Suggested Books for Summer Reading from Our Parish Library

Looking back to the publication of Martin Luther's "95 Theses" in 1517, the year 2017 is being described as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. With this anniversary in mind, the following are five book suggestions from our parish library that can help us to reflect more deeply on the nature and history of the Church, including how we are being called to respond to the challenges of our present time, as members of the Body of Christ living today.

Fr. Christopher D'Angelo

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The Dividing of Christendom by Christopher Dawson
How did Catholics and Protestants come to be divided? What impact has their division had on Western culture? This book provides an overview of the factors that led to one of the deepest divides in Western history – one that endures and gave momentum to social, cultural, and political changes whose consequences are still very much with us. Only a deep appreciation of how the present Christian divisions arose, Dawson argues in The Dividing of Christendom, will permit an authentic return to full Christian unity.

The Gospel and the Catholic Church by Michael Ramsey
Examining Scripture, doctrine, and history, Ramsey presents his conviction that "the church's meaning lies in its fulfillment of the sufferings of Christ" and that "every part of its history is intelligible in terms of the Passion." Originally published in 1936, this was Ramsey's first book. After more than 70 years, its wisdom concerning the relationship between Catholic and Evangelical, and the underlying complementarities and tensions which characterize the Anglican tradition, remains inspiring and challenging.

Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man by Henri de Lubac
Henri de Lubac, one of the giants of 20th-century theology, gathers from throughout the breadth and length of the Christian tradition elements which he brings together to show the essentially social and historical character of the Church. He shows how this communion extending both in time and space is the only adequate context for the fulfillment of the person within society and the transcendence of the person toward God. This book is, simply put, a classic.

Martin Luther: A Life by Martin Marty
Renowned historian and Lutheran pastor Martin Marty portrays the religious reformer Martin Luther as a man of conscience and courage who risked death to ignite the historic reformation of the Church. Marty explores the records left by Luther of his inner struggles and his conflicts with the Holy Roman Empire to find a man engaged in a lifelong search for not only the grace of God, but also for the assurance that it was directed toward each individual.

Praise Be to You (Laudato si'): On Care for Our Common Home by Pope Francis
In this 2015 encyclical, Pope Francis urges all people living on the planet today to accept the inconvenient truth that we are living in an age of grave ecological crisis. Francis calls for an "ecological conversion" – a transformation linking the proper response to God for the gift of his creation to a concern for justice, especially for the poor. He challenges people to understand ecology in terms of the right ordering of the fundamental relationships of the human person: with God, oneself, other people, and the rest of creation. This is a must-read because it outlines a rich, distinctly Christian vision of how the Church is called to respond to the most pressing crises of our time. As Francis recognizes, this call to "ecological conversion" is one that transcends our ecclesial divisions.