US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Read: Comfort

By Heather Grennan Gary | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
By Brett C. Hoover (Riverhead Books, 2011)

Don’t let the fuzzy slippers on the cover fool you: Brett C. Hoover’s book Comfort: An Atlas for the Body and Soul is less spa-getaway and more philosophical inquiry that delves into a pervasive, little-critiqued cultural value.

Listen: Working in Tennessee

By Danny Duncan Collum | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Working in Tennessee
Merle Haggard (Vanguard Records, 2011)

Merle Haggard has been a monument of American culture for almost 50 years. His life story is the stuff of myth. He really did grow up dirt poor in a home his father made from an old boxcar. He really did do hard time in San Quentin prison for armed robbery. And he really was in the audience when Johnny Cash played the first of his famous prison concerts.

Listen: A Dreamer's Christmas

By John Christman | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
A Dreamer's Christmas
By John Zorn (Tzadik, 2011)

If Christmas has something to do with wonder and the joy of the unexpected then news of John Zorn making a Christmas album should stir inordinate Christmas spirit. After all, what could be more unexpected than an avant-garde jazz musician known for discordant noise foraying into that most conventional of musical genres, the Christmas album? Would this be an exercise in post-modern irony, a defacing of a popular tradition? Might there be a sentimental tinge of nostalgia lurking behind Zorn’s cutting edge experimentation?

Watch: The Way

By Patrick McCormick | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The Way
Directed by Emilio Estevez (Arc Entertainment, 2011)

If contemplation, as the mystic and spiritual writer William McNamara once said, is “a long, loving look at the real,” Emilio Estevez’s understated drama of loss, recovery, and reconciliation is a celebration of the ties that make a life worth the journey.

USC Book Club: Seeking the Truth of Things

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December 2011:

Seeking the Truth of Things: confessions of a (catholic) philosopher

By Al Gini

Review: While certainly not a textbook, Seeking the Truth of Things introduces some of the world’s greatest thinkers and philosophical concepts. Telling stories on the ground rather than from the fabled ivory tower, Al Gini invites the reader to explore deep questions of meaning without the Philosophy 101 prerequisite.

Book review: At the Supper of the Lamb

By Alice Camille | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
By Paul Turner (Liturgy Training Publications, 2011)

One thing we can pretty much count on: The changes in the liturgy this Advent will be tough. But the process doesn’t have to be all blood, sweat, and tears. The more folks know about what’s ahead and why the changes are being made, the better off we’ll all be. Which makes resources like Father Paul Turner’s book, subtitled A Pastoral and Theological Commentary on the Mass, indispensible.

USC Book Club: Focolare

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November 2011:

Focolare: Living a Spirituality of Unity in the United States

By Thomas Masters and Amy Uelmen

Space invaders: What's behind our obsession with aliens on the big and little screens?

By Patrick McCormick | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Recent films and TV series shine a light on the plight of aliens among us.

Television and movie screens were chock-full of aliens this summer: scary extraterrestrials cast as villainous invaders bent on humanity’s annihilation or hapless intergalactic travelers victimized by our own inhumanity to strangers.

Movie review: Catholicism

By Catherine O'Connell-Cahill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Directed by Matt Leonard (A Word on Fire/Picture Show Films Production, 2011)

Father Robert Barron, a Chicago priest who has appeared often in the pages of this magazine, finally brought his years-in-the-making Catholicism Project to public TV this fall. Up to 70 percent of PBS stations aired or will air four episodes; the series of 10 DVDs is for sale at with a companion book and a study guide.