An unsatisfying hodgepodge of reflections on what it means to be a Roman Catholic priest. Fischer, himself a priest, begins...

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PRIESTS: Images, Ideals, and Changing Roles

An unsatisfying hodgepodge of reflections on what it means to be a Roman Catholic priest. Fischer, himself a priest, begins with an intriguing suggestion: that ""the concept of the Roman Catholic priesthood is dependent on images and that these images cause the problems""--problems that have led to a precipitous drop in the number of seminary students and practicing priests in the US. Fischer delivers for our consideration a number of fictional scenes starring some of the great men of the Church (Paul, Ignatius of Antioch, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Vincent de Paul, Charles Borremeo) and a scattering of representative types (""Joe the Seminarian,"" ""Father Tom the Statistic""). These clumsy mini-fictions do little to advance Fischer's study; neither does his penchant for jumping from one half. developed theme to another. Significant questions--Does spirituality take precedence over social action? What supernatural gifts do priests possess that other Catholics don't?--receive serious but unsustained attention. Extravagant assertions--for example, that ""priests have been the key storytellers of our civilization""--further muddy the argument. More compelling, although still skimpy, is Fischer's concluding plea for a spirituality modeled on that of St. Vincent de Paul, in which the priest is ""completely dependent on God."" This comes across as a series of sketches or, at best, a tantalizing blueprint for a book that remains to be written.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987