Briefly Noted

From the Aug/Sept 2017 Print Edition

On the Road to Vatican II: German Catholic Enlightenment and Reform of the Churchby ulrich l. lehnerfortress, 414 pages, $49 On the Road to Vatican II focuses on German and ­Austrian theological debates in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as examples of the Catholic Enlightenment. Historians . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the April 2017 Print Edition

The Contemplative Hungerby father donald haggertyignatius, 259 pages, $17.95Fr. Donald Haggerty’s first book, Contemplative Provocations (reviewed here in December 2013), offered aphoristic counsel on prayer and contemplation, particularly in light of God’s concealment from those who most . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the February 2017 Print Edition

Bach & God by michael marissen oxford, 288 pages, $35Michael Marissen, emeritus professor of music at Swarthmore, argues that Johann Sebastian Bach’s music embodies the theology of its text, and an acquaintance with that theology helps listeners understand and appreciate Bach’s music more . . . . Continue Reading »

No Apology for Bach's Theology

From First Thoughts

As the cantor of Leipzig, Bach was responsible for composing music for Sunday ­services, which produced reams of choral ­music, mostly cantatas. Because of this, it would be difficult to find a composer who wrote more sacred music. Like Victoria and Bruckner, Bach’s works stem from his own devotion. But more than any other composer, Bach uses complex music to articulate theology. . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the May 2016 Print Edition

Saint Paul Lives Here (In Minnesota)by zach czaiawipf and stock, 66 pages, $7.50 A fter years of controversy over the mishandling of sexual predators among the priests of his archdiocese, Archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul John Nienstedt resigned last June. Now facing criminal prosecution, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Marriage is Not a Social Convention

From First Thoughts

In a Web Exclusive article today, I elaborate problems that I see in Amoris Laetitia. Here on First Thoughts, I want to discuss the parts of Amoris Laetitia that are especially helpful for an engaged couple. The document offers an excellent diagnosis of why marriage can be difficult in our time: . . . . Continue Reading »

Amoris Laetitia and the Words of Christ

From Web Exclusives

The first paragraph of Amoris Laetitia states that “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people.” Throughout my engagement, however, my desire to marry has sometimes been less than vibrant. To paraphrase my archbishop Cardinal O’Malley, I long for . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the April 2016 Print Edition

The Thriving Society: On the Social Conditions of Human Flourishingedited by james r. stoner jr. and harold jamesthe witherspoon institute, 230 pages, $25 W hat conditions are required for a modern society to thrive? This collection of essays in response to that question begins with Robert George on . . . . Continue Reading »