Jeff Mirus bio - articles - email Feb 29, This book is both riveting and devastating.
About This Item
First a disclaimer: Philip F. Lawler is the founder and director of Catholic World News, which for the past two years has been owned by Trinity Communications.
Before that, we collaborated on various projects for a decade or more. Readers can take this as an indication of both bias and profound respect. Although Boston is a particularly dramatic case, the author is well aware that the story is paradigmatic of the Church in the United States as a whole.
When necessary, he draws in the larger picture. This is the story of an immense cultural and ecclesiastical shift, and it is a cautionary tale.
Book review: Philip F. Lawler's *The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture*
While Lawler amply documents the extent of clerical sex abuse, including the pervasive influence of a homosexual network and the massive cover-up, his thesis is much deeper and more comprehensive. Lawler argues persuasively that the root of the problem is the failure of the Catholic bishops to view the Church as an institution that depends on God and instead to view it as a public entity which can only survive and prosper through political and bureaucratic management: alliances with the powerful, compromise, image protection, public role-playing, policies and programs.
The result was a Church in which every internal problem was ignored at all costs and where most bishops continued to proclaim that all was well and that their churches were thriving. In so doing, they consistently lied to themselves and, more culpably, to their people, to public officials, and even to Rome. Lawler puts the case neatly:.
Let the Dead Bury the Dead: A Review of “The Faithful Departed”
What is most devastating about The Faithful Departed is that the author has no illusions that the crisis is past. The problem of abusive priests—who are a tiny minority—has been admitted and a zero-tolerance policy implemented. But the much deeper problem of complicity, cover-up, deceit, and utter failure to care spiritually for the laity has not been admitted. Yet this problem, now equally documented, has been caused by a clear majority of bishops. Nonetheless, with a few notable exceptions, the U.
The root spiritual problems of the Church continue to be ignored; the same old secularized experts continue to be consulted; defensive policies are driven not by saints but by attorneys. Rarely has such a great tragedy been at the same time so utterly and obviously ludicrous. Over the past forty years, the overwhelming majority of faithful Catholics who have attempted to combat the moral and doctrinal confusion infecting the Catholic Church have suffered two heart-rending experiences. The first was their painful astonishment when they learned that the doctrinal, moral and liturgical problems they faced were supported by their pastors.
Lawler captures the situation perfectly:. Most have been stonewalled by priests and bishops, sometimes by successive bishops, who have often simply refused to take their calls.
Even when one of these faithful lay persons has obtained an unlikely promise of investigation or corrective action, they have waited in vain for anything to be done. Due to the high volume of feedback, we are unable to respond to individual comments.
The Faithful Departed : The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture
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