Two days ago I started reading "Transfiguration" by Fr. John Dear, published by Double Day in 2007. After completing 20% of the book, I had to put it down. I was excited to read the book because in the first few pages, Fr. Dear describes the Transfiguration of Jesus and his experience with visiting Mt. Tabor, the place where the Transfiguration took place. Unfortunately, the book hit rock bottom after this point.
After reading 55 pages and scanning the remaining parts of the book, Fr. Dear is concerned only about anti-war messages and social work. The entire book is meant to the peace movement, elimination of nuclear weapons, end of the death penalty, protection of the environment, etc. He wants the Just War Theory removed from Church teaching. Fr. Dear makes no mention of the need to receive the Sacraments. He seems so concerned with the world that he is neglecting the purpose of the priesthood - saving immortal souls!
I decided to find more information, so I visited Fr. John Dear's website. And what did I find? I found pictures of a man dressed in laypeople's clothing. Yes, Fr. John Dear is one of the Catholic priests that doesn't teach the Catechism well or dress like a priest with a Roman Collar. I was even more disappointed. In fact, anti-war was the only message I saw on his website. I saw nothing about the need for Confession, Eucharist, Mass, etc. While Jesus certainly did preach peace (Matthew 26:52), Our Lord still used the rope to drive thieves from the Temple (Matthew 21:12-17). I politely suggest that Fr. John Dear needs to read that part of the Gospel again.
Concerning the book, I did enjoy some parts like his inclusion of Mother Teresa and her total dependence on God. Unfortunately, there were some parts that I did not like at all. For example, on page 11 it states, "Through contemplative prayer, Gospel study, and shared community, we can learn to walk with [Jesus]..." There is no mention of the Sacraments, the Mass, the Rosary, or anything genuinely Catholic. Furthermore, page 19 states, "Jesus was determined not to play God, but to be as human, as real, as possible". Jesus Christ is God! Fr. Dear is very wrong and appears close to blasphemy with that statement. And finally, Fr. Dear writes, "Jesus would dedicate His life to justice for the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, the oppressed and the homeless..." (Page 21). Again, wrong - Jesus dedicated His life to saving our immortal souls by dying on the Cross. While He did heal and preach, His mission was to die for our salvation.
If you want a book on the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mt. Tabor, this is not your book. If you want a book about the Transfiguration and how it promotes a radical message on total pacifism from a priest that can't even wear a Roman collar, this is the book.
I do not recommend this book.
Note: Another priest reviewed the book and gave it the letter grade: F
Saturday, April 14, 2007
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