At eleven o’clock on Sunday, Britain will fall silent to commemorate the millions of men and women who have been lost to war. These deeply moving and inspiring titles, published for the centenary of the First World War, are a way to reverently honour the fallen at this time of remembrance.

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From the military chaplain who died saving the life of another to the Pope who fought valiantly for peace in a war-torn world, these booklets tell of the great sacrifices made by ordinary people to help keep the light of faith shining. Inspirational stories of courage, faith and forgiveness, they bring the powerful witness of the wartime faithful in to the modern day.

Benedict XV & World War I, by Fr Ashley Beck

Fr Willie Doyle & World War I by K. V. Turley

and Stories of World War I by Raymond Edwards (ed.)

are all available now for only £2.50 each.

Click the links to read an extract… 


“You don’t often hear the experiences of the everyday faithful who endured the gruelling years of World War I. This collection of testimonies illustrates how the Faith was lived with hope and constancy, often to the point of heroism!”
Christine – CTS Reader

The Cover for Paul VI CTS biography

This coming Sunday, Pope Paul VI will be beatified by his successor Pope Francis.

Doubtless there will be much discussion, about the timing of the beatification in relation to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, of the achievements of his pontificate and these tend to focus on a few big events. How he brought the Second Vatican Council to a close after the death of his predecessor blessed John XXIII, or how he prophetically defended the Church’s ban on the use of artificial contraception.

To look only at these big moments can however lead to a picture of this man that is somehow out of focus. As Fr Anthony Symondson SJ’s CTS biography shows, he was a deeply modest man, a man of intense personal holiness who shunned the pomp of his office and spent his life serving the Church and the world.

As you can read in the extract below, he was the son of a northern Italian newspaper editor, who was heavily influenced by the Oratorians and as the text goes on to show he suffered spiritually in his desire to be faithful to the Church’s teaching and to his position as its guardian.

Blessed Paul VI, pray for us.

Paul VI by Fr Anthony Symondson , SJ is available now from CTS, priced £2.50. Read an extract below.


Of related interest:

Vatican II Documents Pack Vatican II Documents Pack - The Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council continue to have a profound meaning for the Church, informing how she sees both herself, and the world around her.
St John XXIII and St John Paul II Prayer Book St John XXIII and St John Paul II Prayer Book – We have new friends in heaven. John XXIII and John Paul II were men of deep prayer, with a message about prayer and the spiritual life which can be learned and shared. This new prayer book helps and encourages the faithful to seek the intercession of these two new saints and to thus grow in their own prayer, holiness and virtue.
Humanae Vitae Humanae Vitae – Pope Paul VI’s momentous restatement of how love must, and must not, be expressed if it is to be marital love, true to the nature of human persons and of real marriage as a high and most significant calling.

Preparing for your child's baptism

Continuing in our efforts to give you an inside look at our latest titles, we have spoken to Dominican sister Hyacinthe Defos du Rau about her text Preparing for your Child’s Baptism. As well as accessibly explaining the rite itself, it contains activities and practical suggestions for enriching and renewing the faith of all those involved.

CTSCompass: Where did the idea for this title come from?

Sr Hyacinthe: “I was inspired by the parents’ need to understand what they are asking for when they wish their child to be baptised. Often adults have received little, if any, teaching on the sacraments, and this booklet tries to offer a basic understanding of baptism in a simple language, for any parent or godparent. It’s a kind of ‘everything you need to know before having your child baptised': it tells you what baptism is, how it is celebrated, how it is lived, and how we can best prepare for it.”

CTSCompass: And it comes from your experience as a catechist?

Sr Hyacinthe: “That’s right, I am a catechist and I train catechists for the diocese of Portsmouth. I have an MA in RE and Catechesis from the Maryvale Institute. I lecture and tutor students in this field at the Maryvale Institute. I am the author of the Anchor resource which helps adults, and specifically parents, to understand, receive and introduce the sacraments to their children: Baptism, the Eucharist and Confession. www.anchoryourfaith.com

CTSCompass:: And it’s that focus on the parents and its simplicity which makes this text different?

Sr Hyacinthe: “I hope so, I have tried in a simple and accessible language, to offer a deeper introduction to the sacrament of baptism, showing its beauty and necessity. It presents Baptism as a gift of God to us, as an indelible mark and irreversible change in us which enables us to enter into the life of the Blessed Trinity and wipes sins away. As it presents the nature and rite of baptism, this booklet also offers a kerygmatic proclamation of the Catholic Faith. As this quote from the text itself explains:

‘Baptism is much more than a social or religious formality. It is a wonderful gift of New Life given to us by God through the Church to enable us to live our life to the full, here and for all eternity. You have given birth to a new human person, your child. In asking for the new birth of baptism, you are asking God to make your child his own.'”

‘Preparing for your Child’s Baptism’ is available from CTS, priced £2.50.


Of related interest:

Baptism Baptism - The purpose of this booklet is to provide an introduction to baptism in the Catholic Church, looking both at the practicalities of baptism and at its history and meaning.
Being a Godparent Being a Godparent Leaflet – The important responsibilities of the Godparent are explained and all the promises and responses they will make are included. The role of the Godparent as an example and guide in the Christian life is emphasised.
Effective Parenting Effective Parenting – This text sets out the importance of the role parents have and shows how that role must be expressed through nurturing and encouraging one’s children along a path to responsible caring adulthood.

A brief history of English Catholicism

Today is the memorial of Our Lady of Walsingham, which is England’s premier Marian Shrine. It seems the perfect day to highlight just one of our newest titles, ‘A Brief History of English Catholicism’.

We spoke to the author, Fr Nicholas Schofield, asking him to tell us more about the booklet and its aims.
CTSCompass: What inspired you to write this title?

Fr Schofield: “It grew out of a talk that I have given frequently over the last 8 years or so, ‘A Catholic History of England in 45 Minutes’. People often asked if there was a book covering this subject and so eventually I decided to fill the gap myself. I am Archivist of the Archdiocese of Westminster, have written several books on English Catholic history and am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Perhaps most importantly, my passion is to provide ‘ordinary’ Catholics with an appreciation of our rich history and culture.”

CTSCompass: Why do you think this particular aspect of the history of the Church is so important?

Fr Schofield: “The Catholic history of England is largely hidden and forgotten but discovering its main riches gives us an appreciation of the workings of grace over the centuries, an understanding of where we are today and a sense of mission for the future. As Catholics, we should love our history and research the story of the Church in our own area as much as we can. And there are no other books in print giving a one volume history of Catholic England – especially within 60 pages! The aim is to give a broad framework in which the reader can slot the knowledge they already have.”

CTSCompass:: What do you hope readers will gain from reading A Brief  history of English Catholicism?

Fr Schofield: “An understanding of our particular history, an appreciation of the many achievements of English Catholics, an understanding of the many continuities that we see in our own day, a greater love of the Church, a desire to discover more and a sense of how God works through individuals and groups. There is a paragraph in the booklet that sums this up which I would like to quote:

‘Every detail of the past shows the presence of Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of History. He was present in those who brought the Gospel to England and in the country’s many saints. He was present in the sufferings of the martyrs and the quiet perseverance of the recusants. He was present in those who went into exile to train priests or pray for England’s conversion. He was present in the lives of those who built our parishes and schools, the servants of the Second Spring. Now He is present in us. We are links in this great chain of Faith. Let us pray that we will be faithful and courageous as we write the next chapter of this story.'”

‘A Brief History of English Catholicism’ is available from CTS, priced £2.50.


Of related interest:

The Cover of Reformation In England The Reformation in England -This booklet looks at the events which led up to the Reformation in Europe, and particularly in England. It shows how much that was good was lost in this conflict.
The Early Church The Early Church - The growth of the Church in her first three hundred years was faster and stronger than can easily be accounted for on purely historical grounds. While Christianity offered a brighter hope to a weary world than rival religions, it demanded a drastic change of life.
Message of Walsingham The Message of Walsingham – The Ancient Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, England’s national shrine, sits in a tiny village on the north coast of East Anglia. Since 1061 pilgrims have made their way there. Paupers and kings have walked, ‘slipperless’, the last holy mile.

The Cover for Sensus Fidei

The latest document from the International Theological Commission was published last week and is about the Sensus Fidei and what it has meant, and means for the Church today. To help explain what it is about, we asked Mgr Paul McPartlan, president of the subcommission that prepared Sensus Fidei, to tell us about the document and how it was put together.

“The sensus fidei is the instinct that all the faithful have for the truth of the Gospel, an instinct, given by the Holy Spirit, that also prompts their Christian witness and proclamation in daily life. It’s a great resource for the new evangelisation, and a key to the mature and effective collaboration of all the Church’s members, which is so much needed and wanted. However, like all spiritual gifts it needs to be carefully nurtured and discerned. It isn’t at all necessarily the same thing as popular opinion or the majority view. So how should it be understood and applied? This document tries to respond to those questions.

The International Theological Commission (ITC) was founded in 1969 and it consists of thirty theologians from around the world, members being appointed every five years by the pope. So the ITC works in five-year cycles, and normally has three projects underway at any given time.

For that purpose, the membership is divided into three subcommissions, each of which concentrates on one of the projects, studying that particular issue closely and developing a document on it. There are subcommission meetings during the course of the year, but at the annual plenary meeting of the ITC in Rome all of the projects are discussed by the full commission. Documents which are finally approved by the commission as a whole are then passed to the President of the ITC, namely the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who decides whether they should be published. Projects are not always completed in one cycle of work; sometimes they are passed on to the next one.

During the 2009-2014 cycle, three ITC documents were completed and published: one on the nature and proper characteristics of Catholic theology itself, Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria (work on this topic began in the previous cycle and was completed in 2011, and the document has been widely translated and well received); one on God the Trinity and the Unity of Humanity: Christian monotheism and its opposition to violence (2014), a most timely document showing how violence is completely incompatible with faith in the one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and finally the present document on the Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church (2014).

Work on the latter topic actually began only in 2011, picking up a theme from the document on theology, which mentioned the sensus fidei a few times, and particularly stated that ‘attention to the sensus fidelium’ was indeed a criterion for Catholic theology (Theology Today, nn.33-36). The two terms, sensus fidei (sense of the faith) and sensus fidelium (sense of the faithful, i.e. the sense that the faithful have of the faith) are very similar, so much so that people sometimes use a compound term, sensus fidei fidelium.

The idea that the Christian faith lives in the people of God as a whole, and that even the humblest believer can have profound insights into the truth of God, has been strongly emphasised by Pope Francis. The ITC document recalls his first Angelus address in which he praised the wisdom of an elderly woman who once said to him: ‘If the Lord did not forgive everything, the world would not exist’ (Sensus Fidei, n.2). So, although the ITC began its work on the sensus fidei before the election of Pope Francis, the pope’s own frequent reference to this topic has made this document, too, very timely, perhaps especially in view of the forthcoming synods on ‘Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelisation.”

Mgr Paul McPartlan

Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church is available now from CTS, priced £4.95.

The Cover for I am Margaret

Today, as the school holidays are now in full swing, we wanted to post something a little different on the blog, an interview with a Catholic author of young adult fiction.

Whether it’s Harry Potter or Twilight, Divergent or The Hunger Games, magic spells, romance or frightening futures, recent times have proved the popularity of the adventure novel for young people. Corinna Turner’s dystopia I Am Margaret, is crucially different however, in that one of the key elements of the story and of the heroine Margo’s life, is her Catholic Faith.

She’s part of the underground network of Believers trying to live out their Catholic Faith and that carries the death penalty. At aged 18 everybody goes through sorting, a test that determines your future. If you fail you are literally recycled and Margo is going to…

CTS Compass: How did the idea for writing this come about?

Corinna: It started with a growing dissatisfaction with mainstream fiction. The mainstream fiction I was reading – and writing – seemed to have to obey an unwritten rule, ‘we don’t do God’. Especially ‘we don’t do Christianity’. As someone whose faith is central to their life, this was making mainstream fiction increasingly unsatisfying, to say nothing of it feeling very unrealistic. When the idea for ‘I Am Margaret’ stormed into my head in a dream during a retreat I decided I would go right ahead and write it just as I would write a mainstream novel – but with a Catholic heroine whose faith was integral to the story.

‘I Am Margaret’ has a certain thematic and stylistic similarity to mainstream novels such as ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’, but it takes a very different attitude to morality and faith plays an integral role in the book. The tone and pace of a mainstream Young Adult novel are combined with a totally Catholic attitude to life and to the challenges the characters face.”

CTS Compass: What are your hopes for the book?

Corinna: “I hope this novel will allow ‘churched’ teenagers who are reading (often spiritually and morally unwholesome) mainstream novels due to the lack of compelling Catholic alternatives to enjoy a gripping, page-turning read that actually reflects their world view rather than that of the secular world, and thus to nourish their faith whilst entertaining them to the same – if not greater! – degree.”

CTS Compass: Do you think your title will appeal to wider audiences too?

Corinna: “From the feedback I’ve had from non-Christian readers, I think those who find any mention of faith uncomfortable are never going to enjoy it, but I have had very positive feedback from people who are open to faith and to other people’s world views. So there definitely seems to be a wider appeal.”

CTS Compass: Tell us a little about how you came to the Catholic Faith and what it has meant for your writing?

Corinna: “I was raised in the Methodist church, confirmed as a teenager in the Anglican church and finally received into full communion with the Catholic Church just over four years ago. In the years leading up to my reception (and since then) I had tremendous growth in my spiritual life and began to develop a genuine relationship with God for the first time in my life. This had a direct influence on my reading and writing habits. The lack of faith in mainstream fiction began to really trouble and frustrate me, and I also became much pickier about what I read (or watched) – I’m now much less prepared to put up with gratuitous violence and offensive material. However, Richard Atkins from BBC Radio Gloucestershire remarked in a recent interview that ‘Christian Fiction can be rather twee… but there’s not a twee-ness about ‘I Am Margaret’, is there?’ – and there are certainly a number of scenes in ‘I Am Margaret’ that readers find quite challenging. Because personally, I don’t think people find ‘twee’ satisfying or stimulating – but the scenes are not excessively graphic. A scene can be gritty without being gory!”

CTS Compass: In Margaret’s world why is it so important to be Catholic?

Corinna: “For the same reason that it is so important to be a Catholic today. Because God loved us so much he died for us – Jesus is the way to God, the truth about everything and the life eternal! In the future world of ‘I Am Margaret’ the ‘Underground’ (the network of religious believers) does essentially have a monopoly on non-violent opposition to the status quo, but I don’t think many people would join them just for this reason because the punishments are too severe.”

To find out more about the I Am Margaret series, or read the first chapter of I Am Margaret click here.


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