Page 6, 3rd January 1969

3rd January 1969
Page 6
Page 6, 3rd January 1969 — RELIGIOUS BOOKS by Fr. GERARD MEATH, O.P.

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Locations: Rome, Oxford


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IIII The Fifteenth Station by Anita Roper with epilogue by Karl Rahner (Burns and Oates 18s.) This book is difficult to read: the style is angular, the thought leaps unpredictably and the language is sometimes verbose sometimes stilted; yet T could not put it down. It is an enthralling account of the Incarnation and the Church of Sinners. The form is a series of meditations on the stations of the cross both as episodes in the life of Our Lord and, at greater length, as fourteen aspects of the mystery of human existence.

For instance, the meditation on the sixth station, Veronica wipes Jesus's face, begins, "Do people love one another?", and a little later, "Does man want to be loved?"; and again. "To love and let ourself be loved-do not both mean essentially that cornpassion which says: we are all suffering." Love is neither the feeling of pity we experience at another man's pain nor the practical help we offer to alleviate it, for sometimes we can summon up neither, It is the compassion that springs from knowing that we are all suffering and, are all sinners, and which only makes sense because Christ took our human nature as it is so that our lives in their daily unspectacular "ordinariness" are parts-and effective parts-of the salvation history of the human race.

So the first station not only symbolises the sentence of death under which we all live: it is the consummation of the condemned state of life which Christ chose to follow. His falls under the cross are not only images of our sin : they are the consummation of Christ's own living in a sinful condition"seipsum exinanivir, format? servi accipiens" thus transforming humanity.

Of course this book says

nothing new: merely what we have largely forgotten Saint Paul had said. And it gives meaning to death as well as life. Fr. Rahner's epilogue on the 'fifteenth station' considers the meaning of death. "The names which designate today's way of the cross are: tragedy, cancer. divorce, atomic warfare. being 'placed on the shelf' . . But it is still the same familiar road which leads to the grave by way of sorrow and pain .. life of its nature striving towards a conclusion of its present mode of being.

• Calling by Joseph Sikora, S.J. (Herder and Herder 54.95.) A sample paragraph indicates the quality of this book: "It is paradoxical that the very effort to achieve some kind of stability in following God's call wherever it may lead, by taking the religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, can lead to a rather routine existence that numbs one's sensitivity to the divine call. Constant struggle is required to preserve an attitude of real openness towards hearing and following the immediate call of God." This is a really constructive attempt to carry out what Pope John meant by aggiornamenro. and it balances some of the more bizarre suggestions about the future of religious life. It is a forwardlooking book with practical suggestions about the state of poverty and a depth of understanding of chastity which is best indicated by another. quotation: "Chastity can be twisted into narcissism. Or it has happened that a person who takes the vow of chastity mistakes the renunciation of sexual love for a renunciation of any intense human love or friendship at all." This is a very important book indeed because of the objectivity of outlook and a depth of

analysis which is achieved without any obscurity of thought.

• The Role of the Superior in Ihe post-Coneiliar world by A. Motte (Mercier Press 5s.) In note fonts but easily readable these are conferences given to religious superiors before the publication of Perfecta' Cartiratis. There is also an epilogue on Perfecta' Cartitatis. Unpretentious and practical this little hook should bring help to religious superiors who need it more than ever.

• Celibacy the necessary option. Edited by George H. Frien (Herder and Herder. Burns Oates 45s.) This is a collection of essays by responsible writers lay, priest and religious, reflecting the demand in America for a reconsideration of the law of clerical celibacy. There is an informative introduction about the state of opinion in the USA., A useful book for those who wish to be informed.

• Building the Human by Robert 0. Johann, S.J. (Herder and Herder, Burns Oates 45s.) Father Johann begins with the

statement that speculative thought is not a luxury by an essential part of man's human development. His fulfilment as a man will depend on his ability to apprehend and respond to not only the static and categorical but to the emerging and developing world in which he necessarily lives. This is not a popular book; neither is it abstruse and might well be read by the non-professional philosopher.

▪ The Truth of the Bible by

Oswald Loretz (Herder and Herder, Burns Oates 30s.) Oswald Loretz begins his investigations from the Hebrew concept of truth emphasising reliability and faithfulness. This links up both with linguistic questions and with faith as something we repose in a person. The connection with the question of the two sources of Revelation is obvious and the book opens up interesting questions.

• The Meaning of the Second Vatican Council by Harold Schachern (Fowler Wright Books 8s. 6d.) This survey is written by a newspaper man who understands the pitfalls in reporting an event that was entirely new in the experience of the press and for which new standards and category-values had to be coined. The seven chapters are honest and balanced. The developing understanding of the layman's role and the question on unity occupy much space; there is a good account of the Church's developing understanding of herself and useful discussion topics are presented. A small book but valuable.

▪ Our Dialogue with Rome by

George B. Caird (Oxford Paperbacks 7s. 6d.) These are the Congregational Lectures of 1966 delivered by Dr. George B. Caird who was an Observer at the Second Vatican Council. The four lectures on The Meaning of Dialogue. Use of Scripture, Authority and The Church's Mission comprise considerable learning presented with immediacy and imagination.

• Vatican II: The Constitution on the Church. A Theological and Pastoral Commentary edited by Kevin McNamara (Geoffrey Chapman 63s.) This is a work for students of all ages. The hundred page introduction gives a history of the Catholic ecclesiology in last 100 years and an account of the first Vatican Council. The commentary on the Constitution itself. a work divided among seven scholars; is compendious and pastoral in tone. The Latin text of the Constitution is printed at the end.

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