Replacing Misandry: A Must Read in an Election Year and Thereafter

In 2015, Dr. Paul Nathanson and Dr. Katherine K. Young published the fourth volume in their series on the presence of misandry in North American culture. Entitled “Replacing Misandry: A Revolutionary History of Men”, it continues the pattern of research excellence and biting social commentary demonstrated in the first three volumes. Considerably shorter than its predecessors, it focuses on specific “revolutionary” topics that have not received sufficient attention in the postmodern academic world: those involving the Neolithic and Agricultural, Industrial, Military, and Sexual and Reproductive Revolutions. It concludes with a brief but poignant reflection on Postmodern Man that shows how both genders have suffered much in the social upheaval.

Footnoted prodigiously, it remains accessible to the serious reader who though not an academic has a burning interest in the subject. Let’s face it, most people don’t, and one of the results is the farce that is masquerading as a Presidential election in the United States.

Throughout the debates and in the seemingly endless stream of negative ads that is bombarding the electorate, the constant theme of women’s rights and dignity are put before us. Very little is said about women’s responsibility, or lack thereof, that according to any credible measure, parallels men’s. Nor is much said about the plight of men, which indicates either that both candidates don’t really care or that they are so incompetent and unbalanced as to be ignorant about one of society’s most pressing problems.

The lack of class and maturity of both candidates was in full view in their final debate, in which they failed to shake hands either before or after their debate. In a sense, they epitomize many of the problems Nathanson and Young highlight in their work.

Mrs. Clinton is a banner carrier for ideological feminism and could hardly be more biased / unbalanced and divisive on gender issues. Mr. Trump is a macho rich businessman who is almost completely insensitive to the real needs of both genders and demonstrates so many of the shadow sides of masculinity that women’s advocates have rightly pointed out. Many of the subjects they discussed in their debates are echoed in Nathanson’s and Young’s work, though in a much more objective and intelligent manner.

I found this book to be more balanced and objective than the previous volumes because it focused intensely on particular crucial historical and sociological developments that most political and academic leaders sadly ignore.

You will probably not hear or read much about this book, or its predecessors, because society and sadly, most of the Christian denominations, are simply unwilling to listen. Overall, both Church and culture have pandered to women’s concerns for so long that they have become blinded to the plight of men. There is no excuse for leaders in both secular and religious realms to remain ignorant of the issues brought up by Nathanson and Young, but there is almost zero pressure on them to open their eyes to reality rather than to ideology. Sadly, as the current election indicates, mass society is likewise inordinately influenced by radical feminist propaganda.

Academia, which in the last half century has become cravenly beholden to feminism in a repugnant manner, apparently is resigned to being a puppet for women’s concerns to the overall exclusion of men’s. This is a major reason why this work by Nathanson and Young is so valuable. They address real world issues in an objective  manner and in timely fashion. If you want to get the real story about the gender crisis in this country, consult Nathanson’s and Young’s works, rather than the mass media. In the former, you’ll get the real story, thoroughly and responsibly researched. Most important, the lessons you will learn are not only global and communal ones, but personal and relationship ones, the kind that can bring and keep couples and families together.

Replacing Misandry is available from McGill-Queen’s University Press











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The Moralia, A Classic Newly Available

One of the great classics of Western Literature, “Moral Reflections on the Book of Job”, otherwise known as the Moralia, has not been fully translated into English since 1848, and that translation is outdated. Further, it is very difficult to find a copy, as it has not been reprinted for decades.

What a pleasant surprise, even a delight, it is to discover that Cistercian Publications is publishing a complete set of the Moralia. So far, Volumes 1 and 2 are available.

However, don’t worry about running out of reading material with regards to this set. This is a deep, intense classic, with so much food for thought that the wise person will take their time with it. After all, it was written by a wise man, one of the original doctors of the Western Church, a man in a class with Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, which is high praise indeed.

Most astute observers of classic spiritual literature, especially from ancient times, will tell you that if anything, St. Gregory the Great is UNDERRATED. First, the sheer body of his material extant (available) is massive. Two of his books are unquestioned classics, The Moralia and Pastoral Care, and a third, The Dialogues, borders on such, and many would classify it so.

St. Gregory is one of the most interesting figures in the history of the Church. Certainly he is one of the most respected and revered. There are two popes given the title of great, Leo I and Gregory. Personally, I believe that within two centuries, a third will be added, and it will not be St. John Paul II, who certainly will be most people’s choice. I believe that because of the length of his pontificate and his average administrative skills, and the way some of those under him , including bishops he appointed, did not implement his teachings either faithfully or competently, it may take even further time for the dust to settle and him to receive a more objective appraisal. The length and influence of his pontificate, and the sheer volume of his teachings, likely will earn him the title of great, but I believe it will occur after Paul VI is given this honor. Why? Because he held the Church together during a time of great change and crisis, and he led it to modernize in a way that was faithful to tradition and the Bible. Perhaps most important, he allowed decentralization to occur, and empowered others to use their gifts within the Church. This takes a lot of courage, because many people will misuse this trust. However, with faith in God, it is worth the risks.

These attributes of Paul VI are in many ways applicable to Gregory the Great, and thus we should not take his label, the Great lightly. The man is a giant of the Church and someone whose relevance endures untarnished. In this manner he is much like St. Augustine, whom he greatly admired.

The first two volumes of this new translation of the Moralia are priced at $39.95. Get over the sticker shock, for what you get it is a stupendous deal. First, the book is priced high because its market is limited. The Moralia and its author are profound, and profound does not sell in our culture like entertaining does. As the Introduction to Volume 1 aptly states, what is most admirable about the Moralia is the way St. Gregory engages the crucial issue of life. 1500 years later, his answers may or may not be entirely satisfying. But they make us think, go deeper, and evaluate life and ourselves more honestly.

Most people will want to start with Volume 1 because it offers such an outstanding introduction to both Gregory and the Moralia, as well as their times. The Introduction is a short book in itself. Getting through the Moralia is a slow, cumbersome process, which is why many choose to avoid it.

However, St. Gregory is a master of the spiritual life, and we would be well served  to open ourselves to his wisdom.

The translator is a Trappist Monk from Thomas Merton’s monastery. Needless to say, the translation is excellent. I won a classical prize in Latin in college, and have an appreciation of the language and its nuances, and I am very impressed by this translation. Also, I have published three books on Job, and written numerous articles on it, so I am very in tune with the profundity of the book. St. Gregory is one of the few capable of doing it justice.

A little over 12 years ago,  German biblical scholar Hermann Gunkel’s commentary on Genesis was published by Mercer. Scholars hailed this event, because for many of them Gunkel’s commentary was the all around finest to date. Likewise, you will find a more up to date commentary on Job, but certainly not one as long and profound as Cistercian Publications recent masterpiece.

My greatest tribute is that in reading it you learn how to practice lectio divina, the moastic practice of which Gregory was so fond and skilled, better than ever before. Gregory slows you down, brings you deeper, makes you think, inspires you to listen, and urges you to implement God’s message to you. I can think of few finer tributes.

I suggest starting with Volume 1’s thorough Introduction. This will set the stage for encountering Gregory’s eclectic but masterful style. View the price as an inexpensive fee for a class. Learn from a master for a song.

The book is available from The Liturgical Press, whose website is Their phone number is 1-800-858-5450. Check out their annual clearance sale as well, by requesting a catalog.

If you are interested in the history of the early Church, the book of Job, or ultimate questions on the meaning of life, and are willing to work through a challenging but very rewarding read, you have found your opportunity. Take your time with it, and be grateful that a monk took on the challenge of translating this massive work as a labor of love. We are all the better for it. Thus is the Moralia, in a readable and accurate translation, with helpful white space at the margins for notes and footnotes. It recommends itself. It was influential in the church for a millennia. ’nuff said. Check it out. It’s like purchasing a masterpiece for a pittance.

Though very knowledgeable with respect to the Bible, Gregory was no St. Jerome. Thus he had to grapple with the text in a way familiar to us. He was, however, an unsurpassed pastor, an original thinker, and a sensitive and insightful pastoral theologian who lived his vocation with dignity and style. Get to know him, and some of his attributes and wisdom will rub off, with the aid of the Holy Spirit. And find hope in these horrible times, which as the Introduction notes are in many respects reminiscent of Gregory’s.


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Monastic Practices by Charles Cummings, OSCO

Cistercian Publications, an imprint of The Liturgical Press, has recently released a revised edition of Trappist monk Charles Cumming’s Monastic Practices.  The first point to make clear is that this is almost as appropriate for laypersons as for monks. The author speaks in a conversational and personal, but thoughtful and lucid style that makes reading a book enjoyable.

The book offers a multitude of insights and practical suggestions. The first chapter is on sacred reading, or lectio divina, which is an area of my expertise. I found the chapter refreshing, insightful, and helpful for both beginners and those advanced in the practice. It set the tone of the book for me and I realized that this is a very practical yet substantive book that can really be helpful to the reader.

I found the author’s personal, conversational style very engaging, and it is obvious that he has a mastery of the subject, having lived it since 1960. Whether you have a monastic library or are looking to build one up, or you wish to give the book to someone who is seeking to deepen their spirituality, you can’t go wrong with this book.

I suggest ordering it from the liturgical press at Their phone number is 1 -800-858-5450. Until July, they have a great clearance sale going on, so I suggest you also ask for a catalog on that. A lot of great deals on super books.

Monastic Practices is a book to savor, mull over, and dialogue with. And enjoy learning about a lifestyle that has much to say to us today. Extremely highly recommended, and this is from someone, myself, who has worked with monks, stayed at monasteries, and studied monastic spirituality for decades. It’s a book by someone who has lived the life enthusiastically and knows how to impart its essence. Quite well done. The book retails for $19.95, and is worth every penny.




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Hundredfold: A guide to Parish Vocation Ministry

In the book Hundredfold: A Guide to Parish Vocation Ministry, Mrs. Rhonda Gruenwald has filled a significant need in providing a detailed account of how parishes can develop a vocation ministry. This term is only recently becoming more common in pastoral settings, and indeed many parishes do not have a defined vocation ministry.

The need for such practical guidance as Mrs. Gruenewald gives is all the more acute as our society continues its meteoric moral decline and increasingly fails to make appropriate gender distinctions, culminating in the recent scandal and in biblical parlance abomination of legalized homosexual marriages.

As the Church teaches, marriage is between a man  and a woman. The Church offers support to persons with homosexual tendencies, and rejects all forms of hateful discrimination. However, this does not  entail passivity in the face of the moral plague that homosexual marriage constitutes. The Bible is clear and consistent in its condemnation of homosexuality, and although many  biblical commentators soften this by referring to cultural conditions and mores in place at the time, the Tradition overwhelmingly supports the biblical position.

Homosexual couples are increasingly being presented in the culture as acceptable, and even the norm, and those who protest this are often viewed and treated as reactionary pariahs. What message about heterosexual love does this send to children? How are children of homosexual couples going to have a healthy image of heterosexual marriage? These are questions that have not been taken seriously enough, and unless the Church provides additional guidance at the parish level further confusion is going to result.

Mrs. Gruenewald’s book is invaluable for providing a thorough framework in which vocational formation can take place. The book is full of practical tips for almost every aspect of this ministry. At over 200 pages, the book is almost encyclopedic in its thoroughness. The compartmentalized table of contents and book layout prevents it from being overwhelming.

As I went through the book,  I thought to myself that such a work could only have been written by a woman. In general, women are far superior to men in organizing pastoral activities, and their attention and sensitivity to detail and nuance is commendable. Mrs. Gruenewald has done her homework and expressed in clear guidelines how to develop and further a parish’s vocation ministry. The book’s table of contents enables easy access to topics of interest, so that you can address your practical concerns immediately.

Hundredfold is published by Vianney Vocations and retails for $17.00. Mrs. Gruenewald’s website is, and her email address is






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Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

I recently visited the Alabama Hall of Fame, which is in Birmingham Alabama. It’s abbreviation is ASHOF. it is located in the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, in downtown Birmingham.

I have visited all the major North American sports halls of fame: Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, swimming, and tennis. ASHOF is slightly different as it features mostly memorabalia and artifacts related to the inductees. It does not have movies and video displays as the major sports halls of fame do.

However, notwithstanding this difference, I found it extremely interesting and well laid out. There are three floors to explore, and one can comfortably tour it in 2-3 hours. Because it chronicles social and cultural changes as well, it holds interest for non-sports fans as well.

Parking and access via the highways is easy, and the staff is very visitor friendly. The gift shops has some very unusual items, including large post cards costing only a quarter.

The sections on its two most famous coaches, Bear Bryant and Shug Jordan, were elaborate and interesting.

I didn’t realize that many famous athletes had ties to Alabama, and I think it would be difficult to find another state with a sports hall of fame to match this one.

Contrary to what the locals say, Alabama did NOT invent football, but you would never  know it if you went to an Alabama home football game. However, after visiting this spacious but manageable museum, you might not be so sure.

I learned about many accomplished athletes and influential and inspirational persons, including Charlie Boswell, the blind golfing champion. At many of these museums I tend to breeze through the written displays, but the ASHOF’s are tasteful and informative. The sponsors and volunteers take great pride in this museum, and rightly so.





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Swimming Steps to Success

In 2016, Human Kinetics published a detailed guide to swimming by Coach Scott Bay.

Swimming: Steps to Success is a dynamic, comprehensible manual on the mechanics and experience of swimming. It is technically proficient yet accessible. It teaches you how to swim properly, and anticipates common errors and obstacles. It provides you with guidelines on how to overcome them as well.

Swimming has so many technical nuances that a book on it could easily be boring and dry. Coach Bay’s book is neither of those, nor is it light and banal. If you are looking for a serious, readable, technically proficient guide to swimming for swimmers of all levels of ability, you have found it in this book. It is like having hours of swimming lessons with one of the most respected instructors in the country. The book contains: detailed lessons on almost every aspect of swimming. It is like having Coach Bay in the water alongside you, urging you on. The pictures and design of the book complement the instructions, making it tolerable to work through: like practicing swimming, it is work, but rewarding and highly beneficial.

You can tell from reading this book that the author has put in the hours not only studying swimming from a theoretical perspective, but in working with swimmers at all levels. The book is down-to-earth, conversational, and thought-provoking. The book is well organized; you can navigate it easily and skip what is not of interest without losing your place.. Very highly recommended. An outstanding investment no matter your level of proficiency. This makes a great gift for both young and old who are trying to enjoy and optimize the experience of swimming rather than be frustrated or overwhelmed by it.

Swimming along with walking is the best exercise going. It is appropriate for persons of all ages. Coach Bay’s book will help you enjoy it more, without making it a burden. This book is an investment in your health and well-being, and for less than you would pay for a private swimming lesson at the YMCA! This is a trustworthy manual from a coach who has worked with Olympic athletes and world record holders as well as upstarts and stiffs (those well-meaning individuals like me who make it through the water but only by divine providence). Well done, and very much worth checking out.





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On the Inspiration and Truth of Sacred Scripture

In 2014, the Pontifical Biblical Commission issued a document entitled “The Inspiration and Truth of Sacred Scripture.” This grew out of the 2008 Synod on the Bible and Benedict XVI’s 2010 apostolic exhortation”Verbum Domini.” It seeks to clarify the import of difficult biblical passages and to present a theologically and anthropologically prudent way of looking at the different parts of the Bible.

Currently, no complete English version of this document exists online. Most likely, the Vatican’s website,, will eventually fill this void. For now we have this book by the Liturgical Press which contains the statement in full, without commentary.

The Liturgical Press has done us a great service by making this document available. It is a very dense document due to the subject, but it is also remarkably accessible. It is neither excessively academic or technical, though some background in biblical studies is necessary in order to assimilate its finer points. Nonetheless, any sincere layperson with a basic understanding of the historical context of the Bible and the Church’s teaching on its proper interpretation will be able to make their way through it.

However, this book/document is not an easy read. The concepts are challenging and require reflection and prudent application. If the reader views the book as an orthodox course in the Bible, and commits to a sustained reading of it, it will likely bear abundant fruits.

Two sections stood out for me in terms of pastoral application. The first was on violence in the Bible and the second is on the social status of women. What do we do with parts of the Old Testament that pray for vengeance, and rejoice in the destruction of enemies? How do we interpret St. Paul’s teaching on the role of women in the family and the Christian assembly? These are subjects of great interest to many, and thus make for intriguing reading.

This book reveals one of the outstanding attributes of the Catholic Church, which is its dynamic and prudent approach to the Biblical texts. First, it only rarely defines authoritatively the meaning of a passage. Second, and this flows in part from the first point, it allows for departure from non-infallible teaching on the subject, provided that it be done in a charitable spirit and in a non-scandalous, non-divisive manner.

For example, the section on the social status of women comes down strongly on the side of those who would emphasize the cultural conditioning of these texts. Thus women troubled by these texts can find consolation and guidance from them. Conversely, those who disagree with this perspective can do so in good conscience, because it is not an infallible text, although it was approved by Pope Francis.

The danger exists that the texts might be rendered culturally obsolete, and thus the deeper religious meaning be lost. Also, the document fails to recognize that contemporary perspectives on gender roles are not infallible. Our culture can hardly stand in harsh judgment of the biblical peoples, considering the immoral practices rampant in our society: legalized abortion, violence against BOTH men and women, and the objectification of BOTH sexes.

Here, the so-called sensus fidelium comes into play. Many women who have been married for a number of decades, and who were brought up in the pre-Vatican II Church believe in biblical teaching on women’s attitudes and behavior, and of course they interpret it with common sense, balance, and reciprocality. Submission does not mean slavery. So much more needs to be explored on this subject, but at least this document provides another authoritative attempt towards clarification.

This document builds on the last PBC document, which dealt with moral teaching in the Bible. If one chooses to read this book cover to cover, it will take time. But it will be well worth it, for it represents the perspective of expert biblical commentators seeking to offer clarity for the faithful on a subject that will always retain some ambiguity. It really is like an advanced course in the Bible that has been accommodated to the needs of the faithful. The Liturgical Press has done us a service in making it available. Here is the link to the book on their website:  The book retails for $19.95. Not a bad price for a reliable course on the Bible adapted to today’s pastoral needs.


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