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Book Nominations for Group Read > Nominations for Spring 2018 Read

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message 1: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Hello my fellow Catholic Thought members. We are almost finished with Chesterton's Everlasting Man - though I'm still behind.

But we should discuss our next read. This next read is open for any purchase level. Let's spend the remainder of this week discussing some of our considerations and see what interests people, and next week we'll take official nominations. And the week after we'll take a vote.


message 2: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Here are some books that are on my reading list. Do any of these grab anyone?

Saint Paul by Pope Benedict XVI
In the Image of Saint Dominic: Nine Portraits of Dominican Life by Guy Bedouelle
The Ninth Hour

Here are my thoughts: I love reading anything by Pope Benedict, and I do want to learn more about St. Paul. The Bedouelle book takes you through the lives of nine Dominican saints with the overarching theme of what makes a Dominican. Each saint so different, and yet all belog to the Order of Preachers. And The Ninth Hour is Alice McDermott's new novel, the title referring to the hour Christ dies.


message 3: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1556 comments Mod
Anything Joseph Ratztinger/Pope Benedict XVI is hard to resist :) My collection is ever growing. I think I even have the 'Saint Paul' book, but have yet to read it. So that would be perfect!

One of the books I am really looking forward to reading is The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise. I read Cardinal Sarah's other book, God or Nothing, and was just blown away. The man is a true treasure, and I am so glad he is sharing his wisdom with us.

Just as an aside, there are a bunch of "new" books on the bookshelf. I've been adding suggestions from the group and from past nominations, etc., so everyone is invited take a peek on the "to read" shelf.


message 4: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Oh yes Kerstin. That’s on my list to read too. I could go for that.


message 5: by Friar Stebin (new)

Friar Stebin John Capuchin (capfriar) | 38 comments Since the month of May we keep for Marian veneration I just thought of reading the book Mary: The Church at the Source.


message 6: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1556 comments Mod
Stabin wrote: "Since the month of May we keep for Marian veneration I just thought of reading the book Mary: The Church at the Source."

Oh that's a wonderful book! I read it some time ago, and wouldn't you know it, I don't remember a lick of it. All I remember is that I truly enjoyed it and I would love a refresher :)


message 7: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Good choice there too John. I see booklady gave it five stars. By the way I’ve been hoping that booklady joins our Catholic Thought. I was conversing with her a while back. She’s very devout and a Secular Carmalite.


message 8: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments I attended a Holy Hour Saturday evening and thee deacon who preached recommended The Power of Silence. Since it is coming to my attention twice in one week, I am curious and open to reading it. I also would like to read The Pope and Mussolini. It has been out for a while and got good reviews. I see the author just wrote another, The Pope Who Would be King which also looks very good.


message 9: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments For something different, we could consider The Name of the Rose The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco by Umberto Eco. Tons of Catholicism there. In between the lines is the history of the Benedictines, the Divine Office, and more.


message 10: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments I read The Name of the Rose. Good mystery.


message 11: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
I do love that novel Leslie, and I could be up for another read of it. But I don't know if Eco actually endorses Christianity in it. From what I remember there was a sort of cynical undercutting.


message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael | 9 comments The Power of silence: Against the Dictatorship of noise by Cardinal Sarah is on my list to read as well.

The Saint Paul book of Pope Benedict XVI I have been.

The series of books from Ignatius Press by Pope Benedict XVI on the Church Fathers I can also recommand...or his series on Jesus.


message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael | 9 comments The Power of silence: Against the Dictatorship of noise by Cardinal Sarah is on my list to read as well.

The Saint Paul book of Pope Benedict XVI I have been.

The series of books from Ignatius Press by Pope Benedict XVI on the Church Fathers I can also recommand...or his series on Jesus.


message 14: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Manny wrote: "I do love that novel Leslie, and I could be up for another read of it. But I don't know if Eco actually endorses Christianity in it. From what I remember there was a sort of cynical undercutting."

It's difficult to respond to this without spoiling the story. Hint - it's a mystery and so is something else.


message 15: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1556 comments Mod
Its been so long since I read The Name of the Rose that I don't remember all the in-betweens. He makes Bernardo Guille (sp?) quite a villain with little resemblance to the real-life inquisitor. But then, there is the black legend of the Inquisition of anti-Catholic propaganda and then there are the thousands of real case files that paint a very different picture.

I do remember not finishing the book (I saw the movie :) ) because Eco got so bogged down talking about heresies and I had virtually no background at the time to actually understand what he was talking about. ...and Eco is hard to read to begin with.


message 16: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 641 comments Has the group ever read Atticus or Mariette In Ecstasy, by Ron Hansen?


message 17: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Frances wrote: "Has the group ever read Atticus or Mariette In Ecstasy, by Ron Hansen?"

No but I would love to, especially Marionette.

By the way, tomorrow will start official nominations.


message 18: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I could do Mariette In Ecstasy as well. It's on my To Read list.


message 19: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments mine also


message 20: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
OK, nominations officially begin now. One nomination per person. Voting will start in one week.

I nominate Saint Paul by Pope Benedict XVI.


message 21: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 641 comments I agree with Saint Paul, by Pope Benedict XVI. He is one of Catholicism's best thinkers and writers. Let's do Mariette In Ecstasy in a different month.


message 22: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Frances wrote: "I agree with Saint Paul, by Pope Benedict XVI. He is one of Catholicism's best thinkers and writers. Let's do Mariette In Ecstasy in a different month."

Frances, please nominate Mariette. I nominated Saint Paul to give the club a variety of books to choose from. My vote was leaning toward either Mariette or the Silence book by Cardinal Sarah. I just like to present the club with some diversity.


message 23: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 641 comments Okay. I nominate Mariette In Ecstasy, by Ron Hanson. I'm sure that those who have already read it will agree the book is beautifully written. There will definitely be a robust discussion at the end. Mariette is one of those rare fictional characters that live on in the mind.


message 24: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I love these selections. Just for some diversity I'll recommend something light as we head into summer, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles Mother Angelica The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles by Raymond Arroyo .


message 25: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "I love these selections. Just for some diversity I'll recommend something light as we head into summer, [book:Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles|24..."

Oh that Raymond Arroyo’s book. I’ve heard good things about that too.


message 26: by Leslie (last edited Apr 29, 2018 04:43PM) (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Yes, my Catholic women's group read this and loved it. We've had a number of thought-provoking reads. I thought something more lighthearted, but still educational and informative would be fun.


message 28: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments There are some great titles here. I will nominate
"The Pope and Mussolini.


message 29: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Irene wrote: "There are some great titles here. I will nominate
"The Pope and Mussolini."

Irene, is the the book you're nominating?
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe


message 30: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments Yes, that is the one. It is a Pulitzer winner.


message 31: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 641 comments Irene, no offense intended, but I can't read this book. No one knows the failings of the Catholic Church better than a Catholic. No one suffers from the invective leveled against the Catholic Church more than a Catholic. There is a movement afoot today to take down the pillars of Western Civilization, and the number one target is Christianity. I'm afraid this book comes out of that camp. I would rather read the constructive, lucid prose of Benedict XVI. But, again, this criticism is directed at the book, not at anyone who chooses to nominate it.


message 32: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Let me say, Irene, when I looked up the book and did a little research on it, I had a very similar reaction as Frances. I have seen some dissenting reaction in Catholic quarters to the book, but I don't know how accurate it is. Because it won a Pulitzer doesn't mean anything to me. I've seen where some thought the author saw anti semitism everywhere. So I don't know. He doesn't seem like he would be the non-controversial voice of such claims. One commenter on the book said the author could not find one single positive thing to say about the Pope. Could a Holy Father be so outright despicable as to not have a positive trait? Be that as it may, the claims in the book are either factual, exaggerated with a slant. or outright lies. If its exaggerated or lies, then I have no interest in reading it or supporting the book with a purchase. If they are factual then it's not exactly an inspiring read. I'm with Frances, I have no interest in this book. But let people vote for it if they wish.


message 33: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments I doubt it is outright lies if it received a Pulitzer. Winners of that prize for history are solid historians. I did not nominate it because it would be inspiring, a feel good book. I nominated it because I think it is important for any group to have an honest understanding of their history. Turning away from the failings of our leaders or of the institution does not make us stronger or call us to repentance. Isn't that what the Church leaders and many of the faithful did with allogations of sexual abuse for so long? And the result was that the situation became far more scandalous. But, I respect the choices of each member. If you don't want to read it, don't vote for it. Are we critiquing each nomination? I thought the nomination process was more like a brainstorming session, any title that met our criteria was acceptable. But, we have had two suggestions condemned in this round alone. Soon people will be hesitant to nominate for fear that their titles will be condemned by another member.


message 34: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
OK, Irene, it just seemed out of the ordinary from what we usually read. Let the club members decide.


message 35: by Leslie (last edited May 01, 2018 08:23AM) (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I'm happy with our options, but I echo the frustration of each nomination being critiqued. That said, a polite expression of concern is not at all uncalled for. I'm in two other groups that read this (Irene's) and was unable to because of a hectic schedule, so I don't mind it at all. Pulitzer prize-winning books are usually worth a read, but they do get controversial and may not fully encapsulate everything. I did have a frustrating experience just yesterday where one of those groups nominated something that falls within my geographical region. I was excited to read it and fifteen pages in couldn't tolerate it anymore because the writing so completely misrepresented the area, which is a frustration for me as large as the misrepresentation of my faith.. I know we, as Catholics, are beyond tired of being misrepresented so I hear the concerns voiced. Time is precious, especially reading time. I'm glad you nominated it and don't want anyone to feel pushed away.


message 36: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1556 comments Mod
We all have our own reactions to the books suggested in the nomination process. This reaction by its very nature includes a discerning process, whether we are surprised, like it, don't like it, have questions or concerns. This is the place to discuss these things in an honest manner keeping Christian charity in mind. They in no way reflect upon the person who made the suggestion. No one should ever be hesitant in suggesting a book, and in equal measure, no one should ever be hesitant in discussing the merits of the books suggested.


message 37: by Friar Stebin (new)

Friar Stebin John Capuchin (capfriar) | 38 comments Irene wrote: "I doubt it is outright lies if it received a Pulitzer. Winners of that prize for history are solid historians. I did not nominate it because it would be inspiring, a feel good book. I nominated it ..."

Irene please should not take it as condemning but they just show their concern about the book. You nominated a book which you felt good and another member just showed his concern about reading that book. I did not feel it as condemning.


message 38: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
I think part of the issue was the surprise of the type of book. That's why I like to have a week of brainstorming, so we all know what's on our minds and react. We had a week and Irene didn't bring it up to socialize it. It's not required of course but given this book was so out of the ordinary, that it surprised us.

Let me add this. I looked at the author's list of books he's written. Every single one that involves the Catholic Church - and I counted at least four - has a slant of being critical, if not hypercritical to Catholicism. The more I searched on this author, the more I disliked him and his work. I don't care if he recieved a Pulitzer Prize. Those things are for insiders between people who think alike. I have no confidence that Kertzer was objective and didn't provide a slant against Roman Catholicism.


message 39: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments I did suggest that title during our week of conversation about possible titles. See post #8. No one should have been surprised by the nomination.


message 40: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Irene wrote: "I did suggest that title during our week of conversation about possible titles. See post #8. No one should have been surprised by the nomination."

Oh yes, you did. I'm sorry. OK, it will be up in the poll.


message 41: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 641 comments Irene, I sincerely apologize if my comments offended you. You are very right to point out that the Catholic Church has self-inflicted wounds, and that we shouldn't deny them or run from them. That's not where I was coming from, however. I am perhaps overly sensitive to what I perceive as an anti-Catholic bias active in the world. To my mind, the bias is real; it's virulent; and it's the one bias that society permits. So, when I look up reviews of The Pope and Mussolini on Amazon and discover a first line like this: "presents a devastating portrait of the Vatican and its political machinations . . ." and find that thought repeated in different words in other reviews, I pause.
Last year I read Tried By Fire, by Catholic educator William Bennett. The author tells of the first thousand years of Christianity, and he lays it all out, the good with the bad: the conflicts, the medieval kings who were more like mob bosses than benevolent sovereigns, the buying and selling of ecclesiastical privileges, the periods of papal degeneration, and on and on. But the feeling I experienced as I read the book and upon reflection after I'd finished it was one of awe: this institution could only have survived because the Holy Spirit was guiding it. William Bennett had laid the groundwork for such a reaction by writing about his subject from a position of great reverence and respect. Did historian David Kerster use the same approach when penning The Pope and Mussolini? Perhaps I am being unfair, but from everything I have read, the answer would be no.
A while ago, I listened to Bishop Robert Barron's You Tube review of the movie The Shape Of Water. Barron said that he knew as soon as he started watching the film that it would win the Academy Award for Best Picture: it "checked three of the major boxes of Hollywood: celebration of oppressed people, valorization of complete sexual freedom, and a Christian villain." I knew after reading that review that I didn't want to see the movie.
Please excuse me if I approached Kester's book with that same frame of mind, Irene. I never meant any disrespect in regard to you.


message 42: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Can I ask a question that may not be timely - wasn't it at this point that we were going to return to read the next installment of Dante - Purgatory?


message 43: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Actually John the sequence is:

Long Term Read (Dante) > Reduced Price Book Read (Everlasting Man) > Regular Price Book Read (Upcoming) > Return to Long Term Read (Dante).

I think The Everlasting Man took a few weeks longer than I had projected when we fininshed Inferno.


message 44: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1556 comments Mod
I was dragging on the Everlasting Man - too much stuff going on in real life ;) - we should have finished about two weeks ago.


message 45: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments Frances, I completely understand your concerns. I find that same bias in much of contemporary fiction. I am often the loan voice in other GR groups expressing dismay over what feels like acceptable demonization of all Catholics. I do not anticipate that this book would be coming from a pro-Catholic stance, but from the critical stance of a historian. I find that the bent of most scholarship in history today comes from a hermeneutic of suspicion. It is not just Catholic institutions, but civil leaders, educational and economic institutions, pretty much everything that is under the microscope. For so long, the tendency was to protect public figures and institutions from critical review, now historians seem to be going intentionally the other direction. But, I don't find this all bad. I think it gives a more balanced and nuanced perspective when it is all brought together. I would not nominate this book in a secular group because I think it would reinforce the negativity of some people to the Catholic Church. But, I would nominate it here because I think as Catholics that love the Church it is helpful to love her in all her wounds and to repent with her for all her sins so that we continually respond to the Spirit to be a holy people.

I did not take offense to your concerns. I took offense at the suggestion that this author penned a book of out right lies. It is not the first time in this group when a varied opinion was greeted with a demeaning of the person or people that held that other opinion. When we had the conversation about which synoptic Gospel might have been written first, those scholars who argued for Mark's earliest dating were said to be all nonbelievers who did not approach the Scriptures from a faith stance despite the fact that the leading scholars who voice this are leading Catholic scholars, priests, members of religious communities, even bishops. I am concerned by the rapid turn to unfounded denegration of people holding another view. Not only do I think it creates an unhealthy environment for discussion, but I do not think it is in line with the values of the Gospel.

I am perfectly fine with this book not being voted as our read. There are several titles that have been nominated that I would love to read. I almost did not nominate it for this reason.


message 46: by Manny (last edited May 02, 2018 09:44AM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Not to belabor this, but since Irene's comment I think was directed toward me, I did not say Kertzer penned a book of outright lies. My exact words were: "...the claims in the book are either factual, exaggerated with a slant. or outright lies." Those are the three permutations of possibilities. I do not claim to know which of the three, but given the author's reputation as a consistent and unfair critic of the Catholic Church, it is not outside the possibility that the book is built on lies, at least in part.

And as to that Gospel of Mark discussion, I don't understand your (Irene) concern with people holding different views. Irene presented the consensus opinion of the current mainstream scholarship while I presented the traditional opinion of the Catholic Church. I had no problem with Irene presenting the mainstream position - I wasn't silencing anyone - but apparently Irene had a problem with me presenting the traditional Catholic opinion on the issue. I don't understand. We are all free here to express our opinions and views. Frankly, the mainstream consensus opinion is only as good as the foundation it is built upon, and as Irene says herself in the comment above everything today is currently built on a foundation of "hermeneutic of suspicion." I don't buy into it and neither frankly do the Orthodox Catholic colleges and scholars. They are not part of the mainstream, thank God, and you can find a list of those colleges at The Cardinal Newman Society. They have a guide to Orthodox Catholic Colleges who are not influenced by the hermeneutic of suspicion, and therefore often reject the mainstream consensus. I rejected the mainstream opinion on that issue and I have no idea why I should not have expressed it.


message 47: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments Manny, I apologize. I misread your post. I thought you were saying that it could not be factual since a reviewer indicated that the author could not find one good thing about the the pope, therefore the other option you cited had to be correct by default. Thank you for clarifying. I feel better about the conversation.

As for the synoptic thread, I never had a problem with those in it who argued for the the older dating of Matthew. I only had a problem by the repeated claims that those who held the opinion that Mark was older were coming from a perspective of secular scholarship, that they were not approaching the biblical study from a perspective of faith and therefore their opinion was skewed.


message 48: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
Ok all is good then Irene. Peace. :)


message 49: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 641 comments Thank you, Irene. One of the things I like about our group is that everyone cares so much. When I want to know about books and Catholic thought, this is one of the first places I come to.

Kindest regards, Frances


message 50: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4206 comments Mod
We're down to the last few days for nominations. So far I have these:

Saint Paul by Pope Benedict XVI
Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen
Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles by Raymond Arroyo
The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Cardinal Robert Sarah
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David Kertzer

Anything else? Stabin, you had mentioned a book on Mary before the official nominations began. Did you want to nominate it?

Nominations still open until Saturday midnight.


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