Disarming Beauty: Essays on Faith, Truth, and Freedom

Julián Carrón. Univ. of Notre Dame, $25 (246p) ISBN 978-0-268-10197-8

In this repetitious, sometimes monotonous collection of essays, Carrón, the leader of the global ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, passionately embraces the life and work of Jesus and proclaims that encounters with Jesus provide the key to clarity in Christians’ dialogues about marriage, education, and ethics. Carrón belabors the point that Jesus came to “reawaken the self,” placing humans in the position to face these singular problems. For example, in marriage, he writes that Christ is the “truth of the relationship, the fullness to which both partners point” because they have fully awakened to themselves and to their desire to fulfill the other’s desire. Teaching, in Carrón’s view, involves a teacher awakening others to the power of Christ within themselves by testifying to the power of Christ in the teacher’s own life. Politics can be revitalized, he points out, by affirming the other and the common good over any partisan interests. Carrón’s ponderous collection of essays provides no startling new insights into the Christian faith; the essays tiresomely repeat the axioms that Jesus brings life, hope, and joy, and that one’s encounter with him makes one more self-aware. (May)