Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity (2nd Edition)

Authors: Gerald O?Collins SJ
& Mario Farrugia SJ
ISBN: 978-0-19-872818-4
Date 2015
Price: ?16.99 RRP
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Publisher: Oxford University Press

In this new edition of Catholicism, Gerald O?Collins and his Italian co-author Mario Farrugia attempt the unenviable task of improving on their tour de force from 2002. For aficionados of their previous work, the authors do not disappoint in delivering a scholarly yet readable survey of Catholic Christianity as a global ecclesial phenomenon.

After briefly explaining the ways in which the current volume has been informed by constructive engagement with their reviewers, O?Collins and Farrugia launch the reader on a white-water ride through two thousand years of Church history.

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The Reluctant Disciple: Daring to Believe

Author: David Wells
ISBN: 978-0-85231-421-0
Date: 2015
Price: ?9.95 RRP
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Publisher: Redemptorist Publications

Anyone who has heard David Wells in action will know him to be a humorous and memorable speaker. Plymouth diocesan catechetical co-ordinator and inspiration behind their biennial ?Clear Voices? Festival of Theology, he is a regular fixture at the Los Angeles RE conference and the ?Flame? Catholic Youth events nearer to home.

So we know he can talk, but can he write? Well, I suppose the main triumph of The Reluctant Disciple is to prove not only that he can do so, but that he can do so in such a fashion that has captured his distinctive style. With hints of Richard Rohr and Ronald Rohlheiser, of Tony Hancock and Jack Dee, The Reluctant Disciple is a collection of keenly observed stories which invite the reader into the various scenes.

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Discovering the Human Person. In Conversation with John Paul II

Author: Stanislaw Grygiel
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7154-1
Price: ?16.99RRP
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Date: 2014
Publisher: Eerdmans

At the time when St John Paul II died a decade ago it was generally acknowledged that we were only able to make a slow beginning of the task of assessing his importance as a theologian ? and one of his most important and influential themes, throughout his life, was the centrality of the human person. As time goes on it is worth being able to deepen our understanding by hearing from the dwindling group of people who were actually taught by Karol Woytyla when he was a young theologian in the 50s and early 60s. Of these one of the most distinguished is Professor Stanislaw Grygiel, who used to teach philosophy at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome (he is also a visiting professor at CUA), and Woytyla was his doctoral supervisor at Lublin.

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Silence: A User?s Guide

Author: Maggie Ross
ISBN: 978-0-232-53148-0
Date: 2014
Price: ?14.99 RRP
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Publisher: Darton, Longman & Todd

This is a stimulating but ultimately for me an unlikeable book. But while it has some great faults there are some wonderfully redeeming insights. It is erudite, sometimes overly so for what is billed as a user?s guide, often over written and not always accessible. Indeed its very reliance on concepts and interpretation has the effect of focussing the reader on their mind and thoughts and away from the possibilities of a more contemplative stance. But as a student?s or academic guide there is much on offer here, at least for a reader with a discriminating mind and an ability to sift the many invaluable thoughts and insights from the personal opinions that all too often verge on the opinionated.

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Blueprint for the Church. An Introduction to The Joy of the Gospel

Author: Eamonn Conway with Cathal Barry
ISBN: 978-0-9572743-1-0
Date: 2014
Price: Euros 12.99 RRP
Publisher: The Irish Catholic

The publication at the end of 2013 of Pope Francis? letter Evangelii Gaudium was a major event in the life of the Church. The directness, the accessibility and the comprehensive vision of the Holy Father has possibly had more impact than any other event in his pontificate, setting a striking and radical agenda. It is more readable than many a papal document and many people are reading it who have never thought of reading a letter from the Pope before.

Nevertheless a study guide is helpful, particularly for people in that category, and Professor Eamonn Conway from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, with the help of Cathal Barry, a journalist from The Irish Catholic, has produced one of the best that I have seen.

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