Reviews - What do customers think about The Great Catholic Reformers: From Gregory the Great to Dorothy Day?
Women Were Reformers Too May 17, 2009
Clare of Assisi as well as Gregory the Great was a very effective reformer. While Gregory had the power of the papacy to carry out hhis reforms ,Clate used her wits and deonstrated true grit .
This book is a more balanced portrait of the reformers in the church over time. From Gregory to Dorothy Day.
History Can Save Us Mar 28, 2009
If Dr. Anderson is telling us anything, it is this: that we, the people of God, must always expect some spikey individuals to come along and remind us of some basics -- of who and what we are, that is, "Jesus people" and what is, therefore, expected of each of us. When I noted that his cast of characters -- reformers all, each in their own way -- was overbalanced toward the clerics among us, I asked myself, "If I were writing a similar work, what non-clerical reformers would I include in my lineup?" The very fact that I couldn't think of many laymen and laywomen who were genuine reformers underlines one of the great weaknesses of our Church: for a thousand years at least, it has not been a people's Church but a clerical Church, a Church in which it seems that all our heroes and heroines have to be priests and nuns with one mission in life: to "save souls." In my opinion, this is an unreal, pious, other-worldly agenda that could divert us from the mission that Jesus envisioned: to bring on a kingdom of justice and peace in this life here on earth. This is no radical view, or, if you insist it is, then it is the radical view espoused by Jesus himself, who taught us to pray "Thy kingdom come on earth." (For a fuller account of what is called "reign of God theology," see N.T. Wright: "Surprised by Hope.")
Highlight of this book: Prof. Anderson's chapter on Cardinal Newman, perhaps the first Catholic writer to underline the importance to us all of history -- "the great teacher," according to Pope John XXIII. In doing so, writes Prof. Anderson, Newman inspired that whole generation of scholars and theologians who led the Fathers of Vatican II down a creative new path.
ROBERT BLAIR KAISER, author of "Cardinal Mahony: A Novel."
Mandatory reading for reformers Nov 13, 2008
I have just finished reading C. Colt Anderson's The Great Catholic Reformer, and I am enormously impressed. I've been retired now some ten years, but I had a long career as a history prof at the University of Ottawa and then the University of Manitoba. My specialty was French intellectual history, but for a number of years I also taught a survey course in the history of Catholicism - so I think I have a pretty good background for assessing this book.
Since my retirement I have been involved in groups working for reform. If I could (like a prof making assignments), I would assign this book as mandatory reading for every person working for reform in the Church. I'm afraid there are many people who are upset and angry about injustices and defects in the Catholic Church who throw themselves into reform movements without any real understanding of the long history of the Church or the lessons which, as this book so convincingly points out, can be learned from those who have gone before us.
Richard Lebrun Professor Emeritus University of Manitoba
Award Winning Book Jul 21, 2008
This book won a 2008 Catholic Press Association Award. It has gotten very good critical reviews as well.The Catholic Press Association wrote:
This book is firmly anchored in the orthodox tradition of the Church. Anderson understands his formidable subjects well, and through a style of writing that invites the reader to respectfully consider each of these great Catholic reformers, he blends a real understanding of the human condition, social mores, and an appreciation for the role of spirituality, critique, and Church discipline. He never loses sight of the use of the method that he proposes for his presentation, a four-step method proposed and championed by the Dominican theologian Yves Congar. The method serves the topic well and the book makes a useful and necessary contribution to furthering the necessary dialogue for reform.(The Catholic Journalist, June 2008)
John O'Malley, the distinguished Church historian wrote:
This book makes use of history for an upfront agenda. "I want to encourage every Catholic," the author writes, "to take up the difficult task of reform. My hope is that people will find a model to inspire them that will suit their own temperaments and spiritual dispositions." My guard immediately went up. Hist-orians fear such agendas as contamination, even though it is a rare (and usually dull) history book that does not have one. The Great Catholic Reformers, though, is so engagingly written and so crammed with interesting information that despite my wariness, I plowed through it to the end. Moreover, as I read on, I found myself ever more in sympathy with the practical points for today that C. Colt Anderson, who teaches at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., makes through his 10 "reformers." (For the full review see America, November 5, 2007)
Inspiring the next generation of reformers Jul 2, 2008
Dr. Colt Anderson wrote "The Great Catholic Reformers" to encourage all Catholics "to take up the difficult task of reform" by describing the reforming work of a wide variety of reformers in the hope that readers "will find a model to inspire them" and that "will suit their own temperaments and spiritual dispositions." He has succeeded admirably in a work that combines scholarly excellence with accessibility. Anderson devotes a chapter to each of nine reformers, from Gregory the Great (d. 604) to Dorothy Day (d. 1980), seamlessly weaving the story of each reformer into the fabric of church history. The work is simultaneously informative and inspiring, enriching both the mind and heart. I enthusiastically recommend it.