Pope John XXIII, Pastoral Prince, by Randall Garrett (Monarch Books, 3s. 6d.).
An Introduction to the Letters of Saint Paul, by A. W. Heathcote (Darton, Longman and Todd, 21s.). Facing Death, by Alfred Delp. S.J. Foreword by Thomas Corbishley, S.J. (Bloomsbury, 22s.). International Morality, by Alfred de Sores, Si.. translated by S. J. Tester (Burns & Oates, 9s. 6d.).
IN case anyone should think that Randall Garrett's biography of our dear Pope John has been hastily concocted and served up just after his funeral it must be said in fairness that it appeared first in America a year ago. As a popular, provisional biography it is fair enough. It includes most of the generally known facts about the life of Angelo Roncalli and diligently fills in the geographical and historical background of his career up to the time of the Encyclical Mater et Magistra.
It is sonic measure of the greatness of the man that a rather journalistic treatment of his life should nevertheless be full of interest and make one look forward to the definitive biography which must inevitably follow. But who is going to be good enough to play Father Roncalli to the biographer Pope'?
It is generally recognised that cooperation between Catholics and non-Catholics is closest in the field of Biblical scholarship, so one finds no difficulty in welcoming the work of a non-Catholic scholar in a Catholic review column. Dr. Heathcote's book is designed for students working for Advanced Level GCE or taking a Divinity course at training college. I am sure that Catholic students on similar courses will find some helpful material in this Introduction.
After three short general chapters on Saint Paul as a man and as a letter-writer he examines the Espistles in their chronological order. This attempt to view the letters in the order in which they were written itself goes some way towards a better understanding of Saint Paul's notoriously difficult thought. The author is persuasive without being dogmatic in his handling of the exegetical problems and throughout he is admirably clear.
Fr. Alfred Delp, a German Jesuit, was executed by the Nazis
in February 1945 for his sympathies with the German opposition movement, although, as Fr. Corbishley insists in the Foreword, Fr., Delp did not belong to the extreme tyrannicide faction.
Facing Death contains extracts from the condemned man's prison diary and a number of meditations he composed while awaiting execution. Couched in the apocalyptilcitsytyle which was not uncommon in writers of that generation. they reveal Fr. Delp as a man of passionate nature and deep spiritu aThe outlook remains characteristically German but the spiritual message of faith and fortitude is a universal one. Many people will find inspiration in these confes sions of a man who was in no position to delude himself or others.
The study of International Morality is comparatively new, the result of the vast changes in the human condition in modern times. Fr. de Soros says that we ought not therefore to he surprised if the Church does not have cut and dried answers to the modern problems.
The fundamental principles are there, but the application must be worked out with time and patience. In so far as he does attempt such application. the author may well be criticised by some of his contemporaries for applying traditional standards to untraditional situations.