Scorsese’s movie vision shaped by religion

{mosimage}Gangster Priest: The Italian American Cinema of Martin Scorsese by Robert Casillo (University of Toronto Press, 600 pages, softcover, $39.95).

This year Italian-American director Martin Scorsese won his first Oscar for The Departed — a Catholic version of the Buddhist Asian film Infernal Affairs. Both dealt with a fallen world in which the dynamics of law and crime reveal the same patterns of manipulation, abuse and duplicity. This is Lenten fare, for as the psalmist says, “Put not your trust in those in power, in mortals in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3).

How to say yes by saying no

{mosimage}The Thrill of The Chaste, by Dawn Eden (W Publishing Group, 212 pages, soft cover $13.99 U.S.).

In a world where Sex and the City infiltrates television sets and one-night stands are the every day norm comes Dawn Eden’s The Thrill of The Chaste. This book talks about an almost unheard of way of looking at love and relationships in the 21st century.

Partners missing from debate

{mosimage}Catholic Women in Ministry: Changing the Way Things Are by Marie-Louise Ternier-Gommers (Novalis, 216 pages, softcover, $21.95).

“The laity, however, are given this special vocation: to make the church present and fruitful in those places and circumstances where it is only through them that it can become the salt of the earth.” - Lumen Gentium, 33

The Second Vatican Council document, Lumen Gentium, defines the special role of laypeople in the church. It is now more than 40 years since the Council told the laity to make its contribution to “the sanctification of the world,” and the response has been monumental. It is everywhere around us — in volunteer ministry in our parishes and in professional ministry where the shortage of priests has created opportunities for laypeople to exercise their gifts in hospital, prison and school chaplaincy, in pastoral work in parishes and in education, music and liturgy.

Through the pages of a Jesuit life

{mosimage}The Greater Glory, Thirty-Seven Years With the Jesuits by Stephen Casey (McGill-Queen’s University Press, hardcover, 243 pages, $34.95).

The immigrants to Canada in the mid-1800s brought with them their skills, dreams, fears, languages, customs, foods and their religions. As they clung to their heritage and memory from the Old World, they implanted what they considered to be the best of what they had known in Europe. This immigration married their religious expectations and traditions, for better or for worse, with those of the French Canadians who had preceded them in the flight from Europe.

Following Christ’s lead on devotion to peace

transfigurationTransfiguration: A Meditation on Transforming Ourselves and Our World by John Dear (Image Books, soft cover, 238 pages, $14.95 list)

If there is one lesson we can never learn too many times it is how to read the Bible. Jesuit Father John Dear’s Transfiguration shows us clearly and concretely how it’s done.

There is more to Africa than poverty, pestilence

faceofafricaFr. Stan Chu Ilo is a Catholic priest from Nigeria, now based in the diocese of Peterborough. He is an Igbo, a tribe from the Eastern part of Nigeria. The aim of his book is to present a true story of Africa, with a message that “Beyond the shadows of the present gloom lies the true face of Africa.”

Jesus charmed men and women alike

jesus_womenJesus: A Meditation on His Stories and His Relationships with Women, by Andrew M. Greeley (Forge Books, 176 pages, $21.95, hardcover).

Many know Andrew Greeley primarily as as the writer of a long-running series of crime novels featuring Irish-American sleuths such as Fr. Blackie Ryan. Others know him as a sociologist of religion, a frequent political and spiritual pundit on network TV. But what is often forgotten is that, first and foremost, Andrew Greeley is a diocesan priest — Fr. Andrew Greeley — with more than 40 years experience as a pastor and homilist.

‘The Gospels still work’

secularityThe title of this book may be surprising. When the terms “secularity” and “Gospel” are included in the same sentence, they are usually contrasted. We naturally look  for the word  “versus”  between them. 

Hollywood misses Jesus' humanity, divinity

jesushollywoodWATERLOO, Ont. - Hollywood has portrayed Jesus in various ways over the years in film but none has managed to adequately illustrate both His humanity and His divinity.

BOOK REVIEW: All we are saying is give faith a chance

God at WorkGod at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement by David W. Miller (Oxford University Press, 222 pages, hardcover, $38.95).

In God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement, David W. Miller commits "to recognize the faith at work movement as a movement; to understand its roots and historical trajectory leading to its current form and substance; to offer a framework and language to analyse it, challenge it and assist it to realize its significant social possibilities; and to raise questions for further research." This is a tall order. 

God seeks the salvation of all

{mosimage}Biblical Human Failures by Walter Vogels (Novalis, 176 pages, softcover, $19.95).

In Biblical Human Failures, Walter Vogels takes readers on a tour of scriptural stories and characters familiar because of their compelling, visual imagery. Vogels is a wonderful guide, making sense of the labyrinth of the Old Testament and exposing depth of meaning between the lines of the sketchy details in the Gospels. His knowledge of the texts combined with his skill as a story teller makes what can be a tedious and confusing journey continually interesting and provocative. But this tour is not for the faint of heart.