Popular novel writer Andrew Greeley returns to the voice of memoirist in this update of his feisty original autobiography, Confessions of a Parish Priest
. Greeley is the first to admit how controversial he is. Religious purists attack his fiction as slanderous and racy. Even more divisive is Greeley's open criticism of the Catholic Church, including his denouncing of other priests for failing to handle the rampant pedophilia problem. Although Greeley is not flip or defensive when confronting his critics, he does make it clear that he is a man with a mission, and he will not be stopped from writing fiction or speaking his truth. In his chapter titled "Pedophile Problems," he brazenly writes, "Nothing has made me feel more contemptuous of my fellow priests--both as individuals and as collectives--than their response to the pedophile crisis.... The bishops in a way are worse.... After blaming the media for the problem, they set up a committee to study the problem, to make a report, and issue vague and feeble guidelines." This is the kind of strong writing one can expect from this highly opinionated (and highly admired) man of words and cloth. Arranged as a collection of essays, fans will find plenty of fresh material in this memoir, including chapters about "Prayers," "Catholic Schools," "The End of the Confident Church," and "Why They Stay--It's the Stories!" --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Greeley offers Furthermore! as a companion volume to Confessions of a Parish Priest, the autobiography he published 15 years ago. Greeley styles his latest work as a self-evaluation of his careers as novelist, sociologist and priest. His narrative of the salient events that shaped his character is particularly concerned with the upheavals in American Catholicism from the 1950s to the present. Greeley asserts that the "Confident Church" of the 1950s was basically sound in the fundamentals of its doctrine but lacked the requisite depth and substance to face the social crises of the 1960s and 1970s. He finds the contemporary "Confusing Church" more chaotic but less shallow than the Catholicism of the first half of the century. This "Confusing Church" is characterized by competing authoritarian impulses, including hierarchical traditionalism, and a lay "liberalism" that scorns any judgment but its own. This vivid portrait of late-twentieth-century Catholicism is short on cogent analysis. Greeley lays responsibility for the Church's flaws fully at the doorstep of the Vatican, including lay intransigence and the miserable state of art and architecture in American churches. While claiming objectivity, Greeley seems decidedly uninterested in the stories of Catholics who are faithful to Church teachings. (Dec.)
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