Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two books ....

from the library ... in non-fiction, Radical Orthodoxy? A Catholic Enquiry (Heythrop Studies in Contemporary Philosophy, Religion, and Theology). It has essays on Radical Orthodoxy by different people, including John Milbank and Fergus Kerr ....... and in fiction, The Priestly Sins by Andrew Greeley.

I've never read a book by Fr. Greeley before and I hadn't planned on this one, but the book I really wanted, The Necromancer by Michael Scott, hadn't come in yet and I had no other audio book to listen to (panic!) :) In a way the book, which is about a priest who exposes a pedophile in the clergy, has kind of shocked me, not only because it's graphic in detail but because Fr. Greeley pulls no punches in describing how the church reacts to whistle-blowing priests as well as abuse victims. Here's the Publishers Weekly blurb ....

Greeley's experience as both a priest with 50 years of service to the Catholic Church and as a bestselling storyteller (The Cardinal Sins, etc.) perfectly equips him to take on the difficult subject of sexual abuse and its ensuing coverup. Greeley makes his position quite clear: "those who might seem to be the worst sinners are not the predators possessed by their own uncontrollable urges, but other priests who know about what the predators have done and remain silent or even defend them out of mistaken loyalty. And still worse are the bishops and bureaucrats who hide the truth...." Greeley builds his case and his fiction on the life of Herman Hugo Hoffman, whose Russian German forebears were farmers in the plains states of Midwestern America. His is a gentle story of growing up in a rural, close-knit family among other like-minded immigrant families in the town of Lincoln Junction. Herman's feisty, red-haired neighbor Katherine inserts herself into his family at age eight and grows up to be his best friend and lover until he enters the priesthood. The sweet story of Herman and Katherine is framed by the trial of child abuser Father Lenny "Lucifer" Lyon, whom Herman, several years before, walked in on while the priest was brutally raping young parishioner Todd Sweeney. The bulk of the novel is a study of Herman's calling and rise to the priesthood, and it's an affecting story. This is a well-told tale of love and courage that makes its valuable point without resorting to unnecessary violence or cheap and easy shock effects. It's fiction, but for anyone interested in the ongoing controversy it's a must-read.

Here's a little about Fr. Greeley from Wikipedia ...

The Reverend Father Andrew M. Greeley (born February 5, 1928 in Oak Park, Illinois, to Andrew and Grace Greeley) is an Irish-American Roman Catholic priest, sociologist, journalist and best selling author. Father Greeley is Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona and is a Research Associate with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. He writes a weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times and contributes regularly to The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, America, and Commonweal ... He suffered a fractured skull and left orbital bone near his eye in a fall on November 7, 2008 in Rosemont, Illinois, when his clothing got caught on the door of a taxi as it pulled away, and was hospitalized in critical condition.[3]His website indicates that he is still recovering from the traumatic brain injury that he received.

For those interested, you can visit Fr. Greeley's webpage which has his homilies, articles, and book info.


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