Friends, I’m pleased to officially announce my latest book, “The Pivotal Players: 12 Heroes Who Shaped the Church and Changed the World.”

This brand-new book is an edited and elaborated presentation of the scripts for my film series “The Pivotal Players,” which is a follow-up to my earlier documentary “CATHOLICISM.” Many people who saw the first series remarked that their favorite episode was the one that presented biographies of four relatively contemporary saints of the Catholic Church. This very much confirmed my own conviction that the optimal way to present the truth of Catholicism is not so much through presenting abstract ideas but through showing concrete lives.

Following the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, I have long felt that the best and truest theologians are those who embody the Christian thing and show the dynamics of the Christian life. Accordingly, I endeavored in the second series to concentrate exclusively on telling the stories of great exemplars of Catholicism, many but not all of them canonized saints. I wanted to teach Catholicism precisely by looking at it in action. In choosing these figures, I concentrated on those who were truly pivotal—that is to say, those who made a significant difference, who set a new direction in the development of Christ’s Mystical Body.

Also, I wanted to include personages who decisively influenced not just the Church but the wider society too, for the ultimate purpose of the Church is to be salt and light for all the nations.

A third consideration was this: I wanted to show men and women from across the two thousand years of Christianity, so that my viewer/reader might appreciate the persistence and consistency of the Catholic ideal even through myriad cultural shifts. My fondest hope is that this book will inspire deeper study of these men and women and perhaps even deeper devotion to them.