In Mercy: What Every Catholic Should Know, Fr. Daniel Moloney covers a broad range of topics regarding mercy that are prevalent for our society today. Beginning from an unexpected perspective in the first half of the book, Fr. Moloney approaches mercy from a political point of view, explaining how mercy is in fact truly and intimately interwoven with politics and power.
Through this lens, he touches upon pertinent topics such as legal punishments, the death penalty, and self-defense. He also assesses the clergy scandals, laying out why they occurred, what went wrong in how they were dealt with, and how the Church can improve moving forward for the greater glory of God. He eloquently explains how mercy is not synonymous with leniency, but is an act of responding to a privation, a lack of something which ought to be there. Sometimes the road to this may have to be tough love for the good of all involved.
Fr. Moloney invites the reader to wrestle with the supposed contradiction of God saying that he is merciful, yet killing and punishing his creation. Moloney ultimately resolves this apparent contradiction by highlighting God's identity as the loving Father, explaining how, similar to good earthly fathers, sometimes the most loving route to take in truly loving your children and bringing them to their ultimate good is through the course of tough love. God is always good and loving, and his justice and mercy go hand-in-hand.
The new What Every Catholic Should Know series is intended for the typical Catholic who wants to know more about Catholic faith and culture. The authors in this series take a panoramic approach to the topic of each book aimed at a non-specialist but enthusiastic readership.
"Mercy is an essential truth of the Gospel, but often misunderstood. Fr. Daniel Moloney untangles the concept of mercy from its sentimentalized counterfeits, providing us with a theologically rich and rigorous account of God's loving kindness to His wayward creatures."
— R. Reno, Editor, First Things
"This is the rare book that just gets better and better, pouring forth light in all directions. The Christian life is a continual crying out for God's mercy. It is a continual thirst for Christ, who slakes our thirst by his mercy, which we are to share with others. And Christ's justice is a central part of the mercy that we need. Covering the full spectrum of theology, spirituality, and social and ecclesial life, this book is a classic for our time."
— Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"What mercy is, and what its place in the Christian life is, is not always clear and is often beset with misconceptions. Now comes a book to tell us what it is, one written with the unusual blend that only a few writers like C.S. Lewis managed to create -- namely, one of the profundity of the great Christian thinkers and of the simplicity and clarity that can reach readers of all kinds. Fr. Moloney explains what mercy means in politics and prayer, in criminal justice and the confessional, and, most of all, how all Christians can grow in mercy."
— Daniel Philpott, Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame