The Saint Makers: Inside the Catholic Church and How a War Hero Inspired a Journey of Faith

Joe Drape. Hachette, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-26881-3
Sportswriter Drape (American Pharaoh) provides an illuminating exploration of the heroism of Korean War military chaplain Emil Kapaun (1916–1951) and ongoing efforts to canonize him in this meandering history-cum-memoir. Kapaun received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his efforts to look after the troops he was assigned to—even after he was captured by the Chinese. Eventually, an ailing Kapaun, who was viewed by his captors as an ideological threat, was taken away from his fellow POWs and died alone. In 1999, Fr. John Hotze, inspired by Kapaun’s commitment to his faith and to his fellow captives, began amassing evidence in support of Kapaun’s candidacy as a saint. This led, in 2020, to a scheduled discussion of his worthiness that was derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As Drape researched Kapaun—and the elaborate processes the Catholic church has for assessing potential saints—his own faith in the power of miracles was bolstered by miraculous medical recoveries, such as that of 12-year-old Avery Gerleman, who Drape believes was saved from mysterious organ failure years ago due to her father’s prayers to Kapaun. Unfortunately, the shifts to Drape’s own experiences, which include an extended account of his Catholic upbringing, tend to distract from Kapaun’s story and the otherwise moving account of courage and faith in the killing fields of Korea. Faith-minded history buffs will best appreciate this. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 11/13/2020
Release date: 12/01/2020
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-316-26882-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-3686-3
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