Welcome to Knightly Reviews! Looking for a good book to read? Have you read a special book that touched your heart and spirit? Do you want to share your opinion with others? This part of our website is a repository of reviews intended to help you find an enlightening book (or movie, video, or television program for that matter). YOU can help us! Send us YOUR personal review of an item that you enjoyed, then tell your freinds to visit this site to find an item that they may enjoy!
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Books

  • THE HOLY LONGING: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
    by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI
    Doubleday Press, US, 1999, 257 pages
    Reviewed by Fr. Russ Zint


    Before becoming a priest, I was in formation for seven years at St. Meinrad Seminary. In my last year of school, the 'buzz' around St. Meinrad centered on a new book: The Holy Longing. Written by a religious priest for a wide Christian audience, this book found its way into many of the faculty offices and student rooms. After reading it, I can understand why.

    Rolheiser writes in a clear, straightforward manner that is comprehensible and lucid. To explain the intricacies of spirituality, he takes a very human approach, peppering his prose with stories and illustrations. He addresses the very fundamentals of spirituality and the Incarnation of Jesus Christ as the foundation for a Christian spirituality. Finally, he moves to discuss five key areas within spirituality. They touch on involvement in a faith community, the paschal mystery as a model of living, social justice, sexuality and sustaining oneself in a spiritual life. Again and again, Rolheiser named and explained many of my own experiences. The chapter on sexuality, hands down, is the best material I have ever read on the topic. And after seven years of workshops involving sexuality and celibacy, that's really saying something!

    This book is good for anyone, beginner or expert, in living a life of prayer within a community of faith. Reading the Holy Longing is like receiving spiritual direction from a wise and sage spiritual director. I recommend reading just a few pages a day, to allow the meaning of the text to 'sink in'.



  • The Life and Death of Saint Malachy the Irishman
    St. Bernard of Clairvaux, translated and annotated by Robert T. Meyer
    Cistercian Publications, US, 1978, 170 pages
    Reviewed by Paul Zielinski


    This book is primarily a collection of three works by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153); the Life of Saint Malachy, Sermon on the Passing of Saint Malachy the Bishop, and Homily on the Anniversary of the Death of Saint Malachy. The book is an English translation of the original Latin texts. It has hundreds of footnotes that are very useful for understanding the life of Saint Malachy O'Morgair (1094-1148), beloved patron of our parish and Council.

    St. Bernard incorporates scripture throughout his writing so much that this book becomes an unceasing prayer.

    I enjoyed reading this account of the miracles St. Malachy performed during his life and even shortly after he passed to his eternal reward. This very short read (170 pages) provides a glimpse into the life of St. Malachy, the first Irish born saint, who worked tirelessly to bring order to the Church in Ireland and build it up.



  • LIVING THE CATHOLIC FAITH: Rediscovering the Basics
    by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
    St. Anthony Messenger Press, US, 2001, 159 pages
    Reviewed by Mark Alexander, DGK


    In this book, the Archbishop of Denver, an outspoken defender of the sanctity of life, the rights of religious beliefs to exist in governmental affairs, the faith teachings of the Catholic Church, and evangelizing in the Catholic faith, provides a spiritual guide for all Catholics. At the same time, he calls on us all to live our lives in order to obtain that which God has ordained us to be: holy men and women, striving to become saints.

    Archbishop Chaput recognizes that we live in a schedule-driven society where we can easily lose sight of what matters most, and that we all need to review the well-being of our souls. He does so by addressing what it means to be a Catholic in the twenty-first century by offering a sound, contemporary vision for understanding the teaching of the Church and by showing how to live them out with a spirit of love, obedience, and zeal. It touches on individual spiritual growth, the importance of the Eucharist in Catholic life, the struggles faced in a secular society, personal vocations, family life , and evangelization in the modern world, all tied to Church teachings and the Gospels themselves.

    This book is for everyone, cradle Catholic or convert, who wishes to gain a better understand of his faith; whether it is to answer critics of the Catholic faith, to become more in touch with Church teachings, or just reacquainting themselves to the Catechism of the Church. A relatively easy read, but one that should be consumed a chapter at a time in order to allow time for personal discernment of the contents. It is one of my favorite books, one that I use as reference material quite often.



  • New Seeds of Contemplation
    by Thomas Merton
    New Directions Paperback, NY, 1972, 297 pages
    Reviewed by Marcus Woods II


    After becoming a Cistercian monk and before ordination, Fr. Thomas Merton wrote Seeds of Contemplation. It was published by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc. in 1962. More than twelve years after writing it, Fr. Merton returned to his work, revising, rewriting, and adding to it. In 1972, New Seeds of Contemplation was published. As Fr. Merton states in his Preface, "This is not merely a new edition of an old book. It is in many ways a completely new book." Fr. Merton wrestles with renewing his daily life in his book and challenges the reader to radically renew his or her own life.

    The contemplation the reader is invited to undertake is the contemplation of the Lord in relation to the priorities by which one lives life. With many suggestions and anecdotes, Fr. Merton is generous in teaching what contemplation is and how best to accomplish it, but his primary motive is to force the reader to a radical renewal in the Christian life. Only when a Christian undergoes a sincere conversion and completely surrenders his will to God does Fr. Merton believe a Christian can authentically live as a Christian. Such a conversion enables the Christian to lead a "'spiritual life' [that] is then the perfectly balanced life in which the body with its passions and instincts, the mind with its reasoning and its obedience to principle and the spirit with its passive illumination by the Light and Love of God form one complete man who is in God and with God and from God for God (p 140)." New Seeds of Contemplation a wonderful resource for anyone wanting personal renewal.



  • RENDER UNTO CAESAR: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life
    by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
    Doubleday Press, US, 2008, 258 pages
    Reviewed by Mark Alexander, DGK


    This book is a must read for all Catholics who are involved in the political process in our country, either as an office holder, political activist, or one who simply exercises his right to vote. Its contents explain in great detail, our rights and our duties as Catholic Americans to be involved in the discussion of political issues without fear of injecting our religious beliefs.

    The Archbishop of Denver contends that to survive, the American democracy depends on an engaged citizenry – people of character, including religious believers, fighting for their beliefs in the public arena, respectfully but vigorously and without apology. The book is a call to all Catholic Americans to serve the highest ideals of our nation by first living their Catholic faith deeply and authentically. It also draws a very important distinction between the phrase “separation of church and state” and what the secular world truly desires, the “separation of church FROM state”.

    In laying out his arguments, the Archbishop presents them in first in personal, historical, and sometimes Biblical terms, then bundles it all out in a concise relevance to the issues of the day. In doing so, he provides an outstanding historical lesson involving Church teachings, the writings of major theologians, the lives of saints and martyrs, and the contents of major Church documents. I came away with a better understanding of many of the documents resulting from the Vatican II Council, for instance. The use of these tools is used to constantly build the undisputable truths that support his contentions throughout the book.

    I would recommend this book to all Catholics who truly care about the state of our society, and are concerned for the survival of our great democracy as we know it. It is not a “pleasure” read. To fully consume the material, it must be read for what it is, and intellectual journey, one that requires plenty of thought. In the end, your will leave with a better understanding of why Catholic Christian core beliefs, based on historical Church doctrine, are important to the continued success of the “American Experiment” and why they must be made a part of the political landscape.



  • The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM
    Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM, Trans. by Benedict Leutenegger
    Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 2000, 347 pages
    Reviewed by Marcus Woods II


    The Shadow of His Wings was originally published by Franciscan Herald Press in 1964 and was taken from a series of talks that Fr. Goldmann made in a tour of the United States. The book retains the quality of a spoken narrative making it easy to read and easier to get absorbed by the action. At the time the book was published, Fr. Goldmann was a missionary priest in Tokyo, Japan. The events that preceded his move to Japan are the subject of one of the most exciting autobiographies to come out of World War II.

    Growing up in Fulda, Germany, as a devout Roman Catholic, Fr. Goldmann planned to enter the priesthood. When the Second World War began for Germany, Fr. Goldmann was drafted into the Wermacht (the regular army), but was then transferred to the Schutzstaffel, the infamous SS. The manner in which Fr. Goldmann remains true to his Catholicism and to his vocation is a most fascinating and amazing testimony to the power of intercessory prayer and the work of God in the modern world. For example, as an SS recruit in training, Fr. Goldmann received permission from Himmler personally to practice Catholicism without harassment. The Shadow of His Wings also provides rare insight into and details of the life of a private soldier in the German Army of World War II. Fr. Goldmann’s life inspires, while it invites a deeper understanding of our own faith.



  • The Soul of the Apostolate
    by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O.
    Tan Publishers, Trappist, KY, 1946, 298 pages
    Reviewed by Marcus Woods II


    Can a book conceived of in 1907 by a Cistercian abbot for the instruction of priests engaged in the catechesis of poor French youth have relevancy today? The more deeply I read and reflected on the text in light of my own life, the more relevant The Soul of the Apostolate has become to me as a husband, a father, and a Knight of Columbus. Each of these roles requires a lot of doing, a lot of activity that can distract me from what is vital according to Dom Chautard, the interior life. So important is the interior life to apostolic work, that Dom Chautard states unequivocally that any work undertaken without it will end in failure and frustration.

    Through the use of many sharp and cogent examples from his life and the lives of others, Dom Chautard demonstrates how an apostolate is affected by the quality of the interior lives of those involved in it. His teaching is clear and provides the practical means of identifying what type of an interior life one has at the moment and how to enhance it over the rest of one's life. The book challenged me and I have enjoyed the struggle of working on my interior life. This book is highly recommended.



  • Transforming Your Life Through The Eucharist
    by Fr. John A. Kane
    Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH, 1999, 153 pages
    Reviewed by Paul Zielinski


    Never take the gift of the Holy Eucharist for granted again! See the beauty of the Holy Eucharist through the eyes of Fr. Kane. Fr. Kane's love and devotion to the Holy Eucharist is contagious and exciting. The style is a reflective meditation on the Holy Eucharist and how it will bring you closer to Christ. This book has rekindled my love of the Holy Eucharist and has deepened my appreciation for the real presence of Christ and the sacrifice of the Mass.


  • The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God
    by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
    Ignatius Press, 1952, Reprinted 1996, 276 pages
    Reviewed by Sheila Zielinski


    "Behold thy Mother". Before Jesus dies on the cross, his last selfless act was to give us his mother. During the holiday season, this book will enrich your understanding of the life of Mary. This book begins with the Annunciation, then discusses all facets of her life through the crucifixion of Jesus, and ends with the seven sorrows of the sword. Even though this book was originally written in 1952, Archbishop Sheen does a wonderful job of illustrating Mary's' love for Jesus and for us, making this book timeless.


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Videos

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Movies

  • The Jeweler's Shop
    Reviewed by Paul Zielinski

    This 1988 movie (now on DVD) features Burt Lancaster as the jeweler. It is a very involved story of the life and loves of young people from Krakow, Poland starting in 1939. The most interesting aspect for me was the elegant dialogue between lovers trying to express their feelings. The local priest is very athletic and reminds me of Karol Wojtyla. No surprise, since he wrote the play from which this movie is adapted, many years before becoming Pope John Paul II.


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Miscellaneous

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