Robert Calderisi © 2013  |  All Rights Reserved


Reviews of Earthly Mission: The Catholic Church and World Development

"Catholic-bashing is easy sport. The church’s myriad sins, from sexual misconduct and ugly cover-ups to financial mismanagement and Vatican infighting, leave it vulnerable to attack. Its stance on contraception makes it seem at best unworldly and, at worst, callous. But such assumptions, though often fair, overlook how the church has and continues to minister to the needs of people in poor countries. Earthly Mission, Robert Calderisi’s new book, aims to redress the balance… Few will approach his book with an open mind. The faithful will find his candid assessment of the church’s transgressions unsettling. Its critics will find his praise of its mission similarly discomforting. Both can learn, though, from his work."--The Economist, September 6, 2013

"The former director of the World Bank takes a balanced look at the contradictory and controversial stances of the Catholic Church… There are two sides to the Catholic coin."--The New Statesman, September 6, 2013

"Calderisi’s credentials are impeccable… Much of what [he] describes is indeed admirable, and his decision to focus on individuals within the Catholic Church – nuns and missionaries as well as popes and cardinals – makes for lively reading."--Literary Review (UK), August 1, 2013

"It’s rather bracing to read a critique of the Church from the perspective of a market capitalist, rather than that of the aid lobbies… But [Calderisi] can see the trees for the wood. The book is peppered with the accounts of individuals – many elderly nuns or priests – whose impact on their adopted countries is immeasurable."-- Catholic Herald (UK), October 4, 2013

"A comprehensive overview of the Church’s charitable and development work, but… also refreshingly honest and critical were [Calderisi] feels the Church has not been true to itself. Authoritative, impressive, moving…"-- The Tablet (UK), October 31, 2013

"It would be hard for one person to write of the contribution all the churches have made to development. Calderisi quotes Anglicans and others at various points in the book and has an ecumenical outlook. But as a picture of the Catholic Church in development, this book will be hard to beat."-- Church of England Newspaper (UK), December 13, 2013

"The reason this book is so stimulating is Robert Calderisi’s research over five continents and his conversations with laity, with priests, bishops and with the highest officials in the Vatican itself. A cogent analysis."-- Methodist Recorder (UK), November 8, 2013

"Earthly Mission is immediate and personal, thoughtful in connecting up past and present and highly informed about world events… For anyone keen on world development and also on weighing up the record of the Church in acting as the honest broker it says it is, Earthly Mission is a timely read."-- Network (quarterly magazine of Women, Word and Spirit, UK)

"Very timely. An honest attempt to broach a very challenging subject."-- Literary Review of Canada, March 2014

"A wide-ranging survey with many touching stories of the work the Catholic Church has achieved in the developing world… A levelheaded work by an author determined to hold the church to its humanitarian ideals."-- Kirkus Review (US)

"A lively investigation of the Catholic Church and its controversial social mission in the developing world."-- Publishers Weekly (US)

"The author is clearly ‘in love’ with his subject and wants to share the good the Church has done, but he is also unafraid to critique the institutions or individuals who have failed to live up to the challenge of the gospel. Calderisi raises some important questions [and] writes well and fluently."-- (UK)

"A truly remarkable book; his seemingly effortless use of language a delight. He moves the reader along at a good pace, scattering telling anecdotes throughout, which inform as well as amuse. I find it beyond reproach, balanced and fair. What could have been a slog under another's pen, is so full of interest the reading is a pleasure. An honest account by someone with a lifetime's experience, a valuable addition to the literature, and a personal viewpoint which should have a wide and appreciative audience."-- Reader’s Review on Amazon.UK

"With 1.2 billion members, the Catholic Church remains one of the unifying forces of civilization, and this fine book pays fitting tribute to the complex role of the Church as a stabilizing force in the modern world."-- United States Literary Award (private blog of John A. Murray), December 19, 2013