10 December 2008

A Father Writes To His Children

My friend Bill McNamer has been writing this nice little book for several years now. It was worth waiting for. It is part Apologia Pro Vita Sua, an apology or defense of one's life, with a touch of Baltimore Catechism thrown in, and in closing, a sincere, thoughtful and sensitive invitation to his children and really all of us younger folks who have tended to drift away from Mother Church, wittingly or not, to re-think the situation.

Here is the blurb from McNamer's book website:

"Keep the Faith is a series of letters from a Catholic father to his five young adult children, and by extension to all young adult Catholics who are at risk of losing their faith, or who have dropped out. The author presents the theology underlying Catholic teaching at a level appropriate for thinking adults, addresses the common hangups to faith, and concludes with an extended treatment of Catholic spirituality.

In Keep the Faith, the author meets the problem of belief and doubt with understanding and common sense, questions the adequacy of secularism as a philosophy of life, and insists that both faith and reason -- and a little poetry, beauty, and prayer -- are necessary to live a life of meaning and purpose. These can be found in the Catholic faith."

There are defenses of this and explanations of that as a lawyerly way of laying the groundwork for his final summation which is the Great Commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Maturity has not blunted his ironic wit: “The sacrament of Reconciliation was formerly known as Confession to you regular sinners. But we don’t hear much about sin and Confession anymore. Somehow, sin has [had] done a [total] makeover so it’s hard to recognize. Or else we’re all getting holier as we grow older.”

In addition to the Scriptures and Joyce, a little Blake and Belloc leaven the whole thing, and in addition he makes good use of some of the dissenting 20th century Scribes of the Church, though he mercifully puts those references into some compact endnotes. This slim book is worth more than a quick read as I found on my second reading. Highly recommended.

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