Mother Teresa: The Saint and Her Nation

Gëzim Alpion
ISBN 978-9389165050
Bloomsbury 2020
Hardback 300pp £85.00
Pastoral Review bookshop £76.50
Mother Teresa of Calcutta is one of the iconic figures of Christianity in the second half of the twentieth century, and not just among Christians. The image of the elderly woman in her simple white and blue habit touched and challenged many far beyond the Church. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979 and upon her death in 1997 was given a state funeral by her adopted nation of India. Her story has been told many times, and it is fair to say that a standardised narrative has emerged, one that concentrates on Mother Teresa’s life in Calcutta, the place she went to serve God and the poor, rather than on the early years in the life of Agnes Gonxe Bojaxhiu, born in Skopje in Macedonia in 1910.

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The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us

The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us
Nick Hayes
ISBN: 978-1526604699
Bloomsbury 2020
Hardback 464pp £20.00
Pastoral Review bookshop £18.00
The prophets in the Old Testament often proclaim God’s justice in relation to land – on its ownership and use, on our merely being stewards of it for God, and as a setting for injustice and exploitation of the poor whom God loves. In spite of this, in modern Catholic social teaching the topic has not figured very highly in teaching and theological resources, and certainly not in this country. What is the history of land ownership? What is the history of rights of access to land and the supposed legal offence of trespass?

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Beyond the Altar: Perspective for Liturgical Worship

John Ainslie
ISBN: 978-0992905057
Benedicamus 2020
Paperback 320pp £12.50
Pastoral Review bookshop £11.25
If you teach liturgy, you usually discover tensions among students about the position and orientation of the altar at celebrations of the Eucharist, sometimes very passionate and polarised. Should Mass be celebrated versus populum (the priest facing the people) or ad orientem (towards the East – usually with the priest having his back to the people). Polarised debates often involve little or no dialogue, but this new book by John Ainslie is a welcome breath of fresh air.

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Peacebuilding and Catholic Social Teaching

Theodora Hawksley
ISBN: 978-0268108465
University of Notre Dame Press 2020
Hardback 336pp £33.00
Pastoral Review bookshop £30.00
Even before opening the book I was conscious that, being published the month before Fratelli tutti, already the scenery of Catholic social teaching and peacebuilding had changed (the previous issue includes an article from Hawksley on this point). Far from being made redundant by Fratelli tutti, however, this is something of a prequel, a well-researched and ultimately very hopeful reflection on our tradition of peacebuilding.

Hawksley’s aim is to chronicle the development of Catholic teaching on peacebuilding and, using the analogy of the Lateran Basilica as a building with the same foundations that has been remodelled over time, occasionally showing cracks that are in need of some construction work, to critically but lovingly identify those areas where some development might be necessary. This is done with obvious affection for the teaching of the Church, looking to understand it as a continuous whole rather than conflictual, whilst recognising tensions in need of attention.

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The Sunday Gospels for Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter

Adrian Graffy
ISBN: 978-0232534764
Darton Longman & Todd 2020
Hardback 112pp £14.99
Pastoral Review bookshop £13.50
Fr Adrian Graffy has given great service to the Catholic Church in England and Wales as a Scripture scholar over many years. While he is a Scripture scholar of the highest calibre – he is a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission – he has also constantly worked to make the Scriptures accessible and stimulating for a great range of readers. Therefore, anything he publishes is to be welcomed with gratitude.

This latest offering is the first of two short books looking at all the Gospel readings for the Liturgy of the Word for the Sunday Eucharist, this one for the great seasons of the liturgical year. In choosing to produce a book which seeks to open up the Gospel texts, the author and publisher have to offer something which has a distinct focus if it is to attract readers in what is a fairly crowded market. This publication therefore makes a series of choices which it is hoped will make it attractive to readers.

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