordan of Saxony, Dominic desired confirmation on two points: the papal approval of an order dedicated to preaching and papal recognition of the revenues that had been granted to the community at Toulouse. (57)
The following is taken from an "Opening the Word" column I wrote for the February 28, 2010, edition of Our Sunday Visitor:
In sum, in the days leading up the Transfiguration, Jesus had directly confronted and demolished any false notions the disciples might have had about the nature of his mission. He strongly expressed the unwavering commitment he had to offering himself as a sacrifice for the world. His kingdom was not of this world, and he was not a political leader or a military warrior; he was not promising comfort and wealth. On the contrary, Jesus was promising a cross: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk. 9:23).
We can only try to imagine how disorienting and confusing this had to be for the disciples. Suffering, rejection, and rapidly approaching death were not parts of their plan! In the midst of this confusion and anxiety, Jesus took Peter, John, and James, the inner circle of the disciples, up to the mountain to pray, ascending, as it were, toward the heavenly places. There, above the tumult of the world and an ominous future, Jesus revealed his glory and gave them a dazzling glimpse of their eternal calling.
But the glory witnessed by the three apostles was not just about the future. “The Transfiguration,” notes Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis in Fire of Mercy, Heart of the World (Ignatius Press, 2003), “is the experience of the fullness of divine Presence, action, communication, and glory now, in our very midst, in this world of passingness and disappointment.” It is about the fullness of life now—not ordinary, natural life, but extraordinary, supernatural life. The Transfiguration is about the gift of divine sonship, which comes from the Father, who says of Jesus, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, in considering whether it was fitting that Jesus should be transfigured, observed that since Jesus exhorted his disciples to follow the path of His sufferings, it was right for them to see his glory, to taste for a moment such eternal splendor so they might persevere. He wrote, in the third part of the Summa, “The adoption of the sons of God is through a certain conformity of image to the natural Son of God. Now this takes place in two ways: first, by the grace of the wayfarer, which is imperfect conformity; secondly, by glory, which is perfect conformity…”
Peter and the disciples had to learn that Jesus’ death was necessary so his life could be fully revealed and given to the world. “On Tabor, light pours forth from him,” writes Leiva-Merikakis, “on Calvary it will be blood.”
Today, the Eucharist which we are preparing to celebrate takes us in spirit to Mount Tabor together with the Apostles Peter, James and John, to admire in rapture the splendour of the transfigured Lord. In the event of the Transfiguration we contemplate the mysterious encounter between history, which is being built every day, and the blessed inheritance that awaits us in heaven in full union with Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
We, pilgrims on earth, are granted to rejoice in the company of the transfigured Lord when we immerse ourselves in the things of above through prayer and the celebration of the divine mysteries. But, like the disciples, we too must descend from Tabor into daily life where human events challenge our faith. On the mountain we saw; on the paths of life we are asked tirelessly to proclaim the Gospel which illuminates the steps of believers.
This deep spiritual conviction guided the whole ecclesial mission of my venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, who returned to the Father's house precisely on the Feast of the Transfiguration, 21 years ago now. In the reflection he had planned to give at the Angelus on that day, 6 August 1978, he said: 'The Transfiguration of the Lord, recalled by the liturgy of today's solemnity throws a dazzling light on our daily life, and makes us turn our mind to the immortal destiny which that fact foreshadows'.
Yes! Paul VI reminds us: we are made for eternity and eternity begins at this very moment, since the Lord is among us and lives with and in his Church.
From the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, here is the Troparion for the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration:
You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ our God, revealing as much of Your glory to Your Disciples as they could behold. Through the prayers of the Mother of God, let Your everlasting light also shine upon us sinners. O Giver of Light, glory be to You.
And here is part of reflection on the Feast and the tropar, written by a Byzantine Catholic monk:
The union of Christ's humanity and divinity is complete and full, and as we meditate upon the feasts of the Lord's life we always benefit by focusing on this wonderfully unity in his person. Let us, as disciples might, bask in the brightness of this mystery, begging our Savior God to reveal Himself more fully to us. For what we see is beautiful and alluring. The tropar proclaims that Christ reveals His glory to his disciples. But the glory is not the divinity, nor is it the humanity, both are glorious in Him! Let the light shine upon us sinners (for the glory of humanity is marred in us by sin), that enlightened and purified through this feast, we too may shine through His generous gift of mercy.
Tornielli, the foremost “Vatican insider” journalist, offers here inspiring stories, incidents, encounters, and excerpts from the writings and talks of Pope Francis through his first year as Pope.
These add up to a powerful witness by Pope Francis of “heartwarming stories of the Gospel in action”, and reflect on various spiritual and social themes important to the Pope, including mercy, forgiveness, charity, prayer, justice, Eucharist, Our Lady and much more.
His little gestures and big ones, the minor or major choices that he has made each day, his ability to meet everyone and to speak to everyone, his simple way of being himself, have made Francis not only credible but above all close. The Pope is perceived by many, many people throughout the world as ‘‘one of us’’. It is enough to watch him embrace the sick, the suffering, the children, to see why that is so.
The title echoes the Little Flowers of Saint Francis, the famous collection of stories about the beloved Francis of Assisi, whose name the Pope adopted for himself.
This work offers a wonderful collection of insightful fragments from various aspects of the life of the Pope in his first year that will help the reader become better acquainted with the immensely popular Bishop of Rome who came ‘‘from the end of the earth’’.
Andrea Tornielli is a Vatican correspondent for the highly regarded Italian newspaper La Stampa who has collaborated with numerous Italian and international publications. His numerous books include Francis - Pope of a New World; Pius XII, the Pope of the Jews; Pope Luciani: the Smile of a Saint; The Pope Who Saved the Jews; Benedict XVI, Guardian of the Faith; The Secret of Padre Pio.
As you may know, Ignatius Press is committed to promoting the tradition of liberal education. For this reason, we have joined forces with the Angelicum Academy to form the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Programs. Our founder and editor, Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, is one of the teachers in the program and its chancellor. I have watched every single online lecture Father Fessio has given for the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program and I can say they are outstanding. He is an extraordinarily gifted teacher. Anyone would benefit from participating in Father Fessio's online courses as well as the other courses available. This is true a superb use of the often misused resource of the internet.
In the effort to promote the New Evangelization, liberal education plays a crucial role--as it did in the early centuries of the Church, when Christian apologists effectively made the case for Christ in a hostile intellectual and moral context. Christians went on to shape what eventually became Western Civilization, utilizing the resources of faith and reason, including the resources of classical, liberal learning.
The Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program wants to contribute in a similar way to the New Evangelization.
Please take a moment to review the material below. It's also something worth sending to friends.
In this volume five Cardinals of the Church, and four other scholars, respond to the call issued by Cardinal Walter Kasper for the Church to harmonize "fidelity and mercy in its pastoral practice with civilly remarried, divorced people".
Beginning with a concise introduction, the first part of the book is dedicated to the primary biblical texts pertaining to divorce and remarriage, and the second part is an examination of the teaching and practice prevalent in the early Church. In neither of these cases, biblical or patristic, do these scholars find support for the kind of "toleration" of civil marriages following divorce advocated by Cardinal Kasper.
This book also examines the Eastern Orthodox practice of oikonomia (understood as "mercy" implying "toleration") in cases of remarriage after divorce and in the context of the vexed question of Eucharistic communion. It traces the centuries long history of Catholic resistance to this convention, revealing serious theological and canonical difficulties inherent in past and current Orthodox Church practice.
Thus, in the second part of the book, the authors argue in favor of retaining the theological and canonical rationale for the intrinsic connection between traditional Catholic doctrine and sacramental discipline concerning marriage and communion.
The various studies in this book lead to the conclusion that the Church's longstanding fidelity to the truth of marriage constitutes the irrevocable foundation of its merciful and loving response to the individual who is civilly divorced and remarried. The book therefore challenges the premise that traditional Catholic doctrine and contemporary pastoral practice are in contradiction.
"Because it is the task of the apostolic ministry to ensure that the Church remains in the truth of Christ and to lead her ever more deeply into that truth, pastors must promote the sense of faith in all the faithful, examine and authoritatively judge the genuineness of its expressions and educate the faithful in an ever more mature evangelical discernment." - St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio
Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson says she has proof that a Texas Planned Parenthood clinic had abortion quotas — target numbers of abortions it needed to perform in order to meet its budget.
Johnson, who left the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas in 2010, released a budget statement for the 2010 fiscal year she said shows that the clinic was expected to perform at least 1,135 abortions that year.
Johnson’s group, And Then There Were None, whose stated goal is “to provide financial, emotional, spiritual and legal support to anyone wishing to leave the abortion industry,” released a photograph a few weeks ago of a Colorado clinic receiving an award for having performed more abortions in the first half of the 2013 fiscal year than they had in the second half of the 2012 fiscal year.
So writes author and blogger Sarah Reinhard in her recent review for National Catholic Register of Robert Ovies’ new novel, The Rising, published this spring by Ignatius Press:
This isn’t a thriller. It’s not a horror novel. It’s a serious consideration of what that would mean for a normal kid and his family.
On the surface, this seems like it could be either heretical or awesome or even some combination of both. Ovies, however, forces us to go deeper. What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to be dead? And what are the implications of a boy having this ability?
C.J.’s dad has an entrepreneurial streak, his mom is very protective, and it seems no one’s really concerned about him. For a nine-year-old boy, raising people from the dead could be a neat trick. For the rest of the world, it’s an opportunity to spit in death’s face.
And let’s not forget exploitation, because you know that would happen. The media and even the Church get in on the “what can you do for me?” side of things and, in the end, the hero of the story is the most unexpected person.
This isn’t just entertaining reading, though it’s definitely that. It’s also an examination of life and death. This book is really a consideration of human nature and maybe even divine nature. It’s a look at relationship and trust.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this book the whole time I was reading it. It’s fast-paced and yet it has a way of getting into your brain and making you think.
This might be one of the best novels I’ve read in a couple of years. It gets my highest recommendation. You won’t be sorry you read it!
When nine-year-old C.J. Walker touches the arm of his mother's dead friend at her wake service and whispers the wish that she wouldn't be dead, he's just trying to do the right thing. But when the undertaker sees the woman's rosary sliding off her outstretched fingers and tumbling down her raised left arm, the firestorm can't be held in check. Frightened people near and far demand to know how many of their own loved ones might have been buried alive by the same undertaker, or by any undertaker.
But proof that C.J. Walker can indeed raise the dead is secretly videoed, then publicly aired. In a single morning, C.J.'s mother, Lynn, watches their home becoming a fortress and her son becoming a target. Grieving individuals desperate to see death let go of their loved ones; representatives from news, medical, and scientific organizations; influential religious representatives; and powerful government agencies all move in to gain maximum positions of influence over the greatest power on earth.
Through the ordeal, Lynn and her separated husband, Joe, struggle to find a way to escape with C.J., to keep him hidden from every pursuer, and somehow to make it possible for him to live a normal life again. But to do it all they must act quickly, before he's stolen away by authorities in high places.
Robert Ovies is a former Director of Chevrolet's U.S. advertising, an ordained Deacon, an MSW Counselor, and with his wife he was a mission worker on Arizona's Navajo Reservation. For ten years he was a live-in Director of a communal Halfway House in Detroit offering support to broken families, the homeless, runaways and abused women. He and his wife created a widely used marriage support program called "Together with Jesus Couple Prayer Series." The Rising is Robert's first novel.
Praise for The Rising:
"Ovies is a highly skilled writer of prose. But what we have here is more than a bravura performance: we are taken to that point at which eternal mysteries touch our ordinary world. Is it realism? Read this tale and decide." - Thomas Howard, Author, Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S Eliot's Four Quartets
"Not only is this book difficult to put down, it is impossible to forget. When fine writing and compelling ideas combine, the result is essential reading. Works like this do not come along very often." - Michael Coren, Author, Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton
"A mesmerizing and provocative story packed with vivid characters and told with an easy elegance. The Rising makes you think, wonder, and then ponder what death, life, and love really mean." - T.M. Doran, Author, Towards the Gleam
Citadel of God: A Novel About Saint Benedict (Chapter One) | Louis de Wohl
"Rome is finished", said Senator Albinus. He sipped his wine, then held up the goblet carved from amethyst. "Very pretty", he approved. "I wonder where they find stones large enough to be cut like this. Very pretty."
Senator Boethius frowned. 'They come from India, I believe", he said, with a warning glance towards his wife.
But Rusticiana was beyond taking notice. Her face was drained of blood, and her hands twitched. "Rome is indeed finished", she said breathlessly, "if there are no Romans left. And I see there aren't."
The boy Peter gazed at her with rapt admiration. She was as beautiful as a goddess when she was angry. She was a white flame burning.
"Romans", Senator Albinus drawled. "I wouldn't say there aren't any, Domina Rusticiana, but they are few, you know. The city prefect tells me he had great difficulty in getting the men together for the escort of honor."
"The escort of honor for a barbarian tyrant", Rusticiana said icily. "Indeed, I hope it was difficult. It is bad enough that anyone at all would comply."
"Oh, it wasn't for that reason, I'm afraid", Albinus said dryly. "They didn't want to wear armor all day. So heavy, don! 't you see, and standing on the walls and in the streets in it for hours on end. The city prefect had to grant them three sesterces for special duty. They asked for five, at first." He smiled at Rustician's disgust. "The trouble with you, Domina, is that you were born five centuries too late. On second thought, make it a thousand years. You ought to have been a contemporary of Cloelia, Virginia, and Lucretia."
"I wish I could return the compliment", Rusticiana. snapped.
"Don't you see that he talks like that only because he, too, is suffering?" Boethius asked with gentle reproach.
"Talking seems to be all that is done', she said. "If there were one true Roman left, he would act."
"What would you have him do, Domina?" Albinus asked, mockery in his tone, but not in his eyes. "Have a nice, hot bath and open his veins? Old Scaurus did that, last week, when he heard that the King was coming to Rome."
"He was eighty", Rusticiana said, her eyes blazing. "And at that age the only veins a man can open are his own. But at least he did do that."
Albinus looked at Boethius. "Do you know, I begin to believe your wife wants me to go and kill the King." He laughed. "As her husband, I trust she has given you first chance."
"A thousand years ago," Rusticiana said, "at the time of Lucretia, we threw out our own King, and not even the maddest of the Caesars dared to assume that title again. Now we are to give it to an Ostrogoth."
The talk, at the offices of First Things in New York, started with Aristotle’s Politics and the idea of natural functioning. If you follow human nature, the idea seemed to be, politics begins with the family, the family with the bond between man and woman. Such a view evidently disfavors homosexual behavior, and denying that verdict in the interests of sexual freedom means denying human nature as the basis of politics. That’s a problem, since (among other things) it does away with limits. Politics becomes a technology like any other, to be used by whoever controls it for whatever purposes he happens to have.
So Reilly is among those who point out the totalitarian implications of today’s progressivism. As he puts it, making gay okay changes everything—and not in a way any sane person would want.
But what will this kind of argument get us in the world as it is today?
"Nigerian villagers killed in Boko Haram church attack"
"Sudanese Christian woman fears for her life"
"Iraqi Christians Flee Homes In Brutal Conflict"
As headlines like the ones above become more and more common, we must again face the question of whether or not the Islamic vision of the world, as proclaimed in the Quran, allows for a peaceful coexistence between Islam and Christianity.
Writing for Catholic World Report, Michael Coren, examines this question in his article below, "The Quran and Christianity."
For a deeper exploration of this question and related issues, scroll down further to browse our related titles and save 20% on these select titles with the code JULY01 for a limited time* only.
The Quran and Christianity Islam's holy book is filled with intolerant, aggressive language that calls directly for violence against Christians Michael Coren
A boy copies Quranic verses in a Muslim school in June in Timbuktu, the northern Mali city that was seized by Islamist fighters in 2012 and then liberated by French and Malian soldiers in early 2013. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
Islam’s persecution of Christianity has reached a grotesque crescendo in the past few months. Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Egypt—the list goes on and horribly on. There is much that can be said—and I will not refrain from saying it—but if there is to be honest debate and discussion about the issue we have to admit what the Quran, the holy text of Islam, states about Muslim attitudes toward Christians...continue reading
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111 Questions on Islam Samir Khalil Samir $16.95
The Regensburg Lecture Pope Benedict XVI and Fr. James Schall $20.00
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The Price to Pay Joseph Fadelle $19.95 eBook also available.
The 18th volume in the popular Bible study series leads readers through a penetrating study of the Book of Job using the biblical text itself and the Church's own guidelines for understanding the Bible.
Ample notes accompany each page, providing fresh insights by renowned Bible teachers Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, as well as time-tested interpretations from the Fathers of the Church. They provide rich historical, cultural, geographical or theological information pertinent to the Old Testament book - information that bridges the distance between the biblical world and our own.
It also includes Topical Essays, Word Studies and Charts. The Topical Essays explore the major themes of Job , often relating them to the teachings of the Church. The Word Studies explain the background to important Bible terms, while the Charts summarize crucial biblical information "at a glance".
Scott Hahn, Ph.D., well-known as the author of several best-selling books including Rome Sweet Home and The Lamb's Supper, is a professor of scripture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and a very popular scripture scholar and speaker.
Curtis Mitch, a former student of Scott Hahn, is the General Editor of the complete Ignatius Study Bible series.
PRAISE FOR the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible:
"With copious historical and theological notes, incisive commentary and tools for study, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is outstanding for private devotion, personal study and Bible study groups. It is excellent for evangelization and apologetics as well!" -- Stephen Ray, Host ,The Footprints of God series
"The Ignatius Study Bible is a triumph of both piety and scholarship, in the best Catholic tradition: simply the most useful succinct commentary that any Christian or other interested person could hope for." -- Erasmo Leiva, Author, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word
All four evangelists begin Jesus' entry into public life with John the Baptist's emergence from his desert. Matthew leaps straight to John's mission after the return of the Holy Family from Egypt, Luke after the finding of the boy in the Temple. The other two actually begin their Gospel with it, nothing of our Lord's earthly life being told before, apart from John's "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
It is clear, then, that John the Baptist's mission was essential: Jesus' own mission needed it. In his Gospel, St. John interrupts his breathtaking Prologue about the Incarnation of the Word (which we Catholics read as the Last Gospel at Mass) to say: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him." So that the Light of the World, the Light which of all lights could surely not be hid, needed someone to give testimony to him, needed John to give testimony to him!
Little is said in the New Testament to show why John's work was thus essential. Our Lord praises him indeed: "Amongst those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist" (Luke vii.28): and he was not lavish of praise; pause a moment and try to think of anyone else he praised. But although Jesus says (you will find it in the verse before) that John was to prepare his way, it is hard to find any hint from him as to why any preparation at all was necessary for a mission as powerful in word and as studded with miracles as his. We are not shown in the Gospels mighty things flowing from John's work into Christ's. And in the rest of the New Testament nothing much is made of St. John's mission either. St. Paul never refers to it at all, though he must have known about it, since the only description we have of John's origin is given by Paul's companion and disciple, Luke.
Thanks to Luke, all the same, the Church has been intensely aware of John ever since. He is one of that small and immeasurably select band to whom we say the Confiteor at every Mass and daily in our own prayers. Great saints have been named after him—St. John Baptist de la Salle, for instance, who founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools in the seventeenth century; St. John Baptist de Rossi, the eighteenth-century saint whose own instincts were rather like those of his namesake; in the nineteenth century the Cure of Ars, Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianaey, who would have loved a desert but was never allowed by God to go to one. The number of not spectacularly saintiy persons. who bear his name is, of course, beyond counting—the great French writer of comedy, Moliere, for instance, was Jean-Baptiste Poquelin.
But all that this means is that the parents of the saints, to say nothing of the parents of the dramatist and of the unnumbered others, had a great devotion to the son of Zachary and Elizabeth, not that they had any clear understanding of why it was essential that Our Lord should have him for a Forerunner, or why be should have anybody for a Forerunner. What herald could he possibly need? Their devotion was almost certainly not to the prophet without whom Christ's mission would have lacked an essential element: it was to the child whose birth had been foretold by Gabriel, the child who had leapt in his mother's womb at the sound of Mary's voice as she entered the house of his parents with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity in her womb: it was to the man who had paid with his head for telling the truth about Salome's mother.