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August 07, 2006

Comments

J.R. Stoodley

1. One book that changed your life:

Silly as it sounds, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It may have been more where I was in life when I read it than anything else, but it changed the way I viewed the world from a more scientific one to a more poetic/artistic one and set the stage for my conversion to Catholicism.

2. One book that youv'e read more than once:

Beowulf That's cool stuff there.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

Since Jimmy already did the survival handbook thing, I'll say the Bible. I want that where ever I go.

4. One book that made you laugh:

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

5. One book that made you cry:

All I can think of is The Lord of the Rings again, when Theoden dies. Some tears welled up, as much for the beauty of that death as for the tragedy of it.

6. One book that you wish had been written:

The Cry of the Wilderness, autobiography of St. Anthony of the Desert

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

8. One book you're currently reading:

Making Life a Prayer; Selected Writings of John Cassian St. John Cassian was a contemporary of St. Augustine and a great monk who sort of bridged the gap between the eastern Desert Fathers and the western monastics.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

10. One book that you've bought but haven't read:

Organic Chemistry by someoneorother. All right, so I read a little of it, but I knew I should have studied more for that test!

Georgette

Great answers, Jimmy. I'm curious to read that first one you mention. My favorite is your answer for number 6. I'd be curious to see that one, too-- and of course, you could write half the book now...

Thanks for playing!

Georgette

JR Stoodley,
Cool story about Lord of the Rings; so neat that it can have that effect. I bet Tolkien gets extra heavenly rewards each time that happens!

John

1. One book that changed your life:

Several books by Grant Jeffrey - read in rapid succession (circa 2000-2001)

2. One book that you've read more than once:

The Miracle Detective by Randall Sullivan - Excellent...highly recommended.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

U.S. Special Forces Survival Manual - author unknown

4. One book that made you laugh:

Sad...but I can't think of one

5. One book that made you cry:

Like Jimmy...not answering

6. One book that you wish had been written:

The Complete and Unadulterated Memoirs of Mary by Mary the Mother of God

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

Nothing comes to mind...from my perspective all books serve God's purpose in some fashion

8. One book you're currently reading:

The Faith of the Early Church Fathers by William Jurgens

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

Night by Elie Weisel

10. One book that you bought but haven't read:

Blow the House Down by Robert Baer

Marty

Do you remember Abbie Hoffman's Yippie classic, "Steal This Book?" Well, thankfully, I don't remember much of it either, but the idea is useful to me here. I'm going to steal this meme! It's one of the better ones I've seen. I'll post my answers here later, then again on my own blog and start the ball rolling over there. I'll link to you, so I guess it's not really stealing...

Paul Smith

I answered this on my blog yesterday. I also chose the Koran as the book I wish had never been written.

Jeff Miller

I read The Anubis Gate last week. What an inventive writer Tim Powers is. I also recently finished Declare and am almost done with Last Call. Since I heard you mention him before I decided to read his books.

Sean S.

Hoo-ray! The Anubis Gates!

Anyhoo...here's my shot:

1. One book that changed your life:

Hm...maybe THREE TO GET MARRIED by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen? I haven't gotten married yet, but it really changed my outlook on life.

2. One book that you've read more than once:

THE COURTSHIP OF PRINCESS LEIA by Dave Wolverton

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

Depends how far this desert island is located from the mainland and its degree of civilization. I'd probably just want a nice, good fantasy novel if there's a launch waiting to ferry me back to my luxurious hotel. Otherwise...I'm gonna be dead soon, so it may as well be the Bible ;).

4. One book that made you laugh:

A VOICE FOR PRINCESS by John Moressy (RIP)

5. One book that made you cry:

THE KING OF ATTOLIA by Megan Whalen Turner

6. One book that you wish had been written:

The sequel to THE KING OF ATTOLIA. Either that, or a 300 pg. volume entitled: PERSONAL ADVICE FOR SEAN by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

THE GOLDEN COMPASS and its follow-ups, maybe. Or THE DUH VINCI CODE. Qu'ran is good too.

8. One book you're currently reading:

SISTER OF THE DEAD by Barb and J. C. Hendee (third book in the Noble Dead series, written by a husband and wife team. Undead slaying action in a high fantasy world...schweet.)

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

DRACULA by Bram Stoker

10. One book that you bought but haven't read:

THE WAYFARER REDEMPTION by Sara Douglass

Paul

Long time reader, first time poster, I think... maybe second? Anyway, this seemeed like a fun one.

1. One book that changed your life:
CATHOLIC AND CHRISTIAN by Dr. Alan Schreck

2. One book that you've read more than once:
THE WORD, CHURCH AND SACRAMENT: IN PROTESTANTISM AND CATHOLICISM by Louis Bouyer

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND by Thomas Merton (seems appropriate)

4. One book that made you laugh:
NORWOOD by Charles Portis

5. One book that made you cry:
MACROECONOMIC THEORY by Thomas J. Sargent

6. One book that you wish had been written:
DYNAMIC OPTIMIZATION AND CONTROL THEORY MADE SUPER EASY by some math dude

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
THE DA VINCI CODE by Dan Brown

8. One book you're currently reading:
THE MASS OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS by Mike Aquilina

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
HARRINGTON ON HOLD 'EM: EXPERT STRATEGY FOR NO LIMIT TOURNAMENTS, VOL 2: ENDGAME by Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie

10. One book that you bought but haven't read:
THE SPIRIT OF THE LITURGY by Joseph Ratzinger

bill912

Chestertn said that if he were stuck on a desert island, the book he'd want to have was: "The Complete Book of Shipbuilding".

Augustine

1. One book that changed your life:

Romans by Paul (Holy Spirit, general editor)

2. One book that you've read more than once:

"Black Boy" by Richard Wright

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

Bible (Holy Spirit, general editor)

4. One book that made you laugh:

N/A

5. One book that made you cry:

N/A

6. One book that you wish had been written:

The Compiled Dogmatic Decrees of the Third Vatican Council

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

Three-way tie:

The Qur'an by Muhammad
The 99 Theses by Martin Luther
The Scofield Reference Bible by C.I. Scofield

8. One book you're currently reading:

"Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (I use it as a reference, but I'd like to read it cover to cover sometime, and it's HUGE)

10. One book that you bought but haven't read:

"Predestination" by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange (will probably start reading next month or so, once I finish a couple of others)


Mary Kay

JR, doesn't sound silly at all. LOTR would be my pick for the first question.

I "got" what stewardship in the Gospels means. The repeated references to a larger plan than we can see in our immediate situation (the Ring coming to Bilbo, Aragorn's "all my choices have gone ill" etc) and lembas being more satifsfying when without regular food all broadened my understanding of Catholic faith.

Ruthann

1. One book that changed your life:
Tie: The Courage to be Catholic by George Weigle and What Went Wrong With Vatican II by Ralph M. McInerny

2. One book that you've read more than once:
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [The Bible is my obvious first choice, so I gave my second.]

4. One book that made you laugh:
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse (or any of the early Jeeves books)

5. One book that made you cry:
Shakespeare's Othello. I get weepy every time I read Desdemona's death scene. Hmmm. Sniff. I have to go find a kleenex!

6. One book that you wish had been written:
How I Lost Weight Fast and Forever Without Exercise or Giving Up Butter and Potatoes by Ruthann Zaroff

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
The DaVinci Code (just because it caused such scandal).

8. One book you're currently reading:
The Church and I by Frank Sheed (just one of MANY)

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (it's the favorite book of both my husband and my son, so I'd better read it to see what the fuss is about!)


10. One book that you bought but haven't read:
Just got back from Borders Books where I bought some school books for Teddy, and one "beach book" for myself, which is Death in the White House by Margaret Truman.

Inocencio

Augustine,

CHN has a daily reading plan that will get you through the Sacred Scriptures and the CCC (or just one or the other) in a year. It was really helpful to have the selections planned out and the guide was on $.50 at my local Catholic book store.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

patrick

1.One book that changed your life: The Bible (i can't think of other ones.)
2.One book you've read more than once: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
3.One book you'd want on a desert island: The Psalms
4. One Book that made you laugh: Bobobobo Bobobo by Yoshio Sawai (Okay, it's a manga)
5.One book that made you cry: N/A (I like books but no one made me cry in particular)
6.One book you wish had been written: The Fisherman's Hour:An Interview with St. Peter
7.One book you wish had never been written: Roman Catholicism by Lorraine Boetner (sp?)
8. One book you're currently reading: Fukutake Kanwa Jiten (Kanji [Chinese characters] Dictionary [In Japanese])
9. One book you've been meaning to read:Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I've never finished it yet)
10. One book you've bought but haven't read:Kogo Jiten (Dictionary of Old Japanese). Never read it yet fully but i would like to do so.

Ryan C

1.One book that changed your life: Chesteron's "Orthodoxy" it opened me up to Chesterton, which in turn opened me up to so many other Catholic writers, including the saints.

2.One book you've read more than once: "The Brothers Karamazov." It's one of those books that covers everything: Life, God, Family, Society, etc...It's my favorite book of all time.

3.One book you'd want on a desert island:

The Lectionary.

4. One Book that made you laugh:

Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." Amazing how a 300 yr old book could still be so relevant.

5.One book that made you cry:

Not sure this has ever happened. Perhaps "Chronicles of Narnia."

6.One book you wish had been written:

Any book by Chesterton. His corpus is a goldmine.

7.One book you wish had never been written:

Got to go with the Qua'ran too.

8. One book you're currently reading:

"Death on a Friday Afternoon: A Meditation on the Last Seven Words of Christ" - Fr. Richard Neuhaus.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

Cervantes' "Don Quixote.

One book you've bought but haven't read: "Fundamentals of Christology."

Mary Kay

1. Book that changed your life:
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings for the reasons said in reponse to JR above.

2. Book read more than once:
Hard to choose between Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart and Dick Francis but I'll randomly pick Christie's The Moving Finger.

3. Book for desert island:
the Bible

4. Book that made you laugh:
any P. G. Wodehouse (thanks Ruthann, for the reminder)

5. Book that made your cry:
Black Beauty when I was a child

6. Book you wish you had written:
My own Secret Project, started 5 years ago, eventually will see the light of day

7. Book wish not written:
Tie between Koran and the Duh Vinci Code

8. Book currently reading:
Saint Bernadette Soubirous by Francis Trochu (out of print, from my grandmother's shelves which I'm just now sorting through)

9. Book meaning to read:
Jurgens' Faith of the Early Fathers

10. Book bought but not yet read:
Galileo in Rome by William Shea and Mariano Artiga

JV

I love your desert island selection. You're so practical, Jimmy.

You didn't name the Book That Made Jimmy Akin Cry. My biggest cry happened reading "The Book of Sorrows" by Walt Wangerin Jr.

Tim J.

1. One book that changed your life:
Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

2. One book that you've read more than once:
The Hobbit - Usually in the spring. Also G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. Okay that's two books... sue me.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
The Totally Crab Cookbook by Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham

4. One book that made you laugh:
Getting Even - Woody Allen

5. One book that made you cry:
Can't remember one. Sorry... I'm a guy. Maybe some of the Psalms.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
How To Exercise In Your Sleep

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
The Late Great Planet Earth - Scared the crap out of me as a kid. Pernicious nonsense.

8. One book you're currently reading:
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
Eregon by homeschooled teenager Christopher Paolini. My son has been after me to read it, and so I am going to.

Sean S.

Patrick, speaking of manga, there's one page in Full Metal Alchemist Vol. 1 that always brings tears to my eyes...where it's talking about how Edward gave his right arm in exchange for his brother's soul. *sniff*. The Alphonse/Edward brother relationship really gets me right here....

Yes, I'm a geek. Why do you ask ;)?

StubbleSpark

Okay, word on the manga: nothing good has been written since Hesei began. Sorry, but everything is soul-less merchandising.

Word up on Anubis Gates! Great stuff!

Partial meme:

Book that I am currently reading:
The Silmarillion -- Tolkien gets my vote for under-appreciated mystic of the 20th century

Book that I wish was never written:
Dianetics by "El Ron". At least in Islam you can't catch souls and make them watch giant 3D movies.

Sean S.

At the risk of hijacking a thread, what is Hesei?

Marty

The choices are expanded on in a post on my blog:

1. One book that changed your life:

The Bible continues to change my world view, and I hope it keeps doing its work.

2. One book that you've read more than once:

"The Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis. I read it when I was in college as a break from studying. Then I read it to each of my two kids.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

I would say "The Decline and Fall" of the Roman Empire by Gibbon, because I could use it as firewood. But seriously, maybe just the Psalms, or Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle". I'm sure that eventually I'd want a book on boat building to wash up.

4. One book that made you laugh:

Pretty much anything by P. J. O'Rourke makes me laugh. A good place to start might be "Holidays in Hell".

5. One book that made you cry:

While I have found some books moving, it's hard for printed words to get me choked up. Of the arts, music is what gives me shivers, makes me tingle, or get emotional. But I am a lector at my church. I try to read with feeling, but I have to be prepared; I have found that reading certain passages of the Bible aloud really is the only kind of read or spoken word that can cause my voice to crack.

6. One book that you wish had been written:

There are so many: "Outside the Margin: The Proof of the Theorem I Didn't Have Room For Before" by Pierre Fermat; "What Was I Thinking?: The Gospel of Judas"; and "An Immigrant's Diary" by Mary Odziemiec (my maternal grandmother).

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

I thought I might echo what many others have said and go with the Koran. It really has had a baleful influence, especially lately. But the book is a weird porridge, and it's hard to say that the hateful ideologies that have come about under its banner are due to the book itself, the warlike culture of its original proponents, or other cultural factors. More insidious are the various philosophies that have sprung up since the Enlightenment. The works of Descartes, Hegel, Marx and many others have, in different ways, done much to dehumanize humanity. Some of these philosophies have had a direct bearing on the the enslavement or radicalization huge parts of the world, including even that now under Islam. Islamofascism is more of a 'modern' movement than its imams would admit. So, to pick one, Ill say: Das Kapital by Marx.

8. One book you're currently reading:

I'm actually juggling three. The one I'm reading for myself is and engaging and informal book called An Intelligent Person's Guide To Philosophy by Roger Scruton.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

Miracles and Physics by Fr. Stanley Jaki. Fr. Jaki won the Templeton Prize For Progress Toward Reseearch or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities in 1987. He has been a thoughtful writer on the philosophy of science, is noted as a leading thinker in areas at the boundary of science and theology and issues where the two disciplines meet and diverge. I've already read some of his stuff and want to read more.

10. One book that you bought but haven't read:

The Screwtape Letters. It's been 'next on my list' for a while.

John E

1. One book that changed your life:
Frequent Confession by Benedict Baur

2. One book that you've read more than once:
Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
Any book, hand-delivered.

4. One book that made you laugh:
Pure Drivel by Steve Martin http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/m/martin-drivel.html?_r=1&oref=login

5. One book that made you cry:
Can't think of any. Electronic Circuits textbook, but I don't think you mean cries of frustration.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
The Encounter: How to Bring Your Spouse to Christ

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield (Thought it was a story, not a new age religion)

8. One book you're currently reading:
The Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales (very slowly)

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
The Fire Within by Thomas Dubay

10. One book that you bought but haven't read:
Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel

David B.

1: One book that changed your life:

Hmm, I'd have to say 'LOTR' for me, too.

2. One book that you've read more than once:

Surprise, 'The Lord Of The Rings'.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

'Introduction To The Devout life' by St. Francis De Sales.

4. One book that made you laugh:

'The Letters Of J.R.R. Tolkien'


5. One book that made you cry:

I'm not gonna answer that.

6. One book that you wish had been written:

'The Finished Tales' by J.R.R. Tolkien.

or

'How Roe V Wade Almost Became Law' by 50 Million Dead Babies.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

I'm with Jimmy on this: The Qur'an.

8. One book you're currently reading:

'The Complete Tales And Poems Of Edgar Allan Poe' by...Poe.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

'Everlasting Man' by G.K. Chesterton.


10. One book that you bought but haven't read:

'Reagan In His Own Hand' edited by Kirion K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson.

Maureen

Heisei (the Heisei Era is how it's usually expressed in English) is the name of the current Japanese emperor's reign. His dad Hirohito's reign was called Showa. (This is connected with the whole posthumous emperor name thing.)

So saying that no good manga has been published since Hirohito kicked the bucket in 1989 is pretty harsh. Unsurprisingly, I disagree with this assessment -- though I agree that there is an awful lot of soulless merchandising manga out there. Still, the real problem is not so much lack of creativity as lack of moral sense in what artists do with their creativity.

Hester P,

1: One book that changed your life:

I'd have to say "The Imitation of Christ." Rarely have I opened it and not found just the inspiration (or correction) that I needed at that moment.

2. One book that you've read more than once:

Thorton Wilder's masterpiece, "The Bridge of San Luis Rey," and I always gain new insights.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

Sister Josepha's "The Way of Divine Love."

4. One book that made you laugh:

G.K. Chesterton's "The Club of Queer Trades." Genius is delightfully close to insanity!

5. One book that made you cry:

"The Bridge of San Luis Rey," again. And also, the ending of "A Tale of Two Cities."

6. One book that you wish had been written:

"Pope John Paul II: Reflections and Memories," By Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

"The Duh Vinci Code"

8. One book you're currently reading:

"The Glories of Mary," by St. Alphonsus Ligouri.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

The complete stories of O. Henry.

10. One book that you bought but haven't read:

"The Flying Inn," by G.K. Chesterton.

Alice

1.One book that changed your life: "Lift Up Your Heart," by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. A down-to-earth treatise on why we sin and how to remedy it.

2.A book you've read more than once: Oy vey! Mea culpa!

3. A book you'd want on a desert island: The Bible and "Robinson Crusoe."

4. A book that made you laugh: "The Man Who Was Thursday." Didn't really understand it, but couldn't put it down.

5. A book that made you cry: "Where the Red Fern Grows." So authentic and descriptive about the young boy's emotional life.

6.A book you wish had been written(when I was a young child living like Jim Carrey in "The Cable Guy": "TV Will Eat Your Brain!"

7. A book you wish had never been written: "The 99 Theses" - Luther, and "Halley's Bible Handbook" which is so full of hate, lies, and distortions that some ignorant and/or gullible souls will never recover.

8. A book you're currently reading: "Hard Times" by Dickens.

9. A book you've been meaning to read: "The Sinner's Guide" by Ven. Louis Granada.

10.A book you've bought but haven't read: "Modern Times" by Paul Johnson.

Mary Kay

Everyone's probably moved on from this thread, but I want to change my "book that I re-read to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, which I consider to be one of the best American novels of all time.

Marty

Alice, I'd like to comment on your choice for number 7 in light of some comments other people have made earlier. Many chose the Koran for obvious reasons. From what I understand about the Koran, it was not a historically "inevitable" response to what was happening around it, and therefore might be "wished away". Islam's successes outside of Arabia may have been because it found fertile ground in those places, but the book itself, the Koran, was not an inevitable outgrowth of some long supressed movement in Arabia. It seems more to have been the fevered outpouring of a local megalomaniac. The Koran, thus, is a book we could "wish away". It's an odd mish-mash written by a single person who just happens to have been phenomenally lucky not to have been killed early on, and his religioun was even luckier to have survived its earliest days and found fertile ground elsewhere. In this sense, the Koran and Islam is more like the Book of Mormon and Mormonism in its origins and singularity (Islam just got luckier: America as a whole was not a fertile ground for Mormonism, and Joseph Smith's disciples were not as warlike as Mohammed's.)

OTOH, say what you will about the personality of Luther, the Protestant Reformation was a long time coming. If Luther hadn't started it, somebody else would have. The times they were a changin'. The Church was not reforming itself. We can wish away the 99 Theses, but some other book would've come up in its stead.

David B.

Marty,

The Reformation didn't have to happen the way it did, as there was an other reforms beginning in several religious orders at that time. also, Luther was a rebel, not a reformer. He would be in the confessional for hours, then purposely omit the Divine Office he was obliged to say under pain of mortal sin. This led to his belief that man was incapable of leading a virtuous life and God would save man even without man reacting to God's grace. Luther's reaction to one extreme, namely, the selling of indulgences, was to go to the other extreme and say that there is nothing man can do to cooperate with God's grace.

Marty

Goog points all. I guess what I meant by my comments on the Reformation was that rebellion, reform, change, etc was in the air. It didn't have to happen through Luther, but it was going to happen. Since the 12th Century there had been various reform and rebellion movements. Some of the reformers were good, Francis and Clare among them. But the whole medeival world was starting to crumble. There were many movements afoot. Some of the other movements were more rebellious. The Church didn't handle them all very well. Maybe She couldn't have handled them well enough. Something was going to blow and chances were pretty good that it wouldn't be pretty.

Tim J.

Hey, Marty, I almost chose The Interior Castle as my desert island book, too!

David B.

Marty,

Okay, I understand your point a little better now, and I agree with much of what you're saying.

Marty

Tim: This was a tough exercise. So many good (and bad) books to choose from. On my blog, I expanded on this a bit, perhaps to boring excess, and chose a few 'extra' books. My brother (it's a "brothers' blog") sided with the 'Koranites' arguing that religious books are worse than philosophical or political books almost by definition because they can't be disproven, at least to the believers. Good point, but I replied that Marxism is a religion, whether its followers understand that or not.

Orthros

Ooooh... an invitation to naval-gazing! =D

(Note: "The Bible", while certainly try for many of these, is excluded to try to get my grey matter working a bit).

1) Book that has changed my life: Two books, both by Randy Alcorn strangely enough. "Heaven", which has made me more eager for heaven than any other book I've ever read, and "Money, Possessions and Eternity", the book par excellence on how to view & manage your possessions from a Godly perspective.

2) Read more than once: "Making Sense of Suffering" by Peter Kreeft. Excellent and an easy read.

3) On a desert island: If I can't answer something snarky like "How to Get Off a Desert Island", then I'll have to go with the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Hey, I like to read...

4) Made me laugh: "Flabbergasted" by Ray Blackston. You can buy this for a penny(!) plus a couple bucks shipping on Amazon.com. It's the best $3 you'll ever spend.

5) Made me cry: "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

6) Wish had been written: "Revelation: Here's the 411 on What It Really Means (AKA The Low-Down on the Showdown)" by St. John the Apostle

7) Wish have never been written: "Catholicism" by Fr. Richard McBrien. Ickity ick.

8) Currently reading: "Safely Home", a novel by Randy Alcorn & a fascinating read about the persecuted church in China and "EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong" by Christopher Ferrara.

9) Meaning to read: "Deus Est Caritas". I mean, how is God like a carrot?! (I keed! I keed!)

10) Bought but haven't read: "Faith of the Early Fathers" by Juergens(?) Bought this from Amazon months ago... still haven't read it.

David B.

So , in the opinion of Christopher Ferrara, EWTN has "gone wrong"? How nice.

David B.

So , in the opinion of Christopher Ferrara, EWTN has "gone wrong"? How nice.

David B.

Sorry 'bout the double-post.

Orthros

"Nice" has nothing to do with truth! =D If logic shows that EWTN has gone wrong, why resist truth? EWTN is not the Magisterium, so it at least hypothetically could be mistaken. Evidence in the book, combined with my own experience in how EWTN has changed since the departure of Mother Angelica, at least raise red flags of concern.

I presume you have an opposing viewpoint? Care to share?

Jeannine

This is so much fun to think about!

1) One book that changed your life: "Rome, Sweet Home" by Scott and Kimberly Hahn

2) A book you've read more than once: "Lord of the Rings"--but "Chronicles of Narnia" is a close second.

3) A book you'd want on a desert island: I have to go with Chesterton on this one!

4) A book that made you laugh: This is a tough one, but I'd have to pick "Dave Barry's Greatest Hits."

5) A book that made you cry: "Lord of the Rings." After many years and many rereadings, several passages still draw tears every time. One of them: Aragon leaves Cerin Amroth, and "never returned as living man." Another: "Horns of the North, wildly blowing. Rohan had come." (Quoted from memory, probably inaccurately)

6)A book you wish had been written: One more book by C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkein, or Jane Austen.

7) A book you wish had never been written: It's a tie between the Koran and "Das Kapital."

8) A book you're currently reading: "Godless" by Ann Coulter (Fr. Schall's review is excellent!)

9) A book you've been meaning to read: George Weigel's biography of John Paul II

10) A book you've bought and haven't read yet: Well, I didn't read the WHOLE Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Marty

Jeannine: LOL on #10! And nowadays, think how tough it would be to get through all of WikiPedia. You would never know when you were done!

K T Cat

The bible and H P Lovecraft. It's a good combination for me, too!

David B.

Orthros,

Are you referring to Fr. Benedict's supposed indifferentism? In all truth, I would like some examples of how, in your opinion, Ewtn has 'gone wrong'. Thanks ahead.

MissJean

1.One book that changed your life:

The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber (It was one of the first books I remember reading to myself.)

2.One book you've read more than once:
The Mouse that Roared by Leonard Wibberley (also his "The Stranger at Killknock" which is strange and Catholic)

3.One book you'd want on a desert island: The Mitford Years by Jan Karon (the complete stories, of course!)

4. One Book that made you laugh: NANA (a recent manga - it really is melodramatic, but good)

5.One book that made you cry:
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden

6.One book you wish had been written: How to Find a Decent Catholic Man to Marry by St. Rafael

7.One book you wish had never been written: The Golden Compass by P. Pullman (After the bear ate the John Wayne character and the author's hatred of Christianity began to take over the entire world, it was all downhill....)

8. One book you're currently reading:
My Soul Rejoices: The direary of a Christian Soul in an Age of Unbelief by Elisabeth Leseur

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
God's Choice by Weigel

10. One book you've bought but haven't read:
Christ is With Us

J.R. Stoodley

Hester P.

on the off chance that you read this...

you wrote:
4. One book that made you laugh:

G.K. Chesterton's "The Club of Queer Trades." Genius is delightfully close to insanity!

Argg! If you read Chesterton's Orthodoxy you would know he actually strongly argued against the idea that there was any conection between genious and insanity.

J.R. Stoodley

Orthos,

I also would very much like to see what you think constitutes EWTN's "going wrong."

That network is as responsible, if not more responsible, for my conversion to Catholicism than J.R.R. Tolkien.

Granted, sometimes Fr. Benedict can seem a little further to the left than the Church when it comes to other religions, and Mother Angelica can seem a little to the "right" of the Church when it comes to Biblical interpretation and some other matters, and I am uncomfortable with some of EWTN's historical and anti-evolution material, but it is clear none of these people or the network believe they are saying anything contrary to the teachings of the Magesterium.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Mother Angelica, if you see enough of them (not just a few sound bites or quotes), are clearly extremely holy and orthodox people. Perhaps this (along with venerable histories with the network as the founder and one of its early friends) is why they are/were allowed to be a little more edgy than others. Still, especially to avoid becoming a kind of pseudo-Magisterium, I think it is a good idea for them to give voice to multiple opinions within orthdox Catholicism on different issues.

J.R. Stoodley

To clear up confusion, by the last "them" I mean EWTN. It makes sense to me for EWTN to give voice to multiple opinions on different subjects within the bounderies set by the Magisterium. We individual Catholics will generally end up falling into certain camps within those bounderies, and so will those who run EWTN. It is important though, as one of the main representitives of the Church in today's society, that EWTN not abuse their position by puting forward one set of ideas as the only orthodox position when in fact other opinions are acceptible.

So Fr. Benedict says doesn't personally worry to much about the salvation of non-Catholics (while still saying other religions are less true and conversion to Catholicism is a great thing), but others especially emphasize the need for non-Catholics to convert. Mother Angelica (now in re-runs) puts down in strong terms those who believe in evolution, and EWTN runs programs pushing intelligent design, and then Fr. Thomas Dubay and others openly accept evolution in their series'. I think this is a good way of handling the situation and is much easier and more charitible than censoring everyone so that controversial opinions are never expressed.

Orthros

EWTN used to be a major rock of faith building for me. I personally believe that's why the title of the book I'm reading is "A Network GONE Wrong". My parents, who as far as I know still watch EWTN, made a pilgrimage to EWTN's HQ and appeared on TV commercials for EWTN back in the Mother Angelica days. I used to love EWTN... and that's why when I saw EWTN again after a long absence (my family doesn't have cable) I was shocked. While some, or even much, of EWTN was still solidly orthodox, there was a lot of New Agey type philosophy.

Here are some examples from the book, since my style is more gut instinct than formal proofs:

1) On one of Groeschel's shows (sorry, I can't find the date) he relates this story: "One of the questions I received this week was from a lady who said that her friends in one church said that you didn't have to have the Eucharist, reconciliation, confession or other sacraments to be saved. Indeed you don't." Groeschel never clarified that the sacraments are (normatively) necessary for salvation; to make matters worse, by saying "other sacraments" he's implicitly including baptism, without which (again, objectively) there is no remission of sin. "We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sin".

2) Groeschel's Sunday Night Live show of July 24, 2005 included a Lutheran lady who called up with a detailed story about meeting and receiving a gift from Fulton Sheen, who promised her nephew would come home from war safely if she gave this gift to him. She lit candles and prayed at a Catholic Church and said "the Catholic faith saved him". Groeschel's response? "I don't want to be accused of sheep stealing by the Protestant clergy of Rochester. You'll be interested to know that I had a Lutheran named Bertha when I was a boy. And Lutherans are fine devout Christian people. So God bless you and thank you for [your] witness, and please keep praying for me..."

3) Scott Hahn's highly feminized Holy Spirit, which is evident in many, many of his talks and which is imprudent at best and heretical at worst.

4) Kicking off solid orthodox Catholics, such as Robert Sungenis, unwilling to toe the "spirit of Vatican II" line. This came out after a lot of the other issues were raised and I become deeply disturbed at what I was seeing.

5) Question from 8-14-03 email to Fr. Serpa: "Must I, a Jew, convert and believe that Jesus is the Messiah and God or does the current Catholic church teach that I may be saved by my being a Jew?" Answer: "Dear Jacob, Would that you were given the grace... to join the Catholic Church. But if you honestly cannot accept Him as such, by living as a devout Jew, you can reach heaven. This is what the Catholic church teaches". This is horribly false! Contemporarily known as "two-covenent theology", this is a major heresy affecting Protestants, but Catholics (especially teaching priests!) should know better!

6) Strangely, in the midst of this modernism, EWTN has also (my opinion, not the book's) engaged in a sort of pope-olatry wherein JP2 could do no wrong. I want to be clear: I greatly admired JP2 for much of his papacy, calling him "John Paul the Great" and only in the final years as I researched some of his actions did I become more troubled. The January 2002 World Day of Prayer, covered by EWTN, attempted to explain away the blatant syncretism of having not just Protestant religions but also Satanic religions give sermons! Example: Chief Gasseto, a Voodoo priest, gave a sermon on world peace in which he declared "The invitation to take part in this Prayer for Peace at Assisi is a great honor for me, and it is an honor for all the followers of Avelekete Vodou (a voodoo god) whom I serve". EWTN strongly defended this prayer gathering as "ecumenical" rather than condemning the objectively sinful action of encouraging worship of false gods. While the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra, Protestants always confuse this with impeccability, inability to sin. EWTN seems to have fallen into the same trap; a truly Catholic station will respectfully challenge scandalous behavior by its hierarchy, in loyal love of Christ's Church.

Well, that's a lot. If you want to chat more about this, let me know by responding below so we can continue the dialogue and I will send you a private email with my true email addy (the hotmail address is so spam-laden that I don't use it much any more!)

Orthros

J.R. Stoodley

Orthos, I have watched EWTN a lot over the last three years and some for two years before that, though obviously not nearly everything, and none before 2000 or 2001 I think.

I will answer your objections to the best of my knowledge:

On one of Groeschel's shows (sorry, I can't find the date) he relates this story: "One of the questions I received this week was from a lady who said that her friends in one church said that you didn't have to have the Eucharist, reconciliation, confession or other sacraments to be saved. Indeed you don't." Groeschel never clarified that the sacraments are (normatively) necessary for salvation; to make matters worse, by saying "other sacraments" he's implicitly including baptism, without which (again, objectively) there is no remission of sin. "We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sin".

This is a sporatic comment on the part of Fr. Groeschel, not anything EWTN instructed him to say or could have cut (since it is a live program). Furthermore Groeschel said nothing heretical if interpreted in light of his certain acceptance of Catholic doctrine, which he has made clear time and again. I agree it was imprudent of him and he may well regret it if he is aware of what he said, but you can not smear the entire network with that and I for one will not dislike Fr. Benedict for it either. Mother Angelica by her own admission made a lot of mistakes too (the scandal about her comments about the Eucharist as action, which she publicly apologised for, is a definite example of this. If you say she was right in the first place, then her apology was wrong). I would hate it if people dug up random comments I had made throughout my life to discredit my orthodoxy.

Pretty much the same for the second quote from Fr. Benedict. It is an unfortunate remark by a good natured old priest trying to give a brief polite answer to a story and get on to the next question or a break or something

Scott Hahn's highly feminized Holy Spirit, which is evident in many, many of his talks and which is imprudent at best and heretical at worst.

I have seen a lot of Dr. Hahn's programs and Franciscan University Presents, and have read one of his books. I have only encountered this once. He suggested that the Holy Spirit had a motherly aspect. However, he went out of his way to show that earlier Christian theologians (and I think Saints) had suggested this before there was a serious debate over calling God "She." He furthermore stated that what he was saying was not Church teaching and if the Church condemns the idea of the Holy Spirit as mother he would be the first to uphold that condemnation. The charge of herecy is clearly unfounded then. God is in Himself no more male than female but has this generateing, life giving relationship with the universe, life, the Church, the soul, etc. that makes male pronouns and the idea of him as Father more appropriate. That does not mean that theologians can not speculate on feminin relatioships within the Trinity and with reference to the Old Testament idea of Wisdom, of which (or whom) is used a feminin pronoun. To my mind considering the Second Person of the Trinity in this light (though he took on a male body and soul and is certainly in the male roal in relation to us) makes more sense than the Third Person, but then Scott Hahn is a greatly respected theologian and I am an amateur. In any case I do not think EWTN or anyone else should censor proudly orthodox theologians because some of their words could be taken out of context and abused.

Due to Jimmy's rule against long posts I shall continue this on another post.


J.R. Stoodley

Continuing from above, Orthros wrote:

Kicking off solid orthodox Catholics, such as Robert Sungenis, unwilling to toe the "spirit of Vatican II" line. This came out after a lot of the other issues were raised and I become deeply disturbed at what I was seeing.

I had never heared of Rober Sungenis, so I did a little internet research on him. I found multiple references to accusations of anti-Semitism, approval of him on a clearly radtrad site which claimed he was persecuted by the "Neo-Catholics" for the crime of "traditionalism", and nutty quotes from him insisting on a geocentric universe in which the earth stays still. Assuming all this is correct, who could blame EWTN for distancing themselves from him?

Regarding the answer to a question by Fr. Vincent Serpa which I presume is from the EWTN Q&A site, first of all you can't hold EWTN too responsible for what is written there. Most of the "experts" who post there do not work for EWTN and they have very different backgrounds, educations, philosophies, etc. I have asked the same question of two of them and gotten oposite answers. Some are almost disturbing in their traditionalism, others are all business and don't give personal opinions, and one or two lean a bit to the left on some issues. All though I think would consider themselves thoroughly orthodox. Fr. Serpa always struck me, both in his answers to questions and the talks he has given on television, as one of the most outspokenly conservative EWTN folk. In this post, he does suggest that Judaism today is a valid path to God, which supprises me, but he does not actualy say that. He also does not mention anything about covenents, though this is an issue about which there seems to be great confusion in the Church (see recent stuff in the What's Happening in the Middle East post). In any case it is true that it is possible for a Jew in invinsible ignorance to ultimately be saved so Fr. Serpa's post is correct when interpreted this way. I do wish he had been more clear about the invincible ignorance aspect and that this Jew had a responsibility to enter the Church, but I think it totally unfair to smear the network because of an unclear response in the volumes of answered questions on their Q&A site.

Now about JPII. It is true that I have never heard anything bad said about him, and some, especially Fr. Francis Mary Stone, seem intent on calling him "the Great." He has also said that he makes whether a person likes JPII or not one of his criteria for whether to accept them onto Life on the Rock, and has suggested that Catholics stay away from people who badmouth him.

On the other hand I have never seen them justify things like the Koran kissing episode.

When it comes to the Assisi stuff, would you suggest they not cover such important Papal events? That makes no sense to me, even if they disagree with them. I have only heared mention of them on some documentaries about JPII's life, and it was mentioned by Fr. Richard John Newhouse (of First Things Magazine) durring the coverage of the Pope's funeral. He refered to the event as "pushing it" but qualified the statement by saying something like "but he pushed it in a lot ways" making that sound admirable.

to be continued...

J.R. Stoodley

Continued:

I am not commited to the idea that the World Days of Prayer in Assisi were really bad. It seems clear that they should not be interpreted as a promotion of non-Catholic religion or religious indifferentism. To my mind, though I can't guaranty that this is what JPII was thinking, the idea was that as a part of spreading the Gospel and eventually converting those of false religions, we should soften relations between us, removing anti-Catholic prejudices and enhancing understanding on both sides. Since it is hard to hate someone you work with toward common goals (consider the effect of the Culture Wars on religion in America) the Pope took the one goal just about everyone could agree on, world peace, and brought everyone together to talk about and pray for peace. This established the Catholic Church and Christianity in general, often seen as violent, visible in the efforts towards peace, and hopfully softened many of other religions to the Gospel.

However, I agree with pre-16 that the Assisi conferences can not be the model of interfaith relations. At best it is one part out of many of how Catholic interfaith relations (spreading the gospel with the goal of getting everyone to convert to Catholicism) should be. At worst the inclusion of non-Monotheistic religions was an encouragement for these people to continue praying to false gods (for peace).

In any case I would not expect or demand that a Catholic television network refuse to cover such monumental events, nor condemn controversial actions by the Pope who did great things for the Church and the world and who was certainly not truely indifferent to other religions.

Maybe Fr. Francis goes too far in his praises of "John Paul the Great," and as we get some time between us and his papacy I would appreciate some showing of both sides of this issue like they do most issues that orthodox Catholics can disagree on.

Still, in general I interpret EWTN's openness as an effort to avoid becoming a sectarian pseudo-Magestarium. I think it unsafe and unwise for someone in their position to criticise current or recent Papal actions, even if it is a matter that Catholics can criticize privately. I also think it unwise to censor as unorthodox teachings or attitudes things that the real Magestarium allows at least for now. Finally, I don't think the entire network should be condemned because of rare questionable or even unorthodox comments made through it, especially on live programs and their Q&A site, both of which the network can not immediately censor. Whether special allowances should be given for the eccentricities of Fr. Benedict and Mother Angelica is more debatable, but I personally do not have a problem with it, in light of the spiritual insight I have gained from both of them.

J.R. Stoodley

Update: from further internet research, Robert Sungenis is a raving, foaming at the mouth anti-semite.

According to this website,

http://wquercus.com/sungenis/

which I do not really trust but presume offers real quotes from Sungenis, he has said things like:

The Talmud is an assortment of every subject imaginable. Unfortunately, it is filled with obscenities and blasphemies of the highest order. It seeks to reverse many biblical moral teachings on theft, murder, sodomy, perjury, treatment of children and parents. It has an unrelenting and virtually insane hatred of Christ, Christians and every aspect of Christianity. ...

and

Incidentally, the figure of "six-million Jews dying under Hitler's regime is even admitted by informed Jews to be mere propaganda.

and

Iit [sic] is no secret among the well-informed that the Jewish Talmudic religion was the breeding ground for Communism. Karl Marx author of the Communist Manifesto, was a Jew. ...

and

Earlier in 1933, he had given 200 million dollars to the Russians, who were mostly Jewish Bolsheviks. Roosevelt brought America into World War II by allowing Pearl Harbor to take place, for he had known way in advance that the Japanese were planning to attack. ...

and the kicker:

...now we see where all this talk about the Jews being in covenant with God has been leading. It is for one main purpose – to get back the land in Palestine to which they feel they are entitled, and they are going to use the Catholic Church to help them accomplish that task. What better license to accomplish their land-grab than the "holy" sanction of the Catholic Church. ... In order to secure the Temple Mount, Israel will need help. That is why they have "employed the services" of the United States, the United Nations, and the Catholic Church.

Also there were also demonstrations of his almost word-for-word plagiarism of a Nazi propaganda pamphlet, a white-supremist, a Holocause revisionist and another guy.

I hope I need not feel guilty reproducing such rubbish here. It is clear enough to the rational person that these accusations are nonsense.

I would have been shocked and outraged if EWTN had not dumped this plagiarizing geocentrist anti-semitic radtrad.


Brother Cadfael

Orthros,

Since when did a refusal or failure to criticize a Pope become a badge of orthodoxy?

To confuse that with some notion of impeccability is your mistake, not EWTN's.

I have not read Ferrara's book, nor does your description of it stir in me any great desire to see what he has to say. Unless you have grievously misrepresented him (which I doubt), his methodology is clear. I could use it to cast shame and doubt on virtually every Doctor of the Church: take isolated statements out of context, twist them to mean something other than what the author intended, ignore everything else that person has said or done (including their complete submission to what the Church teaches), and conclude that that person (and by implication the people that listen to them) has "gone wrong."

It is, in my humble opinion, an intellectually childish approach.


Orthros

I've spent 20 minutes trying to type this up and keep trying to make it more concise. The trials of being a trained engineer (can't we just communicate in symbolic language?!)

Without getting sidetracked into a lot of proofs, I just ask this of long-time EWTN viewers: does EWTN seem as orthodox as it was 10 years ago? Have there been moral teachings that have made you feel uncomfortable and caused you to say to yourself "Hmmmm, that doesn't seem orthodox"? Based on what I'm reading, the answer may be no, but I've seen a definite shift since my college days. I was wondering if anyone else had as well.

Some Day

Since the Sisters have been slowly leaving the TV to the Brothers, there is the weakness.
The Brothers are DEFINETLY not as pious as the Sisters. And since Mother Angelica is sick, she can't be correcting all the problems.
The Sisters are true to their vocation. In fact, I'll dare say that off all the US, they are the ONLY mainly American group that is faithful, pious and HOLY. I know some other external groups that are faithful, but no other American group.
I think if the US burns or gets swallowed by a tsunami, that convent will survive.
Look at it. Sure the locals are a bit, "ultradox" (I think that is how you spell it), and have a very dry view on Orthodoxy. But the Sisters are a beacon for them. In these ruins of Christianity, the Sisters act as did the monastaries of the Middle Ages.
In the darkness, they were the light, and so the communities revolved around them, which later developed into a Catholic-inspired Feudalism, which flourished into the grandeur that is the Medieval period. When the Gospel was the law of the land.
The Sisters are really doing that for this torn country. In spite of the people that are going there. It makes me happy to see innocent faces.
They are rare. But they need to grasp the Militant aspect of the Church. They sometimes feel that abortion is the greatest evil in the world, when it is a result of other evils, and so they have a "false right"tendency. But they are still innocent, and that is a start you get no where else in the US. Just the property is sactifying, because the Angels are definitly ever present there. I would love to go do apostolate there.
But as for the brothers...
I don't want to judge their hearts, but you can sometimes see they are a bit more mundane, esspecially the TV ones. And their outward forms are a bit eh...delicate. But they still are EXCELLENT compared to the rest of priests.
But there you have EWTN's quasi-decadence.

Joe Wilson

Don't mean to be rude or blasphemous or anything mate but the Qu'ran is the word of god same as the Torah or the Bible and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that its the same God! (for God's sake!) Why can't you religious nuts just learn to get on? Isn't that what Jesus/Elijah/Muhammed preached anyway? Why do you have to ruin it for the rest of us? I'm a better Christian than you and I don't even believe in God! Grow up and learn to get along. Its what Jesus would have wanted. Amen.

J.R. Stoodley

Joe Wilson,

If I write:

"I, the God of Abraham, declare that Joe Wilson is damned to hell for ever."

does that make it the word of God? You being an atheist do not believe that God actually said anything. How is it then that you call anything the word of God? Perhaps to you God is a fictional character, so anything attributed to him is equally said by him (the fictional character). However, for those of us who believe he exists apart from the imaginations of humans, writings or sayings attributed to God (like any other real person) may be authentic or not.

I wish you would have the charity to try to understand where we are coming from and not proclaim yourself a better Christian than Christians because you accept all claims of Divine Revelation as equally false, while we accept some claims as true and others as false.

David B.

Some Day,

"And their outward forms are a bit eh...delicate."

WHAT does that mean? I hope you're not trying to say that Fr. Francis is a Homosexual.

J.R. Stoodley

David B.,

In light of the other comments by Some Day I doubt this is his meaning. Perhaps he was just saying the friars look wimpy, like they aren't wipping themselves every day in penance. Personally I think some thinness is an indication of fasting and penance, and bone structure is nothing to judge someone on. Then again some of the friars are a little pudgy

Or maybe he is refering to their habits, which lack the rugged medieval peasant look of other Franciscan orders.

In any case their outward appearance is of little consequence.

The reason I revisited this post though is that I just saw (actually it is concluding as I type) the mass on EWTN for the first time in some months, and discovered that they have adopted pre-16's suggestion that a crucifix be placed at the front of the alter in the "NO" mass to make it more Christocentric again. They in fact placed a big honking elaborate gold and silver crucifix front and center on the alter, obscuring the view of the gifts on the alter. I'd call this a significant shift to the right.

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