June 15, 2008

Book Review: Marriage Secrets of the Catholic Church

Beginning Your Marriage: Ninth Edition by John L. Thomas, SJ, and revised by Joan McGuinness Wagner (ACTA Publications, 2002, ISBN 0-915388-24-3).

This book was written by: John L. Thomas, a Jesuit priest--widely regarded as the most qualified, authoritative profession in the field of marital experience--and it was revised by Joan McGuinness Wagner, former president of the national association of Catholic family life ministries.

What is in this book: An update of the original Beginning Your Marriage, which "was written years ago"(p.7). Pains have been taken to use more modern references and analogies. For example, "If you are truly in love, your love for each other will want to burst out of your relationship, like new wine in old wineskins, and overflow to all around you"(p.118). It also draws from recently released movies like City Slickers to share wisdom like Billy Crystal's character's view on adultery (p.27-28), because if there's anyone who can eloquently express the Catholic Church's feelings about the sanctity of marriage, it's a Hollywood Jew reading a film script.

What is not in this book: An endorsement of anti-Catholic frippery or other such nonsense. Billy Crystal's efforts notwithstanding, "the mockery of marriage made by Hollywood is pervasive"(p.32). It also has stern words for couples who are living together as "the most convenient way of having sex before marriage. They simply can't wait, even though they know that what they are doing is wrong"(p.43).

Would you recommend this book to Angelina Jolie? No, I would recommend she write her own book, Ending Someone Else's Marriage.

Would you recommend this book to Cole Porter? Yes, because I'm dying to work in a joke about "Beginning the Beguine."

What was interesting about this book: The way in which the Catholic viewpoint is consistently worked into all of the issues experienced in marriage. For example, couples are reminded that natural family planning "is natural, highly effective, inexpensive and medically safe"(p.99). And when it comes to tithing to the church, "It has been said, 'Give as if your marriage depends on it.' It does" (p.118).

Digg this Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Read more reviews...