Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From Abu Ghraib to Loome Theological Booksellers

Mother Olga of the Eucharist came into the store while she was in the Twin Cities to give a retreat as part of the First Saturday Series at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Mother remarked upon the antique depictions of the sacraments that are permanently on display in the store and was particularly impressed by the large collection of St. Therese items for sale in the Sacred Gifts section. Learn more about this remarkable woman’s life here.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why buy a $245 Summa when you can get it for 99 cents on a Kindle?

For some time to come Loome Theological Booksellers is committed to reminding discerning readers of the many advantages that physical books have over eBooks.  eBooks get most of the good press these days (and occasionally bad press) and since the format is still new and only available on status enhancing devices, the momentum of many readers is to embrace them.  Loome Theological Booksellers is not against eBooks as much as we are FOR physical books.

Today's discussion is provoked by the suggestion here that it is better to obtain your Summa for 99 cents in the electronic format rather than for $245 in the thick five volume hardcover format.  The matter is a question of what will a physical Summa do that an electronic Summa can't.

A physical Summa will:

  • Have a physical presence on a shelf (preferably) the effects of which are varied and beneficial:
    • Raise the heart and mind to God:
      • in thanksgiving for Aquinas
      • in humility for understanding of the Summa
      • in supplication for quiet time to read and study the Summa
      • in fervor to live a life of virtue
    • Insulation - a wall of books (of which the Summa would provide a substantial part) keeps in the heat and out the cold.  We know this well from years of winters in our unheated "Great Room" at the bookstore.
    • Call to knowledge - objects that are large and heavy draw our attention.  The physical Summa draws to the intellectual life by it's quiet substantial presence.
  • Endure.  A physical Summa, because it endures, can be loaned out to . . . well, others you might know who would read the Summa.  It can be borrowed.  It can also be passed on after death.  It lasts longer than it's original owner.  It can go to Christians in Africa where there aren't eReaders.  It can be smuggled into underground seminaries.  The physical Summa has freedom, the eBook Summa is chained to an eReader.
Are these attributes of a physical Summa worth $244.01?  Can our blog readers think of any more advantages to the physical Summa?

Physical books endure - that is their value.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What to Read on Vacation: A Pope's Thoughts

When the Pope comments on anything to do with reading we pay attention at Loome Theological Booksellers.  Lately the Pope spoke on vacation reading and since this weekend (at least in the States) is the last vacation weekend before the end of Summer, we thought some others would like to know what the Pope recommends for vacation reading.

He simply recommends reading the Bible.

Actually he recommends reading one of the books of the Bible straight through on vacation.

Selkirk was on a bit of an extended vacation at the time . . .

I find his recommendation a bit challenging.  When I go on vacation I want to read light reading; one of those books with chapter breaks every 8 pages; a book that doesn't require a dictionary for full enjoyment and understanding.  The Bible is hardly light reading.  However, I understand the Pope's point and I respect it.  He wants us to discover the Bible in a way we haven't before by reading one of its books straight through.  Vacations provide the time do so.  This would make vacations not simply relaxing and diverting but also an opportunity to "deepen our contact with the Eternal One".  Perhaps that's worth the challenge.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

4 Steps to Spiritual Reading

I tend to view spiritual books as the opportunity learn wisdom, beauty, and holiness at the feet of remarkable authors past and present.  One such author is Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

"Now that you are less busied with others, spend more time in nourishing your soul with good reading.  To make this nourishment the more beneficial, let this be your method of taking it.  [1.] Begin by entering the presence of God and by begging his help.  [2.] Read softly and slowly, a word at a time, that you may interpret your subject with your soul rather than with your intelligence.  [3.] At the end of each paragraph containing a finished thought, pause for as long as it would take you to say an Our Father, or for even a little longer, to appreciate what you have read or to rest yourself and to gain interior tranquility before God.  Should this rest and tranquility last longer, so much the better; but when you notice that your attention is wandering, [4.] go back to your reading, constantly making similar pauses as you continue" (DE CAUSSADE, J.P., S.J. Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence. page 191).

It's not about how many books you read or even which ones you read.  It's about how well you read.  This is why I often say to our patrons, as I hand them their books from behind the checkout counter, "read well".

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Code of Catholic Modesty - No Slacks!

It's hard to imagine just exactly how this bibliosite was used before it became a bibliosite:

Was this a notice that the usher would slip into your hand during the offertory?  Did this arrive in your mailbox after Sunday?  Would it turn up in your sock drawer?

And just who did the noticing in the first place?  Where can one find the "Code of Catholic Modesty or Improper Dress"?

"And you're ugly" - was this written as an extra barb or in retaliation towards the person who originally gave notice.  We may never know.

One thing I do appreciate about this card is that it clearly lays out measurable modesty standards.  Everybody knows that it is important to be modest, but I rarely if ever hear of clearly modest standards.  This card has them (guess I better button up my shirt in church now!).

Please feel free to print out copies of this card for use as you see fit.  Just how would YOU use such cards?

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Heresy Watch: The Holy Use of Money by Haughey, S.J.

From time to time we offer for sale heretical books, sometimes knowingly (one must read Kung to critique Kung) and sometimes unknowingly.  The present title under discussion is a book that we had for sale in our Marriage and Family Life section.  One of my co-workers happened to be reading on the job one day and spotted the heresy in the Introduction of the book.  This was a heretical book that we were unknowingly offering for sale.
The book is The Holy Use of Money, Personal Finance in Light of Christian Faith by John C. Haughey, S.J.  The book was published by Doubleday in 1986.  Please see if you can spot the heresy:

"Transubstantiation is a metaphor.  In the case of the Eucharist, the bread and wine do not physically become Christ.  They remain bread and wine while they mediate the real presence of Christ to us.  He really becomes food and drink for us but we don't drink and eat the Son of God.  What we drink and eat mediates him to us.  The marvel in this is not the change that comes over the bread and wine but the change that comes over a people God chooses to be his own when they choose to exercise the faith with which God has embued them.  The Eucharist cannot be explained except that the believers believe bread and wine into being what Christ wills it to be for them.  He wills it to be him for them.  But he's not confined only to this mode of being present to them.  More than bread and wine should mediate him to us.  Money can and should, which is one reason for [this book]" pages vii-viii.

Did you spot it?

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Father of the Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

When I first started working at Loome Theological Booksellers there were two books Henry Stachyra gave me to read in order to become as Loomish as possible.  One was Pieper's Liesure the basis of Culture and the other was Fr. John Hardon's Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan.  I thought I was a well read person before I started working at the bookstore.  After leafing through the Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan and seeing page after page of authors I had never even heard of, let alone read, I found out I was woefully under-read, at least in the intellectual tradition that mattered at Loome Theological Booksellers.

Happily I later found that Fr. Hardon was a rather holy and intellectual priest leaving behind many good books. I have particularly benefited from his Modern Catholic Dictionary actually.  I recently met the postulator for his cause for sainthood, Fr. Robert McDermott (see him below).

Fr. McDermott visited the bookstore recently and he was after Fr. Hardon's books.  Happily we were able to show him a rare Hardon book on confession.  Fr. McDermott's visit prompted me to reflect once again on the worth of a good book and in particular, the many good books of Fr. Hardon.

Please learn more about Fr. Hardon and his cause for sainthood here.

What books of Fr. Hardon have you benefited from?

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Misfits are out of Hell!

Dear Misfits,

We remain embarked on the exciting literary journey of Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Last month, we concluded our descent into Hell by reading and discussing the final 17 Cantos of Cantica I of the Divine Comedy.  Our discussion of the nether regions of hell was particularly illuminating.  We found ample illustration of the sins described there; virtually all of the sins described by Dante are now routinely reflected in our modern (post modern) lives.  In fact, we concluded that you can see all of them each evening on our television screens. 

When we accompanied Dante and Virgil into the final depths of Hell, we finally meet Satan.  Dante’s image of Satan is arresting....He shows Satan with three faces symbolizing the perversion of the Holy Trinity. Dante concludes that Satan is as ugly as he was once beautiful, recalling his original incarnation as an angel.  However, he no longer has his transcendent Angelic powers.  In Hell, Dante depicts him as dumb and roaring, trapped in ice, enduring an endless punishment for his sins.  Dante describes the ultimate horror and punishment of hell as not a burning damnation but the punishment of extreme, unremitting coldness.  Satan and all of the sinners in the final circle of Hell (called Judecca after Judas Iscariot) are permanently frozen in ice, locked in the ultimate sin of their coldness to God and their fellow man. 

This month, we begin our journey towards God as we leave Hell and progress upwards through Purgatory.  Our journey upward through Purgatory occurs during June (Cantos 1-16) and July (Cantos 17-33).  Finally, we will enter Paradise in August and finish in September when we triumphantly conclude our literary journey.

As a final note, it is a true pleasure to read The Divine Comedy with you.  I especially appreciate the insights each of you contribute to our discussion of this remarkable Catholic literary classic.

Misfit Buzz

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Misfits are in Hell

[Note from the editor: my apologies for the belated timing of this post].

Dear Misfits,

Well, we’re certainly embarked on an exciting literary journey.  And how appropriate that that the action in the Divine Comedy takes place at Eastertide in the year 1300.  The poem begins on the night of Maundy Thursday when Dante finds himself astray in the “Dark Wood”.  On Good Friday, after a day spent trying to scale the Mountain that lies before him, he meets Virgil and begins his journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. 

On this first part of the journey (Cantos 1-17), we’ve descended into the first seven circles of Hell as we follow Dante Alighieri and his guide, Virgil.  Our discussion last Wednesday evening of the first 17 Cantos was exciting and extremely interesting as regards the literary allusions and the Catholic theology it portrays and illustrates.  Reading and discussing Dante’s allegorical poem leads inevitably to one conclusion: it is truly an immortal Christian allegory of man’s search for self-knowledge and ultimately, spiritual enlightenment. 

We also concluded that Dorothy Sayers translation of the Comedy is masterful both in portraying Dante’s terza rima stanzas (interlocking three-line rhyme scheme) as well as her vivid notes and theological comments on the often obscure references Dante uses in describing the souls consigned to the nether regions Hell

As you read the Inferno, you soon become aware of Dante’s conclusion that the souls in Hell “have what they chose...they enjoy that kind of after-life which they themselves imagined.”  Sayers also notes that the souls in Hell, in Dante’s view, are lost not only because they did not have a Christian Faith....but also, more generally, they lacked a true “faith in the nature of things”  She writes, “The allegory is clear: it is the weakness of Humanism to fall short in the imagination of ecstasy;at its best it is noble, reasonable, and cold, and however optimistic about a balanced happiness in this world, pessimistic about a rapturous eternity.  Sometimes wistfully aware that others claim the experience of this positive bliss, the Humanist can neither accept it by faith, embrace it by hope, nor abandon himself to it in charity.”   The Misfits concluded at the end of our meeting that it is good to be a Catholic, especially a Catholic who possesses an awareness of the “positive bliss” that awaits those who practice our Faith.

We will now continue our journey into Hell by reading the final 17 Cantos of Cantica I of the Divine Comedy.  (Cantica I has a total of 34 Cantos).  We will discuss these 17 Cantos at our next meeting at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, May 11, 2011, in the St. Thomas More Library, the Church of St. Michael.  This will complete our journey into Hell.  We then begin our journey towards God as we leave Hell and progress upwards through Purgatory during the months of  June and July.  We will enter Paradise in August and September, and triumphantly conclude our Divine journey.

And may each of you have a blessed and Happy Easter,

Misfit Buzz

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Draconian Comments from a Gentlemanly Reading Group

Dear Misfits,

Well, what to say about Count Dracula and his vampiric pursuits?  Some liked the novel and some dismissed it.  Misfits Olson and Kriesel were staunch defenders of Bram Stoker and his account of the Count maintaining that it was a good read.  It was also a unique novel of mystery and horror in that it marked the beginning of a genre that lasts to the present day.

Misfits Druffner and Loome were somewhat dismissive.  They did not think the novel rose to the level of our other books and that it’s theology was weak and off the mark for Catholics.  The Olson/Kriesel Camp maintained that this was a strength of the novel in that it contrasted basic Catholic theology with that of a misguided Protestant understanding of the Church.  Plus, the novel itself was permeated by a Catholic aesthetic, even if it’s catechesis was often exaggerated or bordering on superstition.

The other Misfits present were somewhere in between as befits the generally democratic discussions experienced in our meetings.  The middle ground was perhaps best expressed by Misfit Blondin: “Dracula is an amazing piece of popular culture, but in the end superficial as far as addressing moral issues from a Catholic perspective.  I think Stoker uses Catholicism as a literary device and he is successful only because most readers are not educated about Catholic theology and thought.”

Misfit Blondin also brought his son to our meeting.  He wished to let all of the Misfits  know the reaction of his teenage son to the discussion:  “I want to thank everyone who attended the Wednesday March 9th meeting for the excellent example you showed to my son on what it means to be Catholic and a gentleman.  You guys are wonderfully counter-cultural. Thanks for helping me be a dad.”  I agree with Carl.  We are counter-cultural and always gentlemen...even when disagreeing.  That trait is to be especially valued in the divisive age we seem to live in.

Now to the future:

We are excited about our upcoming literary journey.  We are beginning the Divine Comedy...and unlike millions of other men (and women) who have begun this daunting allegory, we will finish it!  We will accompany Dante on his journey, guided by the poet Virgil, as he plunges to the very depths of Hell and embarks on his arduous journey towards God.  We will use Dorothy L. Sayers “landmark translation” of the Divine Comedy.  It is arguably the best translation given her monumental intellect and the scholarship she brings to the task.  We have also chosen the Sayers translation in the hopes that all who accompany us on our literary journey will have a common reference for discussion and comment.

And always remember that we meet on the Second Wednesday of every month in the St. Thomas More Library at the Church of St. Michael at 7:00 pm.  Our meetings last until 8:30 pm.  Therefore start reading The Divine Comedy and mark your calendar for 7:00 pm,  Wednesday, April 15, 2011.
With warmest regards,
Misfit Buzz

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A whining baby for St. Patrick's Day.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Babies Love Lent Apparently

I discovered a wacky bibliosite yesterday, just in time for Lent.

Just wait until you see more of what's in this pamphlet.  I'll be posting more babies over the coming weeks.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why walking into our bookstore is more dangerous than virtually doing so.

A good Loome friend recently passed along this quote by Chesterton about the danger of bookshops:

It is perfectly obvious that the most respectable book-shop in the world must contain an enormous proportion of rubbish, negative or positive; of reading that is a waste of time when it is not a weakening of character; trashy rediscoveries of divine truth; cracked and crabbed continuations of hole-and-corner controversies; erotic and egotistical rants by forgotten imitators of Byron and Swinburne; blatant social panaceas and solutions of the problems of World Peace and the Gold Standard; stupid biographies of respectable people and silly autobiographies of disrespectable people. All this gas and poison is stored up on a bookshelf and in a book-shop; but this only makes the bookshop as dangerous as all the other shops. [GKC ILN Nov 24 1928 CW34:634]

I would rather like to think of our bookstore as a dangerous place to visit and browse (however I think it might be the danger of a sort different from what Chesterton means).  There aren't all that many dangerous places for respectable people to visit anymore (excepting the library and a church with the Blessed Sacrament) and some danger in one's life helps to remind him of being alive.

What do our readers think is particularly dangerous about Loome Theological Booksellers in person?

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Here’s Another Reason Not to Watch Television

The following was originally published in the Catholic Servant newspaper.  Mr. Dale Ahlquist, the author, has graciously agreed to its being posted below.  Loome Theological Booksellers encourages all to check out more of what Mr. Ahlquist has to say at the American Chesterton Society.  And now, another reason not to watch television:

At the end of my life, when I look back, I suspect that my biggest regrets will not be all the many sins I have committed, but rather all the hours I wasted watching TV. Fortunately, these days I hardly ever watch it. Not only have I made the startling discovery that my actual life is far more interesting and that my children are far more entertaining than anything on television, but I also have found it necessary to avoid the dangers of channel-surfing and stumbling upon some ugly mug in a wing-backed chair carrying on about an obscure English writer.

However, I have not yet achieved complete purity. Over the past few years, I have watched two or three television series (on DVD). So as not to give scandal, or free publicity, I won’t mention their names. Besides, they are problematic. While I have enjoyed the communal experience of hooting and hollering at the set with my wife and others while these ongoing tele-tales have unfolded, I have also noted that our reactions have been as perplexed as they have been pleasurable.

I understand as much as anyone the importance and artistic value of car chases and large explosions, but I cannot escape the notion that these elaborately presented thrills might not be serving a higher purpose. In the increasingly high-tech battles between the good guys and the bad guys, it is still pretty obvious that the bad guys are really bad, but it is less apparent that the good guys are really that good, except for the fact that they’re against the really bad guys. But it is hard to get excited when it is not clear what is being defended.

The confusion in these light entertainments of murder and mayhem are a sign of a slightly more profound problem: moral relativism. A few days before Christmas, Pope Benedict compared the times we live in to the fall of the Roman Empire. What do these two declining civilizations have in common? “The disintegration of the key principles of law and of the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them.” The moral consensus, said the Holy Father, is collapsing. Without it, our society cannot function. Nor can it be defended.

G.K. Chesterton saw it coming over eighty years ago. Besides seeing the early signs of a New Dark Ages in the political, economic and social chaos of the modern world, he also pointed out how the pointlessness of modern art was a telling indicator of societal decay. We’re not talking about paint splatters on canvas, but about what was supposed to be taken as serious literature. Chesterton says that a detective story may not be considered intellectual, but at least there is some moral sense to it. There is a plan, there is a purpose, there is a problem, and there is a solution. It goes somewhere. But the so-called “serious novelist,” says Chesterton, “asks a question that he does not answer; often that he is really incompetent to answer.”

In the meantime, the serious literature folks make fun of the old sentimental novel that always ended happily to the sound of wedding bells, which incidentally, ring in a church. And yet, says Chesterton, “judged by the highest standards of heroic or great literature, like the Greek tragedies or the great epics,” the old sentimental novel is was really far superior to the modern novel. “It set itself to reach a certain goal - the marriage of two persons, with all its really vital culmination in the founding of a family and a vow to God; and all other incidents were interesting because they pointed to a consummation.”

But the modern narrative has avoided both the religious vow and the romantic hope. The characters are “minutely described as experiencing one idiotic passion after another, passions which they themselves recognise as idiotic, and which even their own wretched philosophy forbids them to regard as steps towards any end.” The old sentimental novel may have been  simplified and conventional, but there was a real prize to be won: marriage. It was something fruitful.

Chesterton admits that marriage may not be the only goal in life, but the problem with the modern novels is that they seem to deny that there is any goal. “They cannot point to the human happiness which the romantics associated with gaining the prize. They cannot point to the heavenly happiness which the religious associated with keeping the vow. They are driven back entirely on the microscopic description of these aimless appetites in themselves….In short, the old literature, both great and trivial, was built on the idea that there is a purpose in life, even if it is not always completed in this life; and it really was interesting to follow the stages of such a purpose; from the meeting to the wedding, from the wedding to the bells, and from the bells to the church. But modern philosophy has taken the life out of modern fiction. It is simply dissolving into separate fragments and then into formlessness.”

What Chesterton says of modern literature is also true of television entertainment. There may be an urgency to it, and passion, but no life, because there is no coherent philosophy. It has dissolved into separate fragments, or rather, exploded into separate fragments. There is no moral cohesion because there is no moral consensus, so nothing holds together. The result is not only bad, it’s boring. 

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unnatural Death

Dear Misfits,
We can now add another great novel to our growing bibliography of classic literature.  This month we read and discussed Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novel, Unnatural Death (The Dawson Pedigree).  I predict that we will read more of these absorbing, masterfully written mysteries.  Ms. Sayers is noted for both her mystery stories and for her Christian scholarship. (See Divine Comedy below.) She is also the first woman to be awarded a degree from Oxford University.  But, Lord Peter Wimsey is her hallmark character, staring in 15 novels and a collection of Lord Peter Wimsey short stories.
Unnatural Death begins with Lord Peter Wimsey overhearing a conversation at his club. His curiosity aroused, he asks the speaker to give a detailed account of his story.  The speaker, Dr. Carr, is willing to comply—and cautions that his story does not have a happy ending.  Because he followed his medical instincts and voiced his suspicions that his patient’s death was “unnatural”, he lost his medical practice in the small town wherein he was practicing.  The doctor told Lord Peter that he became suspicious when his patient, Agatha Dawson, died suddenly. He was almost certain that she had more time to live.  Agatha Dawson’s great niece, Ms. Mary Whitaker, was her care taker at the time and did call the doctor to say that her aunt was doing poorly.  However, his subsequent examination didn't match that diagnosis. He had strong doubts about how "natural" Agatha’s death was, but he had no proof.
After hearing Dr. Carr’s story, Lord Peter’s “detecting” instincts are fully engaged.  He and his side kick, Detective Charles Parker--the 'official' detective from Scotland Yard—proceed to develop the proof needed to reopen the case and discover the actual, very mysterious cause of Agatha Dawson’s untimely and unnatural death.  If you like murder mysteries, you will love this novel.  You will also be captivated by Ms. Sayers’ highly descriptive writing style and the marvelous characters she uses to develop the story line and ultimate resolution.
And now to the future:
March’s book, by popular demand, is Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  I have started reading the novel…and can’t put it down!  Some may wonder why a Catholic Men’s Reading Group is reading Dracula!  I myself was a bit puzzled when several Misfits recommended the book. I’ve discovered that the novel is, by tone and reference, very Catholic.   In fact, the Catholicism in Dracula is the subject of an excellent essay by Eleanor Bourg Donlon in the May/June issue of the St. Austin Review.  The following is an excerpt from the essay:
“The crucifix given to Jonathan Harker serves as a mise en abyme for Bram Stoker’s use of the Catholic aesthetic in Dracula. Put simply, the plot is about good versus evil; more deeply embedded within the novel is a fascinating manipulation of Catholicism as a means for dealing with the supernatural. Characters, narrating their own story in the form of diaries, journals, and letters, base their interpretation of events on two simple yet interconnected principles: first, that Count Dracula is a supernatural being embodying the Christian concept of Satan; second, that the vampiric sucking of blood is an Anti-Eucharist. From these premises the novel constructs a religious paradigm—a decidedly Catholic paradigm—through which the characters can both understand and combat the perceived threat. Some admission is made of the sacramental power of Catholic accessories, but a fear of that power persists—Harker, as an “English Churchman”, tentatively ascribes his unease to “the crucifix itself”. The novel, unequivocally rejecting the evil intrinsic in the Romanian vampire, is in the end conflicted in its reception of Catholicism, and turns from this unresolved problem, to conventional, although complicated, Protestant resolution.”
Dracula is in print and widely available.  Amazon sells several editions of the classic story-- some for as little as a dollar (plus shipping.)
 April-September’s reading schedule has changed a bit!  As I reported last month, we have decided to read Dante’s Divine Comedy.  However, we will take six months to read it as opposed to the nine months we originally thought would be necessary.  Thus, it will take us six months to accomplish the challenge. 
We are also fortunate to have Misfit Tom Loome help us with our reading of The Divine Comedy.  He taught several university courses in Dante in years past.  He declares that it is unquestionably one of the greatest works of Christian literature, if not world literature, ever written.
Do also remember that we are going to use the three volume Penguin Edition of Dorothy Sayers highly regarded translation.  (This will give us a common point of reference for our discussion of the three books of the Divine Comedy.)  Our reading schedule is now as follows:
 April-May:  The Divine Comedy, Part 1: Hell (Penguin Classics) - Paperback (June 30, 1950) by Dante Alighieri and Dorothy L. Sayers.   There are 34 Cantos in the book so we will read and discuss 17Cantos each month.
            June-July:  The Divine Comedy, Part 2: Purgatory (Penguin Classics) (v. 2) - Paperback (Aug. 30, 1955) by Dante Alighieri, C. W. Scott-Giles, and Dorothy L. Sayers. Again, there are 33 Cantos so we will read and discuss 17 Cantos in June and 16 in July.
August-September:  The Divine Comedy, Part 3: Paradise (Penguin Classics) (v. 3) - Paperback (July 30, 1962) by Dante Alighieri, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Barbara Reynolds. Again, there are 33 Cantos in the book so we will read 17 Cantos in August and 16 in September. We are also fortunate to have Misfit Loome help us with our reading of The Divine Comedy.  He taught several university courses in Dante in years past.  He declares that it is unquestionably one of the greatest works of Christian literature, if not world literature, ever written.
And remember that we meet on the Second Wednesday of every month in the St. Thomas More Library at the Church of St. Michael at 7:00 pm.  Our meetings last until 8:30 pm (and then we sometimes retire to Meister’s Bar for a pint or two…and further discussion, often about books!)  So, hope to see you next month at 7:00pm,  Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
With warmest regards,
Misfit Buzz

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is this a Catholic bookstore?

The Protestant builders of our store building.
We have recently observed the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and Pope Benedict dedicated his General Audience that week to the same topic.  In his talk he writes: "It is therefore important to increase day by day in reciprocal love, striving to surmount those barriers between Christians that still exist; to feel that real inner unity exists among all those who follow the Lord; to collaborate as closely as possible, working together on the issues that are still unresolved; and above all, to be aware that on this journey we need the Lord’s assistance, he will have to give us even more help for, on our own, unless we “abide in him”, we can do nothing (cf. Jn 15:5)".  How does Loome Theological Booksellers fit into this?

Very often, when Protestants and others (and there are others), visit the bookstore they will ask, "Is this a Catholic bookstore," to which the answer is a qualified "yes".  We are a Catholic bookstore because the majority of our books are written by Catholics.  We are a Catholic bookstore because the majority of our workers have always been Catholic and some that weren't became Catholic (but not all).  We are also Catholic in the universal sense of that word.  We carry all books that help distinguish Truth from untruth, point to the Truth, prepare the way for the Truth, and bear witness to the Truth no matter if they were written by Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or others (and there are others).  So, yes, we are a Catholic bookstore.

For the sake of a credible witness to Christ, Pope Benedict urges that we "collaborate as closely as possible, working together on the issues that are still unresolved".  Loome Theological Booksellers works with Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox through the books we sell to effect that "collaboration" and working towards resolution of those "issues that are still unresolved".  We have the books to give historical perspective and theological accuracy to the ecumenical discussions and endeavours of Christians today.  Yes, we are a Catholic bookstore and we are committed to ecumenism and we have the books to prove it.

Read well!
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

(Anglican) Loss and (Catholic) Gain: The Story of Newman

Another post from Buzz Kriesel - leader of the Misfits:

Dear Misfits,

Blessed John Henry Newman’s novel, Loss and Gain:  The Story of a Convert, was a very inspirational read.  In some respects, it could be termed a primer on conversion as well as one of the strongest apologetics in defense of the Faith.  It could also be given the title of “Contra Protestantism” as it refutes in detail, all of the claims of the protestant faith, particularly that of Anglicanism. One Misfit noted that the style used by Cardinal Newman was “Socratic” in that each of the characters raised a question and then another answered with arguments or logic that supported the central theme of the novel...the Catholic Church is the true Church and salvation is through the Church.

The claims made by Cardinal Newman in 1874 in support of the Catholic Faith contra the Anglican Church are as true today as they were those many years ago.  Cardinal Newman’s beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 during his visit to the United Kingdom.  The tide has turned and the faith is again growing in England as the Anglican Church continues it’s decline.  It is  significant that the Holy Father has created a new Ordinariate (Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham) to accommodate all of the Bishops and Priests the Church is gaining as Anglican clergy leave the Anglican Church.  I believe that anyone who reads Loss and Gain will fully understand why this is occurring.  It surprises me that it has taken so long!

Now to the future:

February’s book is by Dorothy Sayers.  We have been talking about reading her for many years.  We have chosen to read Unnatural Death, originally published in 1927.  This is the third of Dorothy L. Sayers’  "Lord Peter Wimsey" mystery novels and is regarded as one of the best in this excellent series.   In the story, a wealthy old woman is found dead, a trifle sooner than expected.  An intricate trail of horror and the senseless murder leads from a beautiful Hampshire village to a fashionable London flat and a deliberate test of amour as staged by the debonair sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey.  "Here the modern detective story begins to come to its own; and all the historical importance aside, it remains an absorbing and charming story today."

March’s book is a return to horror...classic horror!  We have, by popular demand, decided to read Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  (I think our recent reading of Frankenstein has given us a taste for the macabre.)  One reviewer sums the book up thus:  “Count Dracula has inspired countless movies, books, and plays. But few, if any, have been fully faithful to Bram Stoker's original, best-selling novel of mystery and horror, love and death, sin and redemption. Dracula chronicles the vampire's journey from Transylvania to the nighttime streets of London. There, he searches for the blood of strong men and beautiful women while his enemies plot to rid the world of his frightful power.”

April-December. I think this is going to come as a welcome surprise to those of you who weren’t at the meeting last Wednesday evening.  We canceled The Old Man and the Sea in favor of reading what many claim to be the greatest work of Catholic literature ever written!  We have decided to read Dante’s Divine Comedy.  It will take us nine months to accomplish the challenge.  We are going to use the three volume Penguin Edition of  Dorothy Sayers highly regarded translation of the Divine Comedy.  (This will give us a common point of reference for our discussion of the books.)  We will read the Divine Comedy in the following manner:

    April-June:  The Divine Comedy, Part 1: Hell (Penguin Classics) - Paperback (June 30, 1950) by Dante Alighieri and Dorothy L. Sayers.   There are 33 Cantos in the book so we will read and discuss 11 Cantos each month (about 75 pages each month).

    July-September:  The Divine Comedy, Part 2: Purgatory (Penguin Classics) (v. 2) - Paperback (Aug. 30, 1955) by Dante Alighieri, C. W. Scott-Giles, and Dorothy L. Sayers. Again, there are 33 Cantos so we will read and discuss 11 Cantos each month (about 100 pages each month).

    October-December:  The Divine Comedy,  Part 3: Paradise (Penguin Classics) (v. 3) - Paperback (July 30, 1962) by Dante Alighieri, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Barbara Reynolds. There are 33 Cantos in each book so we will read 11 Cantos each month (approximately 125 pages each month). We are also fortunate to have Misfit Loome help us with our reading of The Divine Comedy.  He taught several university courses in Dante in years past.  He declares that it is unquestionably one of the greatest works of Christian literature , if not world literature, ever written.

Warmest regards,

Misfit Buzz

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