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Saturday, October 01, 2005

St Mary's Press

If I can, I am going to try and review publishers, writers and books so that some of the guesswork in ministry is done for you. If you don't like my analysis, so be it.

However, I know that when we are called upon to teach the Truth of the Church that is exactly what we need to do, free from our own idiological misgivings. Those we teach deserve to get the whole story and then they can make a full decision on their own. But when we muddy it with our own-or with a publishers' -opinions, we do them a HUGE disservice. (if you think I'm wrong, go read Dom's site about Fr Cuenin's parish/cult of personality and as evidence read this poor parishionor's (krf) poorly formed defense)

I went to review St Mary's Press. A good place to go when reviewing publisher is how they pray:
The dynamic of trinitarian love is not restricted to God in the image of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some Christians call the three persons Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. The aspects of the Trinity--Lover, Beloved, and Shared Love--can be imaged in many ways.

and later

The masculine image of Father is often used in referring to God as the source of everything, but the Scriptures often describe God using feminine metaphors as well. God is neither male nor female, but in our human way of speaking of a personal God, we often think of God in terms of gender. In the Book of Isaiah, Israel is addressed by God imaged as a woman:As a mother comforts her child,so I will comfort you;you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, they do start out talking about the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The author does take good scriptural references to the Trinty to explain the mystery of the Trinity.

But what bothered me about this article was not only the inclusion of the "femininity of God" (by the way, did anyone notice that the feminine of God is ALWAYS referred to as "like" a mother, not directly called "Mother".) but that it sets up the idea that faith is about you. It is about your imagery of God. It revolves around the self.

I am quite aware that we have no knowledge of God except what he reveals to us. I know that we talk about "experiencing God" and that at different times in our lives He reveals a different side of Himself to us. However, just as we know that there is objective reality to knowing that God even exists, we can know that He exists in the way that He reveals Himself to us.

Did Christ ever call God Mother?? Some of the others scriptures the author lists as revealing a "feminine God" is actually referencing the Church.

We know what we know because of what God reveals to us. To make up things that are not of His plan leads us astray and leads others astray.

Again, don't thrown out the whole article, but with St Mary's Press, be aware of their shortcomings.


Anonymous D. Scott Miller said...

You are reviewing publishers, writers and books and taking the guesswork out of it for us??? Based on this effort- - - - No, thanks.

You have just reviewed a publisher who, in 2004, shipped over 685,000 books, from an active list of 400 titles, across the United States and to the entire English-speaking world. Sales of these publications totaled over $8,000,000. YET, you have indicated that Saint Mary’s Press has “shortcomings” based on one internet article. . . one article!

It can’t be easy to be a catholic publisher these days. It has got to be a very difficult line to walk between serving the pastoral needs of those to be discipled while also addressing the doctrinal needs of the church in which they are to be discipled.

Let’s work on seeking that which should be praised as well. Otherwise, one would risk being just a critic. Tyne Daly of the tv show Judging Amy defines a critic “as someone who never actually goes to the battle, yet who afterwards comes out shooting the wounded.”

5:39 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

I didn't say I based this on "one article". In fact, I have seen a great deal of material from St Mary's Press-some that works, some that I wouldn't touch with a long stick.

As you see in my review, I said I wasn't going to throw the baby our with the bathwater: I didn't say that they should not be used.

My point is that some publishers you will never have to worry about their commitment to the teachings of the Church-and some publishers that you have to wade through their stuff and pick out the good stuff.

I opted to go from their website-though, again, I have seen a whole lot of what they publish-because the internet is increasingly becomoing a way to advertise and market. When someone goes searching about your company you want to put what your best foot forward is.

Clearly, St Mary's Press wants to attract any kind of Catholic, even someone who will not necessarily agree with Catholic Church teaching. My own personal opinion-and this is my blog-is that they are irresponsible to market this way and produce cafeteria Catholic materials.

I want those who are looking for solid materials to know what I am finding so that they can have that as a resource when they go to look for excellent Catholic resources.

12:33 PM  

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