It is old news that Sheed and Ward Publishers, founded by the most notable Catholic lay evangelists of the last century, Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward, has morphed since their deaths from a bastion of orthodoxy and the most sterling Christian apologists of their era, to the publishing home of such luminaries as Daniel Harrington SJ, Charles Curran, Joan Chittister OSB, Andrew Greely et al, and the NC Reporter favorites in the "I thought they were already dead" category.
But I apparently did not get the memo when the imprint was aquired by The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. Their catalog which arrived today is easily the most entertaining of the stack of publishers' ware I receive weekly in the CCD office, but I do fear for the mental health of their editors who are at the very least schizophrenic if we are to judge by the juxtaposition of works they choose to highlight in this edition.
Now not all these titles transferred from S&W, but those from the imprint are identified in their descriptions. Some of these amazing products were discovered by RLPG all by their own little selves, bless their earnestness. I am unable to offer an informed opinion on their editorial philosophy, at least not based on what is offered here.
On the same page are ads for:
The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII ed. Joseph Bottum & David G. Dalin, with favorable review blurbs from First Things & Catholic Historical Review (Lexington Books) which remains "the definitive answer to the slew of malicious and misleading books that have assailed Pope Pius XII" in recent years.
Or if you want the opposing view:
History Vs. Apologetics: the Holocaust, the Third Reich and the Catholic Church by David Cymet (also by Lexington, those boys have their own identity crisis going on, evidently) with the review by Michael Berenbaum of the American Jewish University that lauds the author's proof that the Popes made Hitler and the Shoah possible.
As I said before I am downsizing and getting rid of a proliferation of bibles and choosing a favorite one to keep and settle down with, but I don't see how I can resist "The Inclusive Bible: the first egalitarian translation" 2nd ed translated by Priests for Equality, S&W with the best review from NCR (yeah that one) of course.
Another case of strange bedfellows is side by side ads for spiritual memoirs and reflections by Joan Chittister and Peter Kreeft who are each leaving their wisdom for future generations, both byS&W (well that’s a no brainer). And on the same page an anaysis by Timothy Sherwood on ‘The Preaching of Archbishop Fulton J Sheen’ which Bishop Dolan likes so I will too, also by Lexington.
Now for my fave rave, The Church and Abortion: A Catholic Dissent by George Dennis Obrien a RLPG original production, he used to be at Princeton if that gives you a clue. He is personally against abortion, like, totally, but thinks we are on the, you know, like, wrong track in trying to overturn R v W. I do agree that the bishops are incoherent and inconsistent in their policies but whether this book discusses strategy or tactics I don’t know if I have the stomach to find out.
Other gems that will have to wait until I retire and have more time to wade through them:
History of a gay community at a SF Catholic parish
Moral Wisdom from the Catholic Tradition, edited by a noted Jesuit—social sin apparently is the focus of this wisdom
Interesting, um, books on bioethics, and of course immigration, lay ministry (many of which are written and reviewed by Episcopalians, Methodists and Lutherans, so in spite of the title of the catalog, Catholicism 2010, we are being ecumenical)
Sacred Cells, why Christians should support stem cell research (blurb does not say from what source)
S&W classics are still in the back, including Maritain, Maisie’s bio of Chesterton, and what have you, but I am kicking myself for letting my brothers sell my dad’s extensive S&W (including Image imprint) library when he died in the 80s. At least my brother kept all of Chesterton.
Well, I don’t have a bird or hampster with a cage, so regretfully, this catalog goes in, the, trash.