A warm and highly readable discussion of the uneasy relationship many American Catholics today have with their Church....

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CATHOLICS ON THE EDGE

A warm and highly readable discussion of the uneasy relationship many American Catholics today have with their Church. Unsworth (Here Comes Everybody!, 1993), a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, offers 16 vignettes about contemporary Catholics who -- because of their beliefs, actions, or merely their gender -- exist on the margin of the official Roman Catholic Church. Despite disaffection, they choose to remain in the Church and struggle. Barbara Blaine, a law student who also works with people who have been abused by priests, sums up the feelings of many when she declares that she could no more cease to be a Catholic than she could stop being a member of her own family -- this despite having been sexually molested herself by a priest. Based on interviews, Unsworth's retellings of others' stories are equally compelling. Margaret Traxler, a nun, believes that any relation today between the teachings of Jesus and the pronouncements of the Vatican (which she feels ""traffics in money making"") is purely coincidental; nevertheless she continues to work in a parish on Chicago's South Side. The female students at the Catholic Theological Union continue their studies even though they cannot be ordained; the irony is that many may end up later teaching their male counterparts. Even bishops can be pushed to the ""edge."" They are often ignored by the Church hierarchy until they run afoul of it and live their lives in fear of what the Vatican might think of their public actions; many do not have the courage to stand up for what they believe. The issues of abortion, birth control, and sexual orientation come up throughout the volume, forming a thread that links the lives of many chronicled. Compelling, though it will probably appeal primarily to American Catholics who feel in some way abandoned by a Church that they will nonetheless not desert.

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Crossroad

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995