THE WORLD'S FIRST LOVE, by Mgr. Fulton J. Sheen (Brown and Nolan, 15s.).
‘"THE Woman the World Must
I Love" is a better description of the content of and might prove a better title for Bishop Sheen's new hook. For true as it is at the ontological level that Mary is the world's
first love, it is sorrowfully obvious that millions of men over wide tracts of the world know nothing of her, openly revile her, and reject all she stands for.
Yet if it is possible to forecast the movement and growth of religion
and spirituality in the world, then it
is clear that everything points to a "Marian Age"—or Chaos, The last
two definitions of the Church have
concerned the prerogatives of Our Lady, all the major manifestations
over the past 100 years of the spiritual powers which surround us have been apparitions of the Mother of God.
Bishop Fulton Sheen is a great publicist, apowerful and persuasive propagandist who writes always for
that part of his audience which is least in sympathy with the things he
has to say. In other words, all his writing is apologetic and, more important, apostolic and missionary. His rhetorical style, his illustrations, comparisons, similes, meta
phors, antitheses and epigrams are all such as to appeal to the wide audience he addresses. They are therefore, in
the best sense, popular. He is not afraid of repeating himself in matter or phrase. This is sometimes a minor blemish for the reader though it would probably pass unnoticed by the hearer. To the justification of his title Mgr. Sheen writes tellingly and emoery man movingly: To the justification of his title Mgr. Sheen writes tellingly and emoery man movingly: "She is the one whom every loves when he loves a woman— whether he knows it or not. She is what every woman wants to be, when she looks at herself.
"She is the woman every man marries in ideal when he takes a spouse; she is hidden in the discontent of every woman with the carnal aggressiveness of man; she is the secret desire every woman has to be honoured and fostered; she is the way every woman wants to command respect and love because of the beauty of her goodness of body and soul. "And this lilueprint love. whom God loved before the world was made; the Dream Woman before women were, is the one of whom every heart can say in its depths of depths : 'She is the Woman I love!' "
So from his first chapter to his last, "The Woman and the Atom," Bishop Sheen takes us through all the outstanding events in our Lady's life : her virginity, her espousal to the "just" young man Joseph—rightly dismissing by the way the coloured statue of an aged St. Joseph—the Annunciation (with a discussion on freedom), the Visitation, the Birth, and the life at Nazareth (with an aside on obedience in the home), and the one family in which the Child could have been really worshipped.
The Beloved City
THE ANCIENT CAPITAL, by Hugh Ross Williamson. (Fredk. Muller, 15s.)
WINCHESTER should be visited early in life. For it is something rare and precious to live with all one's days.
I found it early and promptly fell in love with the place. Hugh Ross Williamson discovered it when he was only ten, and he, too, fell in love with it.
He has been faithful, too, but his fidelity has not only been passive and contemplative. it has led him to dig and to delve into English history as it has been seen and shaped by Winchester. Now, having read his book, I feel that all these years I have only known the lovely shell of Winchester and must go back equipped with this new knowledge and look at it all over again. But it would take longer than the time the normal visitor generally gives.
Mr. Ross Williamson has done violence to at least one of my memories of that visit long ago. Apparently it was not Cromwell who mutilated the statues and splashed whitewash over the frescoes. ["I consider him (Cromwell) the greatest Englishman but one."] Now we learn that it was Richard Horne, first Anglican Bishop of Winchester (1560-80) "when in addition to destroying the monastic buildings and pulling down the Chapter House and Cloisters ... he made havoc of the painted glass, images, pictures and all other 'tokens of the religion and piety of his ancestors.'"
The Greatest News Story
By Fr. George P. Dwyer
CATHOLIC DIGEST OMNIBUS. Introduction by James Keller. (W. H. Allen, 17s. 6d.).
AGOOD journalist is not content with a news story. He has to find an "angle"—usually the "human angle"—if he wants to tickle the palate of his readers.
The greatest news story in the world is the Gospels. The theological angle is the Creed. How would you angle the twelve articles of the Creed? Read this book and see.
Here are 100 selections from the Catholic Digest culled from books, reviews and newspapers, which give a remarkably live and interesting picture of the life of the Church.
They range from the highest level of journalism. as in Graham Greene's famous article on the Assumption, to the Technicolor success story, as in Quentin Reynolds's "Chaplain Courageous." Some are inspiring to the point of excitement (read "The Priest and a World Vision," by Fr. Keller); some are embarrassingly coy (e.g., "Lauds for Loretta"). The big names are here: Bello; Bernanos, Chesterton, Gill, Shecd, Mauriac, Merton, Ward. Waugh, together with a galaxy of lesser-known names.
There is not a dull page in the book and the total effect is of the Faith working in the world like the yeast in the dough. It costs 17s. 6d. and it's worth every penny.