The Catholic Hipster Handbook

edited by Tommy Tighe, Ave Maria, 224pp £13

The Catholic Hipster Handbook is the work of a “salon” of American Catholic writers, gathered around editor Tommy Tighe. Many of them are decked out, by the sound of things, in thick-rimmed spectacles and high-top All Star trainers.

Everyone is “rocking” something. Hipsters with beards are rocking the Jesus look. The Vatican is rocking the parchment background look on its website. All of us should be rocking bumper stickers of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Contributors exhort us to check out farmers markets and awesome Marian prayer apps.

This is apologetics written in the idiom of Scooby-Doo, complete with its own glossary of Catholic slang: “nunnabes”; “predestinationships”; “Catholic thirst”, as displayed by “that dude/girl who wants to get married but doesn’t really care who the spouse is”.

Apps aside, hipsters have a proclivity for old-school Catholicism. Here is Stephen Lewis writing about doing things the hard way: “Name any obscure, hip and cool saint you want; it all comes down to Frank.” He’s talking about St Francis. And then: “Think of Epaphras as a heavenly masked wrestler, pile-driving Satan for you in prayer when you don’t have the strength.” Epaphras was bishop of Colossae and St Paul’s “prison buddy”.

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