cover image Furthermore: Memories of a Parish Priest

Furthermore: Memories of a Parish Priest

Andrew M. Greeley. Forge, $24.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86964-9

Greeley offers Furthermore! as a companion volume to Confessions of a Parish Priest, the autobiography he published 15 years ago. Greeley styles his latest work as a self-evaluation of his careers as novelist, sociologist and priest. His narrative of the salient events that shaped his character is particularly concerned with the upheavals in American Catholicism from the 1950s to the present. Greeley asserts that the ""Confident Church"" of the 1950s was basically sound in the fundamentals of its doctrine but lacked the requisite depth and substance to face the social crises of the 1960s and 1970s. He finds the contemporary ""Confusing Church"" more chaotic but less shallow than the Catholicism of the first half of the century. This ""Confusing Church"" is characterized by competing authoritarian impulses, including hierarchical traditionalism, and a lay ""liberalism"" that scorns any judgment but its own. This vivid portrait of late-twentieth-century Catholicism is short on cogent analysis. Greeley lays responsibility for the Church's flaws fully at the doorstep of the Vatican, including lay intransigence and the miserable state of art and architecture in American churches. While claiming objectivity, Greeley seems decidedly uninterested in the stories of Catholics who are faithful to Church teachings. (Dec.)