Home » Books
  • Author well-versed in law but has gaps in religious perspective

    "Free to Believe: The Battle Over Religious Liberty in America" by Luke Goodrich. Multnomah (New York, 2019). 276 pp., $24. Luke Goodrich is an attorney who has represented clients from various religions in cases involving questions of religious freedom. Some have gone to the Supreme Court. He has represented Catholic nuns who serve the elderly and the poor, and the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby.

    Read more
  • Jesuit uses hard data to assess where church is headed with Pope Francis

    "Can Francis Change the Church?" by Thomas Sweetser, SJ. Crossroad (Chestnut Ridge, New York, 2019). 174 pp., $16.95. What difference is Pope Francis making on the church? This is the basic question on which this book reports. Rather than being a summary of wishful thinking on the church's future, it's based on empirical data collected by the Jesuit author over a number of years. Founder of the Parish Evaluation Project in 1973, Father Thomas Sweetser continues to serve as a facilitator and consultant to parishes.

    Read more
  • Flannery O'Connor's letters sparkle, but editor's commentary lacking

    "Good Things Out of Nazareth: The Uncollected Letters of Flannery O'Connor & Friends," edited by Benjamin B. Alexander. Convergent Books (New York, 2019). 400 pp., $26. This new book of Flannery O'Connor's letters will, inevitably, beg comparison with "The Habit of Being," the 1979 collection edited by Sally Fitzgerald. One of the pleasures of that book was its length and the leisurely pace that allowed a reader to watch O'Connor's development as a writer, a Catholic and a woman living with illness -- to watch, in other words, her unique vocation taking shape and being lived out. It was informed by Fitzgerald's impeccable scholarship and editorial modesty, her long friendship with O'Connor and her knowledge of the literary circles she moved in.

    Read more
  • Priest helps fellow homilists confront 'crisis of bad preaching'

    "The Crisis of Bad Preaching: Redeeming the Heart and Way of the Catholic Preacher" by Joshua J. Whitfield. Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2019). 192 pp., $17.95. Is there a "secret ingredient," a special yeast that enables a homilist's words to rise to the level of something fine, something others will find worth hearing?

    Read more