Book reviews

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Pilgrim Eagle: A Review of Charles A. Coulombe’s History Text Puritan’s Empire

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  “This above all: To thine own self be true.”   -William Shakespeare       Puritan’s Empire by Charles A. Coulombe is a unique tour-de-force of American history from a Catholic high traditionalist perspective. Spanning the colonial period to the modern day, the narrative is tightly-woven and comprehensively arranged. The sheer length and breadth of the volume is a testament to a lifetime’s worth of research. Although some sections are dry, the colorful anecdotes and personal analyses interspersed within the book keep the reader engaged, regardless of ... (Continue reading)

On the Lord’s Appearing: A Review

on the Lord's appearing

(From the archives, but always new, here is a review of an excellent book by Father Jonathan Robinson, provost of the Toronto Oratory.  A highly recommended reading choice for this mid-Lenten time.  Editor) Father Robinson has written two essays, not one as his title indicates. That on tradition is prolegomenon to an extended treatment of prayer, a prolegomenon that one at first might think could well have been omitted without weakening the altogether satisfactory second part of the book. In order ... (Continue reading)

Why Are Catholics Not Holier Than They Are? Father Paul Quay’s ‘The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God’

(I thought this memorial of the great Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier was a fitting day to post this adaptation of an address I offered last week on a book by another great Jesuit, Father Paul Quay).   On his recent visit to our college this summer, the Jesuit scholar Father Koterski mentioned a book that he described as the 'most influential he has ever read', his fellow Jesuit's Father Paul Quay's "The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God".  Upon his effusive recommendation, ... (Continue reading)

Marie of the Incarnation: A Canadian Mystic

marie of the incarnation

Marie de l’Incarnation: Études de théologie spirituelle by Pierre Gervais, S.J.:  A Review   Pierre Gervais is a Canadian-born Jesuit, professor of systematic, sacramental, and spiritual theology at the Institut d’Etudes Theologiques of Brussels as well as editor of the Nouvelle Revue Théologique. In his Foreword, Father Gervais explains the makeup of these “studies” or essays in spiritual theology based on the life and writings of Marie of the Incarnation (1599-1672), an Ursuline nun first of Tours (France) and then of Quebec. ... (Continue reading)

Festival and Ferial, by Anna Rist: A Review

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Festival and Ferial Anna Rist Kaufmann Publishing, St. Simon’s Island , 2014 ISBN : 978-0-9905329-3-4   In one of his Odes (IV.2) Horace describes the danger of trying to emulate the majestic Greek poet Pindar. Such daring, Horace says, would bring the would-be poet to a disastrous end, another Icarus flying too high on his waxed wings, only to crash and, perhaps, give his name to a glassy sea. Horace proceeds to described Pindar’s grandeur, his themes and his techniques in what (critics ... (Continue reading)

Book review: Why Be Afraid?


Why Be Afraid? A Retreat by Douglas McManaman Justin Press ISBN: 978-0-9917996-6-4 102 pages, softcover $12.95 CDN Deacon Douglas McManaman is a Permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of Toronto, ministering especially to those who suffer from mental illness. A high school teacher for twenty-five years, he teaches Religion and Philosophy to senior high school students and is currently the chaplain for the Toronto Catholic Teachers Guild. Why Be Afraid? is based on a retreat he gave. I bought this book for one of my university-aged sons who is ... (Continue reading)

By Reason Alone: Assembling the great puzzle


By Reason Alone: Assembling the Great Puzzle by Jacek Bacz Justin Press, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-98131-844-8 At the start of this rewarding book Jacek Bacz states that it is "the kind of book I wish I had read at age 25." Born into the Catholic Faith in his native Poland, he lost his faith due to the materialist/sceptical influence of a scientific education. (Moving to Canada, he became a research engineer and consultant in electronics and software design.) Eventually he regained his belief in the One ... (Continue reading)

The Twilight of American Enlightenment


The average age of North Americans is forty-one; this means that most people have no personal recollection of the decade of the 1950s, the focus of George Marsden’s fascinating and accessible book. Marsden, an historian at Notre Dame University, focuses on a time of promise and anxiety; a time of new technologies, a pervasive emphasis on the relatively new social science of psychology, and a reliance on expertise in fields of life formerly governed by common sense and experience. The fifties was ... (Continue reading)

Fr. William Lloyd Ryan


Fr. William Lloyd Ryan: Priestly and Religious Vocations in the Diocese of Hamilton is the first publication of Rev. Mr. John Perdue, a seminarian for the Diocese of Peterborough. It is the work of four years of dedicated research during which Perdue had access to Fr. Ryan’s personal papers and travelled across southern Ontario as he interviewed the men and women who had known Fr. Ryan best. Many of these interviewees had entered religious life or become priests because of ... (Continue reading)

A Gift of Myself

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A Gift of Myself, the second book in the Little Douglings series by Carissa Douglas is even more delightful than her first story, I Go to Jesus, which focused on a child’s intimate and individual relationship with Jesus while still being part of a family. A Gift of Myself, on the other hand, is the story of how little children can give themselves to others—the selfless and heroic little acts children can do throughout the day in their own family. ... (Continue reading)

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