In 2005, Father Julián Carrón became the leader of the global ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, following the death of the movement’s founder, Father Luigi Giussani. Disarming Beauty is the English translation of an engaging and thought-provoking collection of essays by one of the principal Catholic leaders and intellectuals in the world today. Adapted from talks given by Fr. Carrón, these essays have been thoroughly reworked by the author to offer an organic presentation of a decade-long journey. They present the content of his elaboration of the gospel message in light of the tradition of Fr. Giussani, the teachings of the popes, and the urgent needs of contemporary people.
Carrón offers a broad diagnosis of challenges in society and then introduces their implications in contexts such as families, schools, workplaces, and political communities. In a dialogue with his listeners, he inspires and encourages them to lay out a new path for the Catholic Church and the world. Throughout his essays, Carrón addresses the most pressing questions facing theologians today and provides insights that will interest everyone, from the most devout to the firm nonbeliever. Grappling with the interaction of Christian faith and modern culture, Carrón treats in very real and concrete ways what is essential to maintaining and developing Christian faith, and he invites an ongoing conversation about the meaning of faith, truth, and freedom.
“Disarming Beauty is an unusual and unique book because it crosses so many different disciplinary areas. It presents a strikingly original and bracing view of what it means to be a Christian today, and the implications of that for living in a pluralistic world, for marriage and family life, for the meaning and ends of education, for labor, for politics, and other aspects of daily reality. Parts of the collection are reminiscent of recent books of cultural criticism by authors as different as Richard John Neuhaus or Christopher Lasch, but its critique is neither narrowly sectarian nor drily academic; rather, it presents in the first instance a broadly attractive, personal proposal of life.” — Paolo Carozza, University of Notre Dame
“Disarming Beauty offers an incisive, much-needed analysis of the ironic fruit of the secular Enlightenment: in setting out, apart from Christianity, to ensure man’s freedom and to bolster his reason, it ended up chaining or perverting freedom and disconnecting reason from its necessary foundations in truth, history, and reality. Carrón writes with reference to Europe, but we in America must read carefully and be warned.” — Louis Markos, Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities, Houston Baptist University
“Fr. Carrón reminds us in Disarming Beauty that Christianity is not a set of concepts or ethical prescriptions but an encounter with a person. He echoes Pope Francis in asking us ‘to think of reality first as beautiful, and only later as good and true.’ This is the meaning of the incarnation: that Beauty is made flesh.” — John Garvey, president, Catholic University of America
“These essays inspect with candor urgent problems like the ardent expression of a personal desire in a globalizing world, the disengagement of young people from an experience of personal transformation in the educational process, the spread of global terrorism and consumerism, and the loss of a palpable sense of the connection between Christian marriage and the common good. In sum, they are original and full of surprises for an educated reader trying to make sense of a cultural situation that challenges basic Christian claims on multiple levels. The book contains serious theological reflection upon the mystery of Christ presented in a wholly novel way.” — Peter Casarella, author of Jesus Christ: The New Face of Social Progress
“With brilliant and simple to-the-point analysis, Fr. Carrón shows how the situation today of our alienation from our own experience has very much to do with a variety of contemporary social phenomena: the proliferation of new rights, the expansion of diverse cultures and religions within Western societies, challenges to religious freedom, confusion about the purpose of education, the reduction of human beings to objects according to biological and economic definitions and categories, the difficulty of motivating young people, and developments in family life. At the same time, with constant reference to the writings of Fr. Luigi Giussani, John Paul II, Joseph Ratizinger/Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, and a variety of other thinkers and writers, Fr. Carrón shows how the encounter with the fascinating presence of Jesus Christ, through the Church, offers us exactly what we need to regain a true sense of ourselves, engage with reality as it is, and become protagonists in our own lives.” — Stephen E. Lewis, Franciscan University
“‘Speak softly but carry a big message’ is one way of conveying the spirit and content of this important book and of its author. The book is a worthy successor to Luigi Giussani’s The Religious Sense and the author a worthy successor at the helm of the Communion and Liberation Movement.” — Joseph Weiler, University Professor, NYU School of Law
“Carrón plumbs the depths of Western Christian precepts and practice as he presents the historical and present context of spiritual life in economics, politics, and culture. Young people have been robbed of transforming personal growth in education. Global terrorism and consumerism are threatening all humanity. Readers will be drawn to profound contemplation concerning his treatment of faith, truth, and freedom as he tries to make sense of the many influences that oppose the Christian faith.” — Christian Market Magazine
“More social criticism than formal theology, this book attacks bankrupt European culture head-on, urging a reinvigorated, theologically informed understanding of education, human relationships, and questions of meaning. The testimony, [Carrón] claims, that all Christians are called to is to affirm the value of others and the common good above our own prejudiced concerns.” — Library Journal
“Carrón, the leader of the global ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, passionately embraces the life and work of Jesus and proclaims that encounters with Jesus provide the key to clarity in Christians’ dialogues about marriage, education, and ethics.” — Publishers Weekly
“In Disarming Beauty, Julián Carrón addresses the most pressing questions facing theologians today and provides insights that will interest everyone, from the most devout to the firm nonbeliever. Grappling with the interaction of Christian faith and modern culture, Carrón treats in very real and concrete ways what is essential to maintaining and developing Christian faith, and he invites an ongoing conversation about the meaning of faith, truth, and freedom.” — Vatican Insider
“Given [Rod] Dreher’s alarming call to do ‘battle in the modern world,’ Julián Carrón’s new book, Disarming Beauty, which asks Christians to lay down their arms and enter the public square with joy and confidence, may seem wildly naïve. Yet Carrón’s argument deserves careful consideration by Christians attracted to the Benedict Option. . . . Carrón shares similar anxieties about the modern spiritual crisis of ‘nihilism.’ . . . But, in sharp contrast to Dreher, Carrón does not think Christians should disown contemporary society as a new ‘Dark Age.’ . . . Over and over again, Carrón seems to ask: If Christianity is true, what do Christians really have to fear?” — America
“Carrón’s book is a synthesis of the vision for Christian life that comes from [Luigi] Giussani, as amplified by each of the last three popes. The key idea is that Christianity is about ‘disarmed beauty,’ meaning a way of life that imposes itself through no power other than its own inherent attractiveness. ‘I wanted to get across that the power of the faith is in its beauty, its attractiveness,’ Carrón said. ‘It doesn’t need any other power, any other tools or particular situations, to be resplendent, just like the mountains don’t need anything else to take our breath away.’” — Crux