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One Hundred Great Catholic Books: From the Early Centuries to the Present Paperback – September 1, 2007
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"The succinct considerations address the historical or contemporary context of the work, explain the significance of the author, and contain a brief synopsis of the actual title." Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
Don Brophy's ONE HUNDRED GREAT CATHOLIC BOOKS includes titles which demonstrate the diversity of Catholicism and what is often called "the Catholic imagination." His list of great books includes what any reader should expect to find, titles such as THE CONFESSIONS of St. Augustine, Pope John XXIII's JOURNAL OF A SOUL, St. Benedict's RULE, Dante's DIVINE COMEDY, Thomas Merton's SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN, Georges Bernanos's DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST, and Dorothy Day's THE LONG LONELINESS to name a sampling. While his selections of what could be termed Catholic "classics" are what should be expected, he also has some interesting contemporary choices. Sr. Helen Prejean's DEAD MAN WALKING, Robert Ellsberg's ALL SAINTS, and Gustavo Gutierrez's WE DRINK FROM OUR OWN WELLS immediately come to mind. Some are surprising. Thomas Cahill's HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION and Alice McDermott's CHARMING BILLY would not be immediate choices of mine, but certainly both make sense. Some are controversial selections. My guess is that more than a few eyebrows are raised when authors such as Richard McBrien and James Carroll are included.Read more ›
Additionally, some of the remaining 64 titles are also modern Catholic "classics." However, it is quite unfortunate that, mixed with so many great books that raise the mind and heart to the Living God, the author chooses to feature prominently many titles, which are neither "great," nor even orthodoxly "Catholic."
The father of Liberation Theology (which in many forms has been severely challenged by the Magisterium) and Hans Küng (a public dissenter who publicly rejects the infallibility of the Papacy, supports contraception, the ordination of women, among many other dissenting positions) with many others stand strangely (but largely) on this list.
Bottom line: When a list of the best of 2000 years of Catholic Christianity is dominated by very recent dissenters to the Church's teaching and Traditions, it's time to wonder how much this book is a collection of the Great Western Canon, or rather the author's pet list of recent "innovators."
I'm sorry but a list of the Fathers of the Church, St. Bonaventure, St. Ignatius, St. Thérèse de Lisieux, and other giants of Christian thought and spirituality should not occupy a minority position to the favor of all the top dissenters to the Catholic faith in the last 50 years.
Of course, there is a danger whenever one tries to make a list of one hundred great anything. There are always going to me some favorites that are left out and some included that people feel shouldn't be. Brophy is to be given credit for taking on the challenge. In addition, he includes a list of fifty other books at the end that come highly recommended as well. Brophy has chosen wisely, including most of the great classics of spirituality such as St. Augustine's "Confessions," "The Cloud of Unknowing," St. Teresa's "The Interior Castle," and St. Therese's "Story of a Soul." He has attempted to also include a broad spectrum of works, including history, apologetics, autobiography, and fiction. In these entries, one becomes acquainted with works by Flannery O'Connor, J.R.R. Tolkien, Maria Montessori, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. For each book, Brophy provides a two-page synopsis and indication of why this book was important. One can learn much about Catholic thought simply by reading these capsules. Hopefully, however, " One Hundred Great Catholic Books" will inspire you to go out and actually read some of these classics. A reader ambitious enough to read all of them would have a strong understanding of Catholic thought.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a terrific, well-written book for browsing--or to use as a starting point for serious research. Learned a lot!Published on September 15, 2011 by I. Emma Penname
What a loser! The first few recommended books are all great
classics, St. Augustine, Dante, Chesterton etc. Read more
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book at my local library, and was very pleasantly surprised, and grateful that the author had put so much sincere thought into... Read morePublished on April 28, 2009 by Plant Based
Looking quickly at the titles of the titles chosen for this book, and the fact that the author had worked for a Catholic press, I thought this book would be helpful. Read morePublished on November 10, 2007 by S. Miller
The author cites and describes 100 works worth reading for anyone interested in the spiritual life, primarily Catholics, but no limited to them. Read morePublished on November 5, 2007 by Michael A. Grella