Welcome to the U.S. Catholic Book Club
Where Justice and Mercy Meet: Catholic Opposition to the Death Penalty
Edited by Vicki Schieber, Trudy D. Conway, and David Matzko McCarthy
Review: Some say that if more people knew more about the actual practice of capital punishment, support for the practice would vastly decrease. Where Justice and Mercy Meet educates readers about the reality of the death penalty in the United States—from methods of execution to the influence of racism and poverty. Through well-researched and thought-provoking essays that combine history, statistics, and personal testimony, we learn of the grim reality of state executions.
More crucially, the book examines the arguments against capital punishment that stem from a rich Catholic tradition of forgiveness, love, and discipleship. We discover that, for criminal justice to be truly just, we must take into account the mercy of God’s love. This message is truly one to be spread.
—Elizabeth Lefebvre, Assistant Editor, U.S. Catholic
Liturgical Press says: This book explores the Catholic stance against capital punishment in new and important ways. The broad perspective of this book has been shaped in conversation with the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty, as well as through the witness of family members of murder victims and the spiritual advisors of condemned inmates.
Available at bookstores or from Liturgical Press: 800-858-5450 or shop online at www.litpress.org.
Why Bother Praying?
By Richard Leonard, S.J.
Review: Jesuit Father Richard Leonard is the first to humbly admit that he’s no authority on prayer, which in a way makes him the perfect candidate to write a book on the subject. Like most of us, Leonard has struggled with praying and understands the challenges of maintaining a healthy prayer life, making him less a teacher and more a trusted friend.
With wonderfully simple advice like, “If it helps, do it; if it doesn’t, don’t” and plenty of at times laugh-out-loud anecdotes, Leonard offers a fresh and engaging perspective on the richness and diversity of one of the church’s greatest traditions. For all who struggle to maintain their own personal relationship with God, Why Bother Praying? is an answer to their prayers—especially if they were reluctant to say them.
—Scott Alessi, Managing Editor, U.S. Catholic
Paulist Press says: Written by the bestselling author of Where the Hell Is God?, this accessible volume is for everyone who wonders how to pray, everyone who wonders what happens when you pray, and everyone who wonders if God hears our prayers.
Available at bookstores or from Paulist Press: 800-218-1903 or shop online at www.paulistpress.com.
7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness: Enriching Your Faith by Strengthening the Health of Your Soul
By Joe Paprocki
Review: In the contemporary dualism that sees spirituality as distinct from religion, Joe Paprocki admits that Christianity is too often confined to the latter and considered “less as a spiritual path and more as a code of ethics.” In his compact book, Paprocki offers seven deceptively simple keys to recovering the rich spirituality of the Christian faith. The keys correspond to unexpected questions, such as “Who is your court jester?”, “What is your dream vacation spot?”, and “What gives you heartburn?”
Signaling a departure from the ego-stroking found in most contemporary self-help books, Paprocki instead insists first on the importance of humility and offers this mantra: “It’s not all about you.” Honest as a physician and compassionate as a true friend, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness is a book worth having on call.
—Meghan Murphy-Gill, Associate Editor, U.S. Catholic
Loyola Press says: Joe Paprocki provides a prescription for spiritual health based on the rich wisdom of Catholic tradition. He identifies seven strategies for achieving spiritual wellness and seven persistent dangers to our spiritual well-being.
Available at bookstores or from Loyola Press: 800-621-1008 or shop online at www.loyolapress.com.
Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible
By N.T. Wright
Review: Anglican Bishop N. T. Wright, one of today’s most respected scripture scholars, provides an invaluable guide to reading scripture “with cultural and intellectual alertness and integrity.” This book steers a middle course through the contemporary “mess and muddle” that Wright says has been created both by the fundamentalist eagerness for certainty on one end and by cultural, political, and philosophical pressures and the “agonized deconstructions” of postmodernity on the other.
It is through serious scripture reading, Wright argues, that Christians become energized to work for God’s kingdom. He urges a reading that is “totally contextual, liturgically grounded, privately studied, refreshed by appropriate scholarship, and taught by the church’s accredited leaders.”
—Meinrad Scherer-Emunds, Executive Editor, U.S. Catholic
HarperOne says: Bishop and Bible scholar N. T. Wright delivers a new model for how to understand the place of scripture and God’s authority in the midst of religious confusion.
Available at bookstores or from HarperOne: Shop online at www.harperone.com.
Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II
By Richard R. Gaillardetz and Catherine E. Cliffor
Review: Gaillardetz and Clifford, two noteworthy scholars, have selected 20 significant passages or “keys” from the documents of the Second Vatican Council that help us understand and appreciate the vision of the council fathers. Each chapter places the given passage in its larger historical context, explores its fundamental meaning and significance, and considers its larger significance for the life of the church today.
Chapters include exploration of the liturgy constitution’s demand for “full, conscious, and active participation” in the liturgy, as well as Nostra Aetate’s approach to non-Christian religions. With short, nontechnical chapters and very helpful sidebar definitions, it can serve as an excellent teaching text. I recommend Keys to the Council to anyone interested in Vatican II and its impact on the Catholic Church today.
—Rev. John Molyneux, C.M.F., Editor, U.S. Catholic
Liturgical Press says: Understand the vision of the council fathers for renewal and reform in this engaging and authoritative work as we mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II.
Available at bookstores or from Liturgical Press: 800-858-5450 or shop online at www.litpress.org
The U.S. Catholic Book Club is a collaborative project of U.S. Catholic magazine and the Catholic Book Publishers Association. The titles featured in the U.S. Catholic Book Club are selected each month by the magazine’s editors from submissions by participating book publishers. The publisher provides a paid advertising in U.S. Catholic magazine for the featured book.