Arts

Salt+Light takes top TV station award

TORONTO - Canada’s Salt+Light Television has won a 2008 Gabriel Award from the U.S. Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals, which cited the network’s “value-centred view of society and humanity.”

Dialogue is one way

{mosimage}Feminist Theology with a Canadian Accent, edited by Mary Ann Beavis, Elaine Guillemin and Barbara Pell (Novalis, softcover, 444 pages, $34.95).

With the Catholic Church refusing to ordain women or even entertain the idea, feminists and the church have entered into a longstanding non-meeting of the minds. Because of this deadlock, dialogue has turned to monologue, a sad reality reflected in the pages of Feminist Theology with a Canadian Accent, a collection of 19 essays by Canadian feminist theologians and scholars.

Fr. Joe offers a cautionary tale to would-be missionaries

{mosimage}The Gospel of Father Joe: Revolutions and Revelations in the Slums of Bangkok by Greg Barrett (Jossey-Bass, 336 pages, hardcover, $28.99 list)

The missionary tradition in the Catholic Church is centuries old. Missionaries left their own homelands to do good works and spread Christianity in far away places — most notably Africa, Asia and Latin American countries. Not all missionaries went to the poorer countries of the Third World. They figure prominently in colonial history in the North as well. In our country, missionaries had quite an impact on aboriginal peoples, as we were recently reminded during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology to residential school survivors.

Movie tackles doubt, hope, despair and faith without sentimentality

{mosimage}It's not often that an explicitly Christian movie, indeed an explicitly Catholic one, escapes the toxic treacle of sentimentality and nostalgia or the pompous pedantry of polemics. Henry Poole is Here tackles miracles, faith, hope, doubt, despair and the difference Christ makes in real lives with straightforward honesty, intelligence and heart.

It's a good movie.

Hollywood's summer of morality

{mosimage}The first big summer blockbuster movie was about an enormous, morally neutral, ravenous shark who arrived on a New England beach ready to punish everything from skinny dipping to political hypocrisy and capitalist greed. Jaws was big, loud, spectacular and scary.

In the 33 years since Steven Spielberg’s most original film, directors have dedicated each summer to overwhelming our senses, scaring us silly and making a pile of cash out of young audiences on vacation.

Liturgical music guidelines aim to nourish, strengthen message

{mosimage}TORONTO - A new committee within the National Liturgy Office is developing liturgical music guidelines for the Catholic Church in Canada.

The guidelines, being drafted by the National Council for Liturgical Music, once completed, will need to be approved by the bishops and will help worship leaders, priests and liturgy offices in the task of deciding what songs are appropriate to play or sing during Mass. It will also assist musicians hoping to compose music for the Mass setting.

Pipe organ revolutionized

{mosimage}TORONTO - You could say it’s a pipe dream come true. On the Plains of Abraham during the papal Mass at the 49th Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City, the virtual pipe organ had its largest live audience. More than 50,000 people attended the event in June.

The $25,000 organ was designed by Markham-based Classic Organ Works specifically for the June congress.

John Lennon 'one of Christ's biggest fans'

{mosimage}LONDON - British radio has broadcast an interview with John Lennon in which the late singer-composer claimed the Beatles were a Christian band that wanted to bring people closer to God.

In the interview, aired for the first time in the U.K., Lennon described himself as "one of Christ's biggest fans."

There’s something about Mary

{mosimage}Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God, by Ginny Kubitz Moyer (St. Anthony Messenger Press, softcover, 120 pages, $14).

This compelling little book, written by an unmistakable Mary enthusiast, attempts to answer a question asked time and time again by Catholic women: How is the Virgin Mary relevant to my life?

No getting to know Merton here

{mosimage}Thomas Merton: Hermit at the Heart of Things, by J.S. Porter. (Novalis, softcover, 216 pages, $24.95, ISBN Number 9782896460083).

Thomas Merton was an American poet and writer who died accidentally at the age of 56 in 1968 after a remarkably public life (especially for a Trappist monk).

Learning God's plan along Field of Stars

{mosimage}To the Field of Stars: A Pilgrim’s Journey to Santiago de Compostela, by Kevin A. Codd (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, softcover, 271 pages $19.99).

In the opening pages of his book, priest and author Fr. Kevin Codd dedicates his words to his mother and father, “who taught me how to walk.” Whether this is in gratitude or accusation for the anguished steps that would follow 50 years later when he walked the almost-800 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela is for the next 270 pages to reveal. But what is immediately apparent is that Codd’s parents have, in fact, taught him how to walk and write — an essential combination for his pilgrimage.

When the extroverts struggle with faith

Spirituality For Extroverts by Nancy Reeves (Abingdon Press, softcover, 155 pages, $10.99).

As an introvert, I’ve always carried the unexamined  bias that religion is largely the domain of introverts.

Of course this is a fallacy, and Nancy Reeves has written Spirituality For Extroverts to rehabilitate the reputation of non-introverts. Reeves is just the person for the task. She is not only a clinical psychologist and spiritual director, but also an extrovert herself.

Inside our consumerist society

{mosimage}Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire, by William T. Cavanaugh (William B. Eerdmans, 96 pages, softcover, $13.50).

Our homes and garages are filled with all sorts of stuff, some of which we need, and a lot of which we do not. The words “shopaholic” and “retail therapy” are part of our everyday vocabulary. We tend to use them in a self-deprecating sense. At the same time, we admit to ourselves that we are not going shopping out of necessity, but simply for the sake of it. We feel a void in our lives and hope shopping will make us feel better but what we end up buying often has very little meaning for us afterwards. We never fill the spiritual void, so we go out to shop again.