Book Review: What Does It All Mean?

By Jordan Grantham, 20 September 2017
Cover of the new book by Fr Richard Leonard, SJ. Image: Paulist Press

Book Review: What Does It All Mean?
A Guide to Being More Faithful, Hopeful, and Loving

By Fr Richard Leonard, SJ
Paulist Press, Strathfield
ISBN 10: 0809106418

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is one of the world’s best-known Catholic film critics. He is also known for baptising Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, while parish priest of St Canice’s Parish, Darlinghurst. This parish next to Kings Cross in Sydney also contains some of Australia’s most wounded people, who Fr Richard has cared for in his ministry. A personal tragedy and this pastoral experience bring sincerity and depth to his apologia for the Faith.

The book contains well-articulated descriptions and light-footed humour. Indeed, the first chapter begins with Fr Richard’s striking conversations on planes, which demonstrates how he outdoes the Jesuit maxim of having ‘one foot in the air’; Fr Richard spends much time entirely in the air.

He is an accomplished writer, as director of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting and consultant to the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Media Council, where he combines his film scholarship with writing and lecturing in the areas of liturgy, cinema, culture, and religion.

The wisdom, accessibility, and insight of Fr Richard are displayed in this down to earth exploration of a life of faith, narrated through stories and human experience.

This work, full of meaning and hope, is a coherent case for belief. It does not shy away from the biggest challenges to faith inside and outside of the Church, but outlines a contemporary and accessible response to the issues that confront and sometimes confound believers today.

I recommend the book for any thoughtful enquirer about the Faith.

Review by Jordan Grantham

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