The Church on Trial

Augustine: A New Biography . O’Donnell, J.J. (2005). NY: Harper-Collins Publisher, 10 E. 53 rd St., 10022 pp. 336 BP $26.95.

This rendition of Augustine’s life and legacy is by no means hagiographical. As a matter of fact it is, at times, down-right hostile. The first part of the book is based mainly on an exegesis of The Confessions. O’Donnell questions its gen … [Read more...]

Insight into Wilde’s soul

THE UNMASKING OF OSCAR WILDE. By Joseph Pearce (Ignatius Press, P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, CO 80522, 2004); 1-800-651-1531; 412 pp. HB. $19.95.

Distinguished classical scholar in his college days at Trinity College in Ireland; gifted poet, dramatist, and author of fairy tales like “The Selfish Giant” and “The Happy Prince”; famed wit, dandy, bon vivant, and sophisticated convers … [Read more...]

A holy, brave, maligned pope

MAN OF PEACE: POPE PIUS XII. By Margherita Marchione (Paulist Press, 997 Macarthur Blvd., Mahway, N.J. 07430, 2004), xi + 79 pp. PB $9.95.

This is an abridged edition of Sr. Margherita Marchione’s Shepherd Souls: a pictorial life of Pope Pius XII. Her written defenses of Pope Pius XII began in 1977. This is her fifth volume in response to the attacks leveled against Pius XII t … [Read more...]

Mother, Doctor and Saint

SAINT GIANNA MOLLA: WIFE, MOTHER, DOCTOR. By Pietro Molla and Elio Guerriero. (Ignatius Press, P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, Colo. 80522, 2004), 153 pp. PB $10.95.

Saints come in all sizes, ages, colors and shapes. Here is the life of a newly canonized contemporary woman, Gianna Molla (1923-1962) who risked her life in order to save her unborn child. Diagnosed with uterine tumors, she refused a … [Read more...]

Christ Shines Through

SWIMMING WITH SCAPULARS: TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG CATHOLIC. By Matthew Lickona (Loyola Press, 3441 North Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, 2005) viii + 278 pp. PB $19.95

Pastors, bishops, sociologists and others who want to get some insight into the minds of young, practicing Catholics today should read Matthew Lickona, a writer for the San Diego Reader who has produced a short but charming book, winsomely … [Read more...]

The First Black Catholic Priest in the United States

FROM SLAVE TO PRIEST. By Sister Caroline Hemesath, S.S.F. (Ignatius Press, P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, Colo. 80522; 1973/2006 reprint), 251 pages, HB, $17.95

This book is a reprint of 1973. The Rev. Augustine Tolton, ordained in 1886, was the first black Catholic priest in the United States. There were a few mulattos ordained slightly ahead of him, but he was the first fully black American to be … [Read more...]

Fighting for the Truth

REFLECTIONS OF A PRO-LIFE WARRIOR. By Robert J. Cetrulo, J.D. (Northern Kentucky Right to Life Educational Foundation, Inc., 1822 Madison Avenue, P. O. Box 1202, Covington, KY 41012), xiii + 246 pp. PB $12.95.

What is a pro-life warrior? Mr. Cetrulo cites the example of St. Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers and statesmen, as the model for leaders in the pro-life movement: “He gave up everything—family, fortune, office, and ultimately his he … [Read more...]

Truth and Beauty


Marco Bardazzi is an Italian journalist and the American correspondent of ANSA, an Italian news agency. He lives in New York City. This brief biography of Pope Benedict XVI is an easily readable story of his life told in chronological … [Read more...]

A Question of Fairness

A review of Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith, by John Allen

Cardinal Ratzinger is perhaps the most controversial figure in the Church today, a subject awaiting an author. Various articles about him have appeared, but no book, until the recent appearance of that by John L. Allen, Jr., Vatican … [Read more...]