Blackfriars, Oxford THE CHURCH, by Giovanni Battista, Cardinal Montini, is a collection of radio addresses, discourses and pastoral letters first published in Italy in 1962, when the present Holy Father was Archbishop of Milan.
The various lectures arc grouped into two parts. The first is concerned with the Church in its essential aspects and in its mission to the world—for it must ever confront the contemporary world. and in its real character—for we need to understand the Church anew and to enlarge our vision.
The second part treats of ecumenical councils in general and the present Council in particular. The last question asked is: What significance will Vatican II have?
We need hardly stress the value of these discourses, each of which is a carefully thought out composition. They clearly reveal the general trend of Pope Paul's thought, and show too how his ideas follow naturally upon the attitude and impetus given to the Church and to the world by Pope John XXIII.
And they show too something of the new wind of change in the Church. Everyone is aware of this change, change of stress, change of direction, change of whatever it is.
Not everyone can so clearly grasp what the direction is. and what the spiritual realities born of an ever-living Holy Spirit, Soul of the Church. That is why this hook can be so helpful and enlightening for all thinking people who would wish to know the mind of the Holy Father in the Church and in the world of today.
There are also many particular points of value, for example when the Cardinal wrote of charity towards the "alienated". We sense an Italian term here, but it conveys an ever-present reality in all countries. "For the Catholic nobody ought to be alienated". hut, as a matter of fact, the "alienated" do exist.
Thousands and thousands are "put off" by our teaching, our attitudes and our lives. The problem assumes colossal proportions . . . the answer is of course in terms of an inner spiritual disposition, of pastoral sensitivity, of vision continually -enlarged by charity. It is not criticism but love which will win men back to brotherhood in Christ.
That the mind of Cardinal Montini and Pope Paul VI are consistently one is shown by
Card i Bea's plaquette The Image of Paul VI, first published as an introduction to The Mind of Paul VI, and now re-appearing THE. CHURCH, by Giovanni Battista, Cardinal Montini (Helicon, 30s.), THE IMAGE OF PALIL VI, by Augustin, Cardinal Bea (Geoffrey Chapman).
THE NEW TESTAMENT, by Patrick Fannon [Where we Stand series] (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2s.).
TO ANY CHRISTIAN, by Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey (Burns and Oates, 35s.).
WORK AND THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, by Brian Wicker [Where we Stand series] (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2s.).
as an oft-print with a cover showing the bust of the Pope.
The New Testament, its birth from the life of the Church is the title of this new book in the "Where We Stand" series. Few titles could better describe the real content or subject of this book. Fr. Fannon has admirably shown how the gospel or rather the whole New Testament grew out of the living faith, preaching and teaching of the first Christian followers of the way.
The set pattern of the speeches in Acts gives us a clue about the origin of New Testament writings. The various Epistles then help to build tip the picture, and then finally the Gospels round out our appreciation of New Testament origins, remembering always that the good news of salvation by Christ was preached before it was written down (cf. p. 26).
Thus we can he fully convinced that the New Testament "is not just a collection of books which were written two thousand years ago; they are something much more profound and much more challenging". We are introduced to this "something". Other books can furnish more material facts. dates. parallels, and more "introduction" in the wanted sense.
But this little book furnishes us with a sense of the living context and background, and something of the response of early Christians to this new gift of God in the world. and reminds us that God is still making this gift to us. making himself known through the Scriptures as interpreted by the Church.
An anthology of letters of the Saints entitled To any Christian
has been gathered together with excellent judgment by a Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey. which will prove not only a wonderful help to saints and sinners alike. but also a source of considerable joy—one might almost say entertainment.
St. Francis of Sales advises the wife of President Bruhn not to irritate her husband. her household or her parents by overmuch churchgoing, or to turn up her nose at conversation which fails to conform to her own lofty standards (Letter 73).
St. Vincent de Paul reminds an over-harsh superior that in the case of the virtues it is easy to overstep the bounds of prudence by passing from defect to excess. thus turning good wine into vinegar, remarking furthermore that health in the highest degree is said to he a sign of approaching illness (Letter 65).
St. Alphonsus, writing to his nuns on confession, stresses the truth that true sorrow consists not in feeling it. but in wanting it. All the merit of virtue lies in the will (Letter 75).
The editor gives an informative introduction. and adds to her generosity by providing full biographical notes to each of the saints. forty-nine in number, and ranging from St. Ammon the Great, one of the Fathers of the Desert. in 348 to Mother St. Frances Cabrini who died in 1917.
Work and the Christian Community is an attempt to pose the problem of the alienation of man from his work in its modern context of an industrial society. Indeed, Mr. Wicker suggests, very cogently. that the problem of work is largely a product of the revolution in industrial, social and intellectual organisation during the last 200 years.
He rightly insists that work cannot be seen or discussed as an isolated problem but only within the context of the structure a society possesses. 'Taking this a stage further, it is basic to his argument that for a Christian this problem is only a part of the task of finding a workable concept of a Christian society.
For a Christian. work must be not only a fulfilment of himself as a man, but also a part of the plan of human salvation inaugurated by God. The Christian must see his work as creative and as sacred. No one will pretend that there aren't enormous problems connected with this. but it is the great virtue of this booklet that it asks the right radical questions which are essential for anv solution.