The book: Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly
I has some good points, but has some bad ones. A lot of Amazon reviewers criticized the analogy he uses at the beginning to illustrate Christ's sacrifice. It is a really bad analogy and some called it blasphemous.
The part that got my goat was on page 67:
Did you know that the number of people using prescribed medications for the treatment of depression is ten times greater today than it was ten years ago? Did you know that the suicide rate among teenagers and young adults has reached epidemic levels? Isn't it time we asked our culture and ourselves what is causing this great modern despair?
And then he goes on to talk about how busy we are and how this "modern despair", as he titles it, is because we've lost our essential purpose. Meaning the call to holiness.
So let's tease this out.
Yes, I know the number of meds has gone up. And I'm glad. Depression is a physical illness. Depression is something going screwy inside the brain and manifesting itself mentally. Part of the reason the prescriptions has gone up is not necessarily do to people loosing their purpose. In fact, I don't think that's the reason at all. Depression isn't something you can just strong arm your way through.
The reason why people are getting more meds is because 1) society has loosened it's grip on stigmas associated with depression. Now that it's out there in the open and people see that you are not a loon, more people are taking the healthy step of getting help rather than self-harm or self-medication (alcoholism). 2) more information is being disseminated about depression and more people are recognizing that they have it. In fact studies show that more people should be seeking help because there are a lot of people out there with undiagnosed depression. 3) more advances in medications have helped more depressed people. In my grandmother's generation, people were given shock treatments, so medicines are just now being used and more varieties are being churned out. This is good because not every medication works for every patient.
"Epidemic" that's a big word. It actually means a disease that is affecting a lot of people at the same time. Teens and young adults account for a small portion of the populace. And it also implies that the disease is contagious or spreads like the Epidemic Flu Virus. But suicide isn't a virus. In fact, it's not even a disease. So the use of this word is to inflate. Over the last 15 years or so the suicide rate has both risen and dropped. Recently it's risen because (it's believed) that since 2003 since there's been a decrease in prescribed anti-depressants for that age group. What that means is, just like the adults, teens need to be taught about depression and suicidal thoughts and be given help.
The fact that the author seems to imply that these illnesses are not real or are related to having a busier life and therefore can be remedied with putting our focus back on God....well...that's just ridiculous. That's like telling a diabetic that they should stop taking their medication and instead alter their diet (which depending on the type of diabetes may or may not actually help). We are not followers of L. Ron Hubbard.
So I caution you if you read this book. It's not the Bible or anything close to it. It's one person's opinion. And since it's being disseminated among parishes, I advise priests to watch out for content like that. It just adds more to the junk out there about mental illness that isn't true.