US Catholic Book Club: Where the Hell is God?

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Where the Hell is God?

By Richard Leonard, S.J.
Foreword by James Martin, S.J.

Review: An earthquake in Haiti, a tsunami in Japan, a child stricken with leukemia: What kind of God would allow such things? Jesuit priest Richard Leonard's own experience of family tragedy forced him to ask that question. He never discovered the "right" answer, but he knows a bad one when he sees it, and he explores seven of them.


TV's not a black-and-white issue

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Article Art and Architecture
Sister Rose Pacatte, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul who directs the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles, talks about television being more than just a boob tube but a moral laboratory.

It's a safe bet that Sister Rose Pacatte watches more TV and movies than you do. She even has TiVo, which only seriously addicted TV watchers will admit to. If you asked her about this, she would say, "Hey, it's all part of my job!" And you might nod and say indulgently, "Of course it is, Sister."


Divine Rebels: American Christian Activists for Social Justice

By Kristin Peterson| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Divine Rebels: American Christian Activists for Social Justice
By Deena Guzder (Lawrence Hill Books, 2011)

In her collection of profiles, Divine Rebels, Deena Guzder seeks to dispel the assumption that religion causes nothing but problems in modern society.


Hard Bargain

By Danny Duncan Collum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Hard Bargain
Emmylou Harris (Nonesuch Records, 2011)

Emmylou Harris’ Hard Bargain is the joyous, bittersweet album that a 64-year-old country-rock legend should make. It looks backward to her beginnings (“The Road”) and mourns the dead (“The Ballad of Emmett Till”), but it also looks out on the present with compassion for all living creatures—a homeless man (“Home Sweet Home”), the victims of Katrina (“New Orleans”), and even a “Big Black Dog.”


The Spirit of Vatican II:

By Alfred J. Garrotto| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
The Spirit of Vatican II: A History of Catholic Reform in America
By Colleen McDannell (Basic Books, 2011)

For many Catholics, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) represents a Spirit-led initiative now being dismantled. For others it was a well-meant experiment gone awry. In The Spirit of Vatican II, Colleen McDannell explores those two extremes through the eyes of her parents, Margaret and Ken, whose lives span the pre-, mid-, and post-Vatican II church.


Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

By Megan Sweas| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
By Karen Armstrong (Knopf, 2010)

I read Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life shortly before Osama bin Laden was assassinated. In her last step, “Love your enemies,” Armstrong leads the reader through a meditation: “Bring to mind an ‘Enemy’ with a capital E.” I thought of bin Laden.


The Tree of Life

By Patrick McCormick| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
The Tree of Life
Directed by Terrence Malick (Fox Searchlight, 2011) 

Terrence Malick’s kaleidoscopic masterpiece about, well, everything raises several universal questions, but one query this dazzling juggernaut of a film answers definitively is why make movies?

Most contemporary films entertain 14-year-old boys with a barrage of rapid-fire special effects. Other movies translate novels into a cinematic narrative furnished with a tapestry of lovely images and scenery.


Storks in a Blue Sky

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Storks in a Blue Sky
by Carol Anne Dobson (Appledrane Books, 2008)

Storks in a Blue Sky is a historical romance set in England and France in 1763. It won the David St. John Thomas fiction award in England.


Midnight in Paris

By Father Robert Barron| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Midnight in Paris
Directed by Woody Allen (Sony Pictures, 2011)

Collapse into Now

By John Christman| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Collapse into now
R.E.M. (Nonesuch Records, 2011)

From a clamorous crescendo built slowly of distorted guitars, high-toned bass, and low, rumbling drums, R.E.M. front man Michael Stipe exclaims, “Hey baby, this is not a challenge, it just means that I love you as much as I always said I did.” A few tension-filled bars later each musical strand coalesces into a powerful refrain that witnesses Stipe’s exuberant declaration, “Discoverer!”


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