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by Pope Paul VI
The papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) made headlines worldwide. Many talked about the encyclical when it was issued in 1968, but few actually read it. Why is it perhaps the most controversial document in modern Church history?
On Human Life combines Humanae Vitae with commentary by popular and respected Catholic authors Mary Eberstadt, James Hitchcock, and Jennifer Fulwiler in order to address this question and to shed light on the document’s enduring wisdom.
Humanae Vitae is Pope Paul VI’s explanation of why the Catholic Church rejects contraception. The pope referred to two aspects, or meanings, of human sexuality-the unitive and the procreative. He also warned of the consequences if contraception became widely practiced-consequences that have since come to pass: greater infidelity in marriage, confusion regarding the nature of human sexuality and its role in society, the objectification of women for sexual pleasure, compulsory government birth control policies, and the reduction of the human body to an instrument of human manipulation. The separation of sexuality from its dual purpose has also resulted in artificial reproduction technologies, including cloning, that threaten the dignity of the human person.
Although greeted by controversy and opposition, Humanae Vitae has continued to influence Catholic moral teaching. St. John Paul II’s popular “theology of the body” drew deeply on the insights of Paul VI. Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis have upheld the long-standing teaching, and a new generation of Catholics, as well as non-Catholics, is embracing the truths of the encyclical.
by Eugene Vodolazkin
It is the late fifteenth century and a village healer in Russia is powerless to help his beloved as she dies in childbirth, unwed and without having received communion. Devastated and desperate, he sets out on a journey in search of redemption. But this is no ordinary journey: it is one that spans ages and countries, and which brings him face-to-face with a host of unforgettable, eccentric characters and legendary creatures from the strangest medieval bestiaries. Laurus’s travels take him from the Middle Ages to the Plague of 1771, where as a holy fool he displays miraculous healing powers, to the political upheavals of the late-twentieth century. At each transformative stage of his journey he becomes more revered by the church and the people, until he decides, one day, to return to his home village to lead the life of a monastic hermit – not realizing that it is here that he will face his most difficult trial yet.
Laurus is a remarkably rich novel about the eternal themes of love, loss, self-sacrifice and faith, from one of Russia’s most exciting and critically acclaimed novelists.
A Bloody Habit
by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson
It is 1900, the dawn of a new century. Even as the old Queen’s health fails, Victorian Britain stands monumental and strong upon a mountain of technological, scientific, and intellectual progress. For John Kemp, a straight-forward, unimaginative London lawyer, life seems reassuringly predictable yet forward-leaning, that is, until a foray into the recently published sensationalist novel Dracula, united with a chance meeting with an eccentric Dominican friar, catapults him into a bizarre, violent, and unsettling series of events.
As London is transfixed with terror at a bloody trail of murder and destruction, Kemp finds himself in its midst, besieged on all sides—in his friendships, as those close to him fall prey to vicious assault by an unknown assassin; in his deep attraction to an unconventional American heiress; and in his own professional respectability, for who can trust a lawyer who sees things which, by all sane reason, cannot exist? Can his mundane, sensible life—and his skeptical mind—withstand vampires? Can this everyday Englishman survive his encounter with perhaps an even more sinister threat—the white-robed Papists who claim to be vampire slayers?
The Spark of Faith
by Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P.
Faith is essential to our spiritual growth yet, too often, good Catholics hold misconceptions about faith’s meaning or role – misconceptions that can lead to spiritual stagnation.
In these pages, Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP, Theologian of the Papal Household, corrects prominent errors and clearly articulates what faith is, how it works, and how it may expand, or wither, within our soul.
He explains that the initial moment – the spark – of faith which ignites our entire spiritual life comes first from God. Because faith is a divine gift that is alive, we can explore the laws of its development and learn the principles of its nourishment in order to fully live a life of faith that influences our intellectual and moral life.
Fr. Giertych’s moving and practical reflections on the spiritual life bring ancient wisdom to bear on our modern age, teaching what it really means to have and grow in faith. You’ll come to understand the proper relationship between faith and reason, and you’ll deepen your understanding of the role of prayer in the life of faith.
The Spark of Faith will help you focus your attention on God as the fundamental source of all the spiritual goods we need and cherish.
Fr. Giertych has served as the Theologian of the Papal Household for two popes. His is wisdom you can trust.
Reflection on the Christian Life
by Anthony Esolen
In our hearts, we know that every event in our lives is Providential and that each of us plays a critical role in the unfolding of the story God has written. We believe that God’s will is anchored deep within our soul, and so too is the desire to know it and to live it.
In these pages, acclaimed Catholic author Anthony Esolen claims that the story of your life has already been written — and can be discovered — by considering the life and person of Jesus. Only in God does the world possess meaning, and therefore only in relation to God are our lives genuine stories.
Here, Esolen offers a brilliant reflection — in ways that only he can — upon what it means for any of us, and for all of us together, to dwell in a world of stories. And he shows how we can take events in the life of Christ as the touchstone for all that happens to us on our journey from time to eternity.
Indeed, this book will finally awaken in you the unshakable confidence that despite even the tragic stories of this life, the good things you’ve known and loved are not gone forever: all that is lost will be found; all will be restored; all will be perfected. Truly, there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1).
Like the star that led the Magi to Jesus, the wisdom in these pages will lead you to Christ. It will instill in you hope that increases every step of your way.
Thirsting for Prayer
by Jacques Philippe
“What the world most needs today is prayer. It is prayer that will give birth to all the renewals, healings, deep and fruitful transformations we all want for society today…. I am more and more convinced that everything comes from prayer and that, among the calls of the Spirit, this is the first and most urgent one we should respond to.”
Out of The Silent Planet
by C.S. Lewis
The Unaborted Socrates: A Dramatic Debate on the Issues Surrounding Abortion
by Peter Kreeft
by Myles Connolly
The Ninth Hour
by Alice McDermott
A magnificent new novel from one of America’s finest writers-a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.
On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove-to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his pregnant wife-“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.
We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.
The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence. Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement by one of the premiere writers at work in America today.
The Flying Inn
by G.K. Chesterton
The Awakening of Miss Prim
by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
In this #1 international bestseller, a young woman leaves everything behind to work as a librarian in a remote French village, where she finds her outlook on life and love challenged in every way.
Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbors, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside.
Before I Was Me
by Frank Fraser
Jesus Stories from the Bible
The Birth of Jesus | In the Jerusalem Temple | The Calling of the Disciples | Jesus Heals | From Death to Life
The Perfect Blindside
by Leslea Wahl
He’s an egotistical snowboarder with a silver medal.
She’s a judgmental honors student with a flair for photography.
Slashed tires…. False accusations…. A coded message…. When all they can see is each other’s flaws, how can Jake and Sophie work together to figure out what’s really been happening at the abandoned gold mine?
George Washington: His Legacy of Faith, Character, and Courage
In this beautifully illustrated book, children will learn the epic story of George Washington, the father of our country, and be inspired by his strong faith, character, and courage. They will discover that the animating force of his heroic life was a deep, abiding faith and trust in God.
Captivatingly illustrated with lovely water colors, this book begins with interesting facts about Washington’s ancestors, who had been involved with important key moments in British history, and the story of his forefathers who then came to the United States.
We learn about the life of young George growing up in Virginia and how he developed the skills needed for farming, hunting, horse riding and self-defense. It shows how he was devoutly religious from the time of his youth.
Yankee Doodle Dandy
by Callista Gingrich
Ellis the Elephant dives back into history! In Yankee Doodle Dandy, the third installment of this New York Times bestselling series, America’s favorite time traveling pachyderm is back, teaching kids (and parents!) about the American Revolution.
In Sweet Land of Liberty and Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride, Ellis the Elephant explored pivotal moments that shaped American history. Now Ellis is back, and eager to learn about America’s most beloved patriots and their courageous fight for independence. Traveling through time, Ellis the Elephant encounters the Sons of Liberty, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, the Founding Fathers, Betsy Ross, and more.