1. I am ashamed of how little I read this month.
2. I started posting monthly about what I read to shame myself into reading more.
What I lacked in quantity I made up in quality, and I’m counting on you fill up the comments with brilliant book reviews to make up for my sparse offering.
A few years back I went to a book signing/lecture with John O’Malley, SJ for his book What Happened at Vatican II. After I told him I taught church history he signed my book “To Margaret, a fellow historian” and I melted into a puddle of joy and admiration in the middle of the lecture hall.
I am pleased to report that A History of Popes is just as readable and enjoyable as What Happened at Vatican II, and the many other church history works that O’Malley has published. What I admire most about his approach is that he balances the sanctity of the Church with the peculiarities of people in a way that only someone with a lifetime of devotion to a holy, mangled institution can.
If you enjoy learning about Popes, read this book. I imagine you already know if you enjoy learning about Popes or not. It’s sort of a binary thing. The link above takes you to a paperback version, it’s also available on Kindle.
My copy of this much-anticipated book arrived when I was smack in the middle of A History of the Popes, so I had to get all “wisdom of Solomon” and try to read them both together, which I’m not very good at. I plan on posting a longer reflection on Pope Francis’ collection once I have had more time to sit with it, but I am already hatching plans to use these writings with students and prayer groups often.
[As a disclaimer, Loyola Press sent me a review copy of The Church of Mercy, asking if I could “help get the word out”, at which point I thought ‘I don’t think the Pope needs my help’. But it’s nice to be asked, and I’m happy to oblige.]
This masterpiece is also available on Kindle.
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