A terrific, welcoming volume about Catholicism.


A brief and renovating look at the Catholic faith.

In his nonfiction debut, Catholic priest Regan opens his discussion of the contemporary American Catholic experience by reflecting on the many people in the modern era who find the observance of its rules and regulations to be unappealing: “keeping rules for most people did not promote experiencing the joy and adventure of freedom!” In a series of short, highly readable chapters, Regan seeks to highlight what he sees as the more inviting aspects of Catholicism, which some readers may not expect—most prominently, its flexibility and humanity: “Our true belief as Catholics,” Regan writes, “is in a God who had shared freedom with all human beings and gave us all enough room to make mistakes, no matter how honest or important we believe our conclusions to be.” He’s comfortable attesting to the fact that many Catholics disagree about aspects of the faith, and he’s equally quick to admit that the church’s revised 2011 translation of the liturgy has met with a decidedly mixed reaction. Readers who are familiar with the history of Catholic writings will be struck again and again in Regan’s compassionate, empathetic notes, which would have been unrecognizable to Catholic thinkers of earlier ages. When writing about the laggard faith of some fellow Catholics, for instance, or the persistence of some in sin, he writes a line that might have shocked Ignatius of Loyola: “Is it the right of you or me or any power on earth to set the timetable for another’s liberation into God?” More conservative Catholics may find such reflections more relaxed than they’d prefer, but many modern believers, especially young ones, will find a version of Catholicism in these pages that they can embrace.

A terrific, welcoming volume about Catholicism.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64569-683-4

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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