BOOK REVIEW: A Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium

Modern Sinners Guide FRONT COVERAward winning journalist Angelo Stagnaro offers a version of the Venerable Louis de Granada’s The Sinner’s Guide, for the internet age. Introducing himself as an experienced yet repentant sinner, he explains the foundations of Catholicism’s harmartiology (theology of sin), a theology that takes sin seriously as an offence against life, love and logic, an insult to God and his creation, as something to be avoided at all costs. Stagnaro does not mince words in this book: “There is no way to earn Heaven, but a million ways to merit Hell” (p. 40). God’s gracious mercy is stressed but never taken for granted and he never soft-pedals on matters such as Original Sin which commonly bewilders and alienates moderns. Careful explanations of Purgatory and Indulgences, of Vincible and Invincible Ignorance are provided. The reader is treated to a comprehensive overview of the Catholic context on sin before getting down to sin’s detailed branches. Continue reading here.

BOOK REVIEW: A Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium

BOOK REVIEW: A Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium | Catholic Medical Quarterly

Modern Sinners Guide FRONT COVER“What a wonderful name for a spiritual work and what a good book it is. In essence, it is an updating of a spiritual classic, The Sinner’s Guide, by the Venerable Louis of Granada, a work which was recommended by many saints including the great St Francis de Sales. The book by Angelo Stagnaro is easy to read and understand. It is immensely practical, ideal for the busy laity and it succeeds in its aim. It gives a description of sins, especially those that are common to our age and, most importantly puts forward the remedy against these sins.” Continue reading here.

BOOK REVIEW: A Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium | Catholic Medical Quarterly

Another 5* REVIEW for the award-winning fantasy JUDGING ANGELS

JUDGING ANGELS FRONT COVER REV

What? This novel was a shot in the dark for me. I bought it based on the writings in the author’s blog. I rarely read novels and when I do, they do not have lawyers as protagonists. I had no idea what to expect, but I definitely did not expect what I got.

I found the first chapter disjointed and disorienting. At chapter end, I thought, “What the blank is this?” Except I didn’t say “blank.” Chapters two and three made sense of chapter one quicker than I thought possible. From that point on, it was difficult to put down. As I approached the end of the book, I kept wondering how the author would resolve things. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t. On the last page, I had the feeling that about a third of the book was missing. I’m hoping that these points will be resolved in the next book, which I will definitely buy.

Lots of surprises in this book; some I guessed in advance, others not. You’ll learn what a blue falcon is and that there’s a highway to hell (paved with good intentions), but only a stairway to heaven.

And never trust a redhead.

(Source: Amazon)

Another 5* REVIEW for the award-winning fantasy JUDGING ANGELS

Another 5* REVIEW for the poetry book “Petals of Vision”

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This book is a true joy to read! Christopher’s poetry is deeply moving and dynamic. Yet the lines resemble swift brush strokes on an impressionist painting, they are actually full of profound meanings and symbols that aim directly at readers’ imagination and spiritual perception.

With his poetic thought, Christopher brings himself close to the tradition of William Blake’s visionary poetry. This book is a true joy to read.

(Source: Amazon UK).

Another 5* REVIEW for the poetry book “Petals of Vision”

EARLY REVIEW #2: A Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium by Angelo Stagnaro

Modern Sinners Guide FRONT COVERAngelo Stagnaro has taken on a hugely ambitious task in his 450+ page book titled A Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium. Yet, the breadth of undertaking makes sense when you see that it is a modern understanding and reworking of Venerable Louis of Granada’s original ‘A Sinner’s Guide.’

Venerable Louis de Granada was an influential and beloved Dominican preacher and writer of the 16th century. His Sinner’s Guide is a classic Catholic spiritual work; written for the common man, yet a major influence on some of our greatest saints like Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross and Saint Charles Borromeo.

Stagnaro has indeed followed in formidable footsteps and does so admirably. Most important for the reader, the length of the book should cause no anxiety. It is not a cover-to-cover read, but a true guidebook, a valuable directory of sin – what sin is, what kinds of sins there are, how they are manifested in our times and how we can work to avoid them. And despite the guilt-inducing subject matter, A Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium is quite an engaging and even enjoyable read as Stagnaro writes with compassion, humility – “my expertise in writing this book is that I have been, and still am, a spectacular sinner,” he says – and refreshing flashes of humor. The book is timely. In an age that has forgotten that sin is an objective thing – as Stagnaro says, “atheists and other secularists deride the term” – nonetheless, “living without values is a sure ticket to self-destruction.”

The Modern Sinner’s Guide outlines the seven deadly sins and then explores the sins pertaining to each of the Ten Commandments, but with some interesting modern developments. For example, under the deadly sin of anger, Stagnaro talks about the nature of anger and hatred, with subsections on gossip and Schadenfreude. To describe the latter, Stagnaro makes use of current cultural references (as he does throughout), in this case, the popular animated series The Simpsons:

In one Simpsons episode, Lisa, angry at her brother, Bart, managed to feel a modicum of pity for his lowly state. She said, “It’s amazing how I can feel sorry for you and hate you at the same time . . . the Germans probably have a word for it.” The Germans, being master wordsmiths, actually do have a word for it: Haßliebe (pronounced: hassliebe). This may not be as well-known to Americans, but another German word is much more popular in English. Once learning of it, one becomes instantly ashamed and worried that they themselves might be guilty of it: Schadenfreude. This is the shameful joy we experience when we delight at the misfortunes of others. When we think about the emotional and spiritual damage we do to ourselves when we enjoy another’s hardship, it is clear that this is completely unacceptable. One of the worst aspects of Schadenfreude is that the emotions it engenders in the soul can turn to even worse sins such as envy and anger. After all, bad feelings become bad thoughts and bad thoughts become bad actions.

The section based on the Fifth Commandment (You shall not kill) is in itself a stand-alone primer on the sins of the culture of death. The discussions are interesting and sometimes unexpectedly thorough. For example, in the section on suicide, after the sin itself is described, we have an explanation of instances of indirect suicide, which can be “heroic self-sacrifice:” Stagnaro points to Saints Damien of Molokai, Maximillian Kolbe and Edith Stein. But he also points out when indirect suicide can be “other than altruistic,” like purposefully refusing to leave a burning building or provoking an armed soldier or police officer into using lethal force (suicide by cop).

What really stands out in this part of the book is the section on abortion as Stagnaro names and refutes (often with many outside sources) 119 top pro-abortion myths. There is so much good, logical information here that I can imagine it could be used to both educate and arm Catholics on how to advocate for the lives of the unborn. Here is one myth, #37, the refutation of which gets hardly enough notice: “Pro-abortionists are law-abiding, compassionate, peace-loving, nonviolent people . . . unlike Christians.” Stagnaro refutes this, in the passage that follows, writing specifically about abortion providers and whether this myth describes them:

Putting aside the 43 million children killed as a result of the legalization of abortion, which can hardly be considered compassionate, peace-loving and nonviolent, the number of abortion providers who are violent felons is staggering, in particular considering how few there are. The Abortion Crime Report, published by California Right to Life offers a list of newspaper articles about abortionists who have been convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, torture, kidnapping, rape, theft, medical fraud, stalking, death threats, bombing, reporting falsely reporting bomb threats (and falsely blaming pro-lifers), sex crimes, conspiracy, drug crimes, property crimes, medical crimes and stalking among dozens of other crimes. The report of pro-abortion violence lists 2297 incidents of pro-abortion violence and illegal activities. The source for much of the information came from the Medical Board of California, which is responsible for licensing and bringing disciplinary action against state physicians. To this number, we should add the 347 women killed by legal abortions since 1973.                                             

In another contemporary twist, Stagnaro identifies the new seven deadly sins, which include environmental pollution, eugenics, drug trafficking and consumption. There are thought-provoking discussions on some of our modern age’s most contentious and problematic issues.

A brief review cannot comment on the majority of a work such as this, but one more section I will highlight as tremendously useful is The Art and Science of a Good Confession. Because after all the talk of what sins exist and how they can destroy, the great truth of our faith is that we can be completely forgiven – if we make a good confession. Preparing for a good confession is an essential tool for spiritual growth and health, and the exercises provided here, along with the encouragement to trust in God’s forgiveness, is a sign that God’s mercy is an essential part of the message of The Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium.

– Maria McFadden Maffucci, Editor, Human Life Review.

 

 

 

EARLY REVIEW #2: A Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium by Angelo Stagnaro

More 5* REVIEWS of the poetry book ‘Petals of Vision’

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A deeper journey. I have found Christopher’s poetry so moving, it takes one on a deeper journey. His ability to dig deep into our human condition is unnerving. I feel his poetry physically, his description of wanting or anxiety clenches my stomach, causes my heart to yearn. He is a talent that deserves your time.

Highly recommend. Touching and beautiful volume of poetry. The poems are personal and easily speak to one’s heart and experiences. Really enjoyed the volume (read it over two days) and already looking forward to Christopher’s next one.

A wonderful collection with a rich variety of subject matter. The poems on love lost and/or betrayed come straight from the heart, while the humorous verses show a mastery of subtle wordplay. Villiers is a poet with a soul, a conscience, and a distinctive poetic voice. Highly recommend.

 (Source: Amazon UK)
More 5* REVIEWS of the poetry book ‘Petals of Vision’

REVIEW: Another 5* for award-winning novel JUDGING ANGELS

JUDGING ANGELS FRONT COVER REV

Well, I’ll be darned! If It’s a Wonderful Life, The Screwtape Letters, and McGyver had a love child, this would be it. Mr. Toad’s wild ride on steroids, with Aquinas, Sue Grafton, Tom Clancy, and Barbara Cartland in the front seat; strapped in, hands up, screaming for nearly 500 pages. It grabs you by the throat (in that good way), shakes you 6-ways-to-Sunday (in that fun way), and spits you out, sweating and dazed (in that “Let’s do it again” way) at the end. You will laugh (OUT LOUD in a few places), you will cringe (in more than a few), you will find yourself squinting in that “that’s really intriguing” kinda way, as you stay up waaay longer than you intended, just to read ‘one more page,’ that melts into a hundred and fifty more before you finally drag yourself away.

Best of all, it will make you think about the big things (and the little ones) that make this life…the “why are we here,” and “there but for the grace of God go I” down that softly sloping, somnambulant path to hell. If it gets made into a movie (which it really must), the theme song should be Casting Crowns’ “It’s a Slow Fade”…(youtube it).

Capps is a master storyteller and a consummate wordsmith (it’s in his DNA), with a decidedly dark edge that keeps you watching and reading through slit fingers. This genre generally isn’t my ‘thing,’ but this book is an exception. Like Screwtape, it can make you more aware of the unseen, all-important battle raging all around us…if you allow it to, and ponder what it really says. I await, on pins and needles, its sequel.

(Source: Amazon)

REVIEW: Another 5* for award-winning novel JUDGING ANGELS

5* REVIEW: The Pro-Life Apologetics Manual

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Editorial note: This book, available in paperback and ebook editions, can now also be found at the Vatican libraries including the Gregoriana, the Angelorum, and the Pontifical North American College.

Book review by Brian Kiczek, D.C., Co-founder of the End of Abortion Movement

Angelo Stagnaro’s book The Pro-Life Apologetics Manual gives you well over 100 answers to common Pro Death Myths or pseudo arguments used to defend abortion.  Each myth as he calls them is soundly and effectively rebutted using basic logic. One of the themes, besides answering all these myths soundly and decisively, is that when you depart from God you also depart from logic and sound thinking. You lose it basically.This book is perfect for anyone ready to defend life and also those on the fence regarding abortion and also anyone open to the truth. Continue reading here.

5* REVIEW: The Pro-Life Apologetics Manual

More 5* REVIEWS for award-winning fantasy JUDGING ANGELS

JUDGING ANGELS FRONT COVER REV

Five stars! Loved it!! Waiting for the next book!

This is one of those novels I will always remember and that made me the richer for having read it. Thank you, Tim Capps, you touched my soul.

The ending….. “Wait, what!?!?” A great read, with fascinating twists. Waiting for the next volume in the series.

Verdict: More, please! Loved this book. Most unusual mixture of genres, to quite delightful effect. The author has a great writing style and I’m hoping that he has more than one novel up his sleeve.

Book of the Year! I loved it because it had redheads, Ginger Rogers, St. Thomas Aquinas and lawyers, guns and money. Tim Capps is notoriously funny and I was spellbound throughout. This is a major breakthrough in literary achievement. As an added bonus, the spelling and grammar were excellent, too.

I loved this book. It was funny, thought provoking and tragic, which is a lot to ask from one book. Can’t wait for the next installment.

(Source: Amazon).

More 5* REVIEWS for award-winning fantasy JUDGING ANGELS