Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Guess what! A book review!

Yeah, and since for reasons I'll choose not to reveal, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a traffic-generator. Not like combining some celebrity with a synonym for "unclad," but still.

I received last Tuesday Mark Shea's new trilogy Mary, Mother of the Son. I finished the first volume yesterday, which gives you some idea of how difficult a slog it wasn't. Mark's new books are well-footnoted and researched but not a laborious read thanks to his engaging and witty style.

He debunks the notion that the Marian dogmas are adopted from paganism quite adeptly. He just points out, with orthodox Catholic sources from the first two centuries of Christianity, just how little the original Christians cared about what was going on in the pagan world. To compare, it's like modern Presbyterians giving one whit about theological development in Sikhism. He shows how the likes of Polycarp and Irenaeus respected the Virgin Mary, and quotes their writings about her perpetual virginity. It wasn't something the Roman Catholic Church just made up a few decades ago; that belief has been around a while. Like a couple millenia, almost.

He puts down (as in "puts to sleep," not "insults") the theory of a parallel church. What's that? The idea that a parallel Christian church, an "underground" church, has existed since the death of the apostle John, but was just biding its time until the Reformation to come out so it wouldn't get crushed by Catholicism.
The Vatican keeps records. Copious, detailed records of what was going on when. Pope Pius XII read some aloud to von Ribbentrop in perfect German when the latter was trying to intimidate the Holy Father into keeping quiet about what was going on in Nazi Germany. Further back, there are records of how the Church tried (with varying degrees of success) to theologically combat the Albigensians, Arians, Marcionites, gnosticism, Henry VIII, Marxism, socialism, and Sunday blue laws. Okay, maybe not that last.
There are no records of this "parallel church," either within the Vatican or by the mythical organization itself. It's even more fictitious than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This book is like a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Not the condensed kind from a can, but homemade with big chunks of white meat, whole wheat noodles, and a pound of vegetables in two quarts of soup. It fills you up, the chicken melts in your mouth, and Mom adds just enough garlic and spices for zest. When you're done, you can feel the love from your mother warming you from the inside.
Or maybe it's the love from your Mother.

Labels: ,


At 12:46 PM, Blogger Mark P. Shea said...

Hey! Thanks!


Post a Comment

<< Home