Sunday, December 17, 2023

Six Books I Worked On This Year

Happy Advent brethren! I wanted to take this opportunity to draw your attention to several excellent new books I've had the privilege of working on this year in an editorial capacity. Some of these are original works, others  reprints of Catholic classics, but all are excellent additions to any Catholic library. These were all published through my publishing imprint Cruachan Hill Press over the course of 2023.

, by Dr. Joseph Johnson, Foreword by Athanasius Schneider. Those of you who have followed me for awhile know that I feel very strongly about the tragic bastardization of the Celtic Catholic heritage of Ireland and Scotland. What passes for Celtic Christianity today is generally just New Age gobbledygook with a thin veneer of Christian vocabulary. It is a shame, because the Celtic Catholic tradition is so incredibly rich. I have tried to redress this by publishing new editions of the lives of St. Columba and St. Brigid, as well as with various essays (see here and here) addressing the matter. 

I feel blessed, therefore, to have had the opportunity this year to work with Dr. Joseph Johnson on the publication of the The St. John Ogilvie Prayerbook, a compilation of prayers, rituals, rites, seasons and events that reflect a spiritual vision that is both Celtic and authentically Catholic.  This book is stuffed with resources! The annual calendar includes not only the usual feast and fast days, but highlights specifically Celtic saints usually forgotten. The daily office includes Lauds, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers and Compline with occasional quotes from Celtic saints; traditional language and Scripture texts are from the Douay-Rheims Version. There are occasional prayers and daily prayers in English, Latin, and Scots Gaelic. The seasons and days section highlights traditional and Celtic customs from the blessing of bonfires, Beltane blessings, toasts for a ceilidh, prayers for the sick and dying, against evil, Epiphany house blessing, etc.  Nihil Obstat of Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone (now retired, but of the Diocese of Charleston).

There is also a foreword by His Excellency Athanasius Schneider with some high praise for Dr. Johnson's work. Bishop Schneider wrote:
With the St. John Ogilvie Prayerbook, Dr. Joseph Johnson has created a masterpiece of a synthesis of Catholic doctrine, prayer and spirituality against the background of the authentic Celtic Catholic tradition. The Catholic Celtic tradition is a shining example how the Catholic Faith transforms and purifies the natural cultural richness of peoples and elevates it to be an efficient instrument of proclaiming and living the Faith. I very much recommend the St. John Ogilvie Prayerbook. May it be a great help to many Catholics, and especially to the Scottish Catholics of our day, so that the power of faith and of prayer will protect and transform their lives.
One final note: We are working on a hardcover version of the book, which I expect to be available by February. When it is available, I will update this post with the appropriate link. In the meantime, you can click here to purchase the paperback matte cover version (paperback, 355 pages).

THE POPES AND SCIENCE, by James J. Walsh, Foreword by Gerard VerschuurenDr. James J. Walsh (1865-1942) was a Catholic American physician and author from New York who served as Dean and Professor of nervous diseases and of the history of medicine at Fordham University school of medicine. He wrote numerous works on medical history, specifically concerning the medieval era and the Church's contributions to scientific development.

Dr. Walsh's The Popes and Science: The History of Papal Relations to Science During the Middle Ages and Down to Our Own Time is a reprint of his classic apologetical text demolishing the myth of papal suppression of science. Written to counter attacks of anti-religious skeptics, Walsh argues that, far from hindering scientific inquiry, the Roman pontiffs have been among the greatest patrons of the sciences. With consummate erudition, Walsh debunks several myths about the Catholic Church and science, covering the disciplines of anatomy, chemistry, mental health, and more. Walsh demonstrates command of an enormous mass of facts, ordering them with logic, force, and literary ease. The Popes and Science convicts the Church's opponents of hasty generalization, if not outright anti-clericalism. Contains an original foreword by Dr. Gerard Verschuuren.

Latin scholars will be interested to know that the appendices contain original Latin texts of several papal bulls, including De sepulturis of Boniface VIII, and De crimini falsi and Super illius specula of John XXII. The full English translation of the bulls are found in the main text as well. Paperback, 410 pages. Click here to purchase.

, by Rob Marco. If you are a fan of traditional Catholic content, you've probably run across Rob Marco, either from his blog Pater Familias, or from any one of the many other venues that have featured him, such as Catholic World Report, Crisis Magazine, One Peter Five, Catholic Stand, and The Coming Home Network, among others.

Rob is also a friend of mine, and it has been an honor to publish his first book, Wisdom and Folly: Essays on Faith, Life, and Everything in Between. In a world inundated with opinion, diatribe, and hot takes, Rob Marco's Wisdom and Folly takes a different approach, presenting the ruminations of a Catholic husband wrestling with life's most important topics, sifting through each with wit and common sense illumined by faith. A book more about the journey than the conclusion, Wisdom and Folly tackles issues surrounding friendship, discipleship, marriage, family, manhood, faith, prayer, the Church, writing, and more. Marco generously shares his own thoughts and those from other virtuous people who can be guides on this journey. A book not for the saintly but the works-in-progress, Wisdom and Folly presents a challenging yet edifying commentary on life as a Catholic man in the workaday world. At 375 pages it is a substantial text,  but very readable, structured as a series of short, reflective essays organized topically. 

Currently Wisdom and Folly is only available on pre-order through the Cruachan Hill website (at a discount, I should mention!) Books are expected to ship early February.

, by John O'Kane Murray
(Volume 4 in the "Catholic Heroes and Heroines of America" series). John O' Kane Murray was a late 19th century Irish-American Catholic historian. He attempted to counter  the surge of the Protestant American histories being produced during the Victorian era with Catholic histories of his own, stressing the contributions of Catholic men and women to the settlement of the Americas. 

I have been republishing Murray's texts for a few years now (I have done volumes on Columbus, Ojeda, Balboa, and Cortez as well, which can all be purchased as a set), and this volume on the founders of New France is the latest. It offers readers concise yet engaging biographies of Samuel de Champlain, St. Isaac Jogues, and St. John de Brebeuf. Murray begins with Champlain's struggles to establish a French colony along the St. Lawrence, tracing the development of the missions of New France through the work of its two most exemplary missionaries, the Jesuits St. Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf. Filled with stories of adventure, faith, and martyrdom, John O' Kane Murray's The Fathers of New France is a superb introduction to the Catholic luminaries who laid the foundations of Canada. The text is copiously illustrated and ideal for high schoolers or adults seeking to learn more about the Catholic origins of Canada. It also contains a lengthy original introduction by me discussing the geo-political situation in New France in the 17th century, the various native and European alliances, and the role the missionaries played in the settlement of Canada. Paperback, 161 pages. Click here to purchase.

, by Hugh de Blácam. Hugh de Blácam was an Irish journalist during the 1930s who was sent to Spain to cover the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). In For God and Spain, de Blácam argues that the nationalist rebellion that ushered in the Spanish Civil War was a defensive movement in response to years of unchecked Communist aggression. Focusing on the years 1923-1936, de Blácam chronicles the outrages committed by Red agitators against the Catholic Church that led to the Francoist response. A slim volume at only 73 pages, For God and Spain provides a solid introduction to the causes of the Spanish Civil War, highlighting the anti-Catholic and anti-clerical nature of the Republican ideology. It is an excellent introductory text for those who are unfamiliar with the details of this epoch. Illustrated.

I should also say, this was by far the most popular book on my table at the Catholic Identity Conference this fall. It sold out on the first day! Paperback, 73 pages. Click here to purchase.

, by James Larson. The late James Larson was a very influential thinker in my own intellectual development as a traditional Catholic, as he was for many. I was blessed to know the man personally in his latter years (I wrote a eulogy for him on this blog back in 2020 when he passed).

After his passing, Mr. Larson's estate asked me to oversee the publication of a manuscript he had left behind, which was the genesis of this book, The War Against Being and Return to God. Mr. Larson is best-known for his website of the same name (which is still live to this day), and his sister-site, Rosary to the Interior. Larson's original website was voluminous, with over 50 expansive essays on subjects of theology, philosophy, history, and spirituality. The manuscript Larson left behind was meant to be a streamlined version of his most central thesis—that the crisis in the Church is not primarily liturgical, but philosophical, resulting from an abandonment of the Thomistic-Aristotelian synthesis the Church achieved in the 13th century. Thus The War Against Being book represents "the essential Larson." It is ideal reading for anyone interested in philosophy, as well as those who want a take on the Church crisis that is not so focused on liturgy. The War Against Being is an excellent introduction to Larson's thought; it also contains an original foreword by yours truly, as well as Larson's self-narrated coversion story. Paperback, 372 pages. Click here to purchase.

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Thanks to all the wonderful authors I was privileged to work with in 2023, and especially to His Excellency Athanasius Schneider and Dr. Gerard Verschuuren for gracing these books with their forewords. Happy Advent everybody!


Anonymous said...

I think the church got it wrong on "brigid"- I purchased a large book of her writings, and after reading a few paragraphs promptly threw it in the can- I didnt want anyone reading it and being badly influenced. If I see any quotations in books, I skip the paragraph.

Boniface said...


My friend, St. Brigid of Kildare never left anything behind in writing. You must be thinking of St. Brigid of Sweden.