Thursday, July 05, 2018

New Reprints: Scheeben – Papal History – Latin Lore – Catholic Poetry

My little reprint enterprise, Os Justi Press (I do not have a website yet, but one is in progress)has brought out four new titles, reprints of older books either not available at all, or available only in ugly or overpriced editions. Links to may be found below, but the titles will be at the Amazon affiliates in the UK, Germany, etc.

A brief description of the books follows.

Matthias Scheeben, Nature and Grace. Trans. Cyril Vollert. xxiv + 361 pp. Originally published 1954. $18.95.
The exposition will be as profound and comprehensive as I can make it; nature and grace must furnish the basis for a reasonable chart of life and growth. My cherished aim is to bring out the supernatural character of the Christian economy of salvation in its full sublimity, beauty, and riches. The main task of our time, it seems to me, consists in propoupding and emphasizing the supernatural quality of Christianity, for the benefit of both science and life. Theoretical as well as practical naturalism and rationalism, which seek to throttle and destroy all that is specifically Christian, must be resolutely and energetically repudiated.
Thus writes the great 19th-century theologian Matthias Scheeben, a vibrant, original, and poetic author who re-opened the enchanting world of St. Thomas to new generations of Catholics in a period marred by the desiccated rationalism of the Enlightenment period in its last rays before the darkness of modernism. In the new Thomism that has emerged in recent decades as the superficial sloganeering of the postconciliar Church evaporates, Scheeben makes for essential reading.

John Farrow. Pageant of the Popes. 420pp. Originally published 1942. $18.85.

This history of the popes documents both the highs and lows of the Church. From St. Peter to early in the reign of Pius XII, this book provides historical, theological, and personal accounts of this rare group of mortals who have reigned as Vicars of Christ. Without inflationary praise or discrediting zeal, Farrow manages to convey something of the sweep and drama of papal history, bestowing praise where praise is due, while not shirking from unsavory periods. A fine book for our current times, when there is so much ignorance of the nature and limits of the papacy.

F. Brittain. Latin in the Church: The History of Its Pronunciation. 98 pp. Last edition 1954. $9.95.

A fascinating, obscure, and slightly eccentric book about the many different ways in which Latin has been pronounced and spelled over the centuries as it traveled from its ancient seat to far-flung regions of Europe and beyond. The author makes the case that we should not be too fussy or insistent on a "correct" way of pronouncing the language, given that every context has its own justification, and that even scholars are not always sure about their own theories. An entertaining read for Latin lovers.

Thomas Walsh. The Catholic Anthology: The World's Great Catholic Poetry. 602 pp. Last edition 1932. $25.95.
The Catholic Anthology is intended primarily as a selection of Catholic poems written by Catholics and bearing the impress of Catholic dogma, tradition, and life; so that the editor has purposely chosen the completely Catholic utterances of his poets in preference, sometimes, to their pieces of general aesthetical charm.
The purpose thus avowed by the editor is carried through in this massy volume with singular thoroughness. I do not know quite how many poems are packed into its pages (it is a vast number), but I can testify to countless hours spent paging through this book over the years, discovering quite a few gems—one of which was the first poem I ever set to music, "I See His Blood Upon the Rose" by Joseph Mary Plunkett:
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.
All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.
I have lost the music, but not my affection for this and many other poems in Walsh's collection. It would make an excellent homeschool resource for literature and poetry memorization. The book also features detailed author and title indices, a biographical glossary of poets, and a wrap-around cover with stained glass images of the four evangelists.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: