Saturday, September 24, 2016

What the Catholic Author Should to Know About #BooksGoSocial

When prospective writers enter the marketplace, they are often flooded with offers to promote, package, or represent their work...for a fee.  Sadly, the personal investment in creating a literary work sometimes makes it tempting to look for distribution and marketing shortcuts, and this often leads the author to scams of all shape and sizes.  You see, everyone knows how hard it is to sell one's work these days--unless you're someone like James Patterson--and that's why the marketers push so hard to have you purchase their particular brand of literary snake oil.  

Sometimes collections or groups of writers can be the exception.  I am one of the founders, for instance, of the Catholic Writers' Guild, and (until recently) I was a paid member of an online group called #BooksGoSocial.  Part of what ruined my relationship with the group was the copied tweet below.

As a family of fairly new Catholics, we've heard all of this before, you see; it's not new, and it's quite insulting--especially when used as nothing more as a technique to hawk wares online.  There's been much written about this topic, but below is a particularly powerful passage from the opening chapter of The Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pious II and His Secret War Against Nazi Germany by Rabbi David G. Dalin.

...Indeed , in 1951, the eminent British writer (and liberal Catholic) Graham Greene could praise him as "a pope many of us believe will rank among the greatest," an assessment shared by many other Catholics and Jews who hailed the pope for his many efforts to save Jewish lives during World War II.

For your reading interest, here is one of this book's powerful reviews.

This is a stunning book. I wish I had known more of this material years ago. -- Michael Novak, George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Other great works on this divisive period of history include The Pope's Jews: The Vatican's Secret Plan to Save Jews from the Nazis by Gordon Thomas and Church of Spies: The Pope's Secret War Against Hitler by Mark Riebling.  A movie entitled A Hand of Piece, Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust  has also been suggested as an excellent resource, and I look forward to watching it soon.
I would also draw your attention to Catholic saints such as Maximilian Kolbe: people who died trying to save others from the horrors of the Nazi death camps.  Saint Kolbe was certainly not alone in his fight; there are more than a hundred Catholic martyrs from this period.  (Of course, this doesn't even touch upon other religious persons outside of the Catholic Church--e.g. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  That material is for another day's post, however.)

I am sick and tired of people hurling around their unsubstantiated bias and bigotry towards the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII worked tirelessly in a multitude of ways--from public to private--to save as many of the Jews (and others) as possible.  After all, if Christianity is seen as a fulfillment of Judaism, then the Jews are closely connected to our spiritual lives and journey home.  More importantly, however, they are human beings created in the image of God.

So, if you're a Catholic and you belong to this online group, I would urge you to leave it behind--at least until Laurence O'Bryan offers an apology.  Given the subject matter of his books, however...I won't hold my breath; vitriolic anti-Catholic drivel is likely one of his promotional avenues.

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