Tag Archives: books

America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding

Robert R. Reilly
Ignatius Press, 366 pages

 

It is claimed that Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, and Jean Jacques Rousseau and the theories of government “by the people” that they developed profoundly influenced the framers of the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Robert R. Reilly not only denies this assertion, but turns it on its head. In fact, he traces the American concept of ordered liberty to the Judeo-Christian ideal of one God who creates man in His own image, to the ancient philosophers and their use of reason, and to the Person of Christ Himself. From this they drew the principles of natural law that were the real foundation of our nation, where freedom and reason must together prevail.

 

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The Contagious Catholic: The Art of Practical Evangelization

Marcel LeJeune
Ascension Press, 191 pages

 

Cleverly titled for a time of pandemic, this book by the founder of Catholic Missionary Disciples strives to train Catholics in the strategies and self-confidence necessary to share their faith effectively. Here he examines the example of Jesus, discusses the pathway to discipleship, suggests the kinds of questions that we might ask to open doors to evangelizing, what conversion really means, and how to share our own faith stories in various social situations. He also covers the importance of spiritual mentorship and some of the obstacles that holds Catholics back from success. It’s not a difficult read, but it is an important one if we are to step up in our God-given mission to spread the Gospel.

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Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs

Karlo Broussard
Catholic Answers Press, 287 pages

 

As Catholics, we may love our faith and even know it rather well, but there are times when we are challenged by a denominational Christian who cites Bible verses to counter our beliefs. We might not immediately have the words to refute the challenge, so we are left stammering while our questioner senses victory. Karlo Broussard’s excellent book raises 50 common Protestant objections to Catholicism based on Scripture and offers the tools for showing how Catholic teaching or tradition does not contradict the Bible but rather is in harmony with it. His language is straightforward, providing a worthy study to help us explain our faith when called upon.

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Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph over the Darkness of the Age

Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Angelico Press, 321 pages

 

Interviews, even lengthy ones, can be riveting when the interviewee is fascinating to hear. That’sthe case with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, an auxiliary bishop in Kazakhstan, who expounds on a range of controversial topics affecting the Catholic faith and the Church. In this lengthy Q&A with U.S. journalist Diane Montagna, he offers articulate analysis of such topics as secularism, papal authority, Vatican II, the liturgy, doctrinal issues, interfaith relations, the third secret of Fatima, the state of the faith in the former Soviet republics, and the recent Synod of Bishops for the PanAmazon Region.

 

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New children’s books enliven evergreen lessons for life

Children are both a gift from God and our future, so writing for them is no small undertaking. It takes a special talent to translate the world into a simpler, more innocent place full of possibilities. For two Legates, Chuck Ormsby and Anthony DeStefano, writing children’s books is a labor of love in which they impart character-building, evergreen lessons.

Godly insights for everyone

Anthony DeStefano and his wife Jordon are members of the Jersey Shore Legatus Chapter. He has worked successfully in politics and business, and is a member of the board of directors of Priests for Life and Rachel’s Vineyard. He has also been an EWTN television host and appeared on many national television and radio programs.

And through it all, he writes.

Stefano is an award-winning, best-selling author of 20 books for adults and children. His first book, A Travel Guide to Heaven, (2003) has been published in 15 languages and in 20 countries. Another book for adults, Hell: A Guide, will be out in June.

DeStefano’s latest children’s book released in October, The Seed Who Was Afraid to be Planted, is the retelling of Jesus’ parable of the seed in verse, beautifully illustrated by Erwin Madrid, an animator on the Shrek franchise. The story is about a seed wanting to stay in a cozy drawer rather than get buried in the ground. Faced with his biggest fear, the seed undergoes a transformation into a beautiful tree that nurtures the creation around it. It imparts the lesson that no matter how small or scared we may be, God has plans for us more wonderful than we can imagine.

Speaking specially to Catholics

This new book is his first with a Catholic publisher. “Now is the time to start writing Catholic books with the Church,” he explained. “I’ve had the sense over the last three years—and I think all Catholics have had this sense—that the Church is going through troubled waters. I’ve had a conviction that instead of focusing on the general market where I’ve had a lot of success, I should write for a Catholic-specific audience.” It also helped that DeStefano had met the publisher of Sophia Institute Press, Charlie McKinney, and was very impressed. Sophia will also publish his next two children’s books: Our Lady’s Wardrobe in April and The Grumpy Old Ox next Christmas.

DeStefano’s stories, which reflect Godly values and insights, have attracted readers across denominational lines and even no denominations. The Seed Who Was Afraid to be Planted, he explained, is also a message that applies to everyone.

Facing the universal phobia – fear

“I believe the biggest problem that people face—not just children—is fear,” DeStefano said. “People are afraid about their money, and job, and families, and health, and most of all they are afraid they don’t have what it takes to overcome their problems.” Unless we help children deal with their fears, he said, it can manifest into much bigger problems that could last a lifetime.

The idea for the book came to DeStefano during adoration while reading the parable of the grain of wheat that fell to the ground and had to die in order to grow. “It hit me like a bolt of lightning; Why not retell the parable of the seed from the perspective of the seed?” he explained. “The message is about trusting God and allowing him to transform your fear into something wonderful.”

Taking the worst, pulling out the best

It is a message that relates to Christ himself, according to DeStefano. “Jesus is the best example of the seed who was planted,” he said. “He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He died and was buried in the earth. It was the worst evil that ever took place in the world: the murder of God by His own creatures. But three days later, the Resurrection represents the greatest good that could ever happen. The gates of heaven were thrown open and all of us can receive everlasting life. If God can take the worst thing and pull out the best thing, He can pull good out of our life.”

Imparting such a vision can transform a child’s whole life, DeStefano said. “It can help prepare children to understand other deeper truths— including the love God has for us, the beauty of creation, the temporary nature of bodily death, the meaning of resurrection, and the joy of heaven.”

Far-reaching love for kids

Attorney Chuck Ormsby, member of Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Chapter, also has deeper messages in his whimsical children’s books. They reflect his own commitment to God and children alongside his full-time work at his law firm, Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC. He has specialized in corporate law for over 30 years alongside raising three children with his wife, Linda, and building schools in Uganda.

“I went on my thirteenth trip there this past Halloween,” he said. “Previously we built a school in the jungle where a genocide took place,” Ormsby said. It all began in 2007 when Ormsby accepted an offer from visiting priest, Father Joseph Sserugo, to visit Uganda. He came to build a primary school on a one-square-mile piece of land that had been a place of genocide, thereby turning it into a blessing. Pope John Paul II high school was later built and is currently educating 600 students.

There is also a vocational school begun by Ormsby with another 150 students. Students can be sponsored at the Pope John Paul II High School, to defray yearly tuition. And there are also opportunities for covering their room and board at the local university (go to bridgetouganda.org to learn more).

Out of the mouths of babes

Ormsby’s foray into writing children’s books as a hobby has a humbler beginning. “We were driving in the car and one of the kids asked, ‘Why is Dad’s head ‘shaped like that’ —round and bald,” he explained. “My wife said, ‘So water runs off. If it had a dent in it, water would well up and he’d have a problem; puddles would form, birds would come drink and trees would grow.’” Thus was born Mr. Puddlehead, published in 2016 by Archway Publishing.

The brightly animated story in verse is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss. The moral behind the silly story is: accept the way God made you, and see the puddles in your life as a blessing.

Life lesson from grandma

On another day, Linda came home from pushing a grandchild in the stroller with a sticky mess on the wheel that had picked up a napkin and a cigarette. From that came the story of Mrs. Sticky Wheel. She is in too much of a hurry to clean off the mess so ends up coming home with a dog, a cat, a duck and a pig stuck to the stroller.

On the first page of the second book, Mrs. Sticky Wheel marries Mr. Puddlehead. On the last page is the moral:

“She learned a lot from this haul
Address your issues when they’re small
Or better yet so not to stall
Avoid your problem after all.”

A third book is in the works. When his oldest of five grandchildren, Tiernan, recently explained that his superhero power is never getting tired, Ormsby envisioned his next book – a story where the villains are such a pest, while the superhero needs no rest.

Stay tuned.

PATTI ARMSTRONG is a Legatus magazine contributing writer.

After Suicide: There’s Still Hope for Them and You

Fr.Chris Alar, MIC
Marian Press, 280 pages

 

Tragically, many have been touched in some way by the suicide of a loved one or acquaintance, and some believe killing oneself automatically condemns one to hell. Some believe that’s what the Catholic Church says. Not so, says Fr. Alar, whose own grandmother committed suicide. In fact, the teaching of the Church offers great hope for the salvation of suicide victims. This necessary book explains this hope, provides solace for those who grieve, and encourages us in interceding for the salvation of those lost to suicide through our prayers, sacrifices, and trust in God’s mercy.

 

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Apostles of the Culture of Life

Dr. Donald T. DeMarco
TAN Books/St. Benedict Press, 296 pages

Every battle for truth and justice has its heroes. This book presents portraits of some of our heroes in the defense of life – 56 of them, to be precise: eight in each of seven disciplines or realms including philosophy, medicine, even sports and entertainment. Here you’ll find familiar figures such as Mother Teresa, pro-life activist Joseph Scheidler, former National Right to Life president Dr. Jack Willke and Pope St. John Paul II, but also chapters on folks like concentration-camp survivor Wanda Poltawska, didactic painter William Kurelek, media theorist Marshall McLuhan, and NBA Hall of Famer Bob Cousy. It’s an inspiring collection.

 

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Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child from Public School

Mary Rice Hasson and Teresa Farnan
Regnery Publishing/ Gateway Editions, 256 pages

Are our public schools toxic? Although there remain many good teachers and administrators within the system, they are not the ones calling the shots. Instead, it’s the progressive ideologues who exert the overriding influence on school boards, superintendents, curricula, policies, and hiring practices. The result is a public school system that advances a troubling political correctness that embraces the LGBTQ agenda, the “gender revolution,” moral relativism, and practical atheism. Is it a radical solution for Christian parents to completely abandon the public schools in favor of private education or homeschooling? Arguably, it is, but the stakes couldn’t be higher – our children’s minds, hearts, and souls are at risk.

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How Christianity Saved Civilizations… and Must Do So Again

Mike Aquilina and Jim Papandrea
Sophia Institute Press, 270 pages

 

“The Church can learn from the Church of the past,” declares the title of the first chapter of this marvelous work. Using a keen lens to examine the Church’s role in shaping history, the authors identify seven “revolutions” that took place as Christianity, once targeted for elimination through persecution, transformed and civilized the brutal Roman Empire. It was the Church that introduced the pagan world to such concepts as respect for life, the dignity of women, the need to protect the weak and vulnerable, and the servant role of those who govern us. From this history lesson, Christians can draw inspiration for transforming our increasingly hostile culture today.

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Made This Way: How to Prepare Kids to Face Today’s Tough Moral Issues

Leila Miller with Trent Horn
Catholic Answers Press, 249 pages

 

With all the moral confusion that today’s secularized culture throws at us, how do we help our children and teens recognize the truth? Here’s a book that shows how you can break down into simple-enough language the guiding principles that underlie Catholic moral teaching on issues such as contraception, abortion, divorce, pornography, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, reproductive technologies, and transgender identity. Drawing from their own experiences as parents and professionals, the authors provide answer many of the objections we often hear so as to enable us to equip our children with the deal with some of the “hard questions” they must face.

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