Sunday, January 29, 2012

Archbishop Chaput's "Render Unto Caesar"

I belong to a reading group that meets weekly, reading the chosen book aloud and discussing it as we go. We just finished Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's book Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs In Political Life which he wrote while serving the Denver Archdiocese. The book has nothing to do with the topic at hand--but, I found it interesting how Archbishop Chaput referred to historical figures I mention often on this blog, and highlighted in my own book, Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation.

Any book about Church and State will feature Thomas More, and Chaput features Thomas More extensively. He also highlights Bishop John Fisher.

Any book about the rights of religion in the USA will mention Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Chaput features that great founder also.

Tolkien is the interesting figure and how Chaput works him in is a discussion of how Tolkien's mother Mabel became a Catholic and the very adverse reaction of her family: withdrawing material assistance and love. The Archbishop used her story to depict the cost of following Jesus Christ: "We can't follow Jesus Christ without sharing in his cross."

Reading a book aloud a paragraph (or so) at a time, even with different voices, highlights the rhythm of sentence structure, phraseology, and word choice in an author's prose. I read Supremacy and Survival aloud as I wrote it to hear what I was "saying" and how I was "saying" it. It's a big leap back to ancient times when all reading was aloud--remember how St. Augustine was amazed when St. Ambrose read silently? What reading groups do you belong to, readers, and have you ever participated in a read aloud group?

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