Catholics in Crisis: An American Parish Fights for Its Soul

Jim Naughton, Author
Jim Naughton, Author Da Capo Press $24 (288p) ISBN 978-0-201-62458-8
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-14-026818-8
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Browsers of this book may be immediately reminded of last year's Congregation by Gary Dorsey or this spring's What God Allows by Ivor Shapiro. In all three, a journalist looks at the church--here, as in Shapiro's book, the Catholic church--through the focused lens of a particular congregation minutely observed over the course of a year. Known for progressive lay leadership, Georgetown's Holy Trinity church saw a showdown when its peace-loving pastor could not reconcile several contentious factions in the parish, or the goals of the parish with the goals of the bishop. Beginning with one man's stand for women's ordination, conflicts soon erupted over what Naughton calls most of ""the emotionally charged issues convulsing American Catholicism""--social justice, sex education, divorce, homosexuality and, especially, the conflict between democratic and hierarchical authority in the church. More than a well-plotted story, this book offers thoughtful analysis of a parish, and a church, in crisis. (Oct.)
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