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Showing posts from July, 2007

Summer Hiatus

Now that my initial study of German-for-Reading is complete, I will be going to Milwaukee to play at two Irish dancing competitions. I return on Sunday to begin my retreat here in Chicago. Then, on the 30th, I'll head off to Omena for my vacation.

So I'll not be posting over the next two weeks, or at least not until the July 31st. Please pray for me as I make my retreat and know that I will pray for you.

Small Caveat

As many of you know, I'm doing several book reviews on this site. These are intentionally non-academic reviews. I have neither the space nor the desire to engage in systematic dissection of texts on my blog. In reviewing books for DoubleDay I choose to review those books that I think are pertinent and relevant to those who might read my blog. DoubleDay is not paying me and I won't review a book unless I think people might actually be interested (or warned against) reading it.

So a "lens" through which I read these texts is "Will this be helpful to one of my readers?" If it is going to help you pray, to understand your relationship to God better, or to become more knowledgeable about your faith, then I'll probably give it a good review. Since no one's career rests on my review, I can afford to be positive about various works. I don't want to give a book report or a synopsis; rather, I want only to say what I read, give the gist of it, and say som…

Opus Dei

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There are few organizations as polarizing as Opus Dei in the Roman Catholic Church. Made (in)famous in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code its membership of around 85,000 persons seems to attract a disproportionate amount of attention.

Veteran Vatican reporter John Allen has done, consequently, a great service to those interested in learning more about "The Work" in his estimable book Opus Dei.

Let me begin with a caveat: I began reading this book with a presupposition that I would come away thinking less of Opus Dei. Interestingly, Allen's balanced treatment highlights many of the positive qualities and characteristics of Opus Dei while at the same time acknowledging shadowy areas in its practices.

The book is partitioned into four main sections: the Essentials of Opus Dei, Opus Dei from the Inside, Question Marks About Opus Dei, and finally a Summary Evaluation. Each section relies heavily on information provided both by current and former members of Opus Dei. This has led…

Newflash: The Pope is Meaningless! (It's news to me, too!)

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For those of you who read CNN.com, you'll have probably seen this charming little piece by journalist Roland S. Martin.

You really have to read the whole article for yourself, but it is really quite interesting. But the analytic part of my brain did a double-take at his line of argument:

Yet as I reflect on my years as a Catholic, it pretty much was a wasted experience, as there was more identification with the church, and not with Christ.

And that's why Pope Benedict XVI is meaningless, along with his decision to re-state the primacy of the Catholic Church.

Now, I think his whole piece is completely stupid. But tell me how this argument hangs together? Writing out of HIS experience, he feels that HIS experience of Catholicism led more to an identification with the Church than with Christ. THEREFORE, the Pope is meaningless.

In MY experience, I am a complete failure at tackle football. In MY experience, it led more to an identification with a Crash-Test Dummy than it did with Don S…

Book Review

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For my first book review, I'd like to recommend "Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality."

This book finds its place in the long and venerable line of spiritual direction as exhibited by the Desert Mothers and Fathers. These wisdom figures would often receive visitors who would hail them with the greeting, "Abba, give me word of salvation." The Abba or Amma would then tell a story or give a short saying to the person. Such sayings or stories were not spontaneous aphorisms or Chinese fortunes, but rather the result of many hours of prayer and reflection.

Are you struggling with a long-held resentment over some slight you have suffered? Let us take this to Mother!

Gruge-Holder: "Mother, Give me a word of salvation! I am beset with a long-held grudge"

Mother Angelica: "Don't waste your time in life trying to get even with your enemies. The grave is a tremendous equalizer. Six weeks after you all are dead, you'…

Up to my eyeballs

Sorry for not posting more often; I really have been up to my eyeballs in German. We're heading into the home-stretch of study and with only 2.5 weeks to go, I'm hoping I'll have the energy to finish it out! My head is swimming with overloaded adjective constructions and modal verbs...oh, how I long for the easy days of Rahner!

In From France

I just thought I'd post this link to a web page run by the French Jesuits. It is a page discussing the various ways Jesuits are using YouTube. You'll see a familiar face at the top of the page!