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"Saints Behaving Badly"

by Dr. D ~

:"The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, And Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints"

By Thomas J. Craughwell (Doubleday: New York, 2006, 191 pgs.)

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This is a very interesting book.  Mr. Craughwell takes a look at the lives of a number of ‘Saints’ who had tainted backgrounds and were anything but ‘saintly’ until they were changed by the grace of God into special Christians, who were later recognized by the Church.


Folk like: St. Matthew the extortionist, St. Dismas the thief, St. Augustine the playboy and heretic, St. Pelagia the promiscuous actress, St. Patrick the Pagan, St. Olga the mass murderer, St. Olaf the Viking, St. Thomas Becket the hedonist, and many more.  It reads like a novel, but these folks all later canonized by the church.

The book is written from a Catholic perspective, however, I believe that Christians of every strip will enjoy and benefit greatly from reading it.  Those who love church history as I do, will find it especially engaging.  I enjoyed it very much.  I found the scholarship to be very good–that is, the author was extremely careful in his handling of historical sources, very rare indeed!

The real focus of this book is the wonderful life-changing grace of God, which can take the greatest of sinners and turn them into famous Saints.  Mr. Craughwell states in his introduction:

The point of reading these stories is not to experience some tabloid thrill, but to understand how grace works in the world.  Every day, all day long, God pours out his grace upon us, urging us, coaxing us, to turn away from everything that is base and cheap and unsatisfying, and turn toward the only thing that is eternal, perfect, and true–that is, himself.

The Book gave me hope and caused me to pause and reconsider some of my friends and family that I had ‘written off’ as hopeless.  I highly recommend this book, and will certainly be looking forward to Mr. Craughwell’s next project, while I check out some of his previous works.

Michael G. Davis, D.Min.

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1 Response to "Saints Behaving Badly"

  1. Oração Já

    Very interesting book, I was totally surprised by the stories of St. Patrick and St. Augustine.

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