Review: The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution

The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution
The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution by John L. Allen Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eye opening and quite depressing. Everyone should read this.

Review: Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church

Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church
Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church by Scott Hahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Consuming the Word is the latest book from the awesome Scott Hahn. Years ago when I got serious about my faith, Scott’s books have been a great help in increasing my love for Christ and His Church.

Dr. Hahn is a great scholar, yet his books are aimed for laymen. He has a gift of distilling difficult theological concepts into readable format. I have learned so much from his books. They are among my favourites.

The Lord’s Supper opened up the mass to me in ways that I never heard before. Hail Holy Queen presented our Catholic teachings about the Blessed Virgin in a beautiful and fully biblical way.

This new book is no different. Consuming the Word is about the early Church and their relationship to the bible, the book that the Church produced. It makes it clear that the books of the bible are most at home when taken in the context of the liturgy.

“In the text of the New Testament, then, “New Testament” denotes not a text, but an action—not a document, but a sacrament.”

“When at last the books were written, they described a Church already well established, with a developed ritual life. Indeed, it was in the midst of the Church’s liturgy that the first Christian congregations encountered the Scriptures of the Old Testament. It was for proclamation in the liturgy that the books of the New Testament were written”

I highly recommend this book.

Review: Dynamics of World History

Dynamics of World History
Dynamics of World History by Christopher Henry Dawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Christian is like a red rag to a bull—to the force of evil that seeks to be master of the world and which, in a limited sense, but in a very real sense, is, as St. John says, the Lord of this world. And not only the individual but the Church as an historic community follows the same pattern and finds its success and failure not where the politician finds them, but where Christ found them.

At first sight the difference between sixteenth-century Catholicism and Protestantism is the difference between the traditional and the revolutionary conceptions of Christianity and of the church. To the Catholic the church was the Kingdom of God on earth—in via—the supernatural society through which and in which alone humanity could realize its true end. It was a visible society with its own law and constitution which possessed divine and indefectible authority. It remained through the ages one and the same, like a city set on a hill, plain for all men to see, handing on from generation to generation the same deposit of faith and the same mandate of authority which it had received from its divine Founder and which it would retain whole and intact until the end of time. The Reformers, on the other hand, while maintaining a similar conception of the church as the community through which God’s purpose towards the human race is realized, refused to identify this divine society with the actual visible hierarchical church, as known to history. Against the Catholic view of the church as the visible City of God, they set the apocalyptic vision of an apostate church, a harlot drunk with the blood of the saints, sitting on the seven hills and intoxicating the nations with her splendour and her evil enchantments. The true church was not this second Babylon, but the society of the elect, the hidden saints who followed the teaching of the Bible rather than of the hierarchy and who were to be found among the so-called heretics—Hussites, Wycliffites, Waldensians and the rest, rather than among the servants of the official institutional church.

The result of this revolutionary attitude to the historic church was a revolutionary, catastrophic, apocalyptic and discontinuous view of history. As Calvin writes, the history of the church is a series of resurrections. Again and again the church becomes corrupt, the Word is no longer preached, life seems extinct, until God once more sends forth prophets and teachers to bear witness to the truth and to reveal the evangelical doctrine in its pristine purity. Thus the Reformation may be compared to the Renaissance since it was an attempt to go back behind the Middle Ages, to wipe out a thousand years of historical development and to restore the Christian religion to its primitive “classical” form. Yet on the other hand this return to the past brought the Protestant mind into fresh contact with the Jewish and apocalyptic sources of the Christian view of history, so that the Reformation led to an increased emphasis on the Hebraic prophetic and apocalyptic elements in the Christian tradition as against the Hellenic, patristic and metaphysical elements that were so strongly represented alike in patristic orthodoxy and in mediaeval Catholicism

As the Christian faith in Christ is faith in a real historical person, not an abstract ideal, so the Catholic faith in the church is faith in a real historical society, not an invisible communion of saints or a spiritual union of Christians who are divided into a number of religious groups and sects. And this historic society is not merely the custodian of the sacred Scriptures and a teacher of Christian morality. It is the bearer of a living tradition which unites the present and the past, the living and the dead, in one great spiritual community which transcends all the limited communities of race and nation and state. Hence, it is not enough for the Catholic to believe in the Word as contained in the sacred Scriptures, it is not even enough to accept the historic faith as embodied in the creeds and interpreted by Catholic theology, it is necessary for him to be incorporated as a cell in the living organism of the divine society and to enter into communion with the historic reality of the sacred tradition. Thus to the student who considers Catholicism as an intellectual system embodied in theological treatises, Catholicism may seem far more legalist and intellectualist than Protestantism, which emphasizes so strongly the personal and moral-emotional sides of religion, but the sociologist who studies it in its historical and social reality will soon understand the incomparable importance for Catholicism of tradition, which makes the individual a member of a historic society and a spiritual civilization and which influences his life and thought consciously and unconsciously in a thousand different ways.

Review: Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler

Church of Spies: The Pope's Secret War Against Hitler
Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler by Mark Riebling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There have been many books written about Pope Pius XII. He has been slandered and misunderstood by many. He was called Hitler’s Pope by John Cornwell. He was accused of not doing enough during the war to prevent the horrible atrocities the Nazi Germany carried out against Jewish people. For many years this myth has been spread throughout the culture. Now that we can finally look at the secret archives from the time of the war, a different picture is starting to emerge.

Mark Riebling has done a wonderful job with this book. The actual history is so much more interesting then the mindless theories of the enemies of the Church. Was Pope Pius perfect? No. Could he have done more? Perhaps. What Mr. Riebling has showed quite well in this well researched book is how involved the Pope actually was in trying to bring down Hitler.

The book is also excellent highlighting the brave men inside of Germany. They fought Hitler from the inside, often at a great cost to their own safety. I knew about the Valkyrie plot but I was not familiar with the other attempts at Hitler’s life. What also was surprising to me was the cooperation between the Catholic Germany and the Protestants. The name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is well known throughout the Christian world. He suffered and died because of the plot against Hitler. Other names were less known to me. The heroic actions of Josef Müller and Wilhelm Canaris need to be remembered.

This is a great book and a great addition to any WWII history library. I highly recommend it.