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Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints Hardcover


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Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints + The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, & Song: A Spirited Look at Catholic Life & Lore from the Apocalypse to Zinfandel (Bad Catholic's guides) + The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins: A Vital Look at Virtue and Vice, With Quizzes and Activities for Saintly Self-Improvement (Bad Catholic's guides)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Religion (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385517203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385517201
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The stories Catholics often hear about the saints can give the impression these people emerged from the womb with halos. Craughwell, a well-respected Catholic diocesan newspaper columnist, provides the rest of the story. His semi-irreverent collection assembles 29 sinners-cum-saints from Christian history in an enjoyable and riveting account of their lives and times. The table of contents reads like a most-wanted list: thieves, embezzlers, murderers, cardsharps, and even a warmonger. Some, such as the apostle Matthew, a former tax collector, will be familiar to readers. The brief biographies of the more obscure saints, however, are often the most fascinating to read. Craughwell introduces us to intriguing figures like St. Moses the Ethiopian, a violent gang leader who embraced a life of fasting and prayer after seeking shelter with monks in the Egyptian desert in the fourth century. St. Alipius, a student of another notorious sinner, St. Augustine, was "obsessed with blood sports." Craughwell does not dilute his belief that it is only through divine grace that these women and men were able to overcome their self-centeredness and redirect their lives for a greater purpose. His tone is occasionally patronizing, but the take-home point is vital: while we are all sinners, there is always hope. (Sept. 19)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Saints aren't born they're made; out of, as Craughwell's sketches of 28 of them demonstrate, oh-so-imperfect human beings, some well-known--St. Augustine, St. Patrick, St. Columba, St. Thomas Becket, St. Francis of Assisi--many others not. They include all manner of thieves (St. Dismas), bigamists (St. Fabiola), egotists (St. Ignatius of Loyola), and even the occasional Viking conqueror (St. Olaf). Craughwell provides biographical detail and, of greater interest, discussion of how particular saints have appealed to a collective sense of right and wrong and notice of how some saints have entered pop culture in modern guise (such as the St. Dismas-like hero of the movie The Hoodlum Priest). The saint among these 28 whose story is the most moving is probably the Venerable Matt Talbot (1856-1925), a chronic alcoholic from Dublin who quit drinking cold turkey to pursue a truly saintly, humble life thereafter. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

After four years in a doctoral program studying medieval English literature, three years as a copywriter for Book-of-the-Month Club, and one year as a marketing director for a pricey, upscale travel company, I went into business for myself as a full-time writer in 1992. (Yeah. I can't believe the business has stayed afloat this long either).
As a writer, I really don't specialize; my resume is all over the map. I developed the concept and wrote the script for History Book Club's first television commercial. I've written direct mail for Time-Life Books, TV Guide, The Reader's Digest, Hilton Hotels, and the American Banking Association. I wrote the original Barnes & Noble web site; a series of online e-learning business, finance, and banking courses for the New York Institute of Finance; and a special "History of the Paperback" web site to celebrate Quality Paperback Book Club's 25th anniversary. My 50 States Fandex cards (Workman Publishing, 1998) have sold 700,000 copies (!). And I've published articles in a variety of newspapers and magazines--from The Wall Street Journal to Emmy magazine to the national Catholic news weekly Our Sunday Visitor.
My first book, Every Eye Beholds You: A World Treasury of Prayer (Harcourt Brace, 1999), was a Main Selection of both Book-of-the-Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club. My book on patron saints, Saints for Every Occasion (Stampley Enterprises, 2001) has been translated into Spanish, Italian, and Polish.
I'm not a professional talking head, but I've been invited to discuss saints, the canonization process, and Catholic history on CNN, EWTN, Ave Maria Radio; and urban legends on the BBC, The Discovery Channel, Inside Edition, and approximately 75 radio stations.

Customer Reviews

Well written in a style that is easy to read.
Joseph M. Davis
I was hoping to have this book as bedside reading for awhile.
CDS
It gives us all greater hope in the generousity of God.
F. Holmes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dubruiel on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Tom Craughwell gives hope to all of us--who as we alone know are the worst of sinners, that there is still a chance that if we turn to God we can be saints! I know what you're thinking, "How could I ever be a saint?" Or maybe you're thinking "How could he ever be a saint?" Good questions. In Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints,just published by Doubleday, Tom Craughwill gives the answers.The list of the evils that some saints engaged in before their conversion is long: thievery, embezzling, satanists, promiscuity, idolatry, drunkedness and even anti-popery. The list brings to mind St. Paul "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God" and what follows "And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11). Indeed! Craughwell's book is filled with both the well known (Augustine, Patrick, Francis of Assisi,Ignatius of Loyola) and the lesser known (Callixtus, Pelagia, Genesius, Fabiola). From the latter group is the story of St. Pelagia, an actress who before her conversion lived a life of rather loose morals. One can readily think of a number of similar actors, actresses, rock stars, politicians who might be the Pelagia's of today--whose popularity is matched by the wanton lifestyle they lead--leading others down a path of self-destruction.Read more ›
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Emerson on October 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Saints Behaving Badly is one of those books which stay in your thoughts long after the last page has been read. We have all heard of saints and admired them for their unselfish deeds and lifestyle. As a child I grew up with learning about every saint and could tell you verse by verse what good deeds were associated with each and everyone of them. This book keeps them in their Sainthood where they belong but adds a human element to them which completes the picture of their lives. By adding the human touch he has given us a new look at saints and made them more accesible to all of us . Mr. Craughwell has honored them by portraying them less like icons on a pedestal and more like everyday people who had their strengths and weaknesses. It is an amazing book and one which will answer the question: Are saints people too?
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Anyechka on December 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There's a lot of truth in the statement that evil, badness, and imperfection are more interesting than goodness and perfection. While it's of course inspiring to read about exemplary people, saints or not, doesn't it get boring to read about someone who supposedly was flaw-free and always squeaky-clean, ultra-moral, and basically just unrealistically good? Flaws make a person more interesting, multi-faceted, and human. (And the reason why oft-times sin is so sweet and seductive in the beginning is because the Devil himself is said to be so charismatic and physically attractive.) This book proves that theory by presenting the lives of 25 saints (and two not-quite-saints with the title "Blessed" and another with the title "Venerable") who weren't always very nice people or leading very upright lives. They're presented warts and all, whatever their vices were (alcoholism, being a mass murderer, being a con man, gambling, hedonism, egotism, et al), along with the accounts of how they came to turn their lives around and the good deeds they did after their conversions or returning to their former faith. A few of them had to go through the process of repentance more than once, since the first conversion didn't always take, as in cases like St. Olaf and St. Alipius. (St. Olaf, it is mentioned, probably wouldn't have made the cut had he not lived in the 11th century, as back then a bishop was allowed to canonise people from his own diocese, to kind of give the people their own local saint, someone who really spoke to them as St. Olaf did to the Norse.) This book also clears up the misinformation a lot of people have about St. Christopher; until I read this book, I too had believed that he had never existed and was one of the made-up saints who got expunged from the calendar after 1969.Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Miller on September 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Eye-opening stories about saints, some well-known and others you never

studied in bible class. Obviously a lot of research done and a wealth

of knowledge on the part of Thomas Craughwell. My wife and I are lifelong Catholics educated in Christian schools.

Much more substance than any of Dan Brown's sensational books. Will

recommend it to the 83 year old nun who taught me and with whom we keep

in contact -- an avid reader.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By B. Legere on October 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book that teaches the real-life story and puts it in an historical context as well. As a Youth Ministry Leader of a suburban parish and a teacher for the Certificate in Designated Ministry program at St Bernard's Institute, I'd highly recommend this book. I've already had an unchurched teen recommend to friends! Great book!
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