Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Michael is Associate Editor of The Catholic Register.

He is an award-winning writer and photographer and holds a Master of Arts degree from New York University.

Follow him on Twitter @MmmSwan, or click here to email him.

Way Down NorthWhat makes Fr. René Fumoleau’s photography worth looking at is just where the missionary priest from France took his photos.  

Fumoleau showed up in the Dene lands straddling the Arctic Circle in 1953. He bought his first Pentax 35 mm camera in 1956. Without training or direction, he created a body of images that document the land and its people over 40 critical years of history for the Dene, all captured in a new book.
Father Scott LewisTORONTO - Members of the Holy Rosary parish choir in Burlington, Ont., really need Jesuit Father Scott Lewis’s new book, if only to clear the clutter of old programs piling up at home.

Music director Vicky Chen has been reprinting Lewis’s weekly Catholic Register column about the Sunday readings on the back of her weekly music programs for years. A former student in Lewis’s Scripture classes at Regis College, Chen feels the column gives choir members a context for the hymns and songs they sing Sunday mornings.
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.

Every week at least half a dozen books drift across the editor’s desk at The Catholic Register. Most weeks we have barely enough space to thoughtfully review one. So, in the interest of fuller disclosure, here’s a few notes about some of the books we haven’t sent out for review.

{mosimage}The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan by Robert D. Crews and Amin Tarzi eds. (Harvard University Press, hard cover, 430 pages, $30).

If Canada is going to have a debate about what its soldiers are doing in Afghanistan, or what Canada as a country should be doing in Afghanistan, that debate need not be conducted on the basis of vague mythology.

{mosimage}Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw (Zondervan, 355 pages, softcover, $19.99).

If Christianity isn’t radical, isn’t subversive, isn’t dangerous and can’t get you into trouble it isn’t really following Christ. The established powers of Roman-occupied Palestine tortured and killed Jesus for a reason. It wasn’t because he was a safe, earnest, harmless reformer.

{mosimage}When Linda Kooluris arrived at the Vatican with an old Nikon F2 she discovered the secret life of the city state. She also found out it is not really a secret.

Twenty-seven years later the photographer and painter reveals her discoveries in The Gardens of the Vatican, a 159-page, hardcover photo book with text by her husband Kildare Dobbs (McArthur & Company, $39.95).


{mosimage}Hodd by Adam Thorpe (Random House UK, 320 pages, $34).

The Robin Hood most of us grew up with was a perfect hero for bookish kids. He was cheerful, generous and just. He surrounded himself with merry men, had a loyal, clever, cute girlfriend and together they robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.

If we thought about it later, we might have regarded the Robin Hood of childhood books, movies and cartoons as a gentleman who had taken sides in the class struggle.

Fr. Damien MacPhersonTORONTO - Ontario’s Catholic ecumenical officers are delivering a wake up call to parishes across the province in January.

In a 400-word letter to priests, deacons, religious and laity, Ontario’s dozen directors of ecumenical and interfaith affairs are reminding parish leadership that “it remains an essential priority to stay focused on the common pursuit of the unity of all Christians.”
Fr. Jim WebbMAPLE, Ont. - Jesuit provincial superior for English Canada Fr. Jim Webb could hardly wait to hit a few hundred guests at the annual Provincial’s Dinner April 14 with a piece of good news.

“This year we have nine novices, the most in 20 years,” announced Webb to a round of applause.

It’s the kind of news bound to hearten elders in the Jesuit community, such as Fr. Jacques Monet, who entered the Society of Jesus Sept. 7, 1949. But it’s not just about numbers, said Monet.