20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Practicing Catholic (Paperback)
There is no question in my mind that this book is worth reading and, perhaps, re-reading. There are many interesting points of view that Carroll brings out. Although I question the title, "Practicing Catholic", I assume this is a title only and not Carroll's description of himself, as I would find him to be practicing Catholicity, (the baptism of his son as an Episcopalian would not be considered a "Catholic" baptism by many in the Church). Carroll, although certainly knowledgable of which he speaks, tends to "theologize", something of which I don't think he is capable. Never-the-less his book gives many of us who have tried to practice Catholicity for years food for thought, and certainly brings out incidents of which most of us were unaware. I did find some of his writing to be burdensome and required a re-reading in many instances to see just what he was driving at. His histories of the various councils were intriguing although not in great depth but did cause one to want to learn more about each as they occured. He left no doubt about his feeling for Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, who, obviously, he found contentious and adversarial in many areas with which Carroll did not agree, and seems to hold him responsible for many of the problems the Church is facing today, problems that Vatican II tried to avoid. I also don't feel that Carroll actually had a vocation to the priesthood, although he completed his studies and served for five years, after which he was laicized, married a protestant (I do not say this negatively as we have such marriages within our family of which we are proud); and to keep peace in the family, I assume, he split his children's baptisms between two schools of thought. I think he had a love for the Church but not a true vocation, and did right by leaving the priesthood. His feelings toward war, other religions, about women etc. are commendable and are those of many of us who have followed Catholcism for years. All in all we feel Carroll's problem was with authority. At one point he seems to indicate that it was "obedience" that was the primary cause of his leaving the priesthood....which would indicate to me that his problem was with authority, (with the exception of Cardinal Cushing who seemed to let Carroll do his thing). I wish he had expounded more on his visit with Hans Kung, a person many of us have admired for years. I do think Carroll shows signs of slight paranoia when he tries to relate the burning of the chapel at B.U. with the election of our new Pope, did his dislike of Ratzinger influence this inclusion? Carroll did convince me that the one thing Jesus wanted was simplicity. Throughout the years our Church fathers have managed to complicate things to a complexity to which many cannot proscribe. Caroll has shown that, similar to our present secular surroundings, there are two sides to the Catholic Church, conservative and liberal, and so far the conservatives seem to have control. I am not convinced that Jesus was a conservative nor did He expect things to turn out the way they have. He just wanted everyone to be good. He did not have scholars around him, He had ordinary working people, and He had sinners. Needless to say I am still a "Practicing Catholic", and I let my conscience be my guide, which is what I think Carroll is really saying. Finally I came to the conclusion that Carroll was "theologizing", and although he left many questions open, he did express opinions, some of which I don't particularly agree. He does however show his "trust" in God, and like many of us seems to feel that God is all loving. My only question is: Is God's love surpassed by his justice? This has long been a question in my mind but Carroll has shown me that perhaps His love exceeds all else, as we are all His creations. I plan to re-read this book as it has certainly caused me to do a lot of thinking.