Page 3, 22nd May 1959

22nd May 1959
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Page 3, 22nd May 1959 — The Gospel story retold in modern
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The Gospel story retold in modern

St e ck„.,biographyit tot chronological outline rupts it requently) as a wide and THE greatest life of Christ is, of course, the one given to us in the four canonical Gospels.

Nevertheless, although the Gospel is in itself and per se the supreme and unique record, there is always room for other lives of Christ, in conformity with the Gospel life, either as an introduction to it or as an expansion of it, to encourage the reading of the actual Gospel by those who are slow to attempt it, or to explain and elucidate the original text.

It is a human fact that many may be attracted to the Gospels by a presentation of them in a modern style: it is also a human fact that almost everyone may be helped to a better understanding of the Gospels by an explanation of the circumstances which surround their contents.

Originality

HENCE the value of a work like the present "Life of Christ". Many readers will know two outstanding books on the same subject to mention two that spring to the mind-Papini's Storia di Cristo and Abbe Fouard's "Life"-which have been translated into English.

'Bishop Sheen's work, while in a broad and general sense belonging to the same class. is distinguished by his own forceful style, penetrating reflection, and originality of presentation.

While following the Gospel record from the Annunciation to the Ascension, with frequent quotation of the Gospel text, Bishop Sheen imports an immense

amount of knowledge-historical, scriptural, and theological-with the addition of an imaginative insight which is both thought-provoking and enlightening.

Latent wealth

EVERY page of this book displays learning lightly carried,

original approach, deep insight. and Christian doctrine, all enshrined in a style so vital and vivid that it is a joy to read. But, above all, it brings out the essen tial and latest wealth of the Gospel.

This new 550-page "Life of Christ" is definitely a book to obtain and read, and return to again and again. It is capable of helping preachers, too, in addition to being ideal spiritual reading for oneself.

It is admirably printed, and the price, in view of the book's permanent worth is reasonable enough. There is a general index, useful for repeated reference.

`Unknown' saint

A FLORENTINE PORTRAIT: St. Philip Benizi (1233-1285), by D. B. Wyndham Lewis (Sliced & Ward, 12s. 6d.).

"SAINTS that people don't know *-./ about" could make an interesting and valuable study. There are many such saints, even apart from those in local and national calendars. Here is a notable one yet Philip Benizi was one of the most outstanding men of his time, in a time of outstanding men; as a man, from his natural talents. and as a saintly man who was destined to canonised.

Like St. Alphonsus in a later age, Philip left his profession in the world for the life of a Religious, becoming a Servite. He was a medical doctor with much promise ahead : "Had he continued in practice," writes Mr. Wyndham Lewis, "he might have contributed one of the leading names to Italian medicine."

He became the fifth General of the Servites in 1267; he saved that great Order from extinction in 1276. He avoided being made Pope by flight into temporary seclusion. He was thus a contemporary of several whose names are universally famous-such as St. Bonaventura and St. Thomas Aquinas; and, among laymen, Dante. He died at a comparatively early age 52; he was canonised by Clement X in 1671.

This book is not so much a Tsa intervariegated picture, with plenty of colour and a wealth of detail, concerning places and persons, and especially the Services; it is, as its title indicates, a portrait. St e ck„.,biographyit tot chronological outline rupts it requently) as a wide and

Lay apostolate

THE CHURCH, THE LAYMAN AND THE MODERN WORLD, by George H. Tavard (The Macmillan Company, New York, 17s. 6d.).

MUCH has been written concerning the lay apostolatethe work which laymen can perform in the spread of the Faith and the extension of the Church. The present brief book (88 pages) deals with this subject and with a special aspect of it-the technique of the approach to the nonCatholic world. It follows in essence Fr. Tavard's previous hook "Catholic Approach to Protestantism."

In both books he calls upon a varied experience to make the matter living and practical. Fr. Tavard, ordained in France after studying at the university of Caen and the Catholic Institute of Paris, is at present lecturer in theology at the college of his congregation (Augustinian of the Assumption, who are well known in England-Bishop Beck is one) at Worcester, Massachusetts.

He is tremendously keen on the most sympathetic and friendly approach to our non-Catholic brethren of every denomination; he treats of such approach especially in regard to the Jews in his final chapter-a very important chapter indeed.

Going forward

IN his eight chapters he dis cusses the lay movement historically, the questions of freedom and authority, totalitarianism, conversion and the reintegration of non-Catholics. For many readers the most arresting chapter will probably be the one entitled "In a Technological World"; it has many practical ramifications, arriving at the conclusion:

"We can neither stay where we are nor return to happier times. We can only go forward to a new Christendom, where religion and technics shall not be indifferent or hostile to each other."

Fr. Tavard is an able scholar (as several of his references indicate) and an original thinker; to these he adds the power of forceful expression : the result being a thoughtprovoking and practice-indicating discussion.




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