Tag Archives: Book Review

The Good Sense of Jesus: A Commentary on the Beatitudes

Fr. Iván Pertiné
TAN Books, 272 pages

Written as a retreat for men seeking consecration in the St. John Society, these meditations nevertheless apply to any layman who wishes to follow Christ more closely. The Beatitudes “reveal the character of Christ himself,” Fr. Pertiné writes, and “there can be no holiness in Christ without suffering, without the Cross.” As difficult as living the Gospel message may sometimes appear to us, it is far more difficult to live without God and to be subject to the whims of our passions and temptations that can lead us astray, diverting us from our eternal home. Spiritual exercises that end each chapter make this volume suitable for a self-guided retreat.

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Steadfast in Faith: Catholicism and the Challenges of Secularism

David G. Bonagura, Jr.
Cluny Media, 287 pages


The erosion of faith in God as well as the religious practice among believers in today’s world is both evident and measurable. Our secular culture, favoring relativism and subjectivism, presents a formidable challenge in its hostility to religion and objective truth. Still, David G. Bonagura isn’t pushing the panic button; rather, he explores the reasonableness of faith for today’s Catholics so as to equip us to confront and win over our opposition. Converting civilization won’t be easy, he admits, but “knowing what we have learned about God through the witness of others, do we trust Him enough to pick up His cross and follow Him?”


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The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity

Carrie Gress
TAN Books, 199 pages


It is a tragic irony that the so-called “women’s movement” has caused so much harm to women themselves. Lies of empowerment attainable through a “right” to abortion, the sexual revolution, and the breakdown of the family have led not to greater happiness but to confusion and loss of dignity. Carrie Gress likens this “toxic femininity” to the “anti-Mary,” a spirit opposed to the Marian virtues. She doesn’t mince words: this evil is supported by goddess worship, the occult, and a demonic influence that we must recognize and battle — and it begins with imitating Mary and her model of perfect femininity.


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Three Rules for Living a Good Life: A Game Plan for After Graduation

Lou Holtz
Ave Maria Press, 96 pages


If you’ve heard Lou Holtz speak at a public event anytime in the last couple of decades, you’ll recognize some of the entertaining stories and anecdotes he tells in his brief but highly engaging book. His stories and lessons work because they’re timeless; and although addressed to new college graduates, his advice provides sheer wisdom for us all — not just about faith, but how to apply it. “If you truly want to be happy for a lifetime,” Holtz writes, “put your faith in Jesus Christ.” Give it as a gift to a grad, or keep it by your beside for inspiration… and a good chuckle.


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All-Pro Wisdom: The 7 Choices that Lead to Greatness

Matt Birk
Hidden Creek Publishing, 160 pages


Matt Birk, a six-time NFL All-Pro center who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, is an unabashedly pro-life Catholic who wowed Legates with his address at the 2019 Summit. He is also a Harvard graduate who now inspires business professionals with his message extolling leadership principles, the dynamics of teamwork, and strategies for maximizing personal and professional potential. The “7 Choices” he lays out here are universals that “can liberate you from your own fears and help you to manifest the greatness that is within you,” he writes. The many NFL friends he features in this book would agree.


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How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter Reformation Art

Elizabeth Lev
Sophia Institute Press, 310 pages


In the Platonic triad of the transcendentals, beauty is the gateway to goodness and truth. Elizabeth Lev argues that amid the chaos and confusion of the 16th century Reformation, it was beauty – in the form of exquisitely beautiful Catholic art produced by masters such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Bernini, and a host of others – that helped restore unity among faithful Catholics who remained, by drawing their attention to the goodness and truth of the Church. Lev makes a strong case – as she did at the 2019 Summit – which will increase appreciation for the finest in classical religious art in these turbulent times.


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Meditations on the Passion and Death of Christ

Compiled from the works of Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Christ, Passionist, by Ryan Grant, Editor
TAN Books, 192 pages


You might not have heard of Ignatius Carsidoni, known in religious life as Father Ignatius of the Side of Christ, but this little volume should inspire you with his faith and work. The 19th-century Italian Passionist priest’s writings were instrumental in providing impetus to the Oxford Movement that helped resurrect the Catholic faith in England. The meditations in this book, excerpted and adapted from his work The School of Jesus Christ Crucified, read like a 31-station Via Dolorosa that walk you through the entire Passion experience. These are solid spiritual exercises to enrich your Holy Week this year and your entire Lenten journey in future years.


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Bad Shepherds: The Dark Years in Which the Faithful Thrived While Bishops Did the Devil’s Work

Rod Bennett
Sophia Institute Press, 147 pages


As the astute observer will rightly surmise, Bad Shepherds is a book about bad bishops, just not the ones you might read about in today’s headlines. Rather, author Rod Bennett is reminding us that the Catholic Church has had corrupt and sinful leaders in its ranks since apostolic times — and the Faith has survived in spite of them. Should we ever become concerned the Church might collapse, we ought to consider the grave infighting and bitter divisions over the 4th-century Arian heresy, the bewilderingly scandalous popes of the 14th century, or the Catholic apostates behind the 16thcentury Reformation. This book lends hope through our present days.


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Run That By Me Again

James V. Schall, S.J.
TAN Books, 236 pages


Father Schall, professor emeritus of Georgetown University and essayist par excellence, has assembled yet another fine collection in his latest book. Always thought-provoking and often wry, the eminent Jesuit thinker tackles topics from abortion, multiculturalism, and the nature of music to death, funerals, and the afterlife — and all manners of subjects in between. For example, his chapter entitled “The ‘Declaration’ of Voluntarism,” written as a set of guiding societal principles or manifesto, would make for effective satire if it were not so chillingly reflective of the present state of our culture. Father Schall’s works are always edifying and recommended reading.


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Real Suffering: Finding Hope & Healing in the Trials of Life

Dr. Bob Schuchts
St. Benedict Press, 188 pages


Dr. Schuchts, a marriage and family therapist, encourages us to turn our trials on their head by seeing them as something positive. Pain thus becomes a gift, an alarm that calls us to respond, seek healing, and allow God to restore us to wholeness so that we may become who He calls us to be. We must recognize the transforming power of the Holy Spirit as He draws us into closer communion with Christ and our fellow man. “Only when we experience our suffering in light of the Holy Spirit does it make any sense to us,” Schuchts said in a recent interview. Pain has a redemptive purpose, and we ought not let it go to waste.


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