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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: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,700,346 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

The title of this book is misleading.
Theresa Smith
People like Kennedy, Pelosi and company are selling themselves as a something they simply are not and haven't been for some time.
I question why people who do not believe in core Catholic beliefs would have much to do with Being Catholic Now.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 131 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ghmus7 on October 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
Why be Catholic? This book does not really answer the question of why all these celebrities (deeply learned in theology and the teachings of the church) still wish to be Catholic when they disagree with everything that the church teaches. Why? Why would you wish to join a club when you despise all the reasons for that club's existence? Would you join the Sierra club if you disagreed with the principals of conservation? Would you remain a Boy Scout if you disliked the principals of scouting?
This book simply celebrates unbelief. This book celebrates disobedience, in thought and action. It is quite sickening to read Ms. Kennedy's description of her liberal privileged upbringing and assume that everyone else automatically shares those views. Of course they do, because she is privileged and knows better than everyone, including especially, people like ordinary priests and bishops, just trying to get through the day dodging artillery like this book. And from this incredible high horse, she wishes to lecture the poor church and those servants of hers to tell them her version of the church.

In the end, the only reason for remaining Catholic, is that it teaches the truth in essentials. There will always be difficult moral questions where the rubber meets the road and struggle and challenge... But the Churches' teaching on pro-life is an essential and foundational teaching, that simply can't be ignored or pushed away. Social teaching or activism that denies this is empty.

The book just does not celebrate Catholicism. When someone joins the church at the Easter Vigil: the person is required to say: "I believe all the Catholic Church believes and teaches".
I don't think that any of the "prominent celebrities" in this book would be able to say that.
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12 of 18 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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55 of 84 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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