Book Review: Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament

The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is the long awaited single-volume edition of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (New Testament) series edited by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. Rest assured, this single-volume edition contains all the study notes from the individual volumes, this version is not an abridged single-volume… it has it all! Text size is roughly the same as a regular Bible, and the study notes are the size of typical footnotes. I find it to be very readable. The study notes are also accompanied by mini icons, each of which corresponds to a particular point of the Church’s criteria for Biblical interpretation: “content and unity”, “living tradition”, and “analogy of faith”. The Scriptures take up roughly the top half of the page, and the study notes fill up the remainder. It is a good balance that I found to be a bit more readable than some of the Navarre Study Bible series which occasionally fit only a few verses on one page; having a good balance makes it easier to read passages in context.

As a personal note, Aquinas & More was awesome enough to send me the leather bound version, and after also seeing the paperback Bible, I think the leather bound version is a better choice for two reasons. The first is because of the size. This Bible is big (nearly 10 ½ by 7 ½!), so it is a lot to handle when you are sifting through the pages. The leather binding is flexible enough to be comfortable and (my second reason for recommending the leather bound version:) it will be more durable than the paperback. The leather bound Bible also comes with two gold ribbons to help you mark your place—very handy! And has gold edges. While the gold edges make the Bible look pretty, it’s not what you’d expect from a Study Bible and personally I find it unnecessary. You want to mark up your Study Bibles (or at least I do), and yet here’s this nice pretty gold edging that makes you feel like it should be a coffee table Bible instead of your sturdy Study Bible. On that note, the margins are also a bit small to accommodate much writing. However, considering the size of the Bible and the readable text size, I do not think that the margins could have been made any larger without making the overall size of the Bible too cumbersome to lug around.

You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review of  The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the largest Catholic Storeonline. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.


Our Lady of Sorrows… Mary as Co-Redemptrix

“And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Luke 2:34-35

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows… probably one of my ‘favorites’. There is a shrine in Carey, Ohio to Our Lady of Consolation. When you walk in, on the right hand side is the statue the shrine is named for… but the side the draws my attention, is the left side… Our Lady of Sorrows:

And just underneath the altar: the cause of Mary’s deepest sorrow:

Her Son, her Divine Son, Our Lord, lying in a tomb after being falsely accused, spat upon, treated with such indignities, scourged, paraded like a criminal, and then crucified between two thieves… all for love of us.

Catholic tradition sees seven sorrows (or dolors) of Mary. Seven times the sword that the prophet Simeon predicted would pierce her soul, pierced her Immaculate Heart. First, the presentation in temple where Simeon foretells the coming sorrows. Second, when the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) must flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous rampage. Thirdly, when on their way back from Jerusalem they “lost” Jesus for 3 days whilst he was in the Temple. Fourthly, as Our Lady watched her scourged and bleeding Son carry His cross to Calvary. Fifthly, at the crucifixion as she stood beneath the Cross of her Son, pouring out His innocent precious Blood for the salvation of sinners. Sixthly, when after the death of Jesus, they lowered His bleeding Body from the Cross and she received her dead Son into her arms. Finally, when they laid the Body of Jesus in the tomb and sealed the sepulcher by rolling a large stone in front of it. Mary suffered with Jesus, as Simeon had foretold, she consented to God’s plans without knowing the details of their unfolding. One of my favorites lines from Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is when he shows Mary during the scourging at the pillar, she says, “My Son… when, where, how… will You choose to be delivered of this?” She doesn’t cry out, she doesn’t seek to stop His sufferings… she trusts. And in doing so, suffers with Him.

This is what the Church means when she calls Mary Co-Redemptrix. Mary is the woman with the Redeemer. It is impossible to tear Mary from our Redemption. Our Redemption (Jesus Christ) began in her. Our Redemption came through her. She was chosen, and she consented. She stood in sorrow unimaginable beneath the Cross of Our Lord and offered Him to the Father, trusting completely in His plan of salvation.

Today especially, and always: Our Lady of Sorrows, ora pro nobis! (pray for us!)

Mother, have pity on me, who has not loved God, and who has so greatly offended Him. Thy sorrows, it is true, assure me of pardon, but that is not sufficient. I wish to love God. Who could obtain for me that grace if not thee, who are the Mother of holy love! O Mary, Thou consolest everyone; favor me also, with thy consolations. Amen. (Prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori)

Catholic reads for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows:

The Foot of the Cross by Fr. Frederick W. Faber


He that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.

John 14:12

Reading Fr. Hebert’s Saints Who Raised the Dead and now enjoying Joan Carroll Cruz’s Mysteries, Marvels, Miracles in the Lives of the Saints has been enlightening and reassuring. It certainly has proved very interesting as well. The sheer volume of miraculous events, confirmed by doctors, non-believers, etc. is staggering.

I’ve always been a rather cautious (some might say “overly cautious”) person, and I think a healthy dose of skepticism is all right. Not skepticism in the sense that all things are impossible, but in the sense that natural causes and reasons should be considered. Attributing the miraculous to everything right away would be cause for accusations of gullibility, and a lessening of belief, as well as occasions of mockery (think of people who claim to see pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary in perishable things like toast). So, I do think we have to be careful. But I also see the need to recognize that we ought to give credit where credit is due. When it has been determined that there is no natural explanation for an event, it’s safe to term it ‘miraculous’ and give thanks to God through Whom all things are possible.

It is disturbing that there is a definite trend in modern “scholarship” to deny the miraculous. Instead of believing that Our Lord miraculously mulitplied the loaves and fishes, many modern “scholars”/”theologians” ask us to believe that there were traveling bread caravans that provided the extra food, or that everyone really had their own food and shared to make sure others had enough. Really?! Why would the Gospel writers feel the need to fabricate miracles after witnessing the greatest miracle of all? It does not make sense. When we start denying the miraclous in little things, we doubt the big things, and eventually… everything.

Miracles are real. Miracles are not impossible. God is still present and very much active in the world today. We need to refresh our memories with the history of our Salvation and the awesome things God has accomplished.

Read up on miracles. Read some good accounts of the miraculous (such as has been recorded in the 2 books I mentioned above). Pray, and give thanks.

Book Review: Queen Mother

Edward Sri’s Queen Mother is part of the Letter & Spirit Project run by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (founded by Scott Hahn). Thus, it focuses almost exclusively on the Sacred Scriptures. Though there have been criticisms regarding the lack of recourse to Sacred Tradition, I don’t think this is ultimately detrimental, nor am I surprised since the goal of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology is biblical theology (hence the name). It does not deny or negate the importance of evidence from Sacred Tradition, or the Magisterium, but simply seeks to draw out a deeper understanding of the biblical evidence of certain themes and doctrines of the Catholic faith.

Dr. Sri’s book is an examination of the Theology of the Queenship of Mary from a solidly biblical perspective. This theology of Mary’s Queenship is important as it explains and identifies her role as Queen of Heaven and Advocate. Mary’s role in God’s plan of Salvation was not limited to her earthly life, and this book provides biblical evidence for Mary’s role in Heaven. She is the prime intercessor to her Son, the King of Heaven, and the spiritual Mother of the Church.

The book is divided into four parts: an introduction, evidence from the Old Testament, evidence from the New Testament, and then summary conclusions. It is a relatively small book, only about 100 pages, but the back half of the book is filled with copious notes, references, and a great bibliography for those inclined to deeper study of Marian doctrines.

I think Dr. Sri’s book will also be of value to those practicing apologetics. The Marian doctrines of the Church, and especially the acknowledging of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Mother of the Church, have always been a concern of Protestants. Dr. Sri’s Queen Mother presents a biblical view of Mary that should provide an excellent response for apologists defending the biblical view of Mary.

You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review of Queen Mother for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the largest Catholic Store online. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Book Review: Handbook of Catholic Apologetics

It should be noted from the outset that this book is the earlier “Handbook of Christian Apologetics” with a new cover and partial title change, and one new chapter (about forty or so pages). I did not compare each and every page, but nearly every section I checked was exactly the same. The only differences being in font-size and the chapter outlines made more concise. They are good changes, but I am not sure if they are enough to demand a new publication.

As far as apologetical content goes, Mr. Kreeft and Fr. Tacelli do a decent job defending the reasonableness of faith and explaining some of the many philosophical proofs for the existence of God. However, since they renamed the book to Handbook of Catholic Apologetics I had been hoping for a stronger focus on apologetics for theists—for explaining and defending the faith to Protestants and persons of other religions. The book is divided about half and half: the first half addresses atheists and non-believers and the latter portion of the book focuses on defending commons objections to Catholic belief (ex. Mary, the Eucharist, etc.). It is a good resource, but far from and exhaustive and serves really as a good beginning, or grounding, in apologetics.

For example, one shortcoming is the gloss over Father Leonard Feeney. In (briefly) mentioning the dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Outside the Church There is No Salvation), the authors overcomplicate the matter, dismiss Father Feeney (yes, Fr. Feeney was excommunicated, but not for doctrinal reasons as the authors insinuate) and so Mr. Kreeft and Fr. Tacelli fail to give a really good apologetic defense for the doctrine. The brief sentence or two offered by the authors is useless to anyone who is familiar with the particulars of Fr. Feeney’s case about Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.

Despite some of its shortcomings, Handbook of Catholic Apologetics is a book that has its apologetical merits for Catholics seeking an introduction to basic questions of faith.

You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the largest Catholic Store online. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

The Assumption of Mary

What is the Assumption of Mary?

As defined it means that, “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (Pope Pius XII, “Munificentissimus Deus”) … by the power of Christ; that’s why we call it theassumption, and not the ascension of Mary. Jesus Christ ascended, of His own power, into Heaven; Mary was assumed, by the power of Her Son, into Heaven.

Why believe in the Assumption of Mary?

Mary is the New Eve. Whereas the first Eve was disobedient to God, Mary was perfectly obedient, “behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). Genesis 3:15, the protoevangelium (or “first gospel”) reads, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” The “woman” of this verse cannot be Eve. This verse is a blessing—a promise of salvation—God is not blessing Eve and then cursing her (i.e., v. 16+) in the next breath. Furthermore, enmity is complete and radical opposition. It is total. Because Eve sinned with Adam and was cast from the Garden of Eden she cannot possess enmity against Satan. Nor does Eve give birth to the seed of victory (i.e., Jesus Christ). Mary does. Mary is the mother of Jesus. We believe Mary was immaculately conceived (conceived without the stain of Original Sin by a special grace of God) in order to posses the enmity of Genesis 3:15. The seed of Satan is sin and death, as St. Paul identifies for us in his epistles. Both the woman and her seed (by possessing enmity) triumph over Satan and his seed; the woman and her seed are inseparable and united in complete enmity against the inseparable Satan and the seed of Satan. If the woman had even the slightest stain of sin, she could not be said to possess enmity. Jesus by His passion, death, and resurrection, triumphs over sin and death. Mary, through the grace of God in her Immaculate Conception and Assumption, also triumphs over sin and death with Jesus, her Son.

Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant. The prized Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament contained within it Aaron’s staff (representing the priesthood), the tablets of the 10 Commandments (the Law), and some of the heavenly manna that fed the Israelites in the desert (the “bread of life”). Who is Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is the true High Priest, He is our Divine Lawgiver, and He is the Bread of Life. And the Blessed Virgin Mary carried for nine months in her womb, and the rest of her life in her heart, the High Priest, the Divine Lawgiver, and the Bread of Life: Jesus. Thus, Mary truly is the New Ark of the Covenant.

Psalm 132(131): 8 “Arise, O Lord, into Thy resting place: Thou and the ark, which Thou hast sanctified.”

Revelation 11:19 “And the temple of God was opened in Heaven: and the ark of His testament was seen in His Temple…”

Revelation 12:1 “And a great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

Marian Reads:

True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori