Friday 7 February 2020

The Catholic Gentleman - Samuel Guzman - Living Authentic Manhood Today

The Catholic Gentleman: Living Authentic Manhood Today
Samuel Guzman
Dale Ahlquist (Forward)
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781621640684
eISBN 9781681496498

This book had been on my wish list since before it even published. From the moment I encountered the cover, I knew this was a book I wanted to read, and one I likely needed to read. I was not wrong on either account. This is one of those books that you can easily gift to any Catholic or even any Christian man in your life. There are 32 pieces in this collection. There is also an excellent forward by Dale Ahlquist and two great appendices.

Ahlquist drawing from his own extensive writings postulates on the meaning of the term ‘gentleman’ and the history of ‘knights’  to set up the purpose for the book. At one point stating:

“Putting on armor was a rare event but a necessary one. The knight's greatest strength was in his restraint. He won love and respect without having to brandish his power. He followed an established set of rules. He knew that freedom existed within those rules—freedom for himself and for everyone who depended on him. He was civilized; he was not a barbarian. He was gentle because he was polite. G. K. Chesterton points out the forgotten connection between the words polite and police. Both refer to self-restraint, to keeping order, to following rules. Politeness watches over the polis, the city.”

And after expanding upon that, and giving an example from Chesterton’s works. He concludes the introduction with these statements:

“Men have stopped showing courtesy. One of the most obvious places we see a lack of courtesy is on the Internet, in the unrestrained manner in which people address each other. The virtual world is not a virtuous world, as people type things to their onscreen adversaries that they would never say to a person sitting across the table.

At least, not yet: There is nothing to stop this behavior from carrying over into the real world.

Not only are men not behaving like gentlemen on the Internet; they are not treating women like ladies. A man who regards a woman as no more than a soulless erotic image existing only for his gratification has become a barbarian, the very thing the good and gentle knight had to fight against. We need to bring back these knights. We need to bring back true gentlemen.

Sam Guzman has given us something we desperately need: a valuable, readable book to help make young men into gentlemen.”

And I completely agree. This is a much needed volume but not only for making young men into gentlemen, but also for some of us older man to help us become even more gentlemanly. I honestly believe that any Christian man would benefit from reading this volume. In some ways it could be ‘The catholic Gentleman’, with a small C because of the universal nature of the advice and wisdom contained in this volume.  Guzman himself returns to Chesterton in the 15 chapter The Call To Protect. In which he gives a humorous telling of Chesterton’s own gun totting ways. And his desire to be able to protect his bride.

This book can be read from beginning to end. Or you can flip and read any of the pieces on their own. In some ways it reminds me of some of the materials from the Promise Keepers movement 30 years ago. The writing is excellent. And I loved the Catholic Gentleman’s Rule of Life, and Reading List. I have already read about a quarter of the recommended list and have added several to my wish list. A few pieces in this volume specifically hit me on this reading:

Who Wants to Be a Saint?
Happiness and Holiness

But I am sure when I reread the book that different chapters will be the ones I need at that point. My only real regret is that I did not pick it up as soon as it came out. I would likely be done it a second time already. So do not make my mistake, pick up this book and give it a read NOW. As stated this is an excellent volume and I highly recommend it!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Samuel ‘Sam’ Guzman:
Be Not Afraid
The Catholic Gentleman

Contributed to:
Spirit and Life: The Holy Sacraments of the Catholic Church

No comments: