Father Greeley, as a working sociologist, reflects on the pastoral ministry of the Church from the sociological perspective. As one of American Catholicism's most unabashedly critical spokesmen, he manages to raise a great many more questions than he answers -- which is all to the good in a book designed more to sting than comfort the reader. Greeley finds much to question in the Church's strategic position today, in its situation with respect to the ""quest for community,"" and in its relations with the individuals who constitute the Church, with emphasis on the disenfranchised (women and the young). But he is determinedly optimistic, concluding, ""in a wild and quite unsociological burst of prophesy,"" with a vision of the parish of the future which will be, among other things, open, democratic, flexible, functional and -- perhaps the most difficult of all to envision -- more solicitous about the human estate than real estate. This is piquant, frustrating, stimulating, enraging, delightful, all at the same time. Unlike most of Greeley's books, however, it is strongly slanted toward priests, seminarians, nuns, and laymen actively engaged in the ministry.