THE TRUE COST OF LOW PRICES: The Violence of Globalization, by
Vincent A. Gallagher. Orbis Books.
147 pp. $15.
Reviewed by DONNA GRAHAM, O.S.F.,
director of the Office of Justice, Peace and
Integrity of Creation for the Franciscan
Friars of St. John the Baptist Province in
MOST OF US like the relatively low
prices we find in many stores in the
United States. But do we ever think
about the true cost of these bargains?
Do we ever look behind the racks and
shelves to the people who
make these prices possible?
Our consumer lifestyle literally
depends on the suffering
of the poor in the
developing world. And here
Vincent Gallagher gives the
evidence to prove it.
Gallagher speaks from
experience, from his years
in the Peace Corps in Venezuela,
his work for the
World Bank, the United
Nations and organizations
investigating worker injuries and
This clear, relatively easy-to-read
book (given the complexity of the
issues) takes us behind the scenes of
the world of global economics. We
often hear, “Corporations rule the
world.” Gallagher points to evidence of
this reality, and to the complicity of
governments in this quest for wealth
and power for the few (in developed
countries) at the expense of the many
(in the developing world).
World economic organizations such
as the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund were established
to promote “long-range balanced
growth of international trade” and “the
health of the world economy,” respectively.
In reality, they are controlled by
the powerful and wealthy, and support
the efforts of transnational corporations
to act without the restrictions of
The end result is that the less developed
countries get the short end of the
stick, exporting more and more products
and food to rich countries while
their debt increases.
Labor costs in the United States are
high because of the justice built into
our system: minimum wage, labor
unions, safety, health and environmental
regulations, workers’ compensation,
etc. So, many corporations
relocate to countries where they can
pay starvation wages, use
child labor, force long hours
of work, and ignore safety
and environmental considerations.
Gallagher puts a human
face on these suffering workers
who make our cheap
prices possible. He has witnessed
families at garbage
dumps in Peru collecting
recyclable materials to sell.
He tells of women and children
who work 18 hours a
day, seven days a week to make toys for
Wal-Mart, earning as little as 13 cents
an hour. Women workers in American
Samoa have been fired for not agreeing
to have abortions. In addition, they
have been physically and sexually
abused, and terrorized.
The injustice in the global economic
system is evident in the effects of the
North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA), passed in 1994. Proponents
assured us that it would create jobs,
raise the standard of living in the participating
countries (U.S., Canada, Mexico)
and stop migration.
In reality, migration from Mexico
to the United States doubled from 1990
to 2000 because many Mexican farmers
lost their farms due to the cheaper
subsidized corn coming from the
United States. Mexican industrial wages
and small businesses also declined. In
the United States, more than 38,000
small farmers went out of business, and
our country lost 780,000 manufacturing
Gallagher discusses numerous other
issues: the politics of food, which keeps
some people starving, even though
there is enough food to feed everyone;
modern-day slavery and trafficking;
how women and children suffer the
most; government-supported violence.
And he challenges us, especially
those of us who are Christian. What do
the Gospels say? What did Jesus teach
us? Gallagher points to the liberation
theologians of Latin America for guidance.
We must become aware, wake up
from our blindness and then do something
about it. We must address the
systems that create the inequities and
Perhaps the one thing lacking in this
book is a greater emphasis on what we
can do. Gallagher mentions numerous
groups making a difference, pointing
especially to the need for personal contact
and involvement with the poor
and suffering to help us better understand
the need for action. But we also
need to come to grips with the power
that we have as Americans. We are most
often the oppressors, though perhaps
unknowingly. But our very power
makes it possible for us to change
You can order THE TRUE COST OF LOW PRICES:
The Violence of Globalization from St.
BUTLER’S SAINT FOR THE DAY, edited by Paul Burns. Liturgical Press.
658 pp. $34.95.
A NEW DICTIONARY OF SAINTS:
East and West, by Michael Walsh.
Liturgical Press. 646 pp. $49.95.
Reviewed by MICHAEL J. DALEY, a
teacher and writer at St. Xavier High
School in Cincinnati, Ohio. He edited (with Bill Madges) Vatican II: Forty Personal
Stories and The Many Marks of the
Church (both from Twenty-Third Publications).
A JESUIT PRIEST-FRIEND of
mine used to greet students
he saw on campus, “How
ya doing, saint?” Besides
the smile he put on their
faces (and covering up for
not remembering their
names!), I think he was
communicating a profound
truth. Not only do saints
surround us, but we too are
called to be saints. Butler’s
Saint for the Day and A New
Dictionary of Saints: East and
West communicate this invitation well.
Drawn from the 12-volume series
Butler’s Lives of the Saints and its later
supplement, Burns’s book provides an
account of one saint or blessed for each
day of the year. While not diminishing
the intercessory role of saints, the focus
here is more on how saints lived in
faithful discipleship to Jesus.
No one appeared to understand this
better, Burns writes, than Pope John
Paul II, “whose papacy produced more
new saints (over 450) and blesseds
(some 1,500) than all previous papacies
since the reservation of the process to
When choosing saints, Burns was
guided by the Universal Calendar of
the Roman Catholic Church. For example,
this means that we universally celebrate
the feasts of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
on October 1 and St. Francis Xavier on
December 3. For calendar dates for
which there is no universal celebration,
Burns picked persons using the
following criteria: 1) interest for the
English-speaking world and increasingly
for the New World, 2) emphasis
on recent canonizations and beatifications,
3) wider geographic spread and
4) fairer gender division.
As a result, the reader is introduced
to a number of interesting figures:
Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi,
the first Nigerian beatified; St.
Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave
who became a saint; St. Katharine
Drexel, a socialite who became devoted
to the cause of African-Americans and
Indians; Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the
Lily of the Mohawks; Blessed John
XXIII, the pope who convened the Second
Vatican Council; Blessed Mary
McKillop, Australia’s first
blessed; and Blessed Miguel
Pro, a Jesuit martyr during
the Mexican Revolution.
In terms of usage, the
book is intended to be used
rather than read straight
through. The stories of the
saints here are told well.
Both their holiness and
humanity are revealed—as
if they could ever be separated!
Through them we
touch not only the historical person
described but also the person they
attempt to witness to—Jesus Christ.
It is to the book’s credit that, whether
one is lay or ordained, single or married,
man or woman, American or
African, there is sure to be a saint who
can be an inspiration to you.
The other volume, also from Liturgical
Press, is an alphabetical listing of
some 7,000 saints. Michel Walsh’s book
is unique in that it includes many
saints revered in the Eastern Church.
Typical of a “dictionary,” the entries
are kept to one short paragraph. Among
the Orthodox saints listed, for instance,
is Joseph of Volokolamsk, whose rule
was significant in the development of
the monastic tradition in Russian
I look forward to continuing to use
these books as a means of prayer and,
in the process, meeting some new
friends in the Lord!
You can order BUTLER’S SAINT FOR THE DAY and A NEW DICTIONARY OF SAINTS:
East and West from St. Francis Bookshop.
MY LIFE WITH THE SAINTS, by
James Martin, S.J. Loyola Press. 411
Reviewed by PAT McCLOSKEY, O.F.M.,
editor of this publication. He has written
three books on saints and contributed over 25 entries to Saint of the Day (St.
Anthony Messenger Press).
WINNER OF AWARDS from the Catholic
Press Association and the Christophers,
this book is clearly a labor of
love. Along with details about 16 saints
(widely defined), Father Martin, an
associate editor of America magazine,
describes their initial and ongoing
impact on his life.
The entire text flows from the opening
quote from Thomas Merton, “For
me to be a saint means to be myself.”
These are not saints in some ethereal
stratosphere, but real women and men
who struggled in responding to God’s
grace as best they could. In the opening
chapter, “Saint of the Sock Drawer,”
Martin observes, “Each saint was holy
in his or her unique way, revealing how
God celebrates individuality.”
Besides chapters on Sts. Joan of Arc,
Thérèse of Lisieux, Ignatius of Loyola,
Bernadette Soubirous, Peter, Thomas
Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, Joseph, the
Ugandan Martyrs, Aloysius Gonzaga
and Mary, Martin has chapters on
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta,
Blessed Pope John XXIII, Thomas
Merton, Pedro Arrupe, S.J., and
This book is autobiographical in
the sense that we learn when Martin
became aware of various
saints and how they have
impacted his Jesuit formation
Here are a few of my favorite
“Almost above all the
saints, she [Thérèse of Lisieux]
is the one who most
understands what it means
to be a human being who
suffers and rejoices in everyday
are his most endearing features.”
“In essence, my gratitude is for his
[Ignatius of Loyola’s] spirituality and for
his way of looking at the world and at
“Sometimes the most grateful pilgrim
is the one whose road has been
the rockiest” [said of Dorothy Day].
“We come closest to God not by
doing right but ironically by doing it
wrong” [Richard Rohr, O.F.M., on St.
“If St. Aloysius [Gonzaga] had been
as I am, he would have become holy
in a different way” [Blessed
Pope John XXIII].
In the concluding chapter,
Martin writes, “I see
them [the saints] as models
and enjoy the benefits
of their experiences. All
the saints encountered suffering
of some kind, and
when we undergo similar
difficulties it’s consoling to
know not only that there
were Christians who underwent
such trials, but also
that, united with God, the saints are
able to pray for us as we suffer....The
saints offer us encouragement, like the
runner just ahead of us in the race,
urging us on and reminding us to pace
“The beginning of sanctity is loving
ourselves as creations of God. And that means all of ourselves. Even the parts
of us that we wish weren’t there, the
parts of us that we wish God hadn’t
made, the parts of us that we lament.
God loves us as a parent loves a child—often more for the parts of the child
that are weaker or where the child
struggles and falters. Those weaknesses
are often the most important paths to
holiness, because they remind us of
our reliance on God.”
This excellent volume includes 14
pages of recommended readings about
the saints and other holy people.
You can order MY LIFE WITH THE SAINTS from St.
ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND MODERN SCIENCE: A History, by Don
O’Leary. Continuum. 356 pp. $34.95,
hardcover; $19.95, paperback.
Reviewed by DANIEL KROGER, O.F.M.,
publisher/CEO of St. Anthony Messenger
BECAUSE THE VATICAN mistreated
Galileo, many think that Catholicism
is opposed to science. By offering a historical
account of the Church’s relationship
to science for the years 1800
to 2000, this book offers a more positive
and nuanced view.
Nineteenth-century popes felt challenged
by everything modern—from
politics to science to biblical interpretation.
As science gained in prestige,
Catholicism appeared dogmatic
and opposed to progress. Darwin’s
Origin of the Species (1859) appeared
to Catholic officials as part of a “liberal
conglomeration opposing Church
authority.” While the bishops at the
First Vatican Council thought that
faith and reason should not conflict,
since God is the source of all truth,
by the pontificate of Leo XIII Vatican
officials considered science an enemy
of faith partly because leading scientists
appeared to be agnostic.
St. (not a canonized saint but so
named) George Jackson Mivart, a critic
of Darwin during the 1870s, is an
interesting example of one Catholic’s
response to modern science. Mivart
enjoyed some credibility among British
scientists, thanks to such friends as
Thomas Huxley. While Mivart agreed
with Darwin on evolution, he invoked
divine control of the process
and spoke about “theistic evolution.”
Initially, Leo XIII approved of his
view, but when Mivart argued that
scientific progress should be unrestrained,
A few Catholic priests
were censured for trying
to interpret evolution to
the faithful. For example,
John A. Zahm, C.S.C.
(1851-1921), a priest-physicist
at the University
of Notre Dame, tried
to educate Catholics about
evolution. His 1896 book
Evolution and Dogma was
popular in the United
States and in Europe. Observing that
evolutionary theory was associated
with materialistic philosophies, Father
Zahm said that evolutionary ideas were
not the product of materialism or necessarily
opposed to Catholicism. Under
Vatican orders, Zahm’s religious superiors
forbade him to publish about evolution.
M. D. Leroy, O.P., a French
priest-scientist, was also silenced.
Thereafter, in 1907, Pius X decided to
confront “modernism” because he considered
evolutionary science as the
heart of modern thought. He oversaw
the drafting of official documents and
imposed an “Oath Against Modernism”
upon all Catholic professors and clergy.
Decrying “modernism” as a coherent,
heretical school of thought—though
it was not—Pius X tried to counter
the claim that reasoning should trump
Ironically, Catholics developed positive
attitudes toward science as the
anti-modernist campaign intensified.
Even the popes following Pius X were
more open. Pius XI laid the foundations
for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences,
and Pius XII approved historical-critical
approaches to biblical interpretation
in Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943).
Yet Pius XII opposed claims that
humans evolved from animals. His
encyclical Humani Generis (1950) insisted
that Adam and Eve were the parents
of all human beings, even if
biblical creation accounts were mythological.
Apparently, Pius XII was protecting
the doctrine of Original Sin.
While Vatican Council II (1962-65)
praised science, the bishops chose
not to admit that the Church erred in
the case of Galileo. O’Leary finds that
the views of some scientists
bothered the bishops
at Vatican II. Why?
Because they feared admitting
compromise Church authority.
Regardless of the hierarchy,
by the late 20th
century, Catholics had
developed a variety of
views about the relationship
between science and
Elected in 1978, John Paul II formed
an interdisciplinary commission in
1981 to examine the Galileo case. John
Paul II believed scientists could profit
from dialogue with theologians. In
regard to Darwin, John Paul II conceded
little to evolutionary theory. To
avoid contradicting Pius XII, John Paul
II avoided the issue of polygenism.
Though worried about the implications
of evolution for the doctrine of Original
Sin, John Paul II expressed positive,
yet critical, views of science.
Don O’Leary is professionally qualified
in both science and history. Currently
employed in scientific research
at the Biosciences Institute at University
College, Cork, O’Leary is a member
of the British Society for the History of
O’Leary’s account of how modern
science impacts bioethical issues is helpful and balanced. In vitro fertilization,
stem-cell research, genetically
modified organisms and so forth raise
This book helps readers understand
the multifaceted relationship between
Roman Catholicism and modern science.
Covering its topic in a balanced
manner, the book has extensive notes,
21 pages of bibliography and a full
index. Carefully written and documented,
this book is worth its price.
You can order ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND MODERN SCIENCE: A History from St. Francis Bookshop.
THE LITTLE MONK: Wisdom From a Little Friend of Big Faith, by
Madeleine Delbrêl, translated by
Carol C. Macomber, illustrated by
Hector V. Lee. The Crossroad Publishing
Company. 116 pp. $12.95.
Reviewed by BARBARA BECKWITH, book
review editor of this publication.
NOT ONE PERSON, the character of
the Little Monk represents “a whole
host of people” who are striving “simply
to live as holy people,” says
Madeleine Delbrêl, in introducing her
upbeat little character.
This book might be described as “a
few memos to myself” because the Little
Monk is trying to clarify “events,
challenges or nerve-wracking experiences
of his day” and put them in perspective.
This book contains pithy reflections
on life, augmented by charming four-color
One of my favorites is on “Having
fun”: “When you can’t dance, let your
soul tango,” an insight which came to
the Little Monk after a day’s struggle
The Little Monk offers down-to-earth
advice on living the Christian life, such
as “If your voice sounds like a bugle,
your brother will loathe music” and
“While authority has its limits, love
A French laywoman, Delbrêl was born
in 1904 in the south of France, lived
there through the Second World War
and died unexpectedly from a brain
hemorrhage in 1964. She said that she
didn’t find God but that in 1924 God
found her. Rather than joining the
Carmelites, she decided to take a degree
in social studies and work in city government.
Her aphorisms circulated
among her friends while she was alive,
and were intended for publication.
As in the French original edition,
the table of contents is at the end.
The Little Monk’s wisdom is refreshing:
“You haven’t reached perfection
yet, so don’t push others to it”; “If you
want to be humble, don’t belittle the
greatness of others”; “My God, if you
are everywhere, why then am I somewhere
else so frequently?”; “The tender
breeze of the Spirit does not always
smell like mimosa.”
The Little Monk offers a lot to think
about and pray over.
You can order THE LITTLE MONK: Wisdom From a Little Friend of Big Faith from St. Francis Bookshop.