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PRESS RELEASE: Why Faith May be the Key to Unlocking a Healthier, Happier You

In The Catholic Advantage: Why Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful (Image, March 3, 2015), the controversial president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, provides proof and explanation for why religion is integrally tied to well-being.

Donohue does this by examining what he calls the Three B’s of Catholicism: beliefs, bonds, and boundaries, and showing how they are integral to achieving the Three H’s: health, happiness, and heaven.

For the purposes of the book, Donohue looks at people of faith through the Catholic prism. His examples include practicing Catholics, saints, nuns, and priests. Alternatively, when examining the behaviors of agnostics and atheists, Donohue focuses primarily on two groups: Hollywood celebrities and intellectuals.

“The greatest joy that Catholicism offers is the prospect of achieving salvation,” writes Donohue. And the good news, according to Donohue, is that the teachings of the Church provide a veritable road map to heaven while also providing benefits such as good health and happiness.

 

Health

In Part One, Donohue focuses on health. Here he explores the role of beliefs, bonds, and boundaries and the benefits that accrue for Catholics in terms of physical and mental health.

“There is a strong positive correlation between religion and well-being,” according to Donohue, and he has statistics to back him up. The 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (one of the largest studies ever done on well-being) found that “Americans who are the most religious scored the highest on the well-being scale.”

 

Happiness

In Part Two, Donohue focuses on happiness. Here, Donohue’s findings show that there is something lacking from the conventional understanding of happiness and how best to achieve it. When surveying happiness, Pew researchers found that “people who attend religious services weekly or more are happier (43%) than those who attend monthly or less (31%); or seldom or never (26%).”

Thus, “the right recipe for human happiness is not found in abandoning our inhibitions,” writes Donohue.
“It is found in abandoning ourselves to God.”

 

Heaven

Part Three looks at heaven. “It is always risky to discuss who is the most likely to make it to heaven,” writes Donohue. “Only God knows for sure. But we are not without reasonable benchmarks in making such assessments. Surely it makes sense to believe that those who have given themselves totally, and sincerely, to the Lord have to be at the front of the line.”

In examining heaven and what it takes to get there, Donohue looks at the types of people who are more likely to demonstrate altruistic or charitable behavior. For examples he offers well known saints, those who risked their lives to recue Jews during the Holocaust, and Frederick Ozanam, founder of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

In linking altruism and charitable acts to the path to heaven, Donohue cites Mother Teresa who said: “One thing will always secure heaven for us: the acts of charity and kindness with which we have filled our lives.”

In conclusion, Donohue drives home the thesis that people of faith are likely to be healthier and happier than their non-religious counterparts and that the Catholic Church has the formula (the Three B’s) for achieving health, happiness and ultimately heaven.

“It makes no sense whatsoever to pretend that we do not know what works,” writes Donohue. “Quite frankly, it is in everyone’s interest to make the Catholic advantage more accessible to the public.”

“If the prescription for the Three H’s is widely distributed, then it’s a sure bet that health and happiness will follow,” says Donohue. “More important, it’s likely that the pearly gates will open just as widely.”

 

About the author

DR. WILLIAM A. DONOHUE is the president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. The publisher of the Catholic League journal, Catalyst, Donohue is also a former Bradley Resident Scholar at The Heritage Foundation and served for two decades on the board of directors of the National Association of Scholars. A formidable TV presence, Donohue has authored several books on civil liberties, social issues, and Catholicism.

 

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Bill Donohue, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


PRESS RELEASE: How Christianity Changed the World And Can Change it Again

Christianity is no longer the dominant religion in many places where it used to be. Over the course of recent generations there has been a decline in the Church’s influence over society. In short, we are living in what many would call a “post-Christian” world.

So how can the Church live and serve in this post-Christian world, in which believers are facing various forms of persecution?  The answer, according to authors Mike Aquilina and Jim Papandrea, lies in understanding the Church of the past.

In Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change it Again (Image, Feb. 24, 2015), Aquilina and Papandrea examine the history of the Early Church and apply it to America’s current political landscape, giving contemporary focus to material unfamiliar to many modern Christian readers.

This book is about seven cultural revolutions—individual, home, workplace, religion, community, death and state—that changed human society for the better by improving the quality of human life.

Drawing on the similarities between the life of Christians in the early Roman Empire and the world in which we currently find ourselves, the authors show how the lessons learned from these ancient Christians can apply to Christians living in the United States today.

After discussing the seven revolutions in detail, the authors demonstrate why reclaiming these revolutions is so important for the Church of the twenty-first century and offer concrete suggestions for taking action in the new post-Christian world.

“Christianity can change the world again, but only if Christians continue to live their faith,” write Aquilina and Papandrea. “The Church can convert the world again, but only when we remember that we are the Church.”

 

What are the Seven Revolutions?

1)      A Revolution of the Person (The Invention of Human Dignity) — a revolution of the individual affirmed that all people are created equal, in the image of God, and no one is expendable.

2)      A Revolution in the Home (The New Idea of Family) — a revolution of the home affirmed as a place of safety and love, where women and children are not exploited.

3)      A Revolution of Work (How Labor Became Holy)  a revolution of the workplace affirmed that people are not property, that they must be free to choose their work, and that they must be given time for worship, for artistic expression, and to enjoy their loved ones.

4)      A Revolution of Religion (God is Love) — a revolution of religion taught that God is love.

5)      A Revolution of the Community (Love Your Neighbor) — a revolution of the community taught people to love their neighbor.

6)      A Revolution in Death  (The Conquest of the Last Enemy) — a revolution in the way people thought of life and death rejected the culture of death,  affirmed the culture of life and hope, encouraging people to stand up for human rights.

7)      A Revolution of the State (Religious Freedom) — a revolution of government set up the ideal that rulers should serve those whom they rule (not the other way around), and that all people should enjoy freedom of religion.

 

About the Authors:

Mike Aquilina is the author of more than 40 books, including The Fathers of the Church, The Witness of Early Christian Women, and The Mass of the Early Christians. With Cardinal Donald Wuerl he is co-author of three books: The Mass, The Church, and The Feasts. He appears regularly on EWTN.

Jim Papandrea is a teacher, author, speaker, and musician. He received his M.Div. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in the history and theology of the early Christian church from Northwestern University. He has also studied Roman history at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. Papandrea is now Associate Professor of Church History at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary (on the campus of Northwestern University) in Evanston, IL.

 

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Mike Aquilina or Jim Papandrea, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


PRESS RELEASE: Putting First Things First

Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square

“We have to see that the priest as priest is a public person, that he is a political person,” wrote Richard John Neuhaus in 1967.

Perhaps no individual in modern American history better personifies that description than Neuhaus himself, who lived his life on the national stage from the early 1960s until his death in 2009.

Neuhaus firmly believed that religion had a role to play in politics and in broader public life. From his days on the march with Martin Luther King, Jr. to his role as personal counselor to popes and presidents, he was a culture warrior extraordinaire.

Although he made his mark as an activist and intellectual clergyman, writing and speaking about the state of political affairs in America, he was first and foremost a man of God.

“Even when, especially when, we are most intensely engaged in the battle, first things must be kept first in mind,” he wrote. “It is not easy but it is imperative. It profits us nothing if we win all the political battles while losing our own souls.”

In Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square (Image, Feb. 10, 2015) author Randy Boyagoda offers a comprehensive and thoughtful examination of the life of one of the most influential figures in American public life, from the Civil Rights era to the War on Terror.

“I have spent the past five years working on this biography of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the most influential Catholic in America, from his national news making conversion in 1990 to his death in 2009,” writes Boyagoda. “What I have discovered and share in this book is the deeper, fuller story of the relationships, experiences, and events—personal and historic, small-town and world-spanning—that made Neuhaus not only a prominent priest but a prodigious writer and a hard-charging activist.”

Neuhaus (1936-2009) began his life in the public square as a leading clergyman of the American Left in the 1960s and 1970s and then went on to become the most prominent clergyman of the American Right from the 1980s until his death in 2009.

From a Lutheran pastor in Brooklyn to a Catholic priest in New York, his writing, activism, and connections to people of power in religion, politics, and culture secured a place for himself and his ideas at the center of recent American history.

Neuhaus is perhaps best known as the founder of First Things magazine, a fixture in the national media, and a personal counselor to Pope John Paul II and President George W. Bush.

“He would tell his friends that all his life, he wanted to do something beautiful for God,” writes Boyagoda. “Whether as a man of ideas, a man on the march, or a man in conversation with Presidents and Popes, Neuhaus was first, last, and always a man of God.”

 

Important moments:

  • Neuhaus made national news for the first time on October 25, 1965 when he talked back to Lyndon B. Johnson on matters of U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam during an antiwar demonstration.
  • Having already squared off privately and publicly against his arch-conservative Lutheran pastor father on civil rights, Neuhaus became a prominent civil rights activist in the 1960s, marching and working alongside his mentor, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and also Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • In 1968, Neuhaus was thrown out of the Democratic National Convention for the trouble he was making on the convention floor as an antiwar delegate.
  • In 1970, Neuhaus made a run for Congress as a radical Left wing delegate and lost. This was an act he later called “a fit of vocational absentmindedness.”
  • In 1975, Neuhaus fully became a conservative during days spent developing what would become the Hartford Appeal for Theological Affirmation.
  • In 1984, Neuhaus became director of the Rockford Institute Center on Religion and Society, a conservative think tank. Harper’s magazine reported his new directorship in a piece titled “Going to Extremes: A Sixties Radical Converts to an Eighties Reaganite.”
  • With the overwhelming response to the 1984 publication of his book The Naked Public Square, which coincided with a presidential election campaign in which the relationship of religion and politics was a source of endless controversy, Neuhaus emerged as America’s most prominent and discussed authority on religion and public life.  
  • In 1989, Neuhaus and his colleagues were un-ceremoniously fired from their jobs, as part of an intellectual war on the American Right that made national news. By 1990, Neuhaus had founded the Institute on Religion and Public Life and become editor-in-chief of the institute’s flagship publication, First Things magazine, which is the leading intellectual journal of its kind in the United States.
  • In 1996, Neuhaus presided over a national news-making special issue of First Things that made controversial connections between Nazi Germany and the United States over Supreme Court decisions about abortion and euthanasia.
  • Having already made national news with his conversion to Catholicism in 1990, by 2005 Neuhaus was named one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” by Time Magazine.
  • Neuhaus served as an unofficial advisor to President George W. Bush on a range of religious and ethical matters and was one of Pope John Paul II’s most influential American supporters and personal allies.

 

Praise

“[A] stellar biography.” – Publishers Weekly

“Boyagoda dispassionately describes this fascinating and active life, and he manages to blend skills as a folksy storyteller, researcher and unbiased historian, providing a biography that is balanced, interesting and relevant. A useful, provocative spotlight on one of the leading lights of the 20th century.” – Kirkus

“Faith, it is correctly observed, while intensely personal, is never private. In North America, nobody recently has more effectively defended and encouraged bringing religion into the public square than Richard John Neuhaus. And up until now, no one has offered a more credible, careful, and colorful biography of this convert to Catholicism—in the line of Orestes Brownson, Isaac Hecker and Thomas Merton—than Randy Boyagoda.” – Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, author of True Freedom
 
“A Lutheran pastor who became a Catholic priest, labeled sometimes as liberal and other times as conservative, Neuhaus was truly a “sign of contradiction” in our times, a man whose constant affiliation in life was of belonging to God and striving to draw ever nearer to Him. Thorough, vivid, and keenly understanding of the interplay of personality, faith, and cultural context, Boyagoda’s biography of Neuhaus does justice to this man of faith who became a type of “grace to be reckoned with,” becoming a culture-altering tour de force. As Americans continue to explore the challenge of living one’s faith in the public square, this book is an enriching testament to a man who blazed that trail in his own lifetime, fearless of everything but God Himself.” – Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus

 

About the author

RANDY BOYAGODA is a professor of American Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto. His latest novel, Beggar’s Feast, was selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, nominated for the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize, and has been published to critical acclaim around the world. His debut novel, Governor of the Northern Province, was nominated for the 2006 ScotiaBank Giller Prize. He has written for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, First Things, The New Statesman, and Harper’s. He lives in Toronto with his wife and four daughters.

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Randy Boyagoda, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


INTERVIEW: John Michael Talbot

Q&A with John Michael Talbot

author of

The Ancient Path
Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today

Q. What is your hope or goal for this book?

I would like to introduce Christians to the beauty of the early Church Fathers. There is a common misunderstanding that the scriptures simply dropped down from the sky into our laps! Understanding the early Church Fathers, and the authority of the Church, helps us understand the truly dynamic living authority of the Scriptures themselves.

 

Q. In the book, you offer practical insight into how the early Church Fathers can offer guidance and inspiration in our modern lives. What would you say to someone who is skeptical that these men who lived many centuries ago have something to offer modern readers?

Scriptures say that there is nothing new under the sun! Most modern issues, whether theological or pastoral, were encountered in the history of the Church in one form or another. Understanding the early Church Fathers, and a dynamic understanding of how the authority of the Holy Spirit works in the Church, can help us apply that same authority today.

 

Q. You are constantly on the road, headlining over 150 shows per year, leading retreats and giving lectures at churches across the country. How is your faith impacted by your busy ministry schedule?

Understanding the early Church Fathers helps us to live more dynamically today. The early Church Fathers were also extremely busy men, with hectic schedules and a constant pastoral ministry before them. They serve as an inspiration for me in my significantly less far reaching ministry today.

 

Q. Do you have a favorite Church Father?  

Yikes! I guess I would have to go with St. Ignatius of Antioch. Not only does he provide some of the clearest basics of how the early church was structured, but he gives some great theological advice regarding Christology, and some great pastoral advice as well. He was a man who strove for unity in the Church. So am I.

 

Q. Anything else that you’d like to add?

Buy the book! Seriously, I think Mike Aquilina and myself had a great time putting this work together, and truly feel that it would be helpful for those who read it. Mike is a gifted author who was able to take some of my personal experience in the Christ and the Church, and weave it into a great read.

 

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with John Michael Talbot, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


PRESS RELEASE: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living

How John Michael Talbot Found Guidance and Consolation in the Writings of the Church Fathers…and We Can Too

John Michael Talbot’s life and work have been shaped by the ancient Church Fathers and now he’s showing how we too can benefit from the wisdom of their writings as we look for answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

In The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today (Image, Jan. 20, 2015), Talbot and co-author Mike Aquilina tell the story of how the great teachers of the first millennium have shaped the life and work of one of the pioneering artists of contemporary Christian music.

Weaving personal narrative with the teachings of the Fathers, Talbot tells of his own spiritual journey which led him to Fundamentalism, the Jesus Movement and eventually the Roman Catholic Church.

As he made his way through spiritual and professional struggles, he found direction and encouragement in the writings of St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and Gregory the Great.

Some may wonder what these men of the first millennium could possibly have to offer modern believers. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, addresses this very issue in the book’s foreword.

“The language of the Fathers sometimes seems archaic to us today, as do their cultural markers. Technology has changed so much in our day-to-day living. Yet human nature has not changed,” writes Cardinal Wuerl. “Humanity still struggles against the same deadly sins, and we still strive to attain the same virtues. Jesus Christ remains the answer to the longings of the human heart, and the Fathers preached him most eloquently.”

In The Ancient Path, Talbot sets out to share the gift of the Fathers with his readers.

“We take what our Fathers have given us and pass it along to the next generation,” writes Talbot. “This book is my retrieval of the companionship of these great men, who have exercised a true fatherhood— a spiritual fatherhood—in my life.”

“I wanted to share, with as many readers as possible, the sense of discovery I got when I first cracked open a book of the Fathers,” writes Talbot. “I wanted to communicate the excitement I feel when I go back to those books and read them for the second, third, or tenth time.”

 

About the Authors:

JOHN MICHAEL TALBOT, the author of 27 books including the best selling Troubadour for the Lord and The Lessons of St. Francis, is one of the pioneering fathers of Contemporary Christian music with multi-platinum sales. He has received, among many other honors, Dove Awards and Grammy nominations. He tours constantly inspiring the faith of Christians of all denominations through inspirational preaching, lectures and sacred music. In 2014, Talbot premiered a new inspirational TV series on The Church Channel (TBN) called “All Things Are Possible” reaching a global audience in the hundreds of millions.

MIKE AQUILINA is the author of more than 40 books, including The Fathers of the Church, The Witness of Early Christian Women, and The Mass of the Early Christians. With Cardinal Donald Wuerl he is co-author of three books: The Mass, The Church, and The Feasts. He appears regularly on EWTN.

 

Praise for The Ancient Path:

“John Michael Talbot has done us all a great favor by opening up the great gift of the Fathers. In his own unique style he has produced a splen­did window looking out on the wisdom and the world of the Fathers. This work is a true blessing.” – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

“The so-called Church Fathers are not some theologians as we know them nowadays. They were close to the teaching of the Apostles conveying the teaching of those who were close to Jesus. Their theology and wisdom is close to everyday life. We have to thank John Michael Talbot that he has been able to unearth the treasures of those times. This was only possible because he himself in his community experiences the Gospel lived out in our times.” – Notker Wolf OSB, Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Order

 

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with John Michael Talbot, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.

 



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