Journeys to the Heart of Catholicism

by Ted Schmidt

Seraphim Editions | August 31, 2003 | Trade Paperback

Journeys to the Heart of Catholicism is rated 5 out of 5 by 2.
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Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 200 pages, 9 × 6.02 × 0.64 in

Published: August 31, 2003

Publisher: Seraphim Editions

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0973548797

ISBN - 13: 9780973548792

Found in: Religion and Spirituality

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from My place is not with the bystanders! In Journey’s to the heart of Catholicism Ted Schmidt tells the story of Amira Hass. Schmidt highlights Hass because she had the courage to ask Israel the question “Can you not see!” Schmidt finds the answer to why Hass “sees” and others do not in Hass’ account of her parents’ brush with death at Bergan-Belsen: "Having just arrived at the death camp she saw a group of German women slow down as the strange procession of emaciated people walked by. All of these women watched with 'indifferent curiosity.' For Almira: 'These women became a loathsome symbol of watching from the sidelines and at an early age I decided that my place was not with the bystanders.'" With Journeys to the Heart of Catholicism, Ted Schmidt asks us the same question about our Church and demonstrates he is not prepared to be one of the “bystanders”. Journey’s to the Heart … is divided into three sections: by far the largest section, addresses the meaning of “the heart” of the Church within contemporary society. The smallest section is about the heart of the Christmas story. Here Schmidt shares for the first time in print his annual Christmas poems, as a very “adult” story. The remaining section delves into the contradiction between the heart of Torah and the actions of the State of Israel. The three sections actually increase in power. For Schmidt, the heart of Catholicism, Christmas and Torah are found most succinctly in “The Beatitudes”. For Schmidt Vatican II (1962-65) were years of liberation which engaged and challenged the World to live by the social justice model Christ described in that Sermon on the Mount. In the 20 chapters on the institutional church the author weaves together two kinds of stories, critiques of the Church he so loves and accounts of his heroes who have stood out in their call to justice. This is no pious rant against those who would turn our Church back to a “Church of the little flock”, but a hard hitting, blunt and honest account of where and how the Church has lacked the courage to read and respond to the “signs of the times” and to listen to its prophets. In the subsection, “Kingdom Politics” Schmidt tackles the disconnect between capitalism, nationalism, globalization, environmental degradation, consumer-centred individualism and the call to social justice. In similar fashion he also probes the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Priesthood and the Church’s leadership or lack of leadership in relation to modern wars. Interspersed with these are stories of “Witnesses, Prophets and Passion”. I found Schmidt ‘s story of attending peace activists and war-resister Philip Berrigan’s funeral very moving and his chapter of living the “Stations of the Cross” particularly the Good Friday protest at the Cruise Missile plant of Litton Industries most revealing. These for me, are points in time, I can recall from the sidelines but are just a couple examples of where “Ted” chose to refuse to be a bystander. The Christmas Poems section are both the most original and creative section of the book. In a sense they comprise a book-within-a-book; one which is, by itself, well worth the price of the whole work. In the “The Infancy Narratives: The Lost Cry of Liberation” Schmidt attempts “to regain the serious challenge of the infancy narratives” by describing how Matthew and Luke wrote them from the “glow of the resurrection”. Schmidt then places the narrative into modern social contexts where Mary is the symbol of the poor pregnant women of such places as Guatemala, El Salvador and Soweto etc and where Pharaoh, Herod and Rome are symbolic of the likes of Thatcher, Reagan and the United States. Eight poems from Christmases in 1986, 98, 2000, 01 – 05 follow. In my opinion, this “little book of poetry” does more than all the promotional campaigns to “Put Christ Back in Christmas” have done, or could possibly hope to do. I was rather surprised to find two chapters on the Jews, The Torah and the Israeli conflict with the Palestinians. Schmidt uses the same contrast of the Prophet, in this case Toronto’s Rabbi Slonim (1914 – 2000) vs. the nationalistic Zionists and their search for Earthly power as opposed to “cultural Zionists” like Martin Buber who were more focused on the social justice message of Torah. The concluding chapter “Shattering the Monolith: Israel, Apartheid and Christians”, the longest in the book provides a superb brief history of how we have arrived at the mess we have today in the “Middle East”. In writing Journeys to the heart of Catholicism, Ted Schmidt refuses to be a bystander on either the Church or the condition of the World. Clearly, he stands to be recognized as one of the modern day prophets, he so admires.
Date published: 2007-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring and challenging Read this book when you are feeling in need of inspiration. The author, a retired Roman Catholic teacher, believes that practicing the Christian faith can help make this world the world of God’s dreams. This is an up-to-date exploration of Roman Catholic thinking on topics as varied as eco-theology and the relationship of church and state. In relation to the wars of the 21st century that are being conducted by nation states, he challenges all of us, Catholic and protestant, by asking whether we are just, “slumbering by the fireside of an imperial Christianity.” Ted Schmidt also includes chapters about John Kenneth Galbraith and two “Maryknoll Prophets”, and the annual Good Friday walk for peace and justice in Toronto. In this book it is obvious that Ted Schmidt’s faith was profoundly affected by Vatican II. In “Journeys to the Heart of Catholicism” he helps the Roman Catholic community to remember those foundational teachings of social justice and engagement with the world. In chapters titled, “Whither the Priesthood” and “Religion and Politics” he explores how the church has drifted away from the spirit that was present at Vatican II. What, for example, is the role of women in Roman Catholicism? There is a 22 page section in the book that contains “Christmas Poems.” These are insightful reflections on our contemporary world; incarnational theology, and deeply moving. For example, Schmidt’s 2005 poem was dedicated to Jim Loney, a peace activist who was being held hostage in Iraq. For all of those who are involved in, “the struggle” that involves the coming of the Kingdom of God here on earth, this book is an inspiration, a challenge, and a source of ideas. It has given me hope.
Date published: 2007-11-18

– More About This Product –

Journeys to the Heart of Catholicism

by Ted Schmidt

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 200 pages, 9 × 6.02 × 0.64 in

Published: August 31, 2003

Publisher: Seraphim Editions

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0973548797

ISBN - 13: 9780973548792

About the Book

"Journeys to the Heart of Catholicism" is a collection of thought- provoking essays that compel the reader to examine some of the most important social and religious issues of our time. Schmidt addresses the carnage in Iraq, the careful nurturing of a spirit of detachment towards war, and theChristian church, which has become derelict in its understanding of thenonviolent Gospel. How did the faith of Jesus become known to be pro- rich and pro- war? Other topics include the Catholic Church and celibacy ( The Elephant in the Sacristy: The Silence Around Celibacy), slavery, the contradictions of capitalism, globalization, and an overview of the life and achievements of John Kenneth Galbraith.

From the Publisher

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About the Author

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