The Catholic Labyrinth: Power, Apathy, and a Passion for Reform in the American Church

Peter McDonough, Author
Peter McDonough. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (408p) ISBN 978-0-19-975118-1
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-75346-4
Hardcover - 408 pages - 978-0-19-998983-6
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McDonough's book is as multifaceted as the subject he tackles: the politics of the American Catholic Church. The author, a researcher who has twice been a Fulbright Fellow, likens his book to a cubist painting, portraying "multiple visions of the church as much as it does the thing itself." These visions go from profiles of neoconservative thought leaders to scenes from the annual conference for Call To Action, a reform group. It's not always clear why all the anecdotes, such as an interview with a church furniture builder, are relevant, though. The first half of the book provides a lay of the land for the author's analysis of four groups that want to change the church: Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Voice of the Faithful, the Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, and FutureChurch. These reform groups face an uphill battle against reluctance and sometimes outright opposition in the hierarchy and apathy on the part of the laity. The book does not provide a map out of the labyrinth, but those who find their way through the dense text will gain insights into the obstacles and openings in the path to change. (July 15)
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