Tag Archives: book review

‘Apologetics and the Christian Imagination’ — A Richer, Deeper approach in connecting Souls With The Faith.

Are stories important for humanity? Is telling a story through books, movies, or the extemporaneous tales of mom and dad delivered to the children at bedtime simply an insignificant means of mere entertainment? In her book Apologetics and the Christian Imagination, Dr. Holly Ordway shows us that in truth stories are powerful tools of conveying meaning, tools that are important for the work of spreading the Faith and forming souls in it.

While showing great understanding of both apologetics and human nature, Dr. Ordway explores the relationship between reason and imagination and how the human person utilizes each to come to know reality. Furthermore, she instructs the reader on the art of Imaginative Apologetics, which is a richer, deeper approach in connecting souls with the Faith. In this entertaining and easy-to-read book, Ordway makes a convincing argument for this method of winning souls.

                  

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and George MacDonald are but a few of the masters of this technique which Ordway presents. Each figure is a fantastic storyteller with stories that, as she puts it, baptize the imagination that allow the person to find meaning in the Theological world and grow closer to the God hidden beneath the narrative.
Ordway teaches, “Imaginative apologetics seeks to harness the God-given faculty of imagination to work in cooperation with reason, to open a way for the work of the Holy Spirit and guide the will toward a commitment to Christ.” Through the stories told by one practicing this method, the hearers are able to receive more than just a definition to memorize. Instead, the hearers are given a deep descriptive tale that conveys the meaning of the Theological truths that sometime evade the persons being instructed.

The book thoroughly explains how Theological meaning can be lost on some souls who simply misunderstand the words. Dr. Ordway posits that many think poorly of the Christian Faith not because they disagree with what is taught, but because they are without the proper meaning conveyed by what is taught. The author explains, “To those who know Christ, and unfortunately also to many who do, much ‘Christian language’ rings empty. Although words like ‘grace’, ‘sin’, ‘heaven’, and ‘hell’ point to a reality, for many listeners they might as well be empty slogan or the equivalent of the user’s agreement on an upgrade to your phone’s operating system: words that are received without attention, and without grasp of their meaning.”

Being far from one to find the faults and leave us without a solution, Dr. Ordway emphasizes how we apologists can help our listeners create meaning and avoid the sophist misconceptions of our times by way of a good story. She creatively and intelligently instructs the reader by explaining the workings of linguistics and how we understand the various senses of speech that we hear. Furthermore, her understanding and delivery of the meaning of being literal is delightful to read.

With the Church’s call for a New Evangelization, and many faithful Christians responding to bring the Gospel back to the hearts of humanity, this book is an important piece for our times. It instructs the bearer of Good News on how to carry out the work of apologetics as well as doing so in a way that allows the hearer of the Word to better grasp the meaning of the message. Moreover, it leads us to carry out this work in an aesthetic, sometimes even inconspicuous, manner, which would allow for Theological meaning to enter into the hearts and minds of those that might otherwise be opposed to the words delivered in a more outward manner.

Especially in our day, we are witness to many artists, writers, and musicians working to evangelize through beauty. Dr. Ordway’s book is a wonderful companion for those who have heard and answered the call to do this. In fact, it would not be surprising if this book is a catalyst for more talented souls to take on such important work.

Classroom teachers and catechists too can find inspiration to utilize more of Imaginative Apologetics with their students. The way Dr. Ordway presents it, we can see the powerful impact that this method is able to have on the hearts and minds of those being formed, especially the young.

Finally, this book could be greatly beneficial for all people, both within the work of apologetics and without, as we can learn to find Faith and Truth in the stories we hear in our world today, whether these messages are intended or not.

For these reasons I highly recommend Dr. Ordway’s Apologetics and the Christian Imagination to all those working in apologetics and evangelization alike. It is a remarkable manual for leading souls to know and understand the deeply profound truths of our Faith. Hopefully, it will even lead certain souls to become the next C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, or George MacDonald, and enlarge the library of good Christian stories available to mankind today.

A Prophetic Trilogy of Real-Life Catholicism

Have you ever encountered a story – whether in the form of a book, film, television – that seemed written especially for you? As I immersed myself in the fictional town of Narbrook, PA, page after page left me marveling at the magnificence and relevance of “The American Tragedy” trilogy – Fatherless, Motherless, Childless – authored by Brian J. Gail.

Beginning in the 1980s and concluding around 2030, Gail journeys through the real-life ramifications as his characters face conflicts surrounding the sexual revolution affecting their professional and family lives. Father John Sweeney serves as the spiritual guide to his beloved parishioners, among whom are Maggie Kealey, Joe Delgado, and Michael Burns.

It was a delight to journey with the characters along their unique trials, so excellent was Gail’s character development. I found myself laughing, sorrowing, and even at times perplexed at these seemingly real humans.

Maggie, oh Maggie – how I delighted in her gradual transformation from a wife and mother who struggled with migraines all the way to the founder of a NFP clinic and takes on Planned Parenthood (called Proper Parenthood in the trilogy) in a lawsuit for the crime of refusing to provide the abortion pill to a young girl.

Through the characters of Joe Delgado and Michael Burns, I received insights into the cynical, at times creepy business world.

Father Sweeney allowed me glimpses into the life of a parish priest and provided me with deeper appreciation for all the priests with whom God has blessed me. I very much related to his discovery/realization of the fullness of truth as described in Fatherless: “For the first time since he was ordained he truly hungered and thirsted for truth — the simple timeless beauty of it, the raw yet ineffable power of it, the magnetizing allure of it” (Fatherless, 469). In the epilogue of Motherless, Father Sweeney shares with a brother priest where he finds his peace and joy:

“In being permitted to walk the walk with the people of God. In helping to facilitate their sacramental encounter with Christ. In watching as He reveals Himself to them, and them to themselves… Earning their trust by challenging them to live as they know they ought. Exhorting them to give themselves away, to accept suffering, to seek the will of God in their lives, and to find their peace… their joy… in their crosses.” (Motherless, 508)

While I personally usually prefer non-fiction books regarding Catholicism, this rare gem in Catholic fiction provided “real-life” insights not found in theological works. It’s one thing to explain the reasoning of various Church teachings, but sometimes, illustrations prove much more powerful in depicting the “how’s” of living out the Catholic faith in the familial and professional spheres of daily life.

Eye of the Tiber publishes Ground-breaking Catholic Exposé

It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will shock you. You cannot finish this book without being moved.

Eye of the Tiber, the leading website in Catholic news, has published some of their best eye-opening articles in a handy book form you can read when you’re stranded somewhere without the internet. All of the news stories you care about: liturgical tragedies, papal statements, the daily trials of being Catholic and more, written about in a way that will make you laugh and, if you want to, think. I loved the article chosen to be the last in the book, but you won’t appreciate it until you’ve read the whole book first, so no cheating!

Following in the great tradition of Onion the Book, America the Book, and Daily Show the Book, Eye of the Tiber the Book is a must read for all Catholics who aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves.

As of press time, the reviewer has loaned her copy of the book to her husband. No telling if he will put down his PS4 game long enough to read it, despite her claims that it is a quick read with short articles.

For people who are not my husband, this book is available now at your favorite bookseller.

Note: I did receive my copy free in exchange for an honest review. I think I held up my end of the bargain.

We need the voice of Anthony Esolen

Not just the Catholic world, but the whole world benefits greatly from the “voice” of Anthony Esolen and the special instruction he bequeaths to humanity in the numerous writings he has produced during our times. He is a member of the English faculty at Providence College in Rhode Island, but we can easily see through his publications that his understanding of reality stretches far beyond the study of literature. Unfortunately, he has received some backlash at his school for professing his worldview; however, we cannot naïvely act surprised at this.Anthony Esolen

What Esolen has said and continues to say is important. He coherently points out all of the social problems in the world, while celebrating the true, good, and beautiful things that ought to be highlighted. Like a true prophet, he adequately reads the signs of the times to inform our lives and culture on the right direction in which we should head. Moreover, he does this in intelligent, creative, and attractive ways, as any talented writer would. I have yet to come away from any of his writings unedified and recognize that it would be quite a misfortune for Christians today to go without hearing his voice.

To assist others in connecting with his work, here are some of my favorite thoughts from Esolen found in his various writings:

  1. “The secular ideologue is a religious fanatic without religion.”
    The Monk and the Ideologue”, Crisis Magazine, November 9, 2016.

In this article, Esolen masterfully juxtaposes scenes of monks in a monastery and the plight of a worshipper of an ideology to highlight the similarities and differences between the two. Esolen points out that, like one who gives up everything for God, the ideologue too wraps his or her whole life and worldview around one thing, sacrificing whatever is necessary to live out the framework deemed true. However, unlike the monk, an ideologue will even sacrifice charity.

2. “Scripture continually warns us against judging in our own case; against taking the path that seems good to us. For the heart of man is deceitful from his youth – who can fathom it?”
—”The Curious Unseriousness of All Our Moral Debates”, LifeSiteNews, March 31, 2015

Esolen writes an obituary-esque lamentation of the loss of right sense in handling moral choices. He points out how little weight we give these highly important decisions and that we allow feelings or appearances too much weight in our decisions.

3. “From 962 (the crowning of Otto the Great as Holy Roman Emperor) to 1321 (the Death of Dante), Europe enjoyed one of the most magnificent flourishing of culture the world has seen.”
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization, p. 131.

In this book, Esolen sets the record straight on the proper view of history, resurrecting the true understanding that the Middle Ages were much brighter and beneficial for humanity than many contemporaries may admit. He goes on in this quote’s chapter to show how “Medieval Europe’s creativity and vitality makes our age look sluggish and drab.” Furthermore, in the next quote he shows the significance that the Medieval Cathedral silently manifested:

4. “Forget that the church was the heart of that common life, and that the people dwelt in the shadow and the reflected gleam of these places of beauty. Neglect to imagine what it was to “own,” with the rest of your townsmen, a structure that pierced the skies with its grandeur, yet that also welcomed you in; and that stood an eloquent witness when you were born, when you were married, when you had children, and when you died. What is astonishing, what we find hard to fathom now, is that those common people were the ones who built the churches.”
ibid. p. 140.

The truth of what life in the Middle Ages was like, that is so easily ignored or downplayed while being scoffed at by many today, is pleasantly relayed by Esolen. One of the best parts of this book is the four pages he spends bringing to light just how extraordinary the Cathedrals are. And what is forgotten is more than the detail, the symbolism, and genius architecture — it is the fact that these masterpieces which functioned as centers for worship were built at a time when it is now said mankind was barely surviving.

5. “No one can decree what a word will signify for those who hear it, or even what it must signify for himself.  That’s not how words work.  Nor is it how symbolic actions work—actions that are, whether we admit it or not, significant.  I put my hand in my pocket; it doesn’t mean anything.  Maybe I’m searching for my car keys.  Maybe my hand is cold.  But if I’m holding a woman by the hand, that means something, the meaning is public, and it’s not ours to determine.”
— “The Sexual Revolution and Its Victims (Part Two)“, Crisis Magazine, October 23, 2012.

In this second part to a  two-part release, Professor Esolen unleashes the correct understanding of the effects of human words and deeds. In this case, Esolen is showing how the Sexual Revolution has destroyed lives; in fact, each part of this two-piece writing shares the story of a victim of the revolution known by the author. He implies that no matter how private we think our sins are, they certainly affect those around us in our bad example. Furthermore, all sin is an exercise of choosing to serve one’s self over others. Therefore, the more we sin, the more selfish we become, which is going to detrimentally affect those around us and society at large.

Being unafraid to speak on the tough controversial subjects might have a part in the pushback Esolen has received as of late, but this tenacity to preach the truth out of season is a virtue that would be more refreshing to see increased in the Catholic teachers, preachers, and writers of today. Esolen’s example, both in content and style, is one to be imitated.

Furthermore, we should keep him and others receiving similar treatment in our prayers so that justice is done, or that Christ’s consolation may help them overcome resistance, and that all may prosper from the Truth of our Faith to become the saints we are meant to be. Of course, this will be easier with a correct understanding of reality, a picture that Esolen paints wonderfully.

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Image: The Federalist

Thérèse by Dorothy Day: One Saint Writes about Another

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I adore Dorothy Day. That’s the reason why I picked up this book. Like Dorothy Day, when I first met Thérèse of Lisieux, I wasn’t very impressed. Day describes Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul as “pious pap” the first time she read it. But as life goes on and wisdom is gained, opinions change. Dorothy Day, as one reviewer states, may not be a Thérèse of Lisieux scholar, but she may be the Little Flower’s most “adept and significant student.” Before this book, the only book I had read by or about Thérèse was Story of a Soul. Now, with Day’s influence, I’m interested in learning more, particularly about her and her sisters.

This short biography breathes life into this saint and applies her life and teachings to the modern world. It is well-addressed to other people who like Day had trouble relating to Thérèse at first. It breathes life into the saint. The reader gets to see Day really in a kind of dialogue with Thérèse’s life and teachings.

So, what does this saint have to say about the world today? As Dorothy Day says in the book:

With governments becoming stronger and more centralized, the common man feels his ineffectiveness. When the whole world seems given over to preparedness for war and the show of force, the message of Thérèse is quite a different one.

Day was writing this book in 1960, but her insights in this book are just as true, if not more so, 56 years later. With the advent of the internet and social media, we’re now bombarded with rage porn and we’re all screaming into the void. Everyone wants to be internet famous. From the richest billionaire in the board room to the poorest homeless teenager on the streets, everyone is looking for attention, everyone wants the biggest, loudest, fanciest thing.

In this world, Thérèse says the same thing she’s said for over a hundred years, “be little, be small, be like a child, be like putty in God’s hands.” This isn’t to say you can’t stand up against injustice. Dorothy Day, one of her spiritual children, is a good example of that. But imitating Christ isn’t just for big, flashy things. It’s the small acts of everyday life that we will all ultimately have to answer for. And, at the end of the day, God is the only Person you have to please. Forget all the anger, all the fame, all the noise. Forget all the stuff, all the media, all the busyness. Be who God wants you to be right now. Do what God wants you to do right now. Act with God’s love right now. Thérèse’s message is truly counter-cultural. That’s what makes her relevant and needed even now.

Dorothy Day’s book Thérèse is going to be back in print on December 16th. It can be pre-ordered through the publisher here or through Amazon here. I got the opportunity to read it through my membership in NetGalley. Thank you Ave Maria Press for the privilege.

This post originally appeared on True Dignity of Women.

A Review of Benedict XVI’s Shortest Book

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Yesterday I finished the first book I’ve ever read by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. I’m quite proud of myself. This isn’t the first one I’ve started. One of the Lay Dominicans in my chapter has made the argument that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will one day be declared a Doctor of the Church. To be declared a Doctor of the Church, you have to be someone that people generally agree wrote or spoke in such a way as to clarify or develop Christian doctrine. Many commentators have pointed out that Benedict XVI was much more of a scholar and professor compared to his more charismatic predecessor St. John Paul II or successor Francis. This is very apparent in all of his writings — this book being no exception.

Even for someone like me with a Master’s degree in church teaching, I could only take this book in small chunks with long breaks. I highly recommend reading until it doesn’t make sense anymore, then put it down. When you pick it back up with a fresh mind, it’ll all make perfect sense again.

It’s dense. As he explains in the introduction, it’s basically three college lectures elaborated, revised and edited into book form. It’s only 90 pages, the last 10 or so of which are end-notes.

It does, however, look deeply and thoroughly into our Marian dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption. He actually digs into the Old Testament for proof and explanation. He shows how Mary is truly a daughter of Israel found in the Old Testament writings and prophets just as much as her Son. As an old hymn states:

O Mary of all women,
You are the chosen one,
Who, ancient prophets promised,
Would bear God’s only Son;
All Hebrew generations
Prepared the way to thee,
That in your womb the God-man
Might come to set us free.

O Mary, you embody
all God taught to our race,
For you are first and foremost
In fullness of His grace;
We praise this wondrous honor
That you gave birth to Him
Who from you took humanity
And saved us from our sin.

It was a very appropriate book to work on during the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady.

If you would like to better understand how the Catholic faith fits into the Old Testament, give this book a chance. If you’d like to understand the role of Our Lady better especially in light of her identity as a Jewish woman, give this book a chance. If you wish you could brag to all your intellectual friends that you’ve read something by Benedict XVI, give this book a chance.

I’m glad I did for all of those reasons.

Daughter Zion is hard to find unless you look online. It is available in e-book  and paperback format from several sources. You just need to let your fingers do the walking.

This book review first appeared on the blog True Dignity of Women.

Walk In Her Sandals: A Book Review

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Plan now to get some of your favorite girlfriends together this Lent to read this book!

Walk in Her Sandals is a deep and unique look at Christ’s Passion and the events after His death from a woman’s perspective. Each chapter contains numerous reflections on various aspects of Holy Week and beyond. There is something for everyone in this book. There is a fictional retelling of the events of the Passion told from the perspective of a woman who watched it all unfold. There are reflections connecting these foundational events to aspects of our feminine genius. There is a guide to pray through important scripture passages using the ancient practice of lectio divina. There are good reflection questions to discuss as a group. The book features authors that most Catholic nerds are familiar with, like Teresa Tomeo, Lisa Hendey and Pat Gohn, as well as many more authors whom you will want to learn more about.

I was a little surprised to find that one of my favorite parts was the fictional retelling of the Passion. I’m usually not a fan of that kind of thing (funny, because I do enjoy writing it, but that’s another story). Stephanie Landsem clearly did her research bringing stories such as the Last Supper and Pentecost alive. You could really sense that these women could have actually been there, were actually the kind of people you would have expected to see there. I had never heard of her before and I’ll have to look her up and try some of her other books.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to pick this book up again as part of a book club. That would be awesome! I’ll have to tell you about it when I do. Not to say that the book isn’t good to read on your own. I certainly enjoyed it.

I got the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review through my membership in NetGalley. Thank you Ave Maria Press! This book just came out yesterday and is available from your favorite bookseller now.

NOTE: I have been informed by the wonderful people at Ave Maria Press that there will be at least two online book clubs this Spring (just in time for Lent!). One will be held at CatholicMom.com and the other will be at WomenInTheNewEvangelization.com. Join me there!

This blog post originally appeared at True Dignity of Women.

Mothers of the Church: A Book Review

Mothers of the Church

I ❤️ this book. It was over far too soon, but it will encourage you to read more about these awesome women.

You hear about the Fathers of the Church, the early leaders and scholars who contributed so much to our understanding of God and His Son. But you don’t hear much about the Mothers of the Church. These are the women who were also scholars in their own right, who lived the faith in their actions. They often inspired and supported the Fathers and the early Church. 

In today’s environment where you hear people frequently complain about the role of women in the Church, it is ever more important to hear these women’s stories and to understand that in the pagan Roman Empire, Christianity was truly a liberating force for all women. In a society where baby girls were left to die and women were the property of their husbands, Christianity brought with it the radical idea that women and children were people, too. This is still a radical idea needed in the world today.

This book is a reader and would definitely be a great addition for a Church history class. By “reader” I mean that it principally contains samples of early writings by and about the women featured. These writings have been cleaned up to be easily read by modern readers. 

It definitely is not limited to an academic audience, however. With short, easily digestible historical bites and entertaining background information, this book is really for anyone wanting to learn more about the Mothers of the Christian faith.

It is available at your favorite booksellers now. I got mine a year ago at Catholic Supply of St. Louis. It is among my favorite purchases there and it now has a well-earned place on my reference bookshelf.

This book review was originally published on True Dignity of Women.

Love, Henri: A Wonderful Collection of Letters from Henri Nouwen

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When I first opened Love, Henri, it annoyed the heck out of me. I don’t know what I was thinking when I requested this book. I’m not a big fan of this genre (collected letters). All I knew was that one of my professors at Aquinas Institute was obsessed with this man. She frequently assigned passages of his writing and I dutifully read the assignments even if I didn’t personally get much out of them. She was, and undoubtedly still is, a sweet, loving woman and her obsession with Henri Nouwen was seen as just one of her quirks.

Reading books like this is a little like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but in this case, it is a good and fulfilling half. It helps that most of the letters are to the same handful of close friends so the letters lend context to one another. The topics covered in the letters are easy to relate to. While the first few pages were hard for me to get through, the book did eventually grow on me and I did reach a point where I couldn’t put it down.

Henri Nouwen wrote to people of all walks of life: gay, straight, young, old, single, married, people in the religious life, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, atheist… He had a wide variety of friends. He loved to write letters and he took his friendships very, very, very seriously.

This book would be excellent for anyone doing research into Henri Nouwen as it gives tons of background information and context for many of his life’s events. It certainly added to my reading list as I was intrigued by what he had to say about several of his books, particularly Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World.

I came away from this book with one intriguing question that could take a whole book to cover: Why isn’t there a open cause of canonization for Henri Nouwen and could he ever be canonized? I am very interested in what you have to say about that. On one side, his responses to questions in the letters were mostly quite orthodox. It is generally accepted by scholars that he did deal with same-sex attraction. He referred to it much like St. Paul refers to his own thorn in his side (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). He was a faithful priest who used his own suffering to effectively minister to others. He was very into ecumenism. On that front, he didn’t always follow Church teaching to the letter. What do you think? Should he be canonized? Could he be canonized?

I was given the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review through my membership in Blogging for Books. Thank you Convergent Books for the opportunity.

This review originally appeared at True Dignity of Women.

Strangers at the Manger: Children’s Book Review

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I don’t know about you, but I need a little Christmas magic right now. Let’s take a little trip to Advent and Christmas with Lisa Hendey’s book, The Strangers at the Manger.

I guess I didn’t read the description of this book too closely as I got it hoping to read it to my son. He’s only 4 years old and after only a couple of sentences, he was asking for his Curious George book instead. Even the fact I was reading it to him from the Kindle Fire didn’t keep his interest (I hardly ever read to him from the Kindle). Well, it’s his loss.

Even as an adult reading this on my own, I got a kick out of it! Such an adorable little chapter book chock-full of facts about the Church, the Bible, and the Nativity story. Anyone reading it couldn’t help but learn something, but it doesn’t read like a textbook. It reads like a fun adventure of a pair of twins traveling back in time.

As another reviewer commented on some other site (it’s really hard for a mom’s brain to keep track), these twins are relatable kids who are good role models you’d want your kid to read about. They are, nonetheless, full of personality and very three-dimensional. In this adventure, the fifth of the series, they travel back in time to the Nativity of our Lord and help the Holy Family in this momentous occasion. They play soccer with the shepherds. They marvel at the wise men. They are fascinated at the sight of seeing the Lord and Savior they hear about so much at Church, being a little baby. As an adult reading this, I could feel their childlike wonder and fascination. It was great!

As in all the Chime Traveler books, they go back in time to learn an important lesson. Before they travel, we are introduced to a refugee family that has just moved into the parish. As you can imagine, this relates very well to the impoverished Holy Family being unable to find a room in Bethlehem, only to later be forced to run off to Egypt. I’d love to share the moral of the story with you, but you’ll have to discover it for yourself. It’s a beautiful little one-liner that will stick with you long after the book is put down.

My husband has a cousin who’s just the right age for chapter books — maybe I can get her a copy for Christmas. Maybe she’ll even let me read it with her.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through my membership in NetGalley. Thank you Franciscan Media for the opportunity. This book is available now through your favorite bookseller.

This review originally appeared on the blog True Dignity of Women.

Beyond Me, My Selfie, and I: A Review of Teresa Tomeo’s Latest Book

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In this technology-saturated world, Teresa Tomeo speaks from personal experience and candid observation on what we all need to do to be better followers of Christ.

It all stemmed from a trip to Italy. While seeing the sights, she couldn’t help but notice a couple of young people absorbed by their phones. What true reality were they missing while being stuck in the virtual reality of their phones?

The Church constantly preaches that while technology is not in itself morally good or bad, its use and misuse can certainly veer either way. In this book, Mrs. Tomeo specifically tackles social media and the ubiquitous selfie. She challenges us all to put our phones down for real face-time with those whom we love and with He who loves us.

She breaks this huge issue down into 10 manageable chunks. Each chapter starts with an introduction from a specific angle, followed by a mini-quiz to help you think about how it applies to you. Then, she explains what the Church in Her wisdom says about it, and gives pointers on how to take it to prayer.

When read with an open and prayerful heart, this book could inspire real changes in how you view and use technology. It certainly serves as a wake-up call to the dangers of social media.

Beyond Me, My Selfie and I is now available at your favorite bookseller. I was given the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review through my membership in Netgalley. Thank you Franciscan Media for the privilege.

This book review originally appeared at True Dignity of Women.

Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Scholars Take On Feminism and Complementarity

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Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and The Church. Kinda says it all, doesn’t it? In this book a group of distinguished, faithful, Catholic women scholars take Pope Francis’ call for a deeper theology of women and run with it. They reflect on what such a theology would look like and where the feminine genius is needed in the Church today.

They go in some surprising directions. A couple of essays tackle the question of a “theology of men”, arguing that a theology of women demands a corresponding look at men. One can only be as good and thorough as the other. We are complementary sexes, after all. My favorite essay seeks to translate Church teaching on sexuality in terms that a stereotypical radical second-wave feminist would understand, framing it largely in terms of social justice.

If you’re a theology and women’s issues nerd like I am, this is definitely a book to be read and then placed in your reference pile. Quotes from this book will be found on this blog and on the John Paul II Center for Women’s FB and Twitter pages in coming months.

If you are one who wonders how the heck an intelligent, successful woman can stand by the Catholic Church in 2016, this book could help you with some answers if you approach it with an open mind.

This book is available now at your favorite bookseller. I got it a month ago at my semi-annual trip to Catholic Supply of St. Louis. (Just a shout out to home! I miss you guys!)

This book review originally appeared on True Dignity of Women.