Saturday, 31 July 2021

Guide to Religious Freedom and the Law - Neil Addison - CTS Explanations

Guide to Religious Freedom and the Law
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860829086
eISBN 9781784693664
CTS Booklet EX49

This is the first volume from Neil Addison that I have read, and I believe he only has five other books published. They all deal with religions and laws. This is the sixth volume that I have read in the CTS Explanations series. In the last few years I have read over 200 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. Based on the CTS number for this book EX49 and the list at the back of the book there are at least 49 books in this series. Prior to reading this one I thought it was 21. Some have eBooks, some are out of print, and a few are still available both in print and digitally. This is a fascinating series, it tackles some hard questions. And they give clear and concise summary of Catholic Teachings on those topics. But this one is a little different. It is a primer on British law and how it applies to Catholic or Christian organizations. The description on the back of this book is:

“This booklet considers areas of the law relating to Religious Freedom and Discrimination, which are of specific interest to Catholic institutions and individual Catholics; in particular the exemptions in Discrimination law which apply to religious organisations in England, Wales and Scotland. The author offers a helpful introductory tour of the key issues and areas to be aware of, primarily for a Catholic audience though it may well be of assistance to members of other religions and Churches since many of the legal questions are common across religious boundaries.”

The chapters in this volume are:

General Principles of Discrimination and Human Rights Law
      Human Rights
      Direct and Indirect Discrimination
      Varieties of Discrimination
Religious Organisations - Services and Membership
      Legal Exemptions for Religious Organisations
      Exemptions Relating to Religion or Belief
      Exemptions Relating to Sexual Orientation
      Exemptions Relating to Restrictions on Membership
      Advice Regarding Premises and Letting Agreements
      Catholic Charities
      Canon Law Relating to Catholic Charities
Employment Rights
      Catholic Organisations, Rights as Employers
      Employment Exemptions for Catholic Organisations
      Catholic Employees’ Rights
      Harassment at Work
      Medical and Health Care Personnel
University Students and Free Speech
Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnerships
      Equality Act 2010 (Selected Sections)
      Exemptions From Equality Act 2010
      European Convention on Human Rights
      Motu Proprio “On the Service of Charity”
      List of Websites and Other Information Sources

The beginning of the introduction states:

“This booklet is an attempt to provide information on aspects of the law relating to religious freedom and discrimination which are of specific interest to Catholic institutions and individual Catholics. It is not intended as a guidance on the totality of the law.”

And further on:

“This booklet deals with the legal situation in England, Wales and Scotland. The Human Rights Act applies in Northern Ireland but not the Equality Act 2010 since Northern Ireland, for historical reasons, has its own quite specific legislation dealing with religious discrimination.”

There were parts of this book that were fascinating, and parts that were very dry. The appendices were very dry, but I did make it through them. As a Canadian this book was not particularly relevant to me. But the information was very interesting. The information is based on laws as they existed on October 31st 2013 but the author provides likes for where he will keep the information updated. I can see that for the intended audience this book would be excellent. And especially as the author is keeping the information updated. But as someone from across the pond, it was not terribly applicable to me. 

An interesting read. A good book in a great series.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Neil Addison:
Guide to Religious Freedom and the Law – CTS Explanations
Sharia Law or 'One Law for All'?
Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law
Left of the Clowns in Me
Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law
Harassment Law and Practice

Books in the CTS Explanations Series:
Marriage Annulment in the Catholic Church
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Does the Church oppress Women?
Organ Transplant – and the definition of Death
Be Yourself An Explanation of Humility - William Lawson SJ
Gene Therapy – and Human Genetic Engineering
Prenatal tests
Gift of life and Love
Cloning and Stem Cell Research
Contraception and Chastity
Freemasonry and the Christian Faith
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Spirits, Mediums & The Afterlife

Friday, 30 July 2021

The Little Office of Baltimore - Claudio R Salvucci - Traditional Catholic Daily Prayer

The Little Office of Baltimore: 
Traditional Catholic Daily Prayer
Claudio R Salvucci (Compilation)
ISBN 9781505118452
eISBN 9781505118537

Wow this is an amazing little book. It is so good I now have both the Leather edition and the eBook. I picked up the eBook version for when on the go. And use the leather one at home. But before we get to the contents of the book. The leather edition is very well made. I have used it every day for a few months now and you cannot even tell it has been used. No spine cracking, or splitting. Excellent stitched pages, with cloth spine and headband. Gold gilded fore edge.  And very nice thick heavy weight pages. No onion paper here that will tear and get damaged easily. It is a beautiful book made with skill and care. But stepping aside from the physical production to the contents.

The subtitle of this book is ‘Traditional Catholic Daily Prayer’ and it is a wonderful prayer book. The description of the book is:

“The Baltimore Catechism formed generations of Catholics and provided a solid foundation in the faith for millions. In recent decades, it has enjoyed a renaissance among traditional-minded Catholics, yet few know that the Plenary Council which produced it, the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, also produced a Manual of Prayers (Imprimatur 1888). This present volume, based on the prayers in that manual, bears the newly-coined name Little Office of Baltimore. With its peculiarly and unmistakable American pedigree, coupled with the fact that it preceded the extensive changes to the Divine Office that occurred throughout the 20th century, it is sure to be welcomed by today’s more traditional-minded English-speaking laity as well as those interested in historical Catholicism. It retains a strong connection to the traditional Roman office which can be traced back, in its essentials, to Saint Benedict. Relying principally on the prayers found in the Manual, when necessary the compiler supplemented with material gleaned from the English translation of the Roman breviary by the Marquis de Bute (Imprimatur 1903). The result: a beautiful new resource for those seeking to deepen their prayer lives or just a greater connection to Traditional American Catholicism.”

And the chapters are:

Daily Offices
Propers Of The Season
Post-Epiphany And Septuagesima
Lent And Passiontide
Trinity Sunday
Corpus Christi
For Saints And Angels
For The Blessed Virgin
For The Holy Angels
For The Church And The Saints
Psalms For Various Occasions
During Sickness
Sorrow For Sin
Confidence In God
Bewailing Our Miseries
Prayer For Deliverance
Songs Of Joy
In Trouble
For Superiors
In Disquietude Of Mind
Shortness Of This Life
The Good And The Wicked
Excellence Of God’s Law
Seeking After God
For Holy Communion

This is one of those books I know I will be using for years to come. I have a few other prayer books in both physical and eBook edition. But this one with the Daily office is much more in depth than either of the others. The Little Office of Baltimore is based on the prayers found in the Manual of Prayers (Imprimatur 1888) and from the Bute Breviary (Imprimatur 1903) which was produced by the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore. The book is infused with faith. It looks and feels like a prayer book your grandparent or even great grandparent would have handed down. 

This is a wonderful book. I am certain it will be a blessing to you if you pick it up and use it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Free Hearts - Alexandre Havard - Understanding Your Deepest Motivations

Free Hearts: 
Understanding Your Deepest Motivations
Anthony T. Salvia (Translator)
ISBN 9781594173950
eISBN 9781594173967

I have read a few books now from the pen of Alexandre Havard and I believe th is the second translated by Anthony T. Salvia. His books move me and they challenge me. They are well worth the time and effort to read. The description of this volume is:

“Beauty, greatness, love, freedom, mercy, and suffering expand the heart, purify it, and make it burn with love and desire.

In the words of Alexandre Havard, “A free heart says ‘yes’ to transcendent values, to the divine inspirations and impulses in the depths of our being.”

For our hearts to be free, we must transform our interior selves. Alexandre Havard shows us the way.

His important new book will help you achieve the optimal balance between the heart, the mind, and the will, heal your heart when it is troubled and has been wounded, and enable your most noble aspirations to grow in strength and maturity.”

And the chapters are:

From the Author
1 The Heart: Source and Center
2 The Spirituality of the Heart 
3 The Rationalist
4 The Religious Voluntarist
5 The Macho Voluntarist
6 The Ideological Voluntarist
7 The Conventional Voluntarist
8 The Voluptuous Sentimentalist
9 The Insane Sentimentalist 
10 The Cowardly Sentimentalist
11 Desiccated Hearts
12 Wounded Hearts
13 Beauty
14 Greatness
15 Love
16 Freedom
17 Mercy
18 Suffering

I have been on a streak lately with some excellent reads. And this is one of the best of those. This is not a long volume but it is packed full of wisdom. Some of the passages that I highlight during my first read through are:

“The human being possesses three centers of freedom and responsibility: reason, the will and the heart. Reason and the will are exclusively spiritual faculties. The heart is spiritual and physical at the same time.”

“A person without a heart does not exist, nor one whose heart is empty, because it cannot be empty. It is always full. It holds the good (vision, drive) and the evil (blindness, impotence), and if the good decreases, the bad increases.”

“Before the West discovered Aristotle, it was St. Augustine—author of the Confessions—who provided intellectual guidance. For him, the heart is a faculty both physical and spiritual, even if he refuses to grant it a value on par with reason and the will.”

“Be that as it may, the West has emphasized the mind and the will in the life of man, whereas the East has paid greater attention to the heart. The West often accuses the East of sentimentalism, and the East often reproaches the West for its rationalism and voluntarism. Both approaches are false if they do not take into account this elementary fact: the heart, the mind, and the will can only function together.”

“One can only practice the good with a pure heart, an enlightened intelligence, and a strong will.”

“Our virtues ennoble our emotions, our vices corrupt them.”

“As Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote: “A person can develop all the spiritual richness to which he is called only if he is penetrated, imbibed by the values which he perceives and only if his heart is stirred and inflamed by these values and responds to them with the fire of joy, enthusiasm and love.””

“Freedom is the quality of a heart accustomed to saying “yes” to transcendent values. The “yes” demands the humility which predisposes us to be attentive to the calls of beauty, truth, and the good. The proud person resists being moved by transcendent values because nothing in this world exceeds himself. He thinks he should do the moving. Pride is the greatest obstacle to the education of the heart.”

“Strengthen your will. Do not renounce the good on the pretext that it could be a source of conflict. Learn to manage conflicts with sincerity and firmness.”

“The experience of beauty, greatness, love, freedom, mercy, and suffering expands and exalts our heart. It purifies it and makes it burn.”

“A humble heart is always listening. It is open and receptive. It is full of gratitude. It is happy.”

As can be seen from those sampling of quotes this book is pack full of wisdom. It is easily accessible. It is great for the scholar, hobbyist, or a general audience. Anyone wanting to grow in the virtues, grow spiritually, and really grow in understanding themselves and others this is the book for you. 

Another excellent read from the masterful pen of Alexandre Havard.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Alexandre Havard:
Virtuous Leadership: An Agenda for Personal Excellence
Created for Greatness: The Power of Magnanimity

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Scriptures of Mercy - Father Adrian Graffy - The Love of God in the Old Testament

Scriptures of Mercy:
The Love of God in the Old Testament
Year of Mercy
Father Adrian Graffy 
ISBN 9781784691288
eISBN 9781784693084
CTS Booklet SC121

This is the third volume in the Year of Mercy Series that I have read. I believe there are 8 volumes in this series and that 6 of them are available as eBooks. I picked all the eBooks up as soon as I finished the first one. Over the last several years, I have read over 200 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. This is the fifth book I have read by father Adrian Graffy. It will not be my last. The description of the booklet is:

“Twelve famous Old Testament passages draw out the boundless mercy of God, thus revealing his true nature and challenging popular misconceptions about God and the Bible. From Adam and Eve, Joseph, the Exodus, Jonah, King David, and many others, to the cries of the Prophets, we are acquainted with this mercy time and time again. Pope Francis calls us to return to the scriptures and to divine mercy. This text is especially helpful to those who have limited knowledge of the scriptures and open up for them just how prominent the reality of God’s mercy is in the scriptures.”

The chapters in this volume are:

In the Beginning - the Mercy of God
Esau Embraces his Brother Jacob
Joseph Pardons his Brothers
God Sets the People Free
God the Merciful
David Pleads for Forgiveness
The Parental Compassion of God
A Call to Repentance
Jonah Struggles with God’s Mercy
The Eternal Covenant of God’s Mercy
Remember the Mercy of God
God, Lover of Life

With each booklet I read in this series I appreciate it more. This booklet, like the other two I have read in the series, can easily be read over a large mug of coffee or tea. But they are also books that could be returned to again and again. The ‘Year of Mercy’ might be well behind us, but its message is still an important one. In our lives and in the impact we can and should have upon the world around us. And this volume examining the 12 examples of Mercy from the Old testament is a wonderful read. I highlighted a few passages during my first reading of this volume, they are:

“The twelve readings in this booklet provide a wide variety of Old Testament passages which speak of God’s mercy, and the way this mercy is lived out by human beings. There are many other texts which might have been included. God’s mercy begins from the very beginning, and, as Psalm 136 (135) says, “it endures for ever”.”

“The opening chapters of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, are unique. They address fundamental questions. Through these ancient stories we learn about the goodness of God, the beauty of God’s creation, the place of human beings in it, and so much more. After two stories about God bringing the creation into existence, the man and his wife are in a garden. Everything is provided for their needs. Furthermore, they are given the uniquely human gift of free choice. The story teaches us that human beings can make the wrong choices, that we can choose what is not good, and that such choices have consequences.”

“• How often have you experienced goodness coming from an unexpected source? 
• Is there anyone you can surprise by offering them mercy, just as Esau did to Jacob?”

“As the story of the chosen people continues we are faced with another family crisis. Jacob has a favourite son called Joseph, son of his beloved wife Rachel, and he loves Joseph more than all his other sons. This Joseph is the recipient of the amazing coat with long sleeves. His brothers are jealous and kidnap Joseph, selling him into slavery in Egypt. When famine hits Canaan their homeland, the brothers go to Egypt to beg for food. They encounter a powerful government official who has charge of the food stores. He treats them with kindness. This official is none other than Joseph.”

And the one that had the biggest impact on me was:

“The mercy of God needs collaborators, and can be very persuasive when human beings are slow to respond to God’s call.”

Reading this volume I saw several of these OT events in a different light. Some I had previously thought of as God’s provision, but looking at them through the term of mercy I see them in a new light. And I know this will have an impact on my future readings in both the old and new testaments. 

This book is another excellent read in a great series. The Year of Mercy may be past, but we can all grow in our knowledge of Mercy and of living it out. This book and the series will help us do just that. This book was originally published in 2016 and the eBook released in 2017. It is an great little booklet. And I look forward to reading the others in the Year of Mercy Series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Year of Mercy Books:
Corporal Work of Mercy – Richard Atherton
Mercy Works – Mark P. Shea
Rich in Mercy – Pope Saint John Paul II
Spiritual Works of Mercy – Paul Grogan
The Joy of Mercy – Pope Francis

Books by Father Adrian Graffy:
A Manual of Hebrew Poetics
Alive and Active: The Old Testament Beyond 2000
Trustworthy and True: The Gospels Beyond 2000
Twelve Steps to the Love of God

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Cold Caller - Edwin Torr - Dead Means Dead Book 2.5

Cold Caller
Dead Means Dead Book 2.5
Obolus Books

I have now read 7 of the 8 books available in the Dead Means Dead series, in under 3 weeks. And a total of 10 others under one of his other pen names. This is a very entertaining series, and this novella is an excellent offering. Torr is one of three names this author publishes under, to the best of my knowledge. But who is he really? I have read all of his adult crime novels published as J.E. Mayhew. I have read one of his Young Adult collections of short stories as Jon Mayhew. And now I have read seven under this pen name of Edwin Torr. Reaching out to the author before reading book one I believe there are 8 stories published under this name and in this series. There are three novels and 5 novella’s or short stories to date. After finishing this I only have 1 novel to go. And since it has been a few years, there are no indications there will be more stories in this series, at least anytime soon. 

This really is a very fun story in what in an immensely entertaining series. While reading this series, I cannot help but think about Cedar Sanderson’s The Groundskeeper Raking Up the Dead and Zombie Death Extreme Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator by Karina Fabian all three authors approaches are very differently the stories are somewhat similar and just as enjoyable and memorable. And yes I have stated that with each review! 

As I have said this story is incredibly entertaining. The main stories in this series focus on a young man named Tom Coffin; he is a Specialist Funeral Director. His job is to put the undead back in the ground. Coffin’s mode of transport is a car called Persephone, a Jaguar XJ hearse a 1995 model, a vehicle that looks like the offspring of a family station wagon and the Popemobile. The description of this book is:

““It’s my ex-boyfriend. He keeps phoning me and telling me that he wants to get back with me and we should be together. I keep explaining that he’s dead and it wouldn’t work but…”

Tom Coffin just wants to curl up and nurse his rotten cold but an undead stalker and a lost zombie dog won’t let him. But where is the cold caller? And why is he making threatening phone calls to some very heavy-duty villains? Villains that become interested in Coffin and make a bad day worse. Another intriguing and fast-paced short adventure from the Dead Means Dead series.”  

I honestly cannot put these books down. It is only an immense effort and great will power that has prevented me from reading these books straight through. I typically alternate one fiction and then a non-fiction. And it was not easy to pause between these stories. And I have recommended these books to over a dozen friends already, even during a lockdown and social distancing. 

Tom Coffin is an amazing character, and honestly one I am sorry to know has a limited run. As a Specialist Funeral Director, he deals with the odd, strange, and unusual. So a zombie dog, sorry Litch, Tom does not like the ‘Z’ word. And a dead guy making phone calls and sending inappropriate pics. Throw in a hypochondriac pet owner, a bit of a mob boss, and a disturbing discover and you have an excellent read. 

Tom at his best, this is another great awesome read in a wonderful series!  

Books as J.E. Mayhew:
DCI William Blake Series:
7.0 No Time For Sorrow

Books as Jon Mayhew:
Death Road
The Spybrarian
Have a Go 
Dark Tide 
Death Wheels 

Monster Odyssey Series:
1.0 The Eye of Neptune
2.0 The Wrath of the Lizard Lord
3.0 The Curse of the Ice Serpent
4.0 The Venom of the Scorpion

Mortlock Series:
1.0 Mortlock
2.0 The Demon Collector
3.0 The Bonehill Curse

Collins Big Cat Series:
The Merchant of Venice: Band 16/Sapphire
Hamlet: Band 18/Pearl
Romeo and Juliet: Band 18/Pearl
Macbeth: Band 18/Pearl

Contributed to:
Beyond the Book: A Collection of Short Stories
Storycraft: How To Teach Creative Writing
Criminal Shorts: UK Crime Book Club Anthology
Make Doves Not War - Forward

Books as Edwin Torr:
Dead Means Dead Series
1.0 Demons - 2017
1.3 Cotton Candy - 2017
1.9 Remurdered - 2017
2.0 Angel Hunter - 2017
2.5 Cold Caller - 2017
3.0 Jigsaw Girl - 2018