Volume 3, Issue 4 February 2017

by Monica Weis
Thomas Merton was born in 2015. In the midst of the flurry of books written to commemorate his birth comes one with a new lens through which to reflect on his life and spirituality. In Thomas Merton and the Celts: a New World Opening Up, Monica Weis reveals Merton’s growing fascination with his Welsh ancestry, Celtic monasticism, and early Irish hermit poetry. Author of two previous books, Thomas Merton’s Gethsemani: Landscapes of Paradise (2005) and The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton (2011), Weis examined unpublished letters, notebooks and conferences for the Trappist novices, which previously were unavailable to the general reader. Read more.

by William H. DuBay
In the early 60s, California voters were moving the state toward apartheid, bringing racial tensions to a boiling point. In 1964, a young Catholic priest, William DuBay, held a press conference at which he asked Pope Paul VI to remove Cardinal James McIntyre from office as Archbishop of Los Angeles. DuBay cited the cardinal’s opposition to the civil rights movement as contrary to Christian teaching. Read more.

by Robert Blair Kaiser
The late Robert Blair Kaiser’s book Inside the Jesuits was written soon after the first Jesuit pope was elected. Subtitled: Pope Francis is Changing the Church and the World, Kaiser attributes this to the pope’s Jesuit DNA. “There is something special about the Jesuits, their training, their history, their head-and-heart take on the faith, yes, even a joyful take on the faith that can serve as a antidote to the poisonous gloom of our age.” Read more.

by Douglass McFerran
From our inaugural issue, Doug McFerran, author and critic and former Jesuit, reviews an important, but unjustly overlooked, book by Peter McDonough, The Catholic Labyrinth: Power, Apathy, and a Passion for Reform in the American Church (Oxford University Press, 2013). McFerran says the heart of McDonough’s thesis is that the modern institutional Church has used its fears of sex and consequent prohibitions to secure power for itself and its celibate clerics. Read more.

by Christine M. Roussel
I had the incredible good fortune of growing up in a Vatican II parish in New York – in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Saint Thomas More on East 89th Street was one of the smallest churches and parishes in New York City. The physical church itself was an Episcopal church, then a Dutch Reformed church, and finally was bought by the Archdiocese in 1950. Its founding pastor was a medieval historian who wrote textbooks on World and American History for parochial school children and had been Dean and then President of Cathedral College, Msgr. Philip J. Furlong, soon to become Bishop Furlong. I first met Bishop Furlong when, newly consecrated, he came to my then-parish, St. Ignatius Loyola, to confirm me with a couple of dozen others. A few months later, in 1956, when I was 11, we moved into St. Thomas More Parish.Read more.