Thursday, December 07, 2006

Books, Books, Books, and Married Male Bum Sex

It's been another lively week in Canada. First, Carleton University decides its students cannot oppose the abortion leviathan. Second, the House of Commons rejects the lameass motion by the Conservatives to discuss same-sex marriage. It's not every week that the public is grossly mislead and a little bit more of our liberal democracy dies. O Canada, home of the self-righteous, oppressive, and sexually deviant.

I recently finished two books from two First Things heavies. Catholic Matters, by Fr. Richard Neuhaus, discussed the past 40 years of Catholicism in the West. Neuhaus is a fine writer, and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Catholic Church or Western religions in general. God's Choice, by George Weigel, focuses on Catholicism, but mainly on the papacy of the late and great John Paul II, and the new papacy of Benedict XVI. While Weigel calls this book a sequel to Witness to Hope, his seminal biography of John Paul II, I'm not convinced. Witness to Hope is an indepth look into the life of the Man of the Century, whereas God Choice's is more of a first year university survey text. Don't take this the wrong way, I am a big fan of Weigel's, but I think this book was a laboursome affair he patched together to meet a deadline. It lacks direction: the first half discussing the black and white realities of the final years of John Paul II, clearly Weigel's preferred topic; the second half discussing the gray possibilities of Benedict's pontificate. It is the second half that Weigel loses direction, as he drifts from possibility to possibility without every providing as serious an understanding of Joseph Ratzinger as he did of Karol Wojtyla. Naturally, you might say, since Weigel spent years with John Paul II and published an 800 page biographical tome on him. But that's exactly the point: Weigel attempts to apply his lens, which he formed studing the previous pope, to Benedict, and the result is a rather tired and difficult final 150 pages. These final pages feel as if they were simply arbitrarily attached to the first, and I finished the book wondering why it was called God's Choice, and not The Final 5 Years of the John Paul II Pontificate & Some Stuff About the German Guy.

I'm now reading C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, which became one of my favourite books at page 30. To my detriment, I haven't read much Lewis, even though he was the last great apologist from the Anglo-Catholicism, and apologetics being my next stop after polemics. But on the rare occassion I take up a Lewis book, I am always surprised by the simplicity of his writing. It's so clear, and yet so effectual.

After I've finished The Great Divorce, I plan on tackling either Truth and Tolerance, by Benedict XVI, or City of God, by St. Augustine. I've read a lot of Benedict this past year, but Augustine's Confessions was the first book I read during my reconversion to Catholicism, and hence I've developed something of an affinity to that great North African Saint, so I might just take that one on instead. Choices.

1 comment:

Harrison said...

Do City of God!

It's massive and long. The first five books are a bit St Augustine goes to GREAT depths to show the grave inconsistancies with how the Pagans believed that all was well with Paganism. It's Books VI to XXII that are really awesome it looks (have been glimpsing ahead). I'm on Book V right now as I am writing a paper on it for my Tertio Millenio seminar. But still well worth the read...

Confessions was my first book too...I love the man too much...such a genius and such a mystery in the mystical sense in his writings.