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One Hundred Great Catholic Books: From the Early Centuries to the Present Paperback – Sep 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: BlueBridge (Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933346086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933346083
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 1.8 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,186,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Don Brophy was for many years acquiring editor and managing editor for the Catholic book publisher Paulist Press He is the author of several books, including The Story of Catholics in America. He lives in New York City --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan Pavelin VINE VOICE on 8 July 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is something of a treasure-trove for those of us who like to explore how Catholic writers down the ages have married their faith to their writing skills, as well as to those of us who simply like lists. One hundred books of all types, with nearly two pages of commentary about each, ranging chronologically from Sayings and Stories by the Desert Fathers (325 A.D.) to The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie (2003) (a biography of four American writers all of whom are represented among the 100), provide much to reflect on. I have read at least 18 of the 100 books in their entirety, plus parts of several others. As a bonus there is an afterword entitled "and fifty more" for those for whom 100 are insufficient.

The author's choices include "official" publications like Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum and The Documents of the Second Vatican Council; spiritual reading like St. Augustine's Confessions, the anonymous Cloud of Unknowing, and Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux; and scholarly tomes like Fr. Raymond Brown's Introduction to the New Testament and Avery Dulles' Models of the Church. For me, the most interesting of all are the works of fiction, and it is good to see the inclusion of such great books as Georges Bernanos' Diary of a Country Priest, Flannery O'Connor's short story collection A Good Man is Hard to Find, Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, and Shusaku Endo's Silence.

Clearly Don Brophy has a bias towards "liberal" Catholicism (no sin in my book), as he includes Hans Kung's Why I Am Still a Christian and Elizabeth A. Johnson's She Who Is (a feminist tract probably not admired in the Vatican), while Humanae Vitae, the most controversial encyclical of modern times, is absent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
An Interesting Assortment of Books By Catholics 7 Dec. 2007
By Timothy Kearney - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Catholic Church fascinates many people. This is not a new phenomenon. It fascinated people in the past and no doubt will continue to do so. On the one hand it is an authoritarian, hierarchical Church with many rules and regulations. On the other, it's also the same Church that has produced some of the world's greatest writers, artists, musicians, and forward thinking people. James Joyce's famous expression "Here Comes Everybody" from FINNEGAN'S WAKE applies to the Catholic Church. Catholic thought is far more diverse than many realize and when this is discovered, a new level of fascination with the Church often emerges.
Don Brophy's ONE HUNDRED GREAT CATHOLIC BOOKS includes titles which demonstrate the diversity of Catholicism and what is often called "the Catholic imagination." His list of great books includes what any reader should expect to find, titles such as THE CONFESSIONS of St. Augustine, Pope John XXIII's JOURNAL OF A SOUL, St. Benedict's RULE, Dante's DIVINE COMEDY, Thomas Merton's SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN, Georges Bernanos's DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST, and Dorothy Day's THE LONG LONELINESS to name a sampling. While his selections of what could be termed Catholic "classics" are what should be expected, he also has some interesting contemporary choices. Sr. Helen Prejean's DEAD MAN WALKING, Robert Ellsberg's ALL SAINTS, and Gustavo Gutierrez's WE DRINK FROM OUR OWN WELLS immediately come to mind. Some are surprising. Thomas Cahill's HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION and Alice McDermott's CHARMING BILLY would not be immediate choices of mine, but certainly both make sense. Some are controversial selections. My guess is that more than a few eyebrows are raised when authors such as Richard McBrien and James Carroll are included. However, the point is to show the variety of thought that is so much a part of Catholicism, and this Brophy does well.
Each selection is given a short summary the merits of the book and why it was selected. It's a perfect guide for a Catholic reading group or for anyone who wants to see that the Catholic Church is far broader than it's often portrayed to be.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
REALLY??? - 36 Classics from First 1900 Years of Christianity and 64 Listings from the past 100 Years 8 Nov. 2011
By Christopher S. - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you'd like a good list of Catholic Christian classics published before the twentieth century, then please consult the first 36 titles of these alleged "One Hundred Great Catholic Books."

Additionally, some of the remaining 64 titles are also modern Catholic "classics." However, it is quite unfortunate that, mixed with so many great books that raise the mind and heart to the Living God, the author chooses to feature prominently many titles, which are neither "great," nor even orthodoxly "Catholic."

The father of Liberation Theology (which in many forms has been severely challenged by the Magisterium) and Hans Küng (a public dissenter who publicly rejects the infallibility of the Papacy, supports contraception, the ordination of women, among many other dissenting positions) with many others stand strangely (but largely) on this list.

Bottom line: When a list of the best of 2000 years of Catholic Christianity is dominated by very recent dissenters to the Church's teaching and Traditions, it's time to wonder how much this book is a collection of the Great Western Canon, or rather the author's pet list of recent "innovators."

I'm sorry but a list of the Fathers of the Church, St. Bonaventure, St. Ignatius, St. Thérèse de Lisieux, and other giants of Christian thought and spirituality should not occupy a minority position to the favor of all the top dissenters to the Catholic faith in the last 50 years.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Introduction to Catholic Thought 3 Oct. 2007
By Patrice Fagnant-macarthur - Published on
Format: Paperback
What if you had a dear friend who was able to recommend one hundred great books in the Catholic tradition for you to read? That is the service Don Brophy provides in "One Hundred Great Catholic Books." What makes a book "Catholic?" For Brophy's purposes, the primary criteria was that the author be Catholic because as he correctly states, "people are Catholic, books are not." In a couple of instances, Brophy does include books whose authors were not Catholic because they wrote about Catholics or collaborated with Catholics.

Of course, there is a danger whenever one tries to make a list of one hundred great anything. There are always going to me some favorites that are left out and some included that people feel shouldn't be. Brophy is to be given credit for taking on the challenge. In addition, he includes a list of fifty other books at the end that come highly recommended as well. Brophy has chosen wisely, including most of the great classics of spirituality such as St. Augustine's "Confessions," "The Cloud of Unknowing," St. Teresa's "The Interior Castle," and St. Therese's "Story of a Soul." He has attempted to also include a broad spectrum of works, including history, apologetics, autobiography, and fiction. In these entries, one becomes acquainted with works by Flannery O'Connor, J.R.R. Tolkien, Maria Montessori, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. For each book, Brophy provides a two-page synopsis and indication of why this book was important. One can learn much about Catholic thought simply by reading these capsules. Hopefully, however, " One Hundred Great Catholic Books" will inspire you to go out and actually read some of these classics. A reader ambitious enough to read all of them would have a strong understanding of Catholic thought.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Really a stretch by this PC author to call many dissident authors great Catholic books because they are so called Catholic! 8 Feb. 2014
By Kevin Kelly - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many of the books listed are great Catholic books, but when this PC author gets to the 20th Century he includes many written by Catholic in-name only authors, includes 2 that are basically about The Historic Christ and he says Vatican very much opposed to both yet he includes them, feminist books, one his says is more political than theological, and many other books with his new age, glowing review where he tries unsuccessfully to hide his obvious ambivalence to church teaching. Many of the books would be on best seller list for organizations like Catholics for a Free Choice, etc. I luckily only paid 1 cent for this used book, an ex-library copy that was like new. So if you can get for 1 cent worth it to read about the great books and to know what books to stay away from. I hope Pat is still "fretting" about what his next book will be about, and we can only pray either he gets terminal writers block or goes new age where he belongs.
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Useful for catholics and non-catholics 6 Sept. 2007
By Robert B. Makinson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Useful compilation and summaries of catholic writings from early times to the present. Since the list is limited to 100, some authors are missing, such as Bishop Fulton Sheen and Father Benedict Groeschel. If this reviewer compiled a list of 100, they would be on the list.
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