14 comments
Jason
Jason

Good grief - I find Paulist Press to actually be one of the best publishers out there. Their Classics of Western Spirituality series is absolutely fascinating and very well done, and has greatly enriched my spiritual life. Just because it has authors from other traditions does not mean we should hit the alarm. If we only ever read things we agree with, our libraries would be very, very, very small. It's time to be adults people - be strong in your convictions and stand firm in your faith, but be open to learning as well, even if it means hearing the opinion or thoughts of someone who does not think exactly like you. Think it's heretical for Paulist Press to publish protestant theology? Read the books, and learn why you disagree with them, and learn how to reach out to others of that tradition if it bothers you so much. Need I remind you that Aquinas studied Averroes intensely?

Anonymous
Anonymous

This story should have ended with Elizabeth learning from her grandmother that her behavior is not the proper use of her spirit. Instead it ended with Elizabeth saying, "now I can be just Elizabeth, who will never EVER be a little saint... or a big one, either". This was the wrong way to end this story because we are all called to be saints! We don't get that title till we get to heaven but being a saint is heaven is our ultimate purpose not to live our own way. Maybe it was meant to show that we all struggle with holiness, but this did not accomplish that. Instead I think it would leave children to not strive for holiness but to just live their own way. Wouldn't recommend this book.

JEAN
JEAN

A CHILD CAME UP TO ME AT A CHRISTMAS GATHERING WHERE I HAD JUST SAT DOWN A PLATE OF COOKIES THAT MY HUSBAND AND I HAD WORKED VERY HARD TO DECORATE. SHE PROCEEDED TO LICK EVERY ONE. I TOLD HER TO LEAVE THE TABLE AND HER BAD MANNERS BEHIND. WHILE SHE HAD RUINED SIX COOKIES I DIDN'T THINK THAT WAS THE TERRIBLE PART. THE TERRIBLE PART WAS ALL OF THE FAMILIES AND CHILDREN WHO IN THAT MOMENT REALLY DID NOT LIKE HER AT ALL. I THINK THE ANSWER IS ABOUT LOVE, NOT ABOUT INDEPENDENCE. A CHILD SHOULD NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO RUIN HERSELF FROM THE GETGO. GOD INTENDED FOR US TO TEACH RIGHT FROM WRONG SO THAT WE COULD PRESERVE OUR RELATIONSHIPS AND ENCOURAGE TRUST AND INDEPENDENCE. I AM SORRY THAT PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS.

i am the son
i am the son

When Jesus walked the planet, he was reported to have railed against the likes of the scribes, pharisees and hypocrites. It is said we will all have to atone for our sins or misdeeds, but there are times man puts his version of a misdeed out there and if he is charismatic enough, people will eventually adopt it as God's will. Jesus mentioned something about casting pearls to the swine, didn't he?

Chad Jarbern
Chad Jarbern

It would be so nice if one of my biggest worries in life was a book that painted my religion in a bad light

Richard Boisvert
Richard Boisvert

For Bernardo... It is not a "conviction that man is born imperfect" it is a matter of truth, as taught by Holy Mother the Church. All men are called to be Holy by Christ. God knows we can never live up to the Holiness of God whilst we are alive. It is only when through His Son's affectacious Death and Resurrection can we enter into Holiness with him in Heaven. Catholic Doctrine: Man is born stained with Original Sin. It is through the ministration of the Sacraments by other men that he becomes good. Society is necessary for man to develop his natural and supernatural life and thus to fulfil the purpose of his existence (cf encyclical Immortale Dei (Pope Leo XIII), p.73). Vivat Christus Rex. Richard

Ian
Ian

This book isn't part one in a series and makes no attempt to point in a direction beyond "I'm not a saint and never will be." It's nice to assume that the book is supposed to be the starting point for discussion but there isn't any evidence that it is.

Joyangel123
Joyangel123

I think she has it right, but that is not the end of the story is it. We are supposed to realize that we are sinners and that no matter what we do we can never be good enough to enter the kingdom of God no matter who how good we are. So realizing and admitting you are flawed is definitely the right path. The next step would be realizing that that because of Jesus we can be transformed by the Holy ghost that comes and lives within us when we believe that Jesus Christ came to earth, lives a sinless life as a man, died on the cross for our sins and rose again destroying forever the power of death over mankind. But it is a free gift that has to be simply accepted. It is not by works least any man should boast. Joyangel123 http://gatesofrighteousness.blogspot.com

Laura Britto
Laura Britto

Perhaps I am Pollyanna-ish, but I think the story is supposed to serve as a launching point for discussion. Perhaps that is too interactive for some, but it would seem to me to be a step in the right direction. This story could give rise to verbal intercourse between youth and adult, explaining why the two (individuality and sainthood) are not necessarily diametrically opposed.

zombie z
zombie z

"How sad to be encouraging pride in one’s spirit of independence" indeed! How dare children think for themselves! How dare people be encouraged to believe the way they understand to be RIGHT, "humility and obedience" be damned! If God is about "obedience" while Satan represents "independence," I'll take Satan any day, kthx.

Peadar Ban
Peadar Ban

I have a relative who works at Paulist books in Mahwah, NJ. They are a dying imprint, and deservedly so. The telling quote is the one you included in your story. It shows that the author, and the Paulists by extension, haven't the faintest idea about the nature of sainthood, or the way to it; a Way which is open to everyone on the planet, and welcomes them, no matter how many tables they insist on crawling under. Little Elizabeth is glad about her "strong spirit", even if it means she gets into trouble. How sad to be encouraging pride in one's spirit of independence; exactly what got Satan in the fix he is in. Where is there any mention made of humility and obedience?

Bernardo A. Buela
Bernardo A. Buela

I have seen and heard, indeed, a lot of people standing on the conviction that man is born imperfect and will remain that way, incapable of living up to God's expectation of us to become "holy as God is holy" by His grace. I believe to a certain extent this is true but the notion of holiness or sainthood lies not in our becoming perfectly like God but in our passionate longing to be like Him in His holiness. The difference between this and that of Elizabeth is that in the former, one keeps on trying to be according to God's expectation, while in the latter, one becomes complacent and settles for his or her imperfections.

Ian
Ian

Thank you for indignantly ignoring the topic of the post.

Jason
Jason

Dear Ian, Your reply, though true, is ever so charitable. I meant to post those thoughts on the other page being a guide to book publishers, and somehow messed it up. My apologies.

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  1. [...] Catholic Publishers and Books Following up on yesterday’s post about the anti-holiness kids book published by Paulist Press, I thought it might be helpful to go through the various publishers we [...]

  2. [...] while back we wrote about a new book from Paulist Press that basically encourages children not to try and be [...]

Publishers Killing the Faith – Example 45,300
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Publishers Killing the Faith - Example 45,300

We were accidentally mis-shipped a book last week from Paulist Press. The book is entitled "Elizabeth, Who is NOT a Saint". The front cover features a picture of a little girl chewing gum while wearing an angel costume with one of the wings broken off.

The book tells how the girl isn't a little saint like other kids because she crawls under tables at restaurants, tells her aunt she doesn't like her food, spits in her mom's ear, cuts her dresses and bounces on beds.

Her grandmother has a talk with her to tell her that she has a strong spirit and that these things aren't the proper use of that spirit. The story ends with Elizabeth saying

"I'm glad I have a strong spirit inside me, even if it does mean getting myself into real trouble sometimes.

Because now I can be just Elizabeth, who will never EVER be a little saint... or a big one, either."

Does anyone notice anything wrong with this story?

How about some Catholic childrens' books from Catholic publishers instead?

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : Publishers-Killing-the-Faith-Example-45000 : Publishers-Killing-the-Faith-Example-45000 : Publishers-Killing-the-Faith-Example-45000 : Y!:Publishers-Killing-the-Faith-Example-45000 : Publishers-Killing-the-Faith-Example-45000 : Publishers-Killing-the-Faith-Example-45000 : Publishers-Killing-the-Faith-Example-45000

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Bernardo A. Buela December 28, 2007, 4:05 am

    I have seen and heard, indeed, a lot of people standing on the conviction that man is born imperfect and will remain that way, incapable of living up to God’s expectation of us to become “holy as God is holy” by His grace.

    I believe to a certain extent this is true but the notion of holiness or sainthood lies not in our becoming perfectly like God but in our passionate longing to be like Him in His holiness. The difference between this and that of Elizabeth is that in the former, one keeps on trying to be according to God’s expectation, while in the latter, one becomes complacent and settles for his or her imperfections.

  • Peadar Ban December 28, 2007, 7:30 am

    I have a relative who works at Paulist books in Mahwah, NJ. They are a dying imprint, and deservedly so.

    The telling quote is the one you included in your story.

    It shows that the author, and the Paulists by extension, haven’t the faintest idea about the nature of sainthood, or the way to it; a Way which is open to everyone on the planet, and welcomes them, no matter how many tables they insist on crawling under.

    Little Elizabeth is glad about her “strong spirit”, even if it means she gets into trouble. How sad to be encouraging pride in one’s spirit of independence; exactly what got Satan in the fix he is in.

    Where is there any mention made of humility and obedience?

  • zombie z December 28, 2007, 1:10 pm

    “How sad to be encouraging pride in one’s spirit of independence” indeed! How dare children think for themselves! How dare people be encouraged to believe the way they understand to be RIGHT, “humility and obedience” be damned!

    If God is about “obedience” while Satan represents “independence,” I’ll take Satan any day, kthx.

  • Laura Britto December 28, 2007, 1:39 pm

    Perhaps I am Pollyanna-ish, but I think the story is supposed to serve as a launching point for discussion. Perhaps that is too interactive for some, but it would seem to me to be a step in the right direction. This story could give rise to verbal intercourse between youth and adult, explaining why the two (individuality and sainthood) are not necessarily diametrically opposed.

  • Joyangel123 December 28, 2007, 1:43 pm

    I think she has it right, but that is not the end of the story is it. We are supposed to realize that we are sinners and that no matter what we do we can never be good enough to enter the kingdom of God no matter who how good we are. So realizing and admitting you are flawed is definitely the right path.

    The next step would be realizing that that because of Jesus we can be transformed by the Holy ghost that comes and lives within us when we believe that Jesus Christ came to earth, lives a sinless life as a man, died on the cross for our sins and rose again destroying forever the power of death over mankind. But it is a free gift that has to be simply accepted. It is not by works least any man should boast.

    Joyangel123
    http://gatesofrighteousness.blogspot.com

  • Ian December 28, 2007, 1:58 pm

    This book isn’t part one in a series and makes no attempt to point in a direction beyond “I’m not a saint and never will be.” It’s nice to assume that the book is supposed to be the starting point for discussion but there isn’t any evidence that it is.

  • Richard Boisvert December 28, 2007, 2:13 pm

    For Bernardo…
    It is not a “conviction that man is born imperfect” it is a matter of truth, as taught by Holy Mother the Church. All men are called to be Holy by Christ. God knows we can never live up to the Holiness of God whilst we are alive. It is only when through His Son’s affectacious Death and Resurrection can we enter into Holiness with him in Heaven.

    Catholic Doctrine: Man is born stained with Original Sin. It is through the ministration of the Sacraments by other men that he becomes good. Society is necessary for man to develop his natural and supernatural life and thus to fulfil the purpose of his existence (cf encyclical Immortale Dei (Pope Leo XIII), p.73).

    Vivat Christus Rex.
    Richard

  • Chad Jarbern December 28, 2007, 4:35 pm

    It would be so nice if one of my biggest worries in life was a book that painted my religion in a bad light

  • i am the son December 28, 2007, 7:58 pm

    When Jesus walked the planet, he was reported to have railed against the likes of the scribes, pharisees and hypocrites.

    It is said we will all have to atone for our sins or misdeeds, but there are times man puts his version of a misdeed out there and if he is charismatic enough, people will eventually adopt it as God’s will.

    Jesus mentioned something about casting pearls to the swine, didn’t he?

  • JEAN December 28, 2007, 9:25 pm

    A CHILD CAME UP TO ME AT A CHRISTMAS GATHERING WHERE I HAD JUST SAT DOWN A PLATE OF COOKIES THAT MY HUSBAND AND I HAD WORKED VERY HARD TO DECORATE. SHE PROCEEDED TO LICK EVERY ONE. I TOLD HER TO LEAVE THE TABLE AND HER BAD MANNERS BEHIND.

    WHILE SHE HAD RUINED SIX COOKIES I DIDN’T THINK THAT WAS THE TERRIBLE PART. THE TERRIBLE PART WAS ALL OF THE FAMILIES AND CHILDREN WHO IN THAT MOMENT REALLY DID NOT LIKE HER AT ALL.

    I THINK THE ANSWER IS ABOUT LOVE, NOT ABOUT INDEPENDENCE. A CHILD SHOULD NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO RUIN HERSELF FROM THE GETGO. GOD INTENDED FOR US TO TEACH RIGHT FROM WRONG SO THAT WE COULD PRESERVE OUR RELATIONSHIPS AND ENCOURAGE TRUST AND INDEPENDENCE. I AM SORRY THAT PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS.

  • Anonymous August 25, 2011, 5:01 pm

    This story should have ended with Elizabeth learning from her grandmother that her behavior is not the proper use of her spirit. Instead it ended with Elizabeth saying, “now I can be just Elizabeth, who will never EVER be a little saint… or a big one, either”. This was the wrong way to end this story because we are all called to be saints! We don’t get that title till we get to heaven but being a saint is heaven is our ultimate purpose not to live our own way. Maybe it was meant to show that we all struggle with holiness, but this did not accomplish that. Instead I think it would leave children to not strive for holiness but to just live their own way. Wouldn’t recommend this book.

  • Jason October 4, 2011, 8:28 pm

    Good grief – I find Paulist Press to actually be one of the best publishers out there. Their Classics of Western Spirituality series is absolutely fascinating and very well done, and has greatly enriched my spiritual life. Just because it has authors from other traditions does not mean we should hit the alarm. If we only ever read things we agree with, our libraries would be very, very, very small.
    It’s time to be adults people – be strong in your convictions and stand firm in your faith, but be open to learning as well, even if it means hearing the opinion or thoughts of someone who does not think exactly like you. Think it’s heretical for Paulist Press to publish protestant theology? Read the books, and learn why you disagree with them, and learn how to reach out to others of that tradition if it bothers you so much.
    Need I remind you that Aquinas studied Averroes intensely?

    • Ian October 4, 2011, 9:21 pm

      Thank you for indignantly ignoring the topic of the post.

      • Jason October 5, 2011, 10:59 am

        Dear Ian,
        Your reply, though true, is ever so charitable. I meant to post those thoughts on the other page being a guide to book publishers, and somehow messed it up. My apologies.

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