John Cardinal O'Connor: At the Storm Center of a Changing American Catholic Church

Nat Hentoff, Author
Nat Hentoff, Author Scribner Book Company $0 (290p) ISBN 978-0-684-18944-4
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
When Hentoff, ``a stiff-necked Jewish atheist,'' and ``stubborn'' Cardinal O'Connor first met at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, they established a rapport that is reflected in this appealing and instructive biography. It is clear that both men share a lively sense of humor as well as liberal convictions on certain issues that divide American Catholics today. Intransigently loyal to Pope John II, the cardinal is seen as the Vatican's Genghis Khan by those who argue for opening the priesthood to women, for birth control and other changes in Church dictates. Such controversies obscure his battles on behalf of diverting government funds to the poor and homeless instead of spending for armaments, his support of the labor movement and civil rights. The book includes selections from the cardinal's speeches and writings and covers his life from birth in 1920 in Philadelphia through his service as a Navy chaplain to the present. Hentoff, in this biography surpasses his lauded books, as well as his work as the clarion voice of the Village Voice . Readers of any faith or none will enjoy the company of these two unusual people. First serial to the New Yorker. (July)
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