Theology and Sanity by F. S. Speed (Sheed and Ward, £3). Jesus Christ the Only Way edited by Patrick Sookhdeo (Paternoster Press, £2.40).
Saints in Season edited by Austin Flannery, OP (Dominican Publications, Dublin, £3.24).
Theology and Sanity is a book which has proved its worth. At only £3 for 331 pages this revised edition is really value for money. This re-issue contains the foreword to the first edition (1946) and a preface specially added by the author in 1978.
The very fact that Frank Sheed is not only an experienced writer and publisher, but corn-bines learning (as the only layman awarded a Doctorate of Theology in the Catholic Church) with the ability to explain dogmas in terms to suit the man literally in the street (or "the Park", where he spoke regularly for the Catholic Evidence Guild in England and the United States), should be sufficent guarantee for the few who have never heard of this book, that it is in its updated form one of the best guides to Catholic belief available today.
It can be recommended without hesitation to prospective converts, to Catholics who want to know their Faith better, and to all who are interested in finding out what the Catholic Church is about.
Jesus Christ the Only Way is a response to the resolution of the Assembly of the Evangelical Alliance in 1975, to set up a commission to study both theologically and practically a Christian approach to those of other faiths. It deals with the impact and influence of NonChristian religions.
Now that there are so many people in this country who are believers, but not 'Christians, in an atmosphere that is to a large extent unbelieving and sceptical, a book like this is useful. Although there do not appear to be any Catholic contributors to it, there is no doubt that it is written in the spirit of the docu
ment on the relation of the Catholic Church to NonChristian Religions, issued by Vatican II on October 28, 1965.
The second section of the book deals with the Christian approach to people of other cultures and faiths, each of these eight chapters being the work of a particular Christian author. The third section is perhaps the most valuable. It is entitled "They Speak for Themselves" and in five chapters members of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh Faiths explain their beliefs and attidudes.
Saints in Season is a black covered paperback with clear gold lettering on the cover. It is already to be found in many a sacristy or presbytery which I have visited. As a companion to the Lectionary and a source for homilies on saints' days, it is a "busy pastor's guide".
Those who know the valuable contributions of Fr Flannery to our understanding of Vatican II and the official mind of the Church in the years since that event will realise that anything he edits is worth having. This book is described as "a supplement to 'Scripture in Church'," a previous companion to the Lectionary for the year as a whole.
In 230 pages it contains a short introduction on the meaning of sanctity, followed by advice on how best to use the book (I regret his use of OM for Obligatory Memorial, and no letter for Optional Memorial, since I am used to seeing S for Solemnity, F for Feast, M for Memorial and OM for one that is optional!).
Saints canonised in oi after
1975 are riot included. There are biographies of about 10 lines and notes on the readings by Vincent Ryan, OM then an article on honouring the saints today by Michael Maher, MSC.
A final article by the Dominican friar Denis Keating on the Communion of Saints is followed by valuable documentation from Paul VI, from Trent and Vatican II and other sources.
On page 223 begins a threepage alphabetical list of the saints dealt within the book. Information is given about other Dominican publications at the end. The entire well-produced and clearly printed paperback will be of value to teachers and laity in general as well as clergy.