Page 11, 12th September 2003

12th September 2003
Page 11
Page 11, 12th September 2003 — Spiritual books

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Organisations: Church of God
Locations: Toronto, Milan, Canterbury


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Spiritual books

takes a look at the latest devotional reading

Adoration, Reparation, Intercession by Mgr George Tutto, McCrimmon Publishing £3.95. Mgr Tutto, senior chaplain to the Hungarian community in Britain, states that his intention in publishing this little booklet of prayers before the Blessed Sacrament is to offer help to "priests and the faithful in witnessing to the power of the Holy Eucharist". The prayers are intended to be read during seven Holy Hours and they include rosaries "in reparation for division in the Church of God" and also for sins of sexual abuse. I should point out, for the benefit of readers who are not adherents of the Medjugorje phenomenon, that each Holy Hour is accompanied by Messages from the shrine. As Medjugorje has been a source of sad division in the Church, perhaps prayers in reparation for division are particularly appropriate.

Root of all Evil? By Antonia Swinson, St Andrew Press £7. 99. This lively book takes a spirited look at our shopaholic society from a Christian point of view and recommends that we all "downsize", borrow less, learn stewardship and spend more "social capital", ie, enjoy the simple pleasures of life, like family and friends. I agree! I should point out to Ms Swinson that many of my friends, mothers of large, single

income families, with mortgages and old cars to keep on the road, have been doing this for years already and we could all teach her a thing or three about thrift. I only demur when she calls Cherie Blair a "star role model for women". Hmm.

Flame in the Mind by Michael Marshall. Zondervan £7.99. The author is an Anglican bishop and rector of a London church and his book is enthusiastically endorsed by George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury. It is a spiritual journey with St Augustine of Hippo and there are references to the Book of Common Proves-, "other church traditions" including Roman Catholicism, the Alpha course and the Toronto blessing. Each chapter ends with personal questions — for example, "Do you know what your pet escape devices are?" My answer would he "Old Bogart films and fudge dunked in whiskey". For some reason I am allergic to such questioning. The author is not happy with institutional "Churchianity" and although he refers to that tine book, Four Loves by C S Lewis, he does not seem to grasp that agape is not the same as platonic love. Reading this, I had to keep reminding myself that Augustine, a theologian and prose writer of genius, repudiated the

abhorrent heresy of Manichaeism for the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith after listening to a Catholic bishop, St Ambrose, in a Catholic cathedral, that of Milan. The words of his mother, St Monica, echo down the centuries: "My desire was to see you a Catholic Christian before I die."

A Condition of Complete Simplicity; Franciscan wisdom for today's world by Rowan Clare Williams. Canterbury Press £7. 99. The author lived for seven years in an Anglican Franciscan community; she is now training for the Anglican priesthood. Great saints like Francis bring warmth and light to whoever encounters them, from whatever church tradition; that said, I think he might have felt uncomfortable at being separated from "the institutional Church". Yes, his uncompromising passion for the Christ-like life made conventional Catholics of his time feel uncomfortable; but Francis, like any saint, loved and was loyal to the Church. In her analysis of The Canticle of Brother Sun, Williams does not refer to Francis's (very politically incorrect) statement, "Woe to those who die in mortal sin". Again, the format includes questions at the end of each chapter, such as "Recall an episode when you felt powerless. How did you feel?"

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