Saturday, January 24, 2015

All the stuff I have been reading

I mentioned I have been reading Anthony Esolen's excellent book: Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching. What I didn't know is that Mr. Esolen relies almost exclusively on many of Pope Leo XIII's writings-not just Rerum Novarum. Although I haven't finished yet (I got sidetracked on some other books), I have read 2 reviews of the book. One positive: at Front Porch Republic. This one in fact mentions one of my other all-time favorites: John Senior's Restoration of Christian Culture.

The second: at Solidarity Hall is critical saying:
Unfortunately, Esolen’s reclaiming of what we call now the life issues, including marriage, under the heading of CST includes practically no discussion of the issues of justice, equity and the guidelines for a political economy. In the somewhat maddening fashion of many culture warriors on the right, Esolen recuses himself from these “technical” issues, as though an ignorance of credit default swaps meant we laypeople simply could not comment on structural inequality or its role in creating a permanent underclass. As a result, this book on CST contains almost no consideration of the very issues on which most readers turn to CST for guidance—for example, human solidarity, the nature of work, the living wage or the common good.
I am about 80% through the book and don't agree with the critical assessment. Certainly Mr. Esolen does not present a comprehensive economic plan or so-called "Third Way", but a careful reading will reveal why. Mr. Esolen does (as the reviewer states) claim ignorance of detailed economics, but more importantly Mr. Esolen defines economy in terms of the family, not in terms of capitalism, socialism, distributism or the like.

I was also given the novel Christopher by David Athley (Sophia Institute Press) for Christmas. After reading some many chapters I looked up some reviews of the book. It is either loved (enthusiastically) or hated. (4-5 stars or 1 stars.) Unfortunately I am of the latter and don't know if I will finish it. Perhaps I am unsophisticated. I could never understand Flannery O'Connor, but liked Edwin O'Connor (The Last Hurrah). I also  usually tend toward thrillers or mysteries in my fiction likes. Coming of age stories and the like usually can't hold my interest.
Finally, my sister just sent me a used copy of E.B. White's One Man's Meat, which is a collection of magazine articles he wrote over a three to four year period. This is just after he quit the New Yorker and moved to a seaside farm in Maine. I have never read anything by White (although I have seen a movie rendition of Charlotte's Web.) It is interesting in that it gives one a glimpse of life during the pre-war years (I am at 1939 now, only 25% in.)
Finally, (and having nothing to do with books-well may be the Great Books), have you heard of the new Catholic college: Northeast Catholic College in New Hampshire. It is an outgrowth of the College of St. Mary Magdalen. My son is there and is happy with the changes. Check it out!
Oremus pro invicem!

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