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God Has Not Changed Paperback – 10 Jan 2004


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These teasing essays offer a mordant commentary on the folly of modern religion during the last ten years. At one time I would have pretended to have disapproved of them but do so no longer because what she conveys is the transience of novelty. It doesn t last " Mass of Ages


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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa14c5bd0) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa14e54a4) out of 5 stars Insightful Observations On The Current State Of Roman Catholicism 10 July 2006
By A. Calabrese - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
God Has Not Changed: The Assembled Thoughts Of Alice Thomas Ellis by Alice Thomas Ellis was published about a year before the author's death. Alice Thomas Ellis, her pen name, real name Anna Haycraft was an accomplished British novelist and Catholic convert. God Has Not Changed: The Assembled Thoughts Of Alice Thomas Ellis is a collection of her writings for a British publication called The Oldie and is a polemic against the silliness and dumbing down in 20th and 21st century Roman Catholicism. Ms. Ellis clearly and with dry humor is honest in her opinion that things are not well with Holy Mother Church. If you like me are just weary of the sentimental hymns, written in the last 25 years, one is forced to sing at Mass in churches that resemble gymnasiums more than they honor God then you got a friend and confident in Alice Thomas Ellis. Ms. Ellis is not afraid to tell the reader that we have been lied to. Starting with the myths of an unvibrant church lacking vocations before Vatican II. The author reveals how Vatican II may have "opened the windows" but that is not fresh air we sense, just the stench of this world. She shows how Catholic theologians and religious, who do not even believe the basic tenants of Christianity are lacking in intellect and humor. Ms. Ellis paid the price for her writing, and at the behest of British Bishops, was removed from her job(s) writing for Catholic publications. One can only assume that the truth hurts. The writer also takes on atheists, politicians, and children who ask silly questions. This is a great collection of short essays on the state of current Catholicism and should be read by every Catholic.
7 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa16ace70) out of 5 stars Doesn't do her justice 22 Feb. 2007
By Grit Lit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Alice Thomas Ellis was a wonderful writer, with a wry voice and many funny books to her credit. But this collection of her magazine columns about religion shows little of her trademark wit. Ms. Ellis yearns for the old days. She harps on issues such as: nuns looked better wearing habits, attending church was preferable when you didn't have to greet anyone or shake hands with a lay person at the door, and she dreads congregational singing! Her vision of a church going life is one of solitary piousness, avoiding any sense of community or fellowship, which she feels is foisted upon her.

Ms. Ellis was a convert to Catholicism. She attempted to become a nun and was rejected for health reasons. Obviously she holds her early church memories dear. She claims the Christian church is withering, thanks to the changes made since she was a girl. She holds modern "liberal" "feminist" trends responsible for the decline she describes, and pines for the patriarchal and hierarchical church of old.

But her view doesn't hold up when one looks outside of Europe. Here in the U.S, source of so many "liberal" and "feminist" ideas, Christianity is healty and robust, hardly the dying institution Ms. Ellis descibes. Could the fault lie elsewhere? England, like most countries in Europe, has an established church, a chosen denomination, while the U.S. doesn't. Perhaps this plays a larger part in religous vitality (or the lack) than the the "liberalism" Ms. Ellis so abhors.

I was sorry to find that reading this book was like listening to a grandparent lamenting modern times, remembering how much better everything used to be. Ms. Ellis longs for the Roman Catholic church of her youth in the 1940s and 1950s, but she doesn't crave the church of the Middle Ages or the Counter-Reformation. So much for God not changing!

Ms. Ellis titles her book with a paraphrase of St. Teresa of Avila. The entire passage is apt: "All things pass; God does not change." There's Ms. Ellis's problem in a nutshell. God does not change, but people do. All things pass, including eras. Churches, which are human institutions, have always changed.
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