Books for Christmas 2021 | Georges weigel
Ssome suggestions for gifting at Christmas, in the form of books that entertain, inspire, educate or all of the above:
Prison Journal, Volume 3 — High Court Releases Innocent Man, by Cardinal George Pell (Ignatius Press). Cardinal George Pell’s vindication by the High Court of Australia in April 2020 was an unmitigated joy amid the time of the plague. With this third volume, Ignatius Press completes the publication of Cardinal Pell’s remarkable prison diary, which has become something of a modern spiritual classic, even though it introduced the real George Pell to a global audience bombarded for decades with cartoons. human media. Cardinal Pell has no animosity towards his persecutors, but because one of my oldest friends is a better man than me, I have a few things to say in the afterword of the book about those who covered themselves up. ignominy by persecuting him, or failing to support him in his difficult times.
Travels with a pilgrim of cans, by Lynda Rozell (St. John’s Press). Part memoir, part insightful reflection, part practical manual, and part guide to travel along both material and spiritual routes, this distinctive book chronicles a return to the Catholic faith that has transformed a tough corporate lawyer and well paid as a traveling pilgrim, traveling the country in an Airstream trailer and retailing the New Evangelism at campgrounds across the country. It is a story of joy in the love of God coupled with reflections on maintaining spiritual and mental health in practice and sharing the faith. Quite unusual, and often quite moving.
The Universe Behind the Barbed Wire: Memoirs of a Ukrainian Soviet Dissident, by Myroslav Marynovych (University of Rochester Press). Dr Marynovych, another man I have the honor to call a friend, spent years in a different kind of campground: Perm Camp 36, the most famous of the Soviet Gulag labor camps. His crime? Circulate bulletins on human rights abuses in the workers’ paradise Senator Bernie Sanders visited on his honeymoon. Timothy Snyder of Yale aptly described the life trajectory of this contemporary martyr-confessor in these terms: “When [Marynovych] was arrested at 28, he was agnostic. When he was released a decade later, he was a Christian ethicist and political thinker. His memoir is a humble and humiliating account of a man maturing in hell. Myroslav Marynovych is now putting this maturity at the service of building a free, democratic and decent Ukraine, through his work as vice-rector for mission at the Ukrainian Catholic University of Lviv and in several parallel companies dedicated to promotion of solidarity between Ukrainians, Polish, Jewish and Crimean Tatar communities in his country in difficulty. His book deserves a wide readership, especially within the Vatican Secretariat of State and the papal diplomatic corps.
The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916-1917, by Philip Zelikow (Public Affairs). As if there weren’t enough reasons to dislike elitist, racist, anti-Catholic Woodrow Wilson, now here’s a stark re-examination of Wilson’s diplomacy (or lack thereof) at a time when he and his consigliere, Edward House, could have negotiated a rational settlement of the First World War. That they did not do so was partly because of their incompetence and partly because of the machinations of the “Welsh Wizard”, David Lloyd George, eager to become British. Prime Minister. If the opportunities described by Zelikow had been seized, there would have been no Lenin or the Soviet Union, no Hitlerite or Nazi Germany, and most likely no Great Depression or World War II. A sad and instructive story.
Why We’re Restless: In the Modern Quest for Contentment, by Benjamin Storey and Jenna Silber Storey (Princeton University Press). The floors bring intellectual history to life in an engaging and accessible way, as they explain our current cultural and political discontents while making creative suggestions for combating these cankers. A particularly interesting gift for any young (or older) Catholic fundamentalist who imagines that the dismantling of the liberal political order is the answer to the renewal of culture.
Before Amoris Laetitia: the sources of the controversy, by Jarosław Kupczak, OP (CUA Press). As the Church reflects on its future after Pope Francis, this close examination of one of the great controversies of the current pontificate should help all thoughtful Catholics think more clearly about the issues at stake in the battle over the character of Christian marriage.
And, if I may: in a season of small public figures, my Don’t forget: reminiscences and elegies of a variety of characters, most of them admirable (Ignatius Press) can be an encouraging reminder that giants walked among us not so long ago.
Georges weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Center for Ethics and Public Policy in Washington, DC, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.
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