Recommended Reading

Maria Hayes Features

HNP Today occasionally provides recommendations of publications that are relevant to friars and partners-in-ministry. These three books — all novels — have been suggested by two friars.

Beauty Will Save The World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Ageby Gregory Wolfe (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2011) encourages readers to enrich the language of civil discourse by drawing nourishment from art and religious faith. “The author has written a book that is both timely and traditional,” said Anthony Carrozzo, OFM, of New York, N.Y. “Well acquainted with the ever broadening chasm between liberals and conservatives, Wolfe argues that we must rediscover the God of beauty in the midst of trumpeting the God of truth. Appealing to the need for imagination over ideology, he returns to the Catholic renaissance of the ‘50s: the world of Flannery O’Connor, Francois Mauriac, and Leon Bloy, as well as the struggles of the characters imagined by Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh. Wolfe presents us with a world not of absolutes but of ambiguities. Hence the words of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky: ‘beauty will save the world.’ St. Bonaventure would surely agree that it is time to proclaim the God of beauty.”

The Spies of Warsaw, by Alan Furst (Random House, 2009), follows a French military attaché in 1937 who seeks to avert another incursion by Germany. By making astute connections, he discovers intelligence revealing Germany’s intentions, but his superiors’ reactions are mixed. “I liked the timeline of the story and the perspective from the prewar years,” said John Heffernan, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md. “It helps me to understand something about the Nazis and Communists, and the challenging fears of that time. I also liked the Polish perspective. According to the story, Poland’s situation and involvement in European affairs was much richer and more complex than collegiate history had taught me. Furst’s style is lively and very bright, particularly in the early stages of the story. He has a staccato way of peppering the action that communications his attitude toward the subject.”

The Bishop’s Man: A Novel by Linden MacIntyre (Counterpoint, 2011) centers around Father Duncan MacAskill, a Catholic priest whose success as the bishop’s clean-up man has earned him the nickname ‘the exorcist.’ To avoid an impending media scandal, MacAskill relocates to a remote parish near his hometown, where he must confront his own guilt and loneliness. “This novel delves into his inner life and struggles,” Anthony said. “It is very much reminiscent of The Diary of a Country Priest, but far more contemporary in its issues.”

The HNP Communications Office welcomes emails from readers who would like to suggest a book or periodical. Themes that are relevant to friars and partners-in-ministry — in addition to spirituality and news of the Catholic Church — include topics affiliated with Holy Name Province committees and directorates, evangelization, vocations, wellness, justice and peace, young adults, and African-American and Hispanic ministries.

— Compiled by Maria Hayes