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.

 

 

 

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

OUT SOON: The Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium with Imprimatur

The 500-page 7″ x 10″ reference work on hamartiology titled The Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium by award-winning NCR editorialist Angelo Stagnaro, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from the Archdiocese of New York. Based on the original sinner’s guide by Ven. Louis Granada. The Modern Sinner’s Guide will be available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon, directly from ourselves at Hope & Life Press, and major booksellers. It will also be available at the Vatican libraries including the Gregoriana, the Angelorum, and the Pontifical College of North America.

OUT SOON: The Modern Sinner’s Guide for the Third Millennium with Imprimatur

NEWS: Christmas release of new Cookbook for Catholics

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Hope and Life Press is thrilled to announce the forthcoming release during the Christmas season of the first edition of the book Forty Italian Rustic Dishes: A Christmas Cookbook for Catholics by National Catholic Register award-winning editorialist and Holy See liaison Angelo Stagnaro, OSF. This is the second volume in Stagnaro’s series of Cookbooks for Catholics and the first in our new line. The book, which will be available in both paperback and ebook editions, has been granted the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur by the Diocese of Brooklyn.

NEWS: Christmas release of new Cookbook for Catholics

OUT THIS MONTH: The Pro-Life Apologetics Manual

Stagnaro Abortion Book Poster

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OUT SOON: The Pro-Life Apologetics Manual by Angelo Stagnaro

OUT SOON: The Pro-Life Apologetics Manual by Angelo Stagnaro

REVIEWS: Another 5* for Judging Angels

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This book is quite a ride! In reading “Judging Angels,” one finds not so much a suspense/mystery novel as — well, spiritual suspense, I suppose. If science fiction can include beings on other planets, then spiritual suspense can include beings in other planes. There’s more than a touch of “The Twilight Zone” in the deliberate–but never slow–pulling aside of the veil, but there’s none of the preachiness that sometimes came with the show. It’s never heavy-handed and the characters are far more realistic in their individual struggles with their faith than are usually portrayed. There’s a distinct lack of religious tropes — there’s no fanatic, no absolute-denier-turned-convert, no almost-became-a-priest — none of the somewhat cartoonish types seen in most books with ostensibly Catholic characters. There is one small, non-religious trope — a kid has talents that are unexpected and helps save the day. It’s a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent story with very little in the way of overused dialogue or plot lines.

What there IS a lot of is well-developed characters and action that follows naturally from their flaws and strengths, both emotional and spiritual. The reactions moving the action along feel authentic, with the characters struggling (sometimes not so much) to rise above their psychological and spiritual injuries.

I can’t remember being so caught up by a story in a long time. The book moves fast; as other reviewers have said, it’s a page-turner. I had committed to reading it during my morning and afternoon train commute, but I broke down and read it over the weekend. The main character, George Able, catches the reader’s attention right off and does not let go. And it isn’t just George; in physics, there is a phenomenon known as the Venturi Effect, in which a fluid is compressed into a narrow space (a tube) and must speed up in order to relieve the pressure. Once the liquid speeds up enough, the pressure drops and forms a vacuum. Each character that comes into George’s life speeds things up that much more in a sort of literary Venturi Effect resulting from the increase in suspense regarding each one’s role and even identity. As in the Venturi Effect, the only way to relieve the pressure (i.e., suspense) is to read faster; and then the reader is caught in the vacuum. But what a ride!

(Source: Amazon)

REVIEWS: Another 5* for Judging Angels

FIAT MINISTRY SHOW: Tim Capps speaks on death penalty and sacramental marriage as Catholic criminal defense lawyer-author

 

FIAT MINISTRY SHOW: Tim Capps speaks on death penalty and sacramental marriage as Catholic criminal defense lawyer-author

NEWS: Catholic author Timothy Capps on Fiat Ministry Network

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We are pleased to announce that on Thursday, June 1, 2017, our Illinois award-winning death penalty defense expert and Catholic author, Timothy Capps, Esq., will be speaking about his newly released novel Judging Angels and his work on the Fiat Ministry Show with Kent Kuholski. The show, which can be found here, will air at 9:00pm EST. It can be accessed live on Fiat Ministry Network TV and all their social media channels including Periscope.

NEWS: Catholic author Timothy Capps on Fiat Ministry Network

Another 5* review for JUDGING ANGELS by top death penalty defense attorney Tim Capps

Nude Angel

Seriously Catholic! The author, Tim Capps, pulls off a tour de force of the modern challenges of being a practicing Catholic in today’s world. In the guise of a novel, the author presents a serious reflection on sin, temptation and adultery. A serious work for Catholics and wrapped in an entertaining plot. Looking forward to the next installment.

(Source: Amazon)

Another 5* review for JUDGING ANGELS by top death penalty defense attorney Tim Capps

More 5* reviews for Judging Angels

Nude Angel

Unique and thrilling take on urban fantasy! Themes of marital strife, estranged family ties and fidelity are thrown for a unique curve ball in this fast-paced, urban fantasy thrill ride. A cast of original, complex characters (including everyone’s soon to be favorite redhead) are interjected into the life of our protagonist, George. On his journey to rescue his kidnapped daughter, Sandy, we are led through a world of forensic analysis, other worldly challenges and well-painted suspense, and mystery on the end of every page. Tim Capps incorporates his knowledge of the legal scene into a world of mystical, harrowing action that makes Judging Angels a compelling page turner. Highly recommended, Judging Angels is an urban fantasy masterpiece that will be difficult to put down and impossible to forget. Hungry for the next installment of the The Rubricatae Chronicles.

Difficult to put this one down! Excellent urban fantasy novel with a frank and, at times, painful exploration of a marriage in its darkest moments. The story deals with characters in difficult situations discovering that it’s not always the best idea to do “anything” to save someone else. It was hard to put this one down. Can’t wait for the next installment!

(Source: Amazon)

More 5* reviews for Judging Angels