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Practicing Catholic Paperback – April 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Carroll, a former Catholic priest who wrote of his conflict with his father over the Vietnam War in An American Requiem, revisits and expands on that tension in this spiritual memoir infused with church history. Here, Carroll traces his life as a son of the Catholic Church, showing how he and the church changed as he moved from boyhood into adulthood. Ordained a priest in 1968, the year Humanae Vitae, the controversial encyclical on contraception, was released, Carroll discovered by 1974 that he could no longer keep his vow of obedience if it meant heeding teachings with which he disagreed. Leaving the priesthood freed him to pursue more fully his life as a writer, but also to be the kind of Catholic he believes the reformers of his church envisioned in the Second Vatican Council of 1962–1965. Although he laments what he calls the more recent conservative reaction to the council, he remains Catholic. Readers who, like Carroll, remain Catholic but wrestle with their church's positions on moral issues will most appreciate his story. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Using his own experiences as a backdrop, acclaimed author (An American Requiem (1996) and Constantine’s Sword (2001)) and former priest Carroll examines the evolution of the American Catholic Church in the latter half of the twentieth century. His historical arc, extending from the 1940s to the present day, includes the most turbulent eras in both American politics and religion. By analyzing his own spiritual relationship with the Catholic Church as it initially attempts to change during Vatican II, and later as it regretfully regresses during the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, he illuminates why many American Catholics remain true to their faith while at the same time virulently disagreeing with the Church hierarchy. Carroll’s double-edged memoir is essential reading for American Catholics and those struggling to understand the contradictions inherent in American Catholicism. --Margaret Flanagan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The author has gone much further in his disagreement with the church than I would. Yet for the most part, He certainly has valid reasons. I too believe the hierarchy is "more or less" corrupt. I say more or less because I hate to lump them all together. Yet it is obvious that few live a day to day life style that mirrors what we know about Jesus; and, they certainly can be condemned for the manner in which the priest scandal was handled. Women priests? That would bother me but then I am very conservative by nature. I suspect I would eventually come to accept it.
All in all, I think this book is well worth reading but it would help for the reader to have at least a minimal knowledge of Church history (and I do not mean the grade and high school history taught in Catholic schools).
Also, if you too are a practicing Catholic, don't be scandalized. We all have to follow our conscience. His is maybe just different from yours and you may well believe him to be a heretic. But, he does have the good of our church at heart.
In the face of all this, one might ask how Carroll can continue to support and worship in the Catholic Church. Anticipating this question, he cites the great size and presence of the Church and its compelling social witness; moreover, avoiding the intellectual dishonesty of blindly practicing his faith in a negative environment, he comes across as a strong supporter of core, Christ-based doctrines that he sees as the true essence of the Church. One senses from his story about the denial of the rites of the Church to the infant son of his friend and poet Allen Tate that he is in reality a formidable and fearless force for the authenticity of the Church's witness as it should be and perhaps more often than not it truly is - especially more than one might think from the litany of wrongs that he expounds in the book. So he stays and fights for these ideals, no matter how long it takes. His priestly training still informs and undergirds his powerful, idealistic intellect that is so full of hope for humanity, whose welfare is the duty of the Church and, therefore, of all its people.
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