Recent books in brief

Recent books in brief
The Jewel in the Mess

by Alan Abernethy (Columba Books, €12.99 / £12.99)

Out of danger comes hope: this is the theme of the Church of Ireland Bishop of Down and Connor’s new book. He has suffered in recent years from depression and well as prostate cancer.

But in these dark hours he has recovered a sense of the faith that brought him into the Church and to his ministry.

In this book he is concerned with God and Jesus free of the trappings of institutions. He sees church organisation, what he alludes to as “bureaucracy”, as standing in the way of a pure image of what the Bible says.

He connects, as everyone must do who reads the gospels, with a humble Jesus, a Jesus of daily life and everyday experience. But this brings him closer to those aspects of mission which deal with suffering, want and illness. An excellent book, which would, in a paradoxical way, make ideal reading at this present time.


Did Jesus Really Exist? and 51 other questions

by Nikolaas Sintobin SJ, foreword by Gareth Byrne (Messenger Publications, €12.95)

The question may startle some, but the author has a point. All too often what we read these days is strained through an American sieve.

Here, however, is a European voice, reflecting both an older Catholicism, but also one keenly aware of where the church really is today, a participant in the modern world, a church that must explain itself in simpler, more accessible, more everyday language. This is an excellent book to put into the hands of those young people about whom so many parents and grandparents harbour deep worries, often left unexpressed.

A visit to his website will continue the conversation.


A Mother’ Love: Upon Angels Wings

by Mary Harrington (Carrowmore Publishing, €15.00 / £14.99, ebook £4.99; for more information about buying the book visit the publisher’s site or

One of the great changes in recent years is the ability of quite ordinary people to publish their own books, stating what they themselves want to say.

This has brought into the market a great many foolish things, of course, but also a great many accounts of deeply moving experiences of life and Faith. Mary Harrington, who describes herself as a retired teacher, mother of four, grandmother of eight, and actively involved in the life of her community, here recounts, through prose interspersed with her poems, her spiritual journey since the death of her mother in 2001.

This has been a difficult pilgrimage, but one which she feels has been spiritually enlightening, and which she wishes to share with others, not just with her family and community, but hopefully many others in the wider world. Such efforts as hers should be encouraged, but they often face difficulties from those in what Alan Abernethy (see above) calls “the bureaucracy”.