Holy Siege: The Year That Shook Catholic America

Kenneth A. Briggs, Author HarperOne $27 (594p) ISBN 978-0-06-061058-6
In this month-by-month chronicle of a tumultuous year (September 1986 to September 1987), former New York Times religion writer Briggs covers an enormous amount of ground, from the deposing of Catholic University theologian Charles Curran, who challenged the Church's rules concerning sexuality, to the 10-day American tour of Pope John Paul II. The author moves episodically through controversies from those at the official level (such as the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' pastoral letter on the economy, which ``nipped at the heels of capitalism'') to those concerning faith and worship (such as the evangelical-style parish program Renew). To suggest the ``lives and concerns'' of American Catholics ``in the trenches,'' Briggs periodically focuses on each of 10 pseudonymous individuals whom he interviewed intermittently throughout the year. While treating such interesting topics as disputes about feminism and homosexuality, Briggs writes in a reportorial voice that is clear but bland; his impressions remain diffuse. Photos not seen by PW. $30,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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