With over 150 new entries, Michael Glazier and Monika Hellwig revise and expand their popular yet scholarly 1994 one volume reference, The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia. Like the earlier, the book provides a concise and lucid reference volume of contemporary Catholicism, with extensive courage of its beliefs and doctrines, practices and persons with particular emphasis of those of recent history. The newly expanded and somewhat revised edition addresses some of the lacunae of the 1994 volume: as it includes, in addition to its preference to English speaking persons of Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, new entries of previously excluded continental Europeans such as Catholic writer Georges Bernanos and theologian Yves Congar. In addition, Protestant scholars Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann are now included. A completely revised entry on John Paul II with a separate piece on his social teachings offers a necessary expansion on the pope's contributions to Catholicism.
Catholic customs, architecture, art, music, places, practices, and rituals are addressed and important figures are presented as one moves through the alphabet from Abbess to sixteenth century Spanish painter, Francisco Zurboran. The general approach is centrist rather than ideologically left or right and the contributors represented include the more revisionist Gregory Baum and Charles Curran as well as conservative Richard John Neuhaus and George Wiegel. The writers are well known and respected; in moral theology, for example, one finds James Hanigan, Richard Gula, Vincent McNamara and Paul Waddell.
In light of what has happened in the decade since the first edition, new entries appear on significant Catholics who have died since 1994, including Raymond Brown, Henri Nouwen and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia: Revised and Expanded Edition, written for and contributed to by those in English speaking world, appropriately includes new entries on Hispanics in the United States and the Catholic Church in Mexico and in Vietnam. Given the Ukrainian Catholic population and presence in Canada, I anticipated an entry here but found none.
While it does not include the beautiful color art plates of the 1994 volume, the expanded paperback edition does contain over 200 black and white photos, drawings and maps. The text is readable, with large font, and edited for easy cross reference. For example, after the entry on "Worship" (Formerly "Orate Fratres") one finds below in "See also"—Benedictines, Diekmann, Liturgical Movement etc. An index of topics precedes the entries with contributors listed at the end. Thoroughly modern, or better contemporary in emphasis, one finds entries on The National Catholic Reporter and First Things, Mother Angelica and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Again, the entries and contributors chosen, reflect the broad state of Catholicism in the English speaking world. I personally appreciated the inclusion choice of many of the new entries such as Catholic writer Walker Percy and co-editor Hellwig's piece on Ex Corde Ecclesiae.
To be sure, judgments were made on space given to entries and contributors that I do not share. I would have assumed that, even though this is promoted as a contemporary encyclopedia, Thomas Aquinas would receive as much space as Karl Rahner. Moreover, I question the choice of some contributors who have written entries in areas outside of their expertise and, as noted, find that the text is more an expanded than a complete revision. For example, the sections on abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment have not been revised noting Evangelium Vitae.
These quibbles not withstanding, I highly recommend The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia for libraries and parish centers, as well as colleges and universities. I intend to order this reference tool for our college library to update the 1994 edition. It will thus complement the Harper-Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism and the newly revised and expanded 2003 edition of The New Catholic Encyclopedia. An added bonus for professors and students is its affordable price of $39.95.