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Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning Hardcover – September 9, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307346846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307346841
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,138,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sheer star power should draw a broad range of readers to this volume of 37 interviews, in which Catholics from diverse fields reflect on their church. Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert Kennedy, invited luminaries from politics, entertainment, media and the church itself to talk about their Catholic origins, current beliefs and what they would do if they could be pope for a year. Writer Anna Quindlen would ordain women and lift the ban on artificial birth control. Comedian Bill Maher, who confesses to hating religion, would end the church, while Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington, D.C., would resign right away and get a good guy in there. Other interviewees include Cokie Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Allouisa May Thames, Thomas Monaghan and Douglas Brinkley. In the preface, Kennedy adds her own views, explaining why she remains a Catholic despite differences with the church on issues like abortion and homosexuality. The collection makes for interesting reading, though at times the interviews, which consist wholly of the subjects' responses, seem disjointed and rambling without the context of questions. (Sept.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

From Booklist

What does it mean to be Catholic in today’s society? Is there a necessary disconnect between traditional Catholicism and contemporary reality? What role, if any, does faith play in spirituality? Catholics who have asked themselves similar questions and curious non-Catholics will be interested in the comments of 37 prominent Americans collected by the author, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy. She explores what it means to be Catholic via a series of interviews with public figures with roots in the Catholic Church. Included among those tapped by Kennedy to interpret their faith are Anna Quindlen, Bill O’Reilly, Cokie Roberts, Nancy Pelosi, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Sheen, Bill Maher, and Frank McCourt. The diversity of responses, from both staunch believers and lapsed Catholics, reflects the ambivalence that many American Catholics attempt to come to terms with as they grapple with both institutional and spiritual issues. --Margaret Flanagan

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Customer Reviews

This is dishonest, silly and very sad.
Theresa Smith
Reading of others' Faith journeys has strengthened my belief that the Catholic Faith is bigger than us all and that there is a place for us all.
ex-sem boy
The Catholic Church is not a democracy.
The Saint

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 129 people found the following review helpful By JacMac on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was riveted by this book. I am a practicing Catholic struggling to make peace with some of the Church's teaching. Kennedy presents her own journey, as well as those of other Catholics - practicing, non-practicing & somewhere in between.

The book's contributors vary widely in their experiences, as we all do. This book is for all Catholics - and those interested in Catholicism. It is a great way to begin to understand how & why Catholics believe what they do & act as they do.

Don't dismiss this book as anti-Catholic or pro-Catholic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The author presents many views, many journeys; and, the book challenges each of us to look at the Church and determine if it is truly following the teachings of Christ.

If you're a devout, practicing Catholic, don't be afraid to try reading this book. If you have left the Church, don't be afraid to try reading this book. It may open your mind to a better understanding of others (and isn't that one of the basic teachings of Christ?).

I read the book. It is especially insulting to read a review from someone who hasn't even read the book. This is a terrific and timely book.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Meyer on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
The people who gave this bad reviews were obviously looking for something different. This is not a book for those who blindly love everything about the Roman Catholic Church. I am a practicing Catholic and I love the church most of the time. However, there are times that I struggle with church teaching on social issues and also times that I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed by decisions made by the higher-ups in the church that have resulted in abuse of children. This book is a collection of interviews with people who describe their personal experiences with the church--both good and beautiful experiences, as well as dark and evil ones. Some of the folks interviewed were inspirational to me because of their deep convictions and because of the fullness in which they practice their faith. I saw myself in many of the people who stay Catholic because they can't bear to leave the rich and beautiful faith, but struggle with much of the dogma. I also could understand the reasons some of the interviewed gave for leaving the church. If anything, the book made me feel much less alone in my journey as a practicing Catholic and I think I am less likely to think about leaving the church after reading it. My struggles are not unique and there is much good in the church. The accounts of people who share my political and social justice beliefs and also remain deeply rooted in their faith, made me realize that I can reconcile my faith and political beliefs. Great reading--entertaining and funny. I loved this book and after racking up library fines so that my husband could also enjoy it, I'll be purchasing it today.
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71 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Nevermind VINE VOICE on October 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who loves the Catholic Church will be distressed by this book.

Kerry Kennedy, who collected these essays, writes she has a friend who endured "a sermon that amounted to a frontal assault on gay men's and women's rights"(p xxix). While she says she continues to love the Church, she wonders if it hasn't gone over to "the dark side" (p xxxi).

Then her book goes on to feature people who loathe the church, like Bill Maher, whose film "Religulous" is a long scream of hatred at God. Or those whose information about the church is embarrassingly ignorant, like Anna Quindlen, who believes the old, wholly discredited story of a woman pope.

One striking essay is by Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives. She snips, "I've always been pro-choice. To me, it's like saying, `Should we surrender our brains?'" (p 79). How many bishops have rebuked her advocacy of abortion recently? Is it 14, 20? I've lost count.

Over 40 million babies have been killed in the United States since abortion was legalized. That's a continent of human beings lost forever. Not to mention the lives of the mothers and fathers who so often experience emotional turmoil for decades after. Why is Pelosi so uncaring, so sure her way is right?

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the US Vatican prelate, has said the Democratic party is at risk of becoming the "party of death" for its strident advocacy for abortion and euthanasia. Why won't Pelosi listen to the Church? Or read about the beliefs of the Church, or pray, or consult her bishop? Catholic belief about abortion and birth control has been constant, ever since the first years of Christianity.
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54 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Texas on November 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a book which is not only intellectually dishonest, it is the trite, boring recitations of shallow people who can't see beyond their own celebrity status. If it were a little bit better written (OK, a WHOLE LOT better written) it could have been a hilarious take-off on self-importance. Really, Susan SARANDON and Cokie ROBERTS as THEOLOGIANS??? But, unfortunately, it wasn't able to pull itself up to the level of spoof and instead drowns in its own banality.

Why do FORMER Catholics who just can't BE Catholic and want to justify their own personal agendas at the expense of everyone else who DOES want to be Catholic? If they don't want to follow the Church - fine! No one is forcing them, but for heaven's sake, have the intellectual and intestinal honesty to admit that they are NO LONGER CATHOLIC. People like Kennedy, Pelosi and company are selling themselves as a something they simply are not and haven't been for some time. If they were honest, they'd admit that what they want is to destroy the Church and rebuild it in their own images.

It sort of reminds me of Kerry's Uncle Ted who wants the rest of us to pay for and endure the blight of "alternative energy" sources. But when a wind-farm was proposed for the Cape where it would have ruined his view, he immediately stepped in to prevent it from being built. These are the elites, remember. Rules are for other people.

One reviewer, possibly trying to justify his own desire to create his "own" church, says "once a Catholic, always a Catholic". Sorry, no. That's like saying I can go another country and take up citizenship and still expect to be able to vote in US elections.
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