Book Reviews2Apocalypse: A Catholic Perspective on the Book of Revelation

Book written by: Fr. Stephen C. Doyle, O.F.M.  St. Anthony Messenger Press.  210 pages.  Paperback.  September 2005.


Franciscan Father Stephen Doyle provides a Catholic commentary on the Book of Revelation and explains that today’s people do not understand what the author of Revelation is talking about.  The Book of Revelation was written for people who were living during the time of the author.  Other apocalyptic books, like the Book of Revelation, are in the Old Testament: Daniel, parts of Ezekiel, Judith, and others.  It is this type of writing, as Fr. Doyle shows, that is full of symbolism and uses codes words or names to hide the real message from the persecutors of those who would understand what the author is writing about.  This type of writing was meant to encourage those enduring persecution.  If the persecutors came across this subversive writing they would not know what it was saying or would think it was something from the past.  This was a protection method for those who understood the writing’s symbolism and codes. 


So the Book of Revelation is not a prophecy for the 21st Century Christian as some preachers would say, but it is not useless for today.  It can be a great source of encouragement and solace for those enduring persecution, illness or the trials of life.  The Book of Revelation is not a prophecy of some future or imminent return of Christ.  It is a symbolic record of the victory of the Church over the world of evil especially during the days of the Roman Empire. 


Fr. Doyle uses the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible in this commentary.  He presents the scripture verse(s) and then provides his comments.  He ends each chapter with a reflection which is from various sources, scripture, Church documents or other sources.  There are 53 chapters which vary in length.  Fr. Doyle provides a short bibliography which includes some Protestant commentaries on the Book of Revelation.  This is followed by an index.


Fr. Doyle tries to clear up the confusion over the interpretation of the last book of the Bible.  He follows the directives of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on Divine Revelation and other Church authorities.  This book is highly recommended to those wanting a better understanding of the Book of Revelation, but who do not want an overly academic commentary.  This book meets those needs.


Fr. Stephen Doyle is the author of A Retreat with Mark (1998), Understanding the New Testament (1989), The Gospel in Word & Power (1982), The Acts of Jesus’ Apostles (1982), 1-2 Thessalonians and Galatians (1980) and Covenant Renewal in Religious Life: Biblical Reflections (1975).

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