Do you want to think like St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest minds in Catholic history? His Summa Theologica runs over 3,000 pages in one popular edition, and even a freely paraphrased abridged version takes up over 500 pages. A wonderful shortcut is a letter the 13th century philosopher is credited with having written to a young monk on “How to Study.” Author Kevin Vost walks you through that letter and what it reveals about how to think, dissect arguments, and — yes — study and learn. Who knows? It might even give you the confidence to tackle the full Summa!
Ryan N.S. Topping St. Benedict Press/TAN Books, 260 pages
Martyrs, monks, scholars, crusaders, sinners, reformers, popes. These and other chapter headings in this work describe some of the individuals who shaped our Church and influenced the course of Western civilization. Ryan N.S. Topping here provides an overview of two millennia of Christian history by examining its heroes and villains and how, through them, the Church has bestowed its gifts on the larger world. It’s “Volume I” because Topping has a second volume in the works that will examine how the Church has transformed music, art, architecture, Western literature, films, and even our domestic life — and that’s something to look forward to in the new year.
Blessed John Henry Newman
Augustine Institute, 160 pages
Blessed John Henry Newman was a 19th- century leader of the Oxford Movement by which many intellectuals left the Anglican Church to embrace Catholicism. He also was an outstanding orator and prolific writer who inspired many to understand and live their faith more fully. These meditations stretching from Advent through Epiphany are in this vein as they invite us to contemplate such themes as our need for truth, our dependence upon God, Mary’s role in salvation, the meaning of suffering and martyrdom, and in what true joy consists. Pick up a copy now to reinvigorate your interior life this Christmas.
The late Justice Antonin Scalia brought to the U.S. Supreme Court a keen intellect, a sometimes sardonic wit, and a judicial perspective known as originalism – that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with its original meaning as intended by its framers. This articulate and entertaining book collects his best speeches into thematic groups to present a stirring overview of this great jurist’s thought. Of special note are his ideas on faith and work – in particular, his speech on “Faith and Judging” should be read by every Catholic. It’s a great volume for seeking clarity in an age that has seen an excess of judicial activism.
James V. Schall, S.J.
Sophia Institute Press, 304 pages
“We cannot be joyful without ultimately knowing why we should be joyful, without having something to be joyful about,” writes Fr. Schall, and so the feasts of the liturgical year invite us to “wonder” so as to experience “an awe that is fully aware of the truth that makes us free.” This collection of essays by the eminent Jesuit scholar reflects on the Church’s major observances, primarily Christmas and the seasons from Lent through Pentecost, but also the key Marian feasts, All Saints, All Souls, and even a touch of Ordinary Time. As always, Fr. Schall provides nourishment for both mind and soul.
“The Sexual Revolution has never been a grassroots movement,” writes Jennifer Roback Morse in her latest book. Rather, it was manufactured by liberal elites “justifying their preferred lifestyles, imposing their new morality” by harnessing “the coercive power of the State.” As a result, millions have suffered the effects of this revolution. In her compelling indictment, Morse identifies the Contraceptive Ideology, the Divorce Ideology, and the Gender Ideology as the three fronts that built the Sexual State — and the three fronts the Church and social conservatives must focus our own defense and attacks upon if we are ever to restore love, marriage, and family to their rightful dignity.
Fr. John Horgan Sophia Institute Press/EWTN Publishing, 304 pages
Many of us grew up praying to our guardian angels at bedtime and reading stories of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary or of St. Michael doing battle with Satan. More recently, the New Age movement and the “spiritual but not religious” crowd have appropriated angels to suit their own purposes. EWTN personality Father John Horgan lays out the real story about angels here — who they are, what their role is, how we can pray with them, and how they can help us, protect us, and inspire us in our quest for holiness and our path to eternal life.
Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, nor is the peace He gives us. “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid,” He told His apostles (Jn 14:27). With reason and good humor, Fr. George Rutler similarly reminds us to remain calm and Catholic, so to speak. Amid times of anxiety and confusion in the Church and the world — we can have confidence that truth is on our side and God claims the ultimate victory. A fervent faith, a keen perspective on history, and a nice deep breath can combine to do us much good.
Dan Burke and Connie Rossini EWTN Publishing, 138 pages
With his 2002 apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, St. John Paul II wished to revitalize rosary devotion for our generation and proposed the new Mysteries of Light; St. Teresa of Avila, the 16th- century mystic, taught much about how to pray the rosary effectively and to avoid distraction. This book draws from both saints to guide readers in praying the rosary contemplatively, where we “place every moment of our lives before the throne of God” and recognize “the mystery of the Incarnation at work within us.” Scriptural meditations and reflections for each mystery and a guide to using both vocal and mental prayer will further renew the reader’s experience of praying the rosary. St. John Paul II would be pleased.
Are the liberals and radical secularists winning the cultural and political wars? They’ve certainly made gains, but the struggle is far from over, says author Robert G. Marshall, who served 13 terms in the Virginia House of Delegates before losing in his 2017 re-election bid to the first openly transgendered candidate to be seated in a U.S. statehouse. He argues that religion does have a place in our nation’s political life, illustrates the alarming errors propagated by secularist movements and rulings in contradiction to the vision of the Founding Fathers, and offers a blueprint by which believers and moral conservatives might begin turning back the tide.