Conscience calling

By SCM

Among the compelling confessions and questions that Catherine Wolff M.A. ’08 offers in her introduction to Not Less Than Everything (HarperOne) are: “The task of remaining within the Church today is a difficult one for me.” This she wrote in early 2013. “I am continuously appalled by the behavior of many of those who claim authority over me and over the practice of my faith … I yearn for other spiritual leaders.” So then she asks: “Where better to look than the communion of the saints?” It’s there one learns, for starters, that “Conscience takes precedence over authority, not the other way around.” And it’s there where she lays out the stakes of a book project that embraces two millennia.

Wolff formerly directed the Arrupe Center for Community-based Learning at SCU. Her late brother, William Spohn, taught religious studies and directed what is now the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. For this essay collection—one Wolff was advised could be a life’s work if she tried to write it herself—she tapped theologians she’d met over the years through Spohn, and she turned to some of today’s literary luminaries, including husband Tobias Wolff, and some writers whose words have appeared in the pages of this magazine over the years. The result, subtitled Catholic Writers on Heroes of Conscience, from Joan of Arc to Oscar Romero, brings together striking portraits of poets and artists, priests and philosophers—but also lesser-known missionaries and women and men who paid the ultimate price for their spiritual convictions. It should be noted that the book’s publication was in the works before the election of Pope Francis.

Colm Tóibín paints the despair that Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., faced in “Send My Roots Rain.” Patricia Hampl writes on Michel Montaigne, beginning with the observation that “maybe the act of writing is always a hedge against oblivion.” Paul Mariani’s essay on John Berryman startles again and again: “The patron saint of purgatory, shoulders hunched, still climbing on all fours the steep inclines of those mountains toward that distant summit shimmering in light, relieved to know he can sin no more.” Alice McDermott asks “What About the Poor?” in telling the tale of Horace McKenna, S.J. Jim Shepard follows the arc of Oscar Romero’s work—from the future archbishop’s self-confessed “lack of courage when it came to speaking out in defense of his positions” in 1971 to, nine years later, putting himself squarely in the sights of a government assassination squad. Ignatius Loyola, S.J., and Dorothy Day are here. So is Mary Magdalene, care of theologian Lisa Sowle Cahill ’70; and so is Martin Luther, portrayed by Martha E. Stortz—a professor of theology who was married to Bill Spohn.

Chronicling the soul-searching and, ultimately, excommunication of priest George Tyrrell in early 20th-century England, is “A Collision of Systems and Tendencies” by Ron Hansen M.A. ’95. He notes that after Tyrrell was felled by a stroke, he was denied Catholic funeral rites, and, a year later, a two-volume biography of him was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books. But decades on, another biographer observed, “Anyone who has studied both him and the documents of Vatican II will recognize his principles reborn on nearly every page.” SBS
 

CURVES AHEAD

When a novel’s éminence grise has the name Cosmo Validator and pulls corporate strings from a 45,000-acre ranch in Idaho (where he enjoys his retirement with his conservative, politically ambitious, petite, blond, buxom new wife), you know you’re reading a fictional romp that’s living large. In the case of Learning Curve (Barking Rain Press)—the briskly paced, fun-to-read novel by Michael S. Malone ’75, MBA ’77—you happen to be living large Silicon Valley style.

The story pits longtime Validator software CEO Dan Crowen against Alison Prue, the smart young head of startup software-maker eTernity. Malone uses the novel to dispense lessons gleaned from his years of writing about, sometimes teaching about, and even participating in Silicon Valley’s go-go entrepreneurial culture. Here in his first novel, Malone writes vividly about the nature of the brutal, lightning-speed competition among high-tech firms in a place one character calls “just a small town.” The novel adds luster to the truism that one advisor repeats to the struggling Alison Prue: “You know, young lady, there’s an old saying in Silicon Valley. It’s that eventually you will work with, for, or against everyone else in this town.” Alden Mudge
 

TOUCH AND GO

Photo by Charles Barry

Putting to work the magic of tablet touchscreens, SCU’s de Saisset Museum has published the first Multi-Touch book on a historic California mission. Moving Forward: Santa Clara’s Story of Transformation is an iBooks textbook (downloadable for free) introducing readers young and old to some of the de Saisset’s images and objects and the stories behind them—tracing an arc from Ohlone peoples to ranchos to the gold rush, and tracing a school by the name of Santa Clara from founding through going coed in 1961. Lindsey Kouvaris ’02, museum curator, shares author credit with Rebecca Schapp, museum director, and Jean MacDougall ’94, who served as collections manager for 13 years. Test your historical knowledge with quizzes sprinkled throughout. SBS
 

PSYCH, CLONES, AND MEDIA ECOLOGY

Abnormal Psychology across the Ages (Praeger) is a three-volume compendium edited by Thomas Plante, the Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J., University Professor of Psychology. He contributes the essay “Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: What Can We Learn from the Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church?” He examines why institutions are a breeding ground for sexual offenses, pointing out risk factors that account for the sexual violation of children—and how to prevent it. Chair and Professor of Counseling Psychology Jerrold Lee Shapiro writes on the advantages for working with group, couple, and family methods with a single therapist or therapist team. Professor of English Diane E. Dreher contributes “Abnormal Psychology in the Renaissance,” when culprits thought to be behind mental illness included “divine retribution, demonic possession, witchcraft, astrological influences, excessive passions, and imbalanced humors.” As Dreher notes, while some treatments (e.g., bleeding and purges) may no longer be de rigueur, the therapeutic virtues of exercise, pets, music, and caffeine got their due then and get it now. Leah Gonzalez ’14

Human Cloning: Four Fallacies and Their Legal Consequences (Cambridge University Press), by Professor of Law Kerry Lynn Macintosh, takes on one of the most ethically charged issues in society—arguing that, ultimately, common fallacies have helped shape the legal landscape where cloning is concerned. The text is part of the Cambridge Bioethics and Law series. Danae Stahlnecker ’15

Of Ong and Media Ecology (Hampton Press) is a collection of essays building on the work of the late Walter J. Ong, S.J., a pioneer in the field of media ecology—a field that looks at the whole of human communication, whether that’s written, spoken, or decorative. It is co-edited by Thomas Farrell and Paul Soukup, S.J., M.Div. ’78, MST80, chair of the Department of Communication in SCU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Kristen Intlekofer

In Faithful Generations: Effective Ministry Across Generational Lines (Morehouse Publishing), Rev. John R. Mabry gives an overview of each generation in the 20th century, their spiritual beliefs and practices, and their relationships with one another—all to provide insights on how cross-generational ministry can best occur. Mabry teaches in SCU’s Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries. DS

Ministry, not marketing. That’s the belief behind Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse Publishing), co-authored by Elizabeth Drescher, a lecturer in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, and Keith Anderson. With the rise of social media and its influence on everything from religion to politics to economics, the book is a helpful guide for ministry leaders navigating the digital landscape. The authors recount how social media has redefined global boundaries, give detailed overviews of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and provide digital parallels for how to minister the same way online as offline. DS

In Contested Images: Women of Color in Popular Culture (AltaMira Press), Alma M. Garcia, professor of sociology and director of the Latin American Studies Program, brings together a collection of essays to address how Native American, Latina, African American, and Asian American women are portrayed in popular culture. The essays, all authored by women of color, explore how media representations influence social beliefs about race, class, and gender. DS

Jesuit School of Theology Dean Thomas Massaro, S.J., has updated Living Justice: Catholic Social Teaching in Action (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers) to a second classroom edition. Providing an overview of the history, methods, and main concerns of Catholic social teaching, the updated version includes a discussion of recent topics such as the financial crisis, ongoing environmental concerns, and the use of just war theory in light of events in Afghanistan and Iraq. DS

Saving the World: A Brief History of Communication for Development and Social Change (University of Illinois Press) by Professor Emeritus Emile G. McAnany covers the history of communication technologies from Truman’s Marshall Plan to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. McAnany presents his vision of how the communication field can impact social change, especially by improving the work of academics, policymakers, and development funders. McAnany is the former Walter E. Schmidt, S.J., Professor of Communication at SCU and currently serves as assistant director of action research in the University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society. DS

In Monkey Wisdom and Other Stories, Professor of Civil Engineering Sukhmander Singh motivates and inspires students through a lighthearted collection of Aesop-like tales. Dedicated to students but applicable to all, Monkey Wisdom yields lessons about good study habits and honest living that align with the Santa Clara values of conscience, competence, and compassion. DS

Southern Thought and Other Essays on the Mediterranean (Fordham University Press), co-edited and translated by Norma Bouchard and Vari Visiting Scholar Valerio Ferme, is a collection of essays by Italian sociologist Franco Cassano that challenges the traditional perception of the South as a “simple not-yet-North.” It urge a new idea of the South as autonomous and holding a different, not lesser, point of view. DS

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? A Writer’s Guide to Transforming Notions into Narratives (Writer’s Digest Books), by Professor of English Fred White, is a beginner-friendly guide to each step involved in writing a narrative—from preplanning to first drafts to final revisions. DS

In The Unknowable and the Counterintuitive: The Surprising Insights of Modern Science (University Readers), Professor of Electrical Engineering Aleksandar I. Zecevic reevaluates common perceptions by explaining how insights from other areas of science and mathematics show just how limited Newtonian physics is. In doing so, he sparks an interdisciplinary discussion among science, philosophy, and theology about the nature of reality. DS

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