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The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture Hardcover – October 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As archbishop of Chicago, George is pastor of one of the largest Catholic communities in the United States, and as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops he presides over a powerful collection of churchmen. George is also one of the most thoughtful men in the American hierarchy, and somehow he found time to gather his ideas in a collection of essays on the role of the Catholic faith in the modern world. The essays generally reflect George's traditional approach and his style—for good and ill. He ranges widely and is always challenging; his writing can be as scholarly as it is spiritual. The work is organized like a catechism, which makes it easy to dip into. George invokes the late Pope John Paul II as his model. Yet this book has more in common with an earlier work on faith in the modern world, Introduction to Christianity, also by a well-known cardinal—Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI. (Oct.)
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Review

"A scholarly and spiritual collection of essays on the role of the Catholic faith in the modern world . . . from one of the most thoughtful men in the American hierarchy."  —Publishers Weekly



"Cardinal George's offering will inspire Christians while also offering non-Christians a renewed understanding of what a Christian lifestyle means for political and personal life today."  —Legatus Magazine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824525825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824525828
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,114,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Difference God Makes," written by a learned veteran of American Catholic leadership, ought to make a difference. The author is Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and archbishop of his hometown, Chicago. No American writer is better prepared than Cardinal George to express the Catholic vision as it is seen by bishops.

George recognizes that the Catholic vision is not the same today as it was before the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. The Catholic sense of community from cradle to grave began to come apart after the Council gave the laity a more active responsibility in the liturgy, Latin yielding to English in the Mass, and the priest facing the people, like a Protestant minister. Before that the people saw the priest's back, a graphic signal to follow him, and heard his prayers in diction-deprived Latin. American Catholics recognized each other on Fridays, choosing fish on the menu, a day when even public school cafeterias offered seafood. It was not quite a Masonic bond, but it was part of being part of something special.

The Vatican II changes brought a burst of new energy to the pews, enlivened liturgies, produced a popular kind of music and made the Mass readily accessible to laypersons.

Cardinal George addresses the wrenching of Catholic social structures, some attributed to the Council and some to a changing society. The television, movies, novels and newspapers of 2009 are radically different from those of 1960 and before. The assertion of individual rights, prerogatives and pleasures sometimes obscured the teaching of sacrifice and forgiveness presented by the church. Then came the sex scandals, leading some dioceses into bankruptcy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I usually do not like books that are collections of previously published essays, but this book is an exception. As a conservative, traditional Catholic, I am so proud that we have a bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal, who is so learned, and able to express himself so well.

Frankly, I was disappointed in the first 3 essays or so, because i found them too accomodating to our sick culture, too willing to follow in the footsteps of Cardinal George's predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who advocated the 'seamless garment' social justice ethic, which seemed to even out all offenses against Catholic moral theology, whereas abortion, euthanasia and other such issues are condemned as intrinsically evil, and other injustices can be unjust in certain circumstances, and are not necessarily evil in themselves.

But as the book went on,and it seems to be organized on a chronological basis, Cardinal George seems to take a 'tougher' stance against our decadent American culture. There is no doubt, that he repeats many times that there are many parts of American, and Western culture that are redeemable, because they have their roots in Christendom, but as the book goes on, he seems to become more 'realistic,' that despite the fact that biblical/Christian and enlightenment culture cooperated in making this country great for about 150 years, since World War II, the enlightenment side has been winning, to the detriment of the Judaeo-Christian ethic on which this country (from 1620) if not this nation (from 1789) is based.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Francis Cardinal George does a brilliant job in his essays of stating eternal truth and how the acceptance of that truth can again make Western Civilization the greatest engine of human development the world has ever known. The book is certainly powerful and those inclined to Truth with a capital "T" will benefit greatly from its reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Cardinal does a fantastic job at revealing the faults in modernity and the philosophy of modernity. Basically, we need to change the way we see God and our neighbor. The Cardinal stresses communion among men and a particpating relationship with God and His creation. A must read for anyone who likes to dig deep into their faith.
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Format: Hardcover
Francis Cardinal George is not only the leading intellectual in the American Catholic world but he is a truly humble priest.
As a Catholic learned many ideas and realities of our faith and other religions and how we might how live well together.
St Augustine and Mother / St Katherine Drexel will always have a special place now in my life.
This is a treatise the church could well use for its future leadership
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