The Catholic Church in America is in a state of crisis. Yet few understand what the crisis really is, why it happened, or how the Church must respond to it. As no other commentator or critic has done, George Weigel situates the current crisis of sexual abuse and episcopal malfeasance in the context of recent Catholic history. With honesty and critical rigor, he reveals the Church's failure to embrace the true spiritual promise of Vatican II, a failure that has resulted in the gradual but steady surrender to liberal culture that he dubs "Catholic Lite." Drawing upon his unparalleled knowledge of how the Church works, both in America and in Rome, Weigel exposes the patterns of dissent and self-deception that became entrenched in seminaries, among priests, and ultimately among the bishops who failed their flock by thinking like managers instead of apostles. But, Weigel reminds us, in the Biblical world a "crisis" is a time of great opportunity, an invitation to deeper faith. Every great crisis of the Church's past, from the Dark Ages to the Reformation, has resulted in a period of reform that returned the Church-and its priesthood-to its roots. Weigel sets forth an agenda for genuine reform that challenges seminarians, priests, bishops, and the laity to lead more integrally Catholic lives. As he argues so persuasively, the answer to the present crisis will not be found in "Catholic Lite" but in classic Catholicism: a Catholicism that has reclaimed the wisdom of the past in order to face the corruptions of the present and create a strong future.
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George Weigel, a Roman Catholic theologian and one of America's leading commentators on religion and public life, is the author of the acclaimed The Courage to Be Catholic , the international bestseller, Witness to Hope: The Biography of John Paul II , and numerous other books that include The Truth of Catholicism and The Final Revolution . Now a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where he holds the John M. Olin Chair in Religion and American Democracy, Weigel writes a weekly column, "The Catholic Difference," that is syndicated to more than forty newspapers around the United States. He is an NBC consultant on the Vatican and appears regularly on network and cable television programs as well as national and local radio. Weigel lives with his wife and their three children in North Bethesda, Maryland.From Library Journal:
The Catholic Church in the United States is reeling from the scandal associated with the sexual abuse of minors by priests. Weigel, who has written a magisterial biography of Pope John Paul II (Witness to Hope), examines the predicament in this extended essay. He proposes that the church is in crisis, as understood in its radical sense: it is a time of judgment, also an opportunity for reflection and reform. Weigel dismisses the allegations that the sexual misbehavior of priests is the result of celibacy, a repressive sexual ethic, or an authoritarian church structure. His thesis is that the crisis is, at heart, one of fidelity. Priests have abandoned their identity as living icons of Christ, bishops have functioned more as managers than as shepherds, and the larger Catholic community has drifted from its Christ-given roots to a kind of "Catholic Lite." Weigel argues that the remedy to the present situation is to return to a classic Catholicism, deepening the reforms begun by Vatican Council II and urged by John Paul II throughout his pontificate. His argument that priests are "ontologically changed" by ordination needs significant nuance, and over three-quarters of the U.S. bishops about whom this papal loyalist complains have been appointed by the present pope. Weigel's contention may work within the confines of his perspective. All Catholics, particularly those he calls members of the "Catholic Lite," may not agree with his viewpoint or his assessment. Recommended for seminary libraries and for public libraries with a significant religion circulation. David I. Fulton, Coll. of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ
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