Monday, April 17, 2006

Passion is no ordinary word

David Scott is interested in Catholicism as made vividly manifest by artists, poets, and saints. In The Catholic Passion, he seeks to get to the romantic, dramatic, visionary, vibrant core of Catholicism, in all its cultural manifestations. It's a rewarding and rewarded effort.

This book takes as its starting point Chesterton's assertion that the most perilous and exciting path is not heresy but Christian orthodoxy. Scott is not interested in detailing doctrine and dogma, but in dramatizing and fleshing out the faith as it is embodied and lived out in the Church. Scott tells stories of people such as Blessed Charles de Foucauld, Dorothy Day, Francis Thompson, Eugene O'Neill, and St. Catherine of Genoa. Certainly not all are saints -- some are not even believers. But all stories lead the reader to an intimation of what it is that draws so many of us to the Church.

The "passion" of the title is a word that evokes romance, suffering, and engagement. Scott shows us how this passion is a part of life as lived, with a voice that is committed and honest. His words give us not a set of catechetical propositions, but a body, a corpus of Catholicism that is set before the eye of the reader. If you get a chance, pick it up -- it's an excellent, enjoyable, nourishing read.

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