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The Church That Forgot Christ Hardcover – July 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (July 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743266471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743266475
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,903,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is a very angry book. It is the story of the pedophilia scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church, seen through the eyes of Pulitzer Prize–winner Breslin. As he did in I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me, the author uses New York City as his backdrop. Breslin grew up in Queens and has a true affection for the meaning of the Church, but little respect for its hierarchy. He targets two bishops, Thomas Daily—who once responded to accusations by proclaiming, "I am not a policeman. I am a shepherd"—formerly of Brooklyn, and William Murphy, still ensconced on Long Island. Both worked for the disgraced Bernard Cardinal Law in Boston and wantonly transferred pedophiles from parish to parish—without notifying unsuspecting parents—where they continued systematically molesting children. When they came to the New York area, their blatant conduct continued, and Breslin has the grand jury minutes to prove it against Murphy, whom he nicknamed "Mansion Murphy" because of his proclivity toward a luxurious lifestyle. Breslin shows how the Church uses money and intimidation to stifle dissent and uses the story of a convicted pedophile, the appropriately named Rev. Robert Hands, to prove his point. Although Breslin hammers the power structure of the Church from the pope on down, he draws wonderful portraits of dedicated clerics like Father John Powis of St. Barbara's in Brooklyn, who covers all bases for his parishioners from the spiritual to stopping evictions, and Sister Tesa Fitzgerald, who heads Brooklyn's Hour Children program, which helps women coming out of prison. This book will anger people on both sides of the issue. However, it's doubtful they'll be as outraged as Breslin is in this disturbing tome.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In a book that the Roman Catholic curia will surely condemn, Breslin, a noted columnist and commentator and best-selling author, pulls no punches as he launches a scorching indictment of the contemporary sex-abuse scandals. Making an important distinction between the Roman Catholic Church and the Catholic religion, he offers his own Breslinesque vision of a new Catholic Church. Dismissing the abortionobsessed pope and bishops as a bad joke, he proposes the establishment of a new Catholic parish in the diocese of Brooklyn, headed by none other than Bishop Jimmy Breslin; after all, as he jibes, he is eminently qualified for the job, since he is not a pedophile. Personalizing the tragedy by introducing a wide array of victims, perpetrators, and ordinary Catholics struggling with their faith, he takes the Church hierarchy and its attendant culture of secrecy and coverup to task. Between the often-scathing lines is a serious proposal for a reawakening of the Catholic social consciousness and a call for a return to a more Christcentered church sans all the elaborate trappings and rituals, which have taken on undue significance in the modern era. Overflowing with legitimate anger, incisive criticism, and defiant challenges, this soulwrenching denunciation should make American Catholics sit up, take notice, and begin debating. Vintage Breslin. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

It is a sad commentary, but well worth reading.
Dorothy Weiss
Obviously, these desperate denials by either religion do not alter reality one bit.
Jaysonrex
When this happens you can't say that Jimmy Breslin didn't warn you.
John Fitzgerald

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an angry book that will make you uncomfortable. Read it anyway. Read it and learn the truth about what's going on in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Think about the victims of clergy abuse. Think about their abusers, who have gotten a free pass from the likes of Mansion Murphy and others. Think about the hundreds of thousands of parishioner dollars that have gone into the renovation of Murphy's Mansion--his wine cellar, his kitchen, his crystal, his furniture. Think about the six elderly religious who were evicted to make way for him. And then think about what you should be doing to get him out of Rockville Centre.
You don't have to agree with all of Breslin's views--for instance, he is pro-abortion. And the book is written like a longer version of a rambling Breslin column; it's full of his memories of family and friends, and the memories are sometimes painful, but they are brutally honest. If you're from Long Island or NYC, you will recognize some of the names and places. After reading this book, you will be angry, too--and you should be.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy Weiss on August 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr Breslin's book is filled with searing, scorching startling facts. He reveals what happens when power, control, money, acquisition of properties, distorted dogma, meaningless rules, rituals and ceremonies supercede the spiritual nurturing and well-being of faithful trusting souls. Page after page documents abuse. It is a sad commentary, but well worth reading.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Church That Forgot Christ" is a sad book. Jimmy Breslin, prodded by friends and colleagues to investigate the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, takes up the cross and investigates abuse situations that are brought to his attention. With each new finding, Breslin's tone becomes angrier and angrier. His anger drips from each page.

Breslin goes into depth on how the priests gained the confidence of their victims and their families. He also provides details on how these priests were "treated" by higher level clergy once their activities became known. Breslin clearly shows there was a conspiracy in avoiding the truth.

Breslin found that the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Clergy (he also includes the story of a horny nun) was not just a crime of individual predators but also a crime of the Catholic hierarchy. Breslin implicates Cardinals, Bishops, and Monsignors by their avoidance of dealing with these situations in an appropriate and timely manner...hence "THE CHURCH" that forgot Christ.

As a contrast to the wayward Church, Breslin weaves the story of a Brooklyn priest, Fr. John Powis, throughout the book. Powis, who stays the priestly course, takes his vows seriously and faithfully does Christ's work. His life and work shows a shepherd responsibly protecting and caring for the flock entrusted to his care.

These predators and those who protected them represent the failure of clericalism. As Rev. Thomas Doyle, canon lawyer at the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C., wrote "The delusion is that the clergy are above the rest, deserving unquestioned privilege and stature, the keepers of our salvation, the guarantors of favor with the Lord. But the deadliest symptom is the unbridled addiction to power.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Angela Hampton on August 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I didn't enjoy reading this book, but I'm glad I read it. It was difficult to follow at times which I think is okay here because it seemed like Breslin was trying to make sense of his loss and anger. In some ways it made the read more real...instead of something where all the heart had been edited out of the piece.

I kept thinking as I read that I should just stop reading. It really is a depressing portrait of not only the Catholic church but also our society. Some readers may walk away feeling like it's primarily a Catholic church issue, but it's not. For Breslin, that is how he experienced it because the Catholic church was his church family. For others of us, it's about our church and our society that hasn't put forth any real effort to protect its children.

I'm glad Breslin told his story. It needs to be told again and again until people start to listen and act. No, a church held in the home, as he mentions, is not the solution. But if it is led by him and he refuses to keep his loud NY mouth shut about child abusers, then I'd feel at least a little safer about taking my own children there.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Patrick McC on November 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Jimmy Breslin provides a magnificent indictment of the evils perpetrated in the name of God on His/Her most innocent and vulnerable children by churchmen more enamored with earthly power and gold than heavenly treasures. Too bad that his mile-a-minute style may put off some readers who aren't used to it. This book deserves a wide readership.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ive always found Jimmy Breslin to be an amazing writer, but in this work of literature he made it crystal clear that the churches sexual abuse stories were not an urban myth. The real life accounts you will hear in this book are repulsive, and shocking. He explains it to you in such a way that it hits you right in the stomach. I personally know many of the people he talks about, and trust me when i say this, everything he says is the truth.
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