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.)
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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