Books and articles

Books written by authors associated with OCN

Tried for Heresy: A 21st Century Journey of Faith by Andrew Furlong

“Andrew Furlong’s story is a fascinating one. It pits a profoundly honest spiritual search against a frightened ecclesiastical hierarchy that somehow believes that it has to be God’s defender. That hierarchy does not recognize that the timeless experience of God can never be captured in the time warped explanations of human beings, even those human beings who create Bibles and Creeds and who pontificate regularly in God’s name. Andrew Furlong has broken open the faith traditions of yesterday, exposed its idolatry and issued an invitation to his readers to walk beyond the limiting barriers of religious fear into the life giving mystery of God.”
The Rt. Rev. John S. Spong, 8th Bishop of Newark


The Chain that binds the Earth  by Sean O’Conaill.

Author House, 2015  ISBN: 9781504942287   Also available as an ebook on Amazon

Johnny Mullan wants to understand why bullying happens –and not just in school. Margaret Phillips is troubled by the threat to the Earth environment, and wonders what to do about that. Eddy Li is fascinated by crime of all kinds and wants to be a detective. Mary McNevin wonders why there are so many different problems, and wants to write songs that will help.

When these four meet in their first year at their second-level school – Iona College – they come to the conclusion that all of the major problems that interest them have a common cause. When they argue their case in a school debate they find themselves opposed by a senior teacher, and are threatened with censorship or expulsion. They discover that their school is itself divided, and are faced with an important choice.

Challenged to abandon their own deepest convictions, Johnny, Margaret, Eddy and Mary stand firm – not knowing how this will affect their friendship and the rest of their lives.  Publisher’s notice

Extract from Aidan Donaldson’s review in The Irish Catholic

“A remarkable book with a vision for the future

…If it was ‘merely’ a novel dealing with four young people starting a new school and the issues of transition, friendship, relationships and challenges then this work could be deemed an unqualified success. Yet it is so much more than that.

The author leads the reader into deeper reflection on fundamental issues that face society – and the Church – today; including the environment, fractured relationships, reconciliation, power, freedom of expression, justice and truth…

The Jesus who is revealed in this work is one who refused to embrace power and wealth, and who preferentially reached out to those in need. And for that he was put to death by the rich and powerful – the Roman political authorities and the Jewish religious elite.

O’Conaill does not shy away from the claim (made by those such as Archbishop Oscar Romero and those of the liberation theology position) that the compromise and identification with the powerful since Constantine has undermined the mission of the Church and ‘made Jesus safe’ to follow.

The book strongly suggests that in order to restore its mission, the Church (as the people of God) must renounce wealth, privilege and authority. Only then can it truly be faithful to the mission to create the Kingdom of God on Earth which the young rabbi from Nazareth set out to announce 2,000 years ago. Only then can we truly be considered to be true disciples of Christ.

This is a wonderful book that is deserving of the widest audience and consideration.”

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Season of Snow by Tony Devlin

Fionn Uisce Books, 2014  ISBN: 978-1908559883

Season of Snow is a story of the 13th Century Crusade against the Cathars of the Pays d’Oc (the area known today as the Languedoc in Southwest France). The Crusade, initiated by Pope Innocent III in 1209 was the first to be conducted on the soil of Europe and directed against a Christian people. The book is a work of Historical Fiction, though extensively researched, based largely on factual events, and including many real historical characters.

In the Pays d’Oc in the early years of the 13th Century, there flourished a heretical sect known to history as the Cathars. Its adherents however described themselves simply as the Good Christians and such was their impact on the region and such was the challenge posed by their beliefs and their way of living that the Church of Rome launched a Crusade against them.

Season of Snow concerns one family, shepherds of the High Pyrenees, who embrace the faith of the Good Christians and hold fast to it in the teeth of persecution, and in the ultimately doomed struggle against the overwhelming power of the Crusade. Jean Maury, his wife Esclarmonde and their four sons, the strong and steady Robert, the warlike and feral Jacques, the pious and ascetic Pierre and the impulsive, childish Bernard are the fulcrum on which the story turns.
As the dark shadows of approaching war gather on the borders of their peaceful and pastoral world the famille Maury are drawn inexorably into the pattern of unfolding events. The murder of a Papal Legate on the edge of the mountainy territory of Foix in the early days of the year 1208 is the spark which ignites the conflagration. The events which follow, the massacre at Beziers, the siege of Carcassonne, the burning of heretics at Minerve, the dramatic intervention of the mysterious Templar Knights before the gates of Toulouse, are all prominent episodes in the bitter contest for the land and the souls of the people of the Pays d’Oc.

Characters such as the charismatic Good Christian pastor (or parfait) Guillaume Authié, the saintly Roman preacher Dominic de Guzman (better known to us as Saint Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers known today as the Dominicans), the ruthless Crusader knight Simon de Montfort, and the temporising Count Raymond of Toulouse are all enmeshed in an epic struggle based on fundamentally opposing ideas of good and evil.

Through all of this the members of the famille Maury thread their different paths, becoming influential participants in the events of a turbulent time at the end of which, though scattered and bereaved, they have been ultimately redeemed.

The climax of the story is played out against the backdrop of the protracted siege of the mighty fortress of Peyreperteuse, where the outnumbered and encircled defenders hold out in diminishing hope of relief. The Good Christians of the Maurys’ home village of La Cerisiére, meanwhile, risk a terrible punishment as they speed the flight of their hunted parfait pastors, across the perilous passes of the High Pyrenees, deep in the cold silence of the Season of Snow.  Publisher’s notice

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