255 of 285 people found the following review helpful
Please proceed with caution,
This review is from: Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory (Paperback)
I would like to agree with everyone else here that this is a trememndous book, but I have some sincere reservations about it. While I agree that books about the souls in purgatory are necessary and often productive of improved spiritual life, there are some pros and cons about this book.
Pros first - it is a bonus to have these detailed photographs from the Suffering souls museum. I had read about some of these objects, such as the burnt cloth, burnt table, etc. in some other books on purgatory and am glad at last to see them. I wish these photos could be inserted in TAN's earlier and better book, Purgatory Explained by the lives of the saints, which contains descriptions from the saints themselves.
Which leads me to the first con. This book is almost entirely the words of Gerard Van Den Aardweg, and while I have no issue with him, I think it far more beneficial to hear first hand accounts from the saints who experienced these things themselves. Aardweg is also an apologist for some more controversial people such as the Jose' Escriva (wrote a book about him)and Sister Faustina. The reason these are controversial is that some traditional groups do not accept their accounts of sanctity, since Sr. Faustina's writings were condemned by the Holy Office (while it still existed) and the diaries were written in several people's handwritings. This is not the place to go into a discussion on that, or on Escriva, but the amount of people who have come forward in that case and wanted to testify at the canonization hearings against his santitiy (former secretaries who witnessed him curse and threaten, etc) is staggering, and these people were denied the opportunity to testify. That in addition to the Vatican getting rid of the "devil's advocate" in the more recent canonizations has given many people pause.
So with that in the background, I tried to judge the book on its own merits and this was disturbing. He presents some of these events of the "paranormal" (not a very catholic term and the Church usually uses "supernatural) and it has the feeling sometimes of reading Amityville Horror or some poltergeist book. He also gives as examples episodes in which people engaged in "spiritualism" (a movement from the victorian era that was forbidden for Catholics) in which using seances, souls would be conjured up. This practice is a grave sin for Catholics, and yet the author never points this out. He wraps up one example by admitting that this was a "diabolical apparition." So why does he include this on a book about the Holy Souls? In another case, he taklks about a Viscount who uses a spiritualist "speaking table" after conversation with this being, the "spirit took leave of us with thesewords: "God forces me to speak thus; hell claims me back, farewell." Besides the oddity of a demon saying anything as nice as "farewell" why are readers interested in helping suffering souls exposed to paranormal and sinful behavior with souls condemed to hell?
Finally, for centuries the Church has offered the faithful the opportunity to help the suffering souls with indulgenced prayers. I could not locate a single indulgences prayer in this book and wish that it al least provided readers with sources to find those indulgences, such as the Raccolta, the earlier Purgatory book from TAN and espcially The Purgatorian Manual printed by Mother of Our Savior Catholic Goods.
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Showing 1-10 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 21, 2010 6:14:52 PM PST
Forget the comment about Sts Fautina and Escriva being "controversial people" They are in the sense that their Master was "controversial". Cannonized saints do not need apologists--except to misguided individuals like the so-called "traditionalists". These have wounded the Body of Christ. They are the truly "controversial".
Posted on Dec 28, 2010 12:07:38 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 28, 2010 12:09:27 AM PST]
Posted on Dec 28, 2010 8:43:06 PM PST
James William Hoy says:
I've just picked this book up in the past few days and have found it to be very compelling. Far from being misleading, I think the accounts of demonic apparitions described from the book point out the reality that not everything that is "supernatural" or "paranormal" can be attributed to the souls in Purgatory and that proper discernment and testing was and is necessary for those who encounter the unexplained. Criticisms of the book I think detract from the author's purpose and one compelled to pray for the Holy Souls will put forth the modest effort required to find prayers for them. The desire to do so is certainly fueled by the book.
Posted on Feb 10, 2011 12:34:28 AM PST
T A S says:
This book changed my life. I disagree that the book is mostly the words of Gerard Van Den Aardweg, there were many many quotes, writings, and first hand stories. And yes, the stories are from many writers, who would believe this if it were all from one person or writer? The number of writers only lends truth to the episodes written about in the book. Why any one would fixate on the controversy the book may bring about with a very few is beyond me, the book is about Purgatory not a debate on Catholicism's "traditional groups". There is no conjuring up spirits, in fact, the souls in Purgatory are appearing to these people in hopes of prayers and help, and there was not one story of any one summoning a "spirit". Read the book for the reason it was intended, to make you aware of the help the poor souls in Purgatory need from us. And one more rebuttal to the above comment, on of the last chapters in the book is entitled "How Can We Help the Holy Souls". And I even did a bit of work on my own without having to be given information via the book or pointed in the right direction when I was reading I went to the internet and found other books written on Purgatory and so many Catholic postings on Purgatory. I am learning so much, this is not a place to grandstand on what you know or perceive to know about the stance of the Catholic Church and this book. Read it, learn from it, and do your part to help!
Posted on Mar 7, 2011 10:58:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2011 10:59:52 AM PST
M. Heile says:
Wow, it's pretty hard to understand the hostility of the comments here. I was going to purchase this book but when I read this person's review, I completely changed my mind. I really appreciate what the reviewer wrote very much, I find the review to the point and very helpful. Thank you reviewer.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2011 9:56:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 25, 2011 9:57:05 AM PDT
Quo Primum says:
TO TAS - If you really believe there are no conjuring up of spirits then you clearly skipped several portions of the book. Catholics have been forbidden from engaging in spiritualism, fortune telling, horoscopes, etc. and seance tables and such are actually mentioned in the book. It is unneccessary for any Catholic who is required to believe in Purgatory as one of the dogmas of the Catholic Church, to need accounts of demons visting in order to help the souls in purgatory. There are several much better books on Purgatory including another one by TAN. Compared to the classic purgatory books, this one is sensationalistic. We are not supposed to go based on sensationalism but by FAITH. I am not going to recommend you read this book again, but contrary to what you say, just one of the accounts of conjuring up begins on page 18. I am not interested in reading the accounts of demons in hell, and a book titled Purgatory should not contain it, as those in purgatory are the FAITHFUL DEPARTED and the HOLY SOULS. It is they that I am interested in reading about and assisting, and as you admit, you had to go to the internet for other sources. In other words, this book is not adequate. Read the Purgatorian Manual, or Purgatory Told by the Lives of the Saints. Reading the words of accursed demons in hell is not worth the time of anyone seeking holiness.
Posted on Aug 2, 2011 2:26:56 AM PDT
Marie C. Pruden says:
Thank you for this clear-sighted review. What the Catholic Church teaches about the Holy Souls before the Council are still what she teaches after the Council. Truth does not have an expiration date. Your review explains why some of the contents of this book are contrary to the teachings of the Church, such as necromancy. Thank you, too, for noting that the word "paranormal" is not part of Catholic vocabulary. The correct word is "supernatural."
I find your review really helpful. Thanks again.
Posted on Oct 26, 2011 10:38:40 PM PDT
The Curious Observer says:
While I agree with the reviewer's caution with regard to spirit-ism, seances, and the occult, one needs to be informed that this book, in no way, endorses or even gives the slightest hint of positive regard to these such practices.
In fact, I would recommend this book to any non-informed Christian/Catholic for the very reason that this work actually sheds much important light on various occult happenings.
The chapters that delve into spirit-ism, seances and such are included in the study for the sole purpose of cautioning you (the reader) not to engage in anything of the sort, under any circumstances. The author includes multiple reports of the occult linked activity and illustrates that what lies behind the mask of all such things is nothing other than the legion of the demonic.
Though I thank the reviewer for your thoughtful comments, as you are truly looking out for everyone's best interest, I felt compelled to offer some additional insight, clearing some misconceptions any readers of this review may pick up from the example(s) cited above.
That being said, I strongly encourage anyone even slightly interested in this subject, be you Christian/Catholic, or not, to pick this volume up and enjoy a fascinating and informative read on a very important topic.
Posted on Nov 13, 2011 12:31:03 PM PST
R Durero says:
I understand that the Church does not call "supernatural" the paranormal. They call it "preternatural", since "sobrenatural" refers to God's nature.
Posted on Apr 21, 2012 11:16:11 PM PDT
Vanessa J. Bell says: