Ralph M. McInerny The Red Hat

ISBN 13: 9780898706819

The Red Hat

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9780898706819: The Red Hat
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"A murder; an accusation of sexual misconduct in the future cardinal's past; a seminary rivalry; vaulting ambition; a power play in international finance; a virtual schism in the American hierarchy; another Avignon pope; two or three really nice people - Mclnerny's new novel will keep you in suspense until the next to the last page. A nifty parable and a lot of fun." - Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute "An intimate knowledge of things Catholic, an exuberant orthodoxy, and an apparently unlimited gift of narrative imagination. Ralph Mclnerny has them all. Life is unfair, fortunately." - Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, Editor, First Things "Ralph Mclnerny's satirical probe into the sickness of our times is very funny. But beneath the comedy and the pathology there is an undercurrent of grief over the immense tragedy of the Church in North America and Europe. As the author presses down with his scalpel, he exposes the betrayal in all its banality, not for the purpose of mockery, but to point to something better that is still possible for us, to recall us to authentic hope. The central character, Archbishop Lannan, is a kind of episcopal "everyman " who is paralyzed by his weakness, ambition, and mind-numbing commitment to ecclesial politics. He stands at the crux of a dilemma upon which rests the future of the Church in the West. This is a book that should be read in every chancery, rectory, and university faculty - indeed, wherever men have grown cynical about the Bride of Christ." - Michael O'Brien, Author, Father Elijah "You need not be a Father Dowling to follow Ralph Mclnerny's trail through the agony of one bishop's lust for the Cardinal's hat with its built-in chicanery, and the ultimate test of his faith - fidelity to the Pope and martyrdom, or media acclaim and power from schismatic peers." - Msgr. George Kelly, Author, Battle for the

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Father Dowling's creator (On This Rockne, 1997, etc.) takes aim at the highest echelons of the modern church in this ambitious, plumply plotted tale of Vatican-American politics. For as long as he can remember, Thomas Lannan has dreamed of wearing a cardinal's red hat. Now that he's Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), the prize seems unbearably close-- especially once Lannan, urged on by his old friend Maureen Kilmartin, engineers the appointment of one of his boyhood pals, Notre Dame history professor James Morrow, to the ornamental but highly visible post as American ambassador to the Vatican. The debates that Morrow's magisterial history, The Decline and Fall of the American Catholic Church, kicks up about the fortunes of the church in the 30 years since the Second Vatican Council supply a foundation for the positions of dozens of fictional Catholic commentators of every stripe, from archconservative Monsignor Rodney Leach, the sardonic Savonarola of Toledo, to Maureen's brother Frank Bailey, dean of dissident American theologians. But as deeply as McInerny obviously cares about these debates and the anguish they cause his cast, he has to rush past them to the next complication in his byzantine plot. A prostitute comes to Rome with a prophetic vision reserved for the Pope. Lannan's call to Rome to receive his red hat is thwarted when the Pope dies before conferring it. The convocation of cardinals that names the new Pope comes under attack for excluding Lannan and his fellow cardinals-designate. The new Pope dies, provoking still deeper schism. Lannan is kidnapped and held captive. An outlaw conclave spearheaded by the NCCB anoints an Anti-pope. Lannan survives every challenge to his integrity only to be threatened with the revelation of an unacknowledged child. Whew. An impassioned guided tour of postVatican II theological politics wrapped in a story as shapeless as Dumas. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

There's plenty of incident in McInerny's new thriller. The mother of a priest's illegitimate child is murdered. The controversial author of a book about the decline of the church in America is named U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and battles a wily fundamentalist senator. Two popes die. Archbishop Tom Lannan of Washington, D.C., is twice named a cardinal and twice denied his red hat by ironic circumstance. Liberal clergy approach schism by setting up an independent American Church. But incident can't save this broadsheet in novel's clothing. McInerny, a Notre Dame philosophy professor and author of the Father Dowling mystery series, shows more flair for polemicizing than for telling a story. If the author's jeremiads ("Most Catholics have become Protestants" and "yesterday's dissent has become today's orthodoxy") ring true for some readers and enrage others, the fiction will bore them universally. Characterization is bland. The characters all sound exactly the same, and anyone without Latin and a deep knowledge of church history would have benefited from a glossary and footnotes.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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