January/February/March 2020

A Christology of Religions

A Christology of Religions
Gerald O’Collins SJ
ISBN: 978-1626982819
Orbis Books 2018.
Paperback 192 pp £29.99
Pastoral Review bookshop £27.00

In seeking to offer a ‘Christology of religions that is Christian rather than specifically Catholic’ (p. viii) O’Collins, a Jesuit theologian, foregrounds the event of the cross as the prime means to understand the relationship of ‘other’ religions to Christian salvation, and Christ’s ongoing, and priestly, mission to all peoples. This focus incudes the theology of the cross, Christ’s high-priestly ministry, the efficacy of his prayer for ‘others’ the mediation of his faith and the notion of a faith accessible to ‘others’ [p. viii].

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A Hidden Life

A Hidden Life
Fox Searchlight ­Pictures, 173 minutes

This new film by ­Terrence Malick, on general release on 17 January 2020, tells the story of Franz Jägerstätter, beatified by Pope Benedict in 2007, and his wife Fani. Jägerstätter was a layman with little education, and a husband and father. Franz and Fani live in St Radegund, a village of 500 in the Upper Danube region in Austria. They work the land, and Franz is also a sexton in the local church. Yet, the rise of Hitler and the ‘Anschluss’ of Austria to Germany begin to change even the slow life of a small mountain village. War breaks out, and we see Franz wrestle with his conscience: all soldiers are required to swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler, and Franz cannot participate in a war in which many innocent lives are lost. The idea of refusing to swear the oath and to fight is beginning to form, and he consults his parish priest, who listens but warns Franz of the consequences for his family.

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Conscience: Writings from “Moral Theology” by Saint Alphonsus

Conscience: Writings from “Moral Theology” by Saint Alphonsus
Raphael Gallagher CSsR (Translator)
ISBN 978-0764828140
Liguori, Missouri 2019.
Paperback 278 pp £19.95
Pastoral Review bookshop £18.00

Anyone who studies the Roman Catholic history of instructing on moral matters is bound to come across the works of St. Alphonsus of Liguori (1696–1787), usually through the commentaries of others on Liguori’s texts. Since most of us find Latin, especially ecclesiastical Latin, difficult to understand, this translation of Liguori’s ‘Treatise on Conscience’, the opening tract of his eight volumes of Moral Theology, is a welcome and long-awaited publication. It does contain commentaries, but they are slim, insightful and discretely located in the latter part of the volume.

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John Henry Newman. A Very Brief History

John Henry Newman. A Very Brief History
Eamon Duffy
ISBN: 978-0281078493
SPCK 2019.
Hardback 128 pp £12.99.
Pastoral Review bookshop £11.70

Newman. The Heart of Holiness
Roderick Strange
ISBN: 978-1529362619
Hodder and Stoughton 2019.
Hardback 176 pp £14.99.
Pastoral Review bookshop £13.50

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Matthew Within Sectarian Judaism

Matthew Within Sectarian Judaism
John Kampen
ISBN: 978-0300171563
Yale University Press 2019
Hardback 344 pp £45.00
Pastoral Review ­bookshop £40.50

In this latest addition to the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library, John Kampen combines techniques of sectarian analysis from modern social scientific approaches with recent discoveries from the archaeology of Galilee, and the light shed by the Dead Sea Scrolls on sectarian Judaism. He wishes to argue that Matthew’s Gospel, and primarily that most eye-catching of the teaching blocks in the first Gospel that we call the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, is best understood as a work of a small Jewish sect. He contends (among other things) that this Gospel has to be read entirely from within the Jewish community, and as instantiating the ‘central sectarian values of righteousness and perfection’ (p. 207) as outlined in the six ­‘antitheses’ of the Sermon on the Mount.

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The Burden of Betrayal: Non-Offending Priests and the Clergy Child Sexual Abuse Scandals

The Burden of Betrayal: Non-Offending Priests and the Clergy Child Sexual Abuse Scandals
Barry O’Sullivan
ISBN 978-085244 8410
Gracewing 2018 Paperback 179 pp £14.99
Pastoral Review bookshop £13.50

Having read a harrowing account of the abuse of pupils in schools run by a Religious Order, the monograph by a leading specialist in child abuse litigation and the reflections of a bishop tasked with coordinating the response of the Australian Church to the crisis, I approached this book by the Revd Dr Barry O’Sullivan wondering what more could be said on this scandalous and debilitating subject. Unlike the other accounts, however, the focus of O’Sullivan’s work is the fallout of the scandals on priests who are entirely innocent of any crimes against minors and are rightly classified as ‘secondary victims’. These priests have experienced distrust and sometimes open hostility within their communities and also feel that their bishops may not be fully aware of the psychological impact of the scandals and, in the event of false accusations, might simply ‘hang them out to dry’.

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Michael A. Hayes 1957 - 2017


Michael A. Hayes 1957 - 2017

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Rev. Professor Michael Hayes editor of the Pastoral Review.

Many friends and readers of the Pastoral Review and The Tablet will have been shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Michael Hayes early on Easter Saturday.   Read More


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