My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Review: I Am Asking in the Name of God: Ten Prayers for a Future of Hope

I Am Asking in the Name of God: Ten Prayers for a Future of Hope I Am Asking in the Name of God: Ten Prayers for a Future of Hope by Pope Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There is no doubt that we are living in a time of increasing troubles and violence and that this should be a concern for all of us. This book attempts to identify the 10 moral issues/failures facing the world today with a call to action by the Pope. While I am actually a fan of Pope Francis, this really doesn’t introduce any new ground and doesn’t really cover any of these issues in depth (and does not provide much in the way of practical ways to address them). 

There are a few surprises, such as the appeal to media to stop with he fake news and manipulation … which IMHO is more a pipe dream than anything else. Another was the unequivocal statement that just war was not possible (seems like a change in doctrine and problematic if understood as a complete prohibition to defense … not sure if that is what he meant to say). Then there was the call for equal treatment and opportunities of women … an apparent contradiction so obvious that an immediate defense is presented that hinges on the election of the Holy Virgin above all men. This chapter does nothing to actually clarify and answer the cries of hypocrisy leveled against the Church by her opponents.

Outside of those few surprises and disappointments, the main take away appears to be order in which these issues are presented. The book opens with an apology and a promise with respect to the clergy abuse scandal. Next up is our environment and a call to protect our common home. Clearly this is a priority of the Pope and probably should be so for anybody who accepts man caused climate change. Unfortunately I don’t think any will be persuaded with this … nor any of the other appeals that target poor behavior of bad actors … so nothing is likely to change.

The chapters and sections in this work are:

Chapter 1: In the name of God, I ask that the culture of abuse be eradicated from the Church
Chapter 2: In the name of God, I ask that we protect our Common Home
Chapter 3: In the name of God, I ask for the media to fight fake news and avoid hate speech
Chapter 4: In the name of God, I ask for Politics that works for the common good
Chapter 5: In the name of God, I ask that we stop the madness of war
Chapter 6: In the name of God, I ask that the doors be opened to immigrants and refugees
Chapter 7: In the name of God, I ask that greater participation of women in society be promoted and encouraged
Chapter 8: In the name of God, I ask that the growth of poor countries be allowed and encouraged
Chapter 9: In the name of God, I ask for universal access to health services
Chapter 10: In the name of God, I ask that the name of God not be used to incite wars
Epilogue: “Pilgrims of Hope”

Some of the other points that really got my attention are:
I cannot begin without again asking for forgiveness. Our words of repentance will never be enough to console the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of members of the Church.

It is also in the very Social Doctrine of the Church, which says that humans must not “make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray.”

Specifically, I renew my plea that mass media end the logic of post-truth, disinformation, defamation, slander, and the fascination for scandal and, instead, seek to contribute to a culture of dialogue and reflection, with necessary disagreement and confrontation but without the need to denigrate or mistreat others.

Populism seeks that small group to appropriate popular sentiments for their own aims, even though different nuances are used to understand these movements in each continent. This kind of populism seeks to exclude and concentrate when it does not manipulate and exacerbate conditions.

War can never be justified. War can never be a solution. We need only to think of the destructive power of modern weapons and see the devastation that they unleash; many times the situation is left a thousand times worse than before the war began. War does not solve problems but creates and leaves destruction in its wake.

At the same time, if the world does not improve the conditions that lead to massive forced migrations, the decision to limit the quota for secure and legal entry for those who flee war and poverty cannot be deemed anything but hypocritical.

It is inexcusable that in the twenty-first century, women are still considered second-class citizens in many places. There is a cultural root to this, leading to even more forms of violence. The base of all this is cultural, transcending any border between nations.

This does not mean that we should not respect the principle of paying debts that have been legitimately acquired, but we should refuse to accept the unbalanced method in which countries are required to fulfill their payments, which is the same in the poorest nations as in the wealthiest countries.

There is now a spiritual virus that is very contagious, one that turns us into self-focused men and women who see only ourselves and no one else. The reality is that we are responsible for caring for ourselves and our health, which translates to caring for the health of those nearest to us; there is an unequivocal moral obligation.

Violence in the name of God is a betrayal of religion. Therefore, we must say no to any hate perpetrated in God’s name or in the name of any other religion.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#IAmAskingintheNameofGod  #NetGalley 

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.