Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Book Review: "Under the Mantle" - Donald H. Calloway, MIC

Not so much a book review as a comment...

Yesterday I wrote about another book, which at first, I wasn't all that enthused about.  Then I read it and liked it.  But I already told you that.  In the post I mentioned concepts related to 'marketing' - selling books - books that are marketable.  In other words, publishers naturally focus on authors with an established following.  It's like the film industry, the majority of the films are safe and marketable - suited to a particular fan base.  Marketing is key.  The covers are very important in marketing.  Look at the cover of today's book.  How hot is Fr. Calloway, huh?  He's gonna sell books.

A friend sent me the cover photo with this comment:
It truly is time to pull Fr.  Calloway in for a long retreat before things in his head and heart become confused ... I say this with all kindness and concern.   So too, there needs to be a removal of the p.r. & publishing personal, if they came up with the idea of the photo-cover pose, because they cannot discern well .... they are not being good spiritually discerning 'helpers' ... careerism.  I do not want 'rock star' priests ... I do not want to 'feel' sold too or be in a 'groupie' category .... or fan of xxyyzz. 

Under the Mantle .... and who has center stage?

My friend must remain anonymous - but I assure you, this friend knows the business.

There is nothing wrong with that BTW.  Printing books to sell, that is.  That is good business.  Obviously, my friend has concerns over the sexiness of the book cover, and perhaps the potential danger for the priest as celebrity.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with publishing books - likewise, people do want to hear from their favorite authors turned speakers - and the authors need to earn a living.  So what am I saying?

Absolutely nothing.  I just wanted to post my friend's comment on the book cover and pretend that I'm literate. ;)

Seriously, though.  I thought print was dead?


For a serious review of Calloway's new book, go here.

Sometimes church people and church stuff can become so 'generic' feeling.  I can't put my finger on it - sort of too 'acceptable'.  I noted a commenter on another blog referred to it as a sort of "Word on Fire" approach, making Catholicism 'acceptable' to the world.  It's not really on fire - but it's safe.  Know what I mean?

I think Fr. Z should publish a book and have Vincenzo do the cover.

Bonus point.  Remember the ex-porn star I wrote about not long ago, Jake Genesis?  His photo and name really 'sold' my post about him.  See what I mean?  How many good Catholics would love to be his spiritual director or offer him spiritual support - just as a friend of course?



  1. I’ve never read any of Fr Calloway’s books, but I did hear him speak on his first pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I wrote about it on my blog in 2005.

    He connected well with many young people that week; gave them inspiration and much hope that their life could be turned around. A very powerful witness to the love and patience of God.

    Good for your friend’s blood pressure that Fr Calloway didn’t go all the way with his cover shot and go topless, revealing the tattoos on his back – a permanent sign, he says, to not forget his past life. I guess that all goes to make him be the compassionate priest he is.

    As for not wanting certain kinds of priests, I don’t feel it is down to what I or WE want. It should be about what God wants for us and from us.

    If I’m dying and in need of a priest, I wouldn’t care if he was covered in tats, or dripping in bling, or both. He has the God-given power to absolve me of my sins. What a grace from God that is. I need him.

    I like the shades. But maybe he’s wearing them to stop him squinting because of the bright light directed on him during the photo shoot.

    Rest assured, Fr Calloway is well covered by Our Lady. He’s the kind of Marian priest who probably makes a daily consecration to the Two Hearts. :)

  2. As a fellow priest who liked Fr. Calloway's first book No Turning Back I do worry that he is becoming a "celebrity priest" like Fr. Corapi. I hope that isn't the case, but again I wouldn't pose with mirror shades and a couple days worth of growth on the face and a surfboard- is this supposed to be sexy? Our Lady is in the background- but why not just have a cover with our Lady on it? Again it all may be innocent and I am not trying to be judgmental but just making an observation like Terry's friend is doing...... Many prayers for Fr. Calloway.......- please pray for me too- thanks as it is not easy to be a faithful priest in our crazy relativistic, celebrity obsessed world.

  3. Be assured of my prayers.

    Pope Francis offered a beautiful prayer for priests today.

    “Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory: that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.

    “Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.

    “Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong. Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity.

    “Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. Amen.”

  4. bg - I think he's fine - I'm more concerned as to how things are marketed and quite seriously, the marketing of religion.

  5. Padre R - "please pray for me too- thanks as it is not easy to be a faithful priest in our crazy relativistic, celebrity obsessed world." I completely understand and I do pray for you. I can't believe you still put up with me and continue reading. I'm grateful.

  6. thanks Terry for the prayers - much appreciated. Your blog is one of the few I still read- you say things I might say if I had the "freedom of the layman" as I think John Newman said once. Haha.

    P.S. what do you think of the Boy scout mess with admitting homosexual young scouts- it is a cause of scandal to many of my Catholic friends and some of my parishioners. Sadly I am not surprised they buckled under - the gay lobby is unrelenting- for wanting not just just tolerance but acceptence of their lifestyle as just another option. Pray Pray Pray for the Lord's mercy on our sad, proud confused world.

  7. I share your friend's opinion. The first time I saw that book cover I though, "Uh-oh. He's toast."

  8. Judging by the cover? :)

    Sorry, not a judgment, just an opinion.

    My opinion, right decision by the scout movement.

    Can’t keep them out of heaven, can’t keep them out of God’s heart – so why try and keep them out of the scout movement?

  9. Padre R - Thanks very much.

    My real disappointment is that a kid Boy Scout age can be convinced he is gay or SSA. It really bothers me that kids have been so sexualized. I know people will think I'm nuts for saying it.

    That said, male friendship - good male friendship would be the best thing for kids who believe they are ssa. So the fact any boy is accepted might be fine - unfortunately in this case it means affirming a kid for his sexual preference. The approval stems from, or contributes to, what I call - for lack of a better term - the approval 'movement'. It is a short step to the gay Boy Scout becoming the gay Scout master.

    I think some one needs to found a Catholic Boy Scout organization as a substitute - the way Fr. McGivney did with the Knights of Columbus, as an alternative to the Masonic Lodge.

  10. will enjoy reading Taylor Marshall's blog about starting a Catholic Scout group: Scouts of St. George - private, so no such interference from outside groups....such a cool idea.

  11. I think that the cover does say something, but i am not sure what.....
    it just seems to disconnect with the title.
    if the book was published by a "secular" press, i would figure he may not had control of the type of cover. but since it is published by his order's press, then they are choosing to market it in this way. which is another disconnect why they would do it this way? i think the best marketing advice for all, especially priests, was given by John the Baptist: "he must increase, I must decrease" and that even applies to book covers!

  12. +JMJ+

    Dang, Terry. I've just started to make my peace with the marketable converts and now you do this. =P

    A few months ago, I watched a documentary-type show in which former Pop stars revealed, among other things, the compromises they had to make in order to be signed by a record label. Four of them had to sign contracts which said they could never leave the house without wearing denim, preferably double denim. (I feel your shudders from here, Mr. Terry "Impeccable Taste" Nelson.) It was just one aspect of the carefully controlled image they had to adopt, and they admitted that they cried when signing on the dotted line because they knew they were signing away so much of their independence.

    You could say, "Well, they could have gone the Indie route instead," and you'd be right. But how many people do Indie musicians reach? Similarly, would Father Whatawaste be able to touch as many souls if he published his book through a vanity press?

    I guess the question is whether the necessary marketing push is worth losing your control over your own image.

  13. E - I forgot that you have been a critic of the convert book market. I totally understand.

    Religion as a business.

  14. +JMJ+

    And now it's a sexy, sexy business.

    I thought it was disturbing before . . .

  15. Wow, at first I had the same reaction on this cover as I did when a co-worker pinned up a calendar of priests..all of them beautiful of course. But after a while I made my peace with the calendar which while some people might look at it with, as they said in the third grade "prurient interest," all it is really saying is that God made beautiful sexy people, and these beautiful people have devoted their lives to God and others, while giving up the kind of life their looks could easily have brought them. Fr. Calloway is a beautiful sexy man who changed his life and works to help others. There is nothing to hide from..God made the face. Note there is a difference between being sexy and being sexual. Any person who is beautiful inside or out, who feels a passion for God IS all the good ways God ment that to be.

    As for Jake "Genesis,"ex-porn star, ex gay for pay...time will tell and I hope his quest is real and not just another cry for attention (sorry, my judgemental side rang out there huh.)

  16. Put anyone in those glasses and they're instantly hot. Take them off and .... meh.


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