Cardinal & Paraclete

"I’m a browser," Cardinal John O’Connor declared last month. An old-fashioned bookstore browser, he meant, not the Internet variety. His column in the July 1 issue of Catholic New York made an important point about a different kind of endangered species and mentioned one of our favorite places as well.

"There’s nothing quite so hypnotic as browsing through a bookstore, or quite so satisfying," he wrote. "There aren’t too many browsing options available, however, if your interest is in Catholic books or other high-quality religious works.

"That makes the Paraclete Book Center a vital resource-that and the cordiality of its owners and operators, the diversity of its volumes, the convenience of its location at 146 E. 74th Street in Manhattan....

"There can be no question of the value of Catholic bookstores in the heart of this big, busy city, whether it be Paraclete or any others. There is a question, however, about how much longer any Catholic bookstores will be able to survive. Their loss would be a pity no matter how easy it may be to shop by Internet or in some other discreet but impersonal fashion. Books are meant to be taken off shelves or out of stalls or from the tops of tables and looked at, held in the hand while leafing though the index, compared with a half-dozen other works sitting nearby."

"I’d be happy to join with like-minded browsers in a crusade to Save Our Catholic...

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