Book Review

“Nope” to Sarah’s Latest

I recently started reading Cardinal Sarah’s latest book The Day is Now Spent, but I had to quit, for I’m spent.  Why, oh why will he insist on everlastingly quoting Pope Francis?  I got to page 97 and was about to swallow another Francis quotation, but I couldn’t.  I chucked the book across the room instead.*

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Here is a helpful guide for you.

It’s not that what Sarah is quoting is controversial or bad.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  Sarah goes out of his way to find decent quotations out of Francis’s mouth.  (That had to take some time.)  Then Sarah will go on pretending that he and Francis are on the same page, which just isn’t true.

For example, Sarah is arguing and calling for the reform of corrupt clergy.  Just what has that to do with Francis?  Nothing.  In fact, Francis has only intentionally surrounded himself with very controversial and corrupt clergy.  Let’s remember that Francis knew about Pope Benedict’s censure on Ex-Cardinal McCarrick, but that didn’t stop Francis from hobnobbing with McCarrick and sending him on a public mission to China.

Let me repeat, it’s misleading to quote a conspicuously subversive man and pretend your minds are one.  I don’t think these two men could be more different from each other.  I’ll grant that Sarah probably has the sincerest of intentions, perhaps hoping that Francis is only naive or stupid or something, but I’m weary and done with it all.  Why not quote someone with a clear track record of ousting corrupt clergy?  Why not quote the Council of Trent on that?

Apparently I’m not the only one thinking these things either.  If you want more, check out this article from Dr. Jeff Mirus at the CatholicCulture.org.  I especially appreciate the second half of his article.

Parting Note on Sarah

Please note that I still would recommend Sarah’s God or Nothing and The Power of Silence.  He’s got some pertinent and profound things to say, especially about the primacy of prayer and silence.  (Not silence in the face of corruption, but rather silence as regards to the interior life.)  Sarah also has a miraculous and astounding personal story of growing up in Africa.

Truly, you should read his first two books.  I’ll warn you, though, he does quote Francis in both books, but it’s more forgivable, if you will, because these books were written earlier in Francis’s pontificate.

As it is, my book club is currently reading The Day Is Now Spent for November.  I can’t wait to hear what these other ladies are going to say.

What Else Am I Reading?

Books in Brief

Recently I finished Gertrud Von Le Fort’s The Song of the Scaffold.  This fictional novella is based on the real-life tragedy of the death of 16 Carmelites during the French Revolution.    If you want a short, but moving read, I strongly recommend it.

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The end, wherein the Carmelites are brought before the guillotine singing Veni Creator Spiritus, is very dramatic to say the least and inspired me to teach our children that ancient chant.

I also just finished a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien written by Humphrey Carpenter.  This was a very enjoyable read, and I also recommend it, especially for you Lord of the Rings fans.

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I picked this old paperback copy up at a local, used bookshop.

And lastly, I’m currently reading The Catholic Guide to Depression by Dr. Aaron Kheriaty.  (No, I’m not suffering from depression.)  I’m only a half of the way through, and I appreciate Dr. Kheriaty’s insights thus far.  Perhaps I’ll post more on this book later.

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Really, though, I can’t wait to read some more James Herriot.  He’s light; he’s funny; he’s pre-Amazon Synod…

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This is lovely reading.
*Ok, fine.  I didn’t actually chuck it across the room.  If I would have, the children would have looked askance at me, for we have a rule about throwing books: No Throwing Books.  It obviously damages them and anything else they might happen to hit, like their sisters.
Book Review

New Biography of Michael O’Brien and Some Novelties of Summer

If you’ve ever read any of Michael O’Brien’s books, chances are you’ve wondered, just who in the blazes is this man who writes so well?  As soon as I discovered that his biography, On the Edge of Infinity, was for sale, I bought it and was not disappointed.

I couldn’t put it down.

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You need this book written by Clemens Cavallin.

Not only do I consider Michael O’Brien the greatest Catholic novelist since J.R.R. Tolkien, but I also wonder about this man’s sainthood.  He’s got an amazing conversion story, going from such things as Ouija boards and seances to being attacked by malevolent spirits and spontaneously reciting Psalm 23.

This book is not boring.  And the neat thing is, as one suspects from reading O’Brien’s fiction, many of his stories come straight from his own life.  For example, has anyone ever read O’Brien’s A Cry of Stone?  This book features the story of Tchibi, a boy who experiences abuse from his headmaster at his private school.  O’Brien modeled this boy on his own experience of abuse at Grollier Hall in Canada.  It’s excruciating to read.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Back to On the Edge of Infinity.  Clemens Cavallin begins this biography of Michael O’Brien (born in 1948) with stories from Michael’s parents and grandparents.  Then Cavallin moves into detailing O’Brien’s childhood in the Canadian arctic and then chronicles the turbulent years following the Second Vatican Council wherein suddenly altars were stripped and destroyed, statues of saints disappeared, and families were discouraged from praying the rosary.  O’Brien’s family was deeply affected by these radical changes.

Naturally the book goes on to relate Michael’s conversion, his meeting of Sheila, their marriage, and his momentous decision in 1976 to devote himself wholly to God and to art – specifically icon painting.  (Writing fiction would come later.)

Probably what fascinated me the most in reading Cavallin’s biography, however, was Michael and his wife Sheila’s utter trust in God, to the point of downright poverty.  Seriously, at one point, Michael and his eldest son had to push the wheelbarrow to the local convent, because they didn’t have a working vehicle, to get the leftover vegetables from the sisters, just to eat for the week.

The other thing that I greatly appreciated about this book was its focus on art and beauty.  I’ll never get tired of this subject, because in our culture it is of extreme importance that we get it.  Art ought to be beautiful because it’s a reflection of the Divine.  Beauty matters!

Finally, if any of you have children and homeschool them, you will probably enjoy hearing about the trials and experiences of the O’Brien family.  Michael and Sheila homeschooled their 6 children.  And it wasn’t easy.

The Novelties of Summer

  1. I hope you’re all enjoying summer.  We are.  Normally the children start a little Summer School by now, but we haven’t yet.  For we’ve had this to contend with:
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This is our backyard.  We’re in the process of planting grass, trees, bushes, and a garden.  Oh, the work!

2.  We have had time for ice cream, however.

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3.  And we did just recently make a little pilgrimage to a beautiful rural church in Strasburg, North Dakota, named Sts. Peter and Paul.

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Here are the children on the front steps.

Even though this church is in the middle of nowhere, people still go to see it.  Why?  Because beauty is attractive.  The following is what one sees when walking in.  I apologize for the lack of lighting.  We didn’t know how to turn all the lights on.

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Check out those sweet confessionals flanking the sanctuary.

Of course you can see the high altar behind that newly inserted wooden table altar from the 1970s.  Here’s a closer look of both altars:

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And an even closer look of the high altar:

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Just look at that detail.

Question of the day:  Which altar speaks to the greatness of God?

 

Book Review

How Did Ex-Cardinal McCarrick Happen Anyway? Infiltration Book Review

I’ve been wondering, just how in the world did we get such a character as Ex-Cardinal McCarrick serving in the Church anyway?

Furthermore, why do we have a pope that refuses to speak clearly and won’t defend traditional orthodoxy?

For that matter, why do most Catholics not even believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist?

About a year ago, my husband and I stumbled upon Dr. Taylor Marshall’s YouTube videos, wherein he and Timothy Gordon began exploring these questions.  It was refreshing.  They were asking all the same questions that my husband and I were asking.  The only difference was, they actually did some research.  In fact, Dr. Taylor Marshall did a lot of research and has recently released a book titled Infiltration.

Infiltration*

I just finished reading this book, and I think you should all buy a copy and get at it.  Click HERE for it on Amazon.

I will warn you, however.  Marshall doesn’t spare the likes of Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict the XVI.  This might upset those of you inclined to think that neither of these men made any mistakes.

Nevertheless…

Top Ten Reasons to Read Infiltration:

  1. This book is essentially a history book.  Now I went to public school, and I didn’t learn a thing in my history classes, so I really appreciated Dr. Marshall outlining the last 150 years of popes, freemasons, the Second Vatican Council, and the Church.
  2. Ever heard of Bella Dodd?  She was a former communist agent who worked tirelessly to to infiltrate the Catholic Church in the 1930s, and boy did she succeed.  She testified before the U.S. House Committee in 1953 that in the U.S. alone, they put   1100 of their men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.  Four of those men eventually became cardinals.
  3. Incidentally, she later renounced her Communism and was received back into the Church by none other than Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  That whole chapter is unbelievable.
  4. Anyone ever wonder about those individuals responsible for creating the Novus Ordo?  Marshall does great work showing us what these guys were up to.  Annibale Bugnini…not a great man.
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien will always be dear to my heart.  Now I’ve heard of his response to the Novus Ordo before, but any book that highlights it, is a must-read.  For those of you unfamiliar with what Tolkien thought of the New Mass, be sure to read Chapter 23.
  6. Tolkien wasn’t the only famous person not enthusiastic about the changes after the Second Vatican Council.  Novelist Agatha Christie, who wasn’t even a Catholic, lamented the destruction of the liturgy for cultural and literary reasons.  And Pope Paul VI granted an indult to the Cardinal of Westminster because of her.
  7. Most people ignorantly brush off Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X as a bunch of crazy whackos.  In reality, the real situation is much more complicated.  Marshall does a great job of detailing this movement.
  8. Have you ever wondered about Our Lady of La Salette?  Or the third secret of Fatima?  Mary seems to play an important role in these last 100 years of history.
  9. And how about Communion in the hand?  Where did that come from?  Did you know that the Protestant reformers–Luther, Calvin, Cranmer–all insisted that people receive in the hand because it signified that the Eucharist was just ordinary bread?  Which is why, as Catholics, we say Lex orandi, lex credendi.  Our actions and postures matter.
  10. Finally, you need to buy your husband a Father’s Day gift anyway.  So click HERE for it on Amazon.
*Notice who wrote the forward??  Yep, none other than Bishop Athanasius Schneider.  Now there’s a man!