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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Angels and saints. Catholics tend to think of them as different from the rest of us. They’re cast in plaster or simpering on a holy card, performing miracles with superhero strength, or playing a harp in highest heaven. Yet they are very near to us in every way. In this lively book, Scott Hahn dispels the false notions and urban legends people use to keep the saints at a safe distance. The truth is that Jesus Christ has united heaven and earth in a close communion. Drawing deeply from Scripture, Dr. Hahn shows that the hosts of heaven surround the earthly Church as a "great cloud of witnesses." The martyrs cry out from heaven’s altar begging for justice on the earth.…

Overall Book Review:

“…we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses…” (Hebrews 12:1)

In Angels and Saints, leading Catholic theologian, Scott Hahn, demystifies the doctrine of angels and saints and tackles the common misconceptions held about them. Hahn starts off the first part of the book with a personal encounter he had, goes on to explain the natures of angels and saints, and then ends the section by explaining how and why the Church venerates them.

In the second part of the book, Hahn discusses Michael and the archangels and explains their role in the church. This he backs up with biblical evidence. He then discusses the lives of saints from different times – Moses, who had a great prayer life and intimacy with God; Paul, a great teacher who referred to everyday people as ‘saints’, indicating that we are all called to sainthood; St. Ignatius of Antioch, who wrote moving letters to the Church while traveling to his execution and willing martyrdom; St. Irenaeus of Lyons, the peacemaker who took on gnostic heretics and wrote extensively about Christian theology; St. Jerome, whose intellect and love for scripture drew his circle of friends closer to God, despite his irascible temperament; St. Monica, who prayed long and hard for the conversion of her wayward son, St. Augustine; St. Thomas Aquinas, a great Bible theologian; St. Therese of Lisieux, the saint of little things; St. Maximilian Kolbe, saint of Auschwitz; and St. Josemaria Escriva, who preached the greatness of ordinary life.

As impressive as these saints are, Hahn takes time to discuss their flaws, in order to show that they were truly flesh and blood like the rest of us. He shows us a misguided zealot, a sharp-tongued priest, a philandering hedonist, and an impetuous child among others, who find their way to sainthood through repentance, humility and love for God and scripture. Their stories show the transforming power of God’s grace. Written from a Catholic perspective, Angels and Saints instructs with biblical references and historical facts in an engaging manner that will appeal to anyone at all. Hahn’s message is simple: saints are not an elite group of superpowered Christians – we are all called to sainthood despite our inadequacies.

Angels and Saints is a quick and easy read, and a must-read for anyone seeking clarity on the Catholic Church’s teaching on angels and saints, as well as anyone who wants inspiration on how to be a better Christian. Many people look up to successful professional to learn how to better themselves…why not saints?

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  A battle is briefly mentioned vaguely; an undetailed account of a murder is given; blood sacrifice is mentioned in a historical context; two people are executed for their faith; a man is struck several times; many people are killed in a genocide by starvation, injection with carbolic acid and suffocation in a gas chamber, and people recycle their urine to survive (none of this is described explicitly).

Sex/Nudity: None

Mature Subject Matter:

Martyrdom, heresy, the Holocaust, a natural death is mentioned.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

I have been an avid reader since I have been able to read. When I was a kid, I read everything I could lay my hands on – storybooks, newspapers, bibles, pamphlets, textbooks and even product labels. I constantly made trips with my parents to bookstores and libraries, and I have developed a dependence on fictional books, especially action, adventure, mystery and fantasy. I truly believe that reading is the best kind of mental therapy there is, and that the world would be a better place if more people read books.