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The Seven Deadly Sins
A Visitor's Guide
by Lawrence S Cunningham
Publisher:Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Monastic writers described eight passions that cloud the heart; the meditative origin of the seven deadly sins is embedded in the underlying fabric of this book. Cunningham himself states that his "intention is not to add new insights… on the seven deadly sins, but to think of them in a pastorally sensitive fashion."
Stemming from a series of magazine articles that have been enlarged and gathered to form a book, Lawrence Cunningham's "Visitor's Guide" describes each deadly sin from a Catholic viewpoint. Each sin is discussed in turn, along with their corresponding "mirror opposites: the virtues that correspond positively to them." The epilogue on purity of heart and how this might be attained nicely rounds the book off, bringing the focus back to the verse "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." (Matt 5:8).
As perhaps could be expected given each chapter's origin as a magazine article, I found this short book very easy to read. The pastoral focus with which Cunningham approached the writing of the book is effective; I found myself reflecting on the subtle ways all of the deadly sins can almost imperceptibly encroach into daily life. Whilst the content is necessarily fairly light, the author's wealth of knowledge and thorough research means that it is an ideal introductory book to this topic. It includes plenty of guidance for further reading both throughout the text and in the further reading section at the end.
Reviewer: Tim Hupfield (23/03/13)