I have commended Defending the Faith Against Present Heresies (Arouca Press) already on this blog: I would like to emphasise again what I think are the strengths of this book.
Fundamentally, it brings together texts which were all painstakingly worked over by a lot of people (except, of course, the Dubia, which, as far as I know, were simply the work of the four Cardinals). We were a diverse lot; we came from a variety of national, academic and ecclesial backgrounds (even including me from the Ordinariate!). Day after day during the drafting periods, ones Email would be full of suggestions and additions. Someone would intervene with "X would like to sign but he's a little concerned about the wording of Y". Then there were those who made contributions, often substantial, but whose signatures and names were not included because of the ruthless processes of intimidation which were employed. Goodness me, what bullies those sensitive lovey-dovey liberals are!
You can rely on Defending for the real McCoy on what the Church's teaching ... authentic teaching ... really is. And you can access, via its index, the information it makes available, topic by topic. It can be thought of as a ready work of reference.
A Voice in the Wilderness Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano on the Church, America, and the World (Angelico Press) is quite a different piece of work. It is not the collaborative work of a number of people; these are the words of one man. But: what a man!! And what powerful words! And how well informed!
If you wanted to sneer at Defending, I suppose you could say that it was produced by men and women with the dust of the libraries heavy upon them. But A Voice comes from the lived experience of an active man who was right at the centre of things, both in Rome and in America. A Man well-read and with an acute theological mind, but, as well, an Archbishop over whose desk a lot of interesting material has passed! In our delightful Anglo-Saxon phrase, Archbishop Vigano knew (knows!!) "where the bodies are buried"! And there really are bodies galore! In addition to having this pivotal position, he is a highly intelligent man and it is a privilege to be able to read his incisive interventions with regard to the words and actions of current Vatican management. He has been on his own journey; this book affords the materials for watching his gradual realisation of how the problems in today's Church all hang together. And, as a man brought up "within the system", he is well able to assess and to analyse the significance of words and events.
All the world knows that today's crisis in the Catholic Church relates to sex, to money, and to a deeply flawed personality. But this does not mean that the crisis is a fortuitous amalgam of disparate items. It would not be right to think that Defending might tell us about dogma while A Voice can prime us on 'practical' matters. The crisis of the Bergoglian pontificate is a seamless and terrifyingly coherent whole.
We are all frail, sinful, fallen. But I do not believe that anybody takes up arms against the Light unless the darkness has already burrowed deep into his heart. That is the crux of the matter. That is what these two books, together, so powerfully demonstrate.
These two books should stand together on your bookshelves.
And ... to Archbishop Vigano ... Thank You, your Grace! Ad multos annos!