Dr. Christopher Shannon, a professor in Christendom’s history department, launched a new regular column with Catholic World Report this week, titled “The Past Present.” The monthly column, which will focus on a variety of topics, comes in addition to other works Shannon is currently involved in, all furthering his goal to make Catholic history more accessible for readers across the nation.
Shannon, the author of five books including The Past as Pilgrimage: Narrative, Tradition, and the Renewal of Catholic History, first wrote for CWR in 2015 before reconnecting with the publication this year for a review of American Catholics. Carl Olsen, the editor of CWR, enjoyed the article so much that he approached Shannon about doing a regular history column, resulting in “The Past Present.”
“Academics need to connect with people by translating the best of scholarship into a language more accessible to the general reader ,” says Shannon. “My hope through this column is to help the average Catholic know the full history of Catholicism better, from the Middle Ages up through today.”
In his inaugural essay, Shannon writes on devotion to the saints and its roots in a Christian view of history. In contrast to the increasingly secular focus on Halloween “front-lawn grave-yard displays,” Shannon reminds readers about the Church’s celebration of the communion of saints across time — an apt focus for the month of November. Shannon concludes his timely column with a call for contemporary Catholics to restore Christian culture by embracing the full range of human experience, finding ways to bring a focus on the saints and the sufferings souls in Purgatory to holidays such as Halloween.
This timely focus will occur in later columns by Shannon, as he writes on saints, scholars, secular events, and more, all while offering his perspective as a Catholic historian on these issues.
Shannon’s goal of making Catholic history more accessible is currently resulting in other projects as well, including two new works on Fr. Romano Guardini, an early 20th-century Catholic priest and thinker near to Shannon’s heart and to Pope Benedict XVI’s as well. Guardini, whose works were a major influence on the Liturgical Movement in Germany, was one of the first thinkers to approach the environmental consequences of industrialism from a Catholic perspective, encouraging German youth to treat God’s Creation better.
Guardini is a focal point of two new works to which Shannon has contributed. The first is a new film on Guardini, titled “The Prophet of Lake Como: Father Romano Guardini on Technology and Culture,” which features interviews with Shannon. It will premiere on EWTN this month, starting on Monday, November 9, at 11:00 pm EST.
The second work Shannon is involved with is The Glory of the Cosmos: A Catholic Approach to the Natural World, also available this month from Arouca Press. Shannon’s contribution to the book again focuses on Guardini, presenting his thought in an accessible way for readers.
“All of these works are a way of sharing the perspective on history I strive for in the classroom with a broader audience,” concludes Shannon.
To read Shannon’s first column in CWR, please visit here.
To order The Glory of the Cosmos, please visit here.