- Jean Donovan: A Maryknoll missionary killed in El Salvador
- Helen Prejean: A Louisiana sister who has acted as a spiritual director to those on death row and is an anti-death penalty activist
- Pedro Arrupe: Jesuit who served in Japan during WWII and who came to lead the whole order
- Thomas Merton: Trappist monk and writer
- Maximilian Kolbe: Priest killed at Auschwitz
- Joseph Bernardin: Late Archbishop (and Cardinal) of Chicago
- John Paul II: Pope
The book focuses on each person's working, teaching or writing in the area of social justice and frankly, it takes the usual liberal line that liberation theology is great, the death penalty is bad, and that Vatican II really changed the teachings of the Catholic church.
As I said at the beginning, I'm a conservative. I found this book somewhat discomforting, and I'm sure that was the idea. There is no question that the dictatorial regimes in Central and South America are bad, that they have killed innocent people and that the poor down there need help. I think there are questions about the methods some people, including church people like Donovan and Stang used down there, but as this book points out, the Nazis and the Communists in Europe found the teachings and teachers of the Catholic church to be every bit as big a threat as the dictators in the Americas do today. On the other hand, John Paul II, who lived through WWII and was a great contributor to the downfall of Communism, found fault with Liberation Theology and the movements it started.
I'd like to thank the Catholic Company for providing a complimentary review copy of Unlikely Spiritual Heroes.