Here Comes the CTSA Conference!

If you plan to attend The 73rd Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America in Indianapolis next week, be sure to look us up. We’ll be showcasing our latest— and our most influential— books that we’ve published in the last five years.

Romero & Grande coverWe do believe that Grace is at Work in the World, and attempt to show this in the titles that we publish. Whether exploring the grace of recent saints—St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) and (soon-to-be Saint) Blessed Oscar Romero—or the impact of Pope Francis, or topical themes of Evangelization or the Creed or Eternal Life, we bring the best of Christianity and Catholicism to parishioners, students, and scholars.

We salute Sr. Ana María Pineda, Oscar Romero scholar and Lectio author, on her recent election to co-lead the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, West Midwest Community. You won’t want to miss hearing Ana María as a panelist discussing the Theological Witness of Oscar Romero on Friday (June 8) 2:30 in the Lincoln Room.

Stop by our book table to say hello!

Does Pope Francis Really Approve of Homosexuality?

Pope FrancisIn May 2018 news headlines around the world went something like this: Pope Francis tells gay man ‘God made you like this and sexuality does not matter.’ The Pope’s comments were immediately embraced by the LGBT community and downplayed by the Vatican which neither confirmed nor denied the remarks because the Vatican policy is not to comment on the pope’s private conversations. Yet the media raged on and confusion was the word of the day.

We were reminded that Dr. Robert Royal wrote the Foreword to Eduardo Echeverria’s book Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II, published by us almost exactly 3 years earlier in March, 2015. It bears repeating today. Here’s Dr. Royal’s opening paragraph…

“Of the making of books there is no end, as was already evident millennia ago and is even more so today. Given the sheer tidal wave of texts of all sorts amid which we live today, most current books need to offer some justification—if not an outright apology—for why they were written. This very valuable volume is not one of them. Shortly after the worldwide enthusiasm that met the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy, with the name Pope Francis, there followed what can only be called an equally global confusion about various things that he has said and done. Non-Catholics and even many Catholics believe he is a pope of “rupture,” one about to jettison the demanding Catholic moral tradition, especially on sexual matters. Others see him as a figure of mercy and compassion who is perhaps artless, at times, in his spontaneous, off-the-cuff remarks, but deeply committed to the traditional doctrines. Papa Bergoglio himself has expressed surprise on several occasions that people are confused by what he’s said, done, and written—pointing to what he thinks is a clear record. But people are confused”

The Foreword goes on to point out that Professor Echeverria’s “careful study of the pope’s record and insights” could not be more welcome, and reminds us of the Pope’s own words after his notorious—and misunderstood—remarks: “Who am I to judge?”

“My attitude toward the world should be fundamentally the same as toward my own sins, toward the disordered and sinful roots in myself: keen awareness and aversion! From this attitude alone springs the desire for conversion. [This], in turn, over time, forges in us the faculty that is so solidly Christian: the capacity to judge. The “yes, yes… no, no” [Matt 5:37] that Jesus teaches us implies a spiritual maturity that rescues us from the superficiality of the foolish heart. A Christian needs to know what can be accepted and what must be condemned [1 Thess 5:21-22]. We cannot sit down and “dialogue” with the enemy of our salvation: we need to meet him head on, ready to combat his every intention. [Emphasis added.]”

cover: Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II

Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II

This “essential book” offers a deep glimpse into Francis’s firmness along with his tenderness and is recommended in order to fully understand him.

“Eduardo Echeverria, one of the liveliest and most insightful thinkers practicing the ancient craft of theology in the United States today, sheds new light on the Catholic Church and Pope Francis at this challenging moment in history.” —George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

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In Oceans Deep: Redemptive Suffering and the Crucified God

cover- In Oceans DeepThis Holy Week of Good Friday, these days leading to Easter, Lectio Publishing is pleased to announce our latest release by respected Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Dr. Eduardo J. Echeverria.

When Dr. Echeverria’s 2 year-old granddaughter, Penelope Grace, died within 36 hours of being diagnosed with a virulent strain of meningitis, her parents, and the author, questioned how to stand in her absence.

Suffering is an enigmatic fact that challenges every worldview. It is especially difficult to see any meaning or purpose in the suffering of all people, but especially young, innocent children. This book answers the questions we all ask:

  • Why do we feel pain and loss even in the face of a resolute belief in the goodness of a loving God?
  • In death and suffering, how can we still hold out hope?
  • Do we truly believe that a new and better life awaits us after death?

Echeverria’s theological exploration seeks answers to these and many other questions about suffering and death. In his usual “leave no stone unturned” style and with a theologian’s detail, the author reveals why there is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not, in part, an answer to the question of evil.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail.
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
… So I will call upon Your name.

Oceans Deep (Where Feet May Fail), Hillsong United, with permission.

Discover, download a sample, purchase your copy of In Oceans Deep: Redemptive Suffering and the Crucified God »

Birthday of a Saint

Mother TeresaAugust 26 marks the 106th anniversary of an Albanian-Indian Catholic nun and missionary that changed the world. Devoted to charitable work with the poorest of the poor, Anjese Gonxhe (little flower) was became known to the world as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In typical Teresa style, she considered August 27, the day she was baptized, as her true birthday.

By age 12, she was convinced that her life should be handed over to a religious life. At the age of 18 she left her home in Skopje, Macedonia, to join the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland where her first task was to learn English in order to serve her religious order in India.

Her first desire for a new name as a sister of the convent was Therese, after Therese de Lisieux, patron saint of missionaries. However, she was informed that another nun had made the same choice before her, so she happily settled for the Spanish version, Teresa, and took her vows in 1931. She first served as a teacher in an India devastated by the Bengal famine of 1942 that brought death and misery to the to the city of Calcutta. The famine was soon followed by political violence that was particularly oppressive to the poor. These were the people she wanted to serve, but she would have to leave the convent to do so.

In 1948, she became simply Mother Teresa, replacing her nun’s habit with a simple, white cotton sari with a blue border. A year later, through her example, young women joined her work, leading to the foundation of a new religious community, Missionaries of Charity.

While looking for a home I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they (the poor) must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then, the comfort of Loreto [her former congregation] came to tempt me. “You have only to say the word and all that will be yours again”, the Tempter kept on saying … Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard. I did not let a single tear come.

She opened a hospice for the dying and those with leprosy that led to clinics throughout India. She took in endless numbers of homeless and orphaned children. Her work encouraged expansion to South America, Italy, Tanzania and Austria, and later even to the United States and dozens of other countries. Priests begged to join the movement of caring for poor souls and by 1984 the Missionaries of Charity combined with resources from the priesthood with almost 450 brothers and 5,000 sisters worldwide.

By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.

After a heart attack in 1983, she was never truly healthy again, even with a pacemaker. In 1996 she broke her collarbone, was stricken with malaria, and fought heart failure. She died on September 5, 1997. At the time, her 610 missions were active in 123 countries. She is the epitome of charity and service to the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged and remains today as the highest example of service to humanity.

Mother Teresa coverMany books and articles have been written about the life, suffering and service of Mother Teresa. Lectio author, Robert Garrity, Ave Maria University, has written an insightful, beautifully crafted proposition that Teresa, through God’s divine intervention, originated a distinctive form of theological mysticism defined as both seeing Jesus Christ and serving Jesus Christ in the poorest of the poor.

In Mother Teresa’s Mysticism: A Christo-Ecclesio-Humano-centric Mysticism, Fr. Garrity suggests that God’s gift to Teresa of this experiential knowledge of Christ’s presence in today’s world has the power to be a significant source of theological and pastoral renewal in the Church of the twenty-first century.

Happy Birthday, Saint Teresa of Calcutta! Thank you for your inspiration, life, and devotion. Pray for us!

Resurrection: Truth or Deception?

resurrection_power-epub_cvrIn Resurrection Power! Spiritual Solutions for an Anxious Age, Robert Garrity seeks to represent timeless truths from philosophy, theology, psychology and law to introduce readers to the idea of leading victorious, joyful lives, even in these anxious times. He offers a spiritual guide that is as practical as it is life-changing, organizing his discussion around empowerment over daily struggles and joyful acceptance of what cannot be overcome.

Garrity draws a framework for exploring the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and argues that we, like Jesus after the Resurrection, share in his new and indestructible life and that we rise daily with him. We share Paul’s teaching that “Sin and death have no more power over him.”

Second Edition

In this newly released second—digital only—edition, the author challenges us once again to delve more deeply into the subject through supplemental material…The Resurrection: Truth or Deception? Here Fr. Garrity explores a unique approach to find proof of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He explores “is God real?” through examining the historicity of the evidence—truth or deception?—through a “mock trial” narrative with St. Paul on the stand in order to bring out the facts in the “case” followed by a hypothetical “verdict of truth” that Jesus rose from the dead. Finally, Garrity offers an analysis of the Bible’s narrative tradition along with an hour-by-hour timeline of the first Easter Sunday.

Throughout, Fr. Garrity shows the source and relevance of the Resurrection doctrine in an easily understood format with frequent summaries of major points and scriptural references. The book will engage readers seeking to better understand the relevance of the Resurrection and its explosive power for genuine spiritual renewal. Buy the eBook on Apple iTunes »