THE EXPLODING CHURCH by Frederick Franck


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Mr. Franck renders a service to the Christian community and particularly to the Catholic Church by presenting, without attempting to classify or judge the degrees of heterodoxy or orthodoxy of his respondents, the opinions of 37 Dutch priests and a score of other European and American ecclesiastics on such topical questions as birth control, celibacy, suicide, abortion, divorce, dogma, etc. Some of the answers--if they do indeed represent a consensus--are surprising. Hardly anyone, for instance, felt that the Immaculate Conception (a defined dogma) was more than a myth, and individual opinions ranged from ""a meaningless formula"" to ""a symbol of sexual fixation."" On confession: ""corrupted by moralism""; ""a substitute for real forgiveness."" On papal infallibility: ""a falsification""; ""I have never believed in it""; ""Even Mozart is not infallible."" And so on. If such opinions are truly representative of the beliefs of the clergy, then this book is a real eye-opener. But the trouble is that we are never sure whether Mr. Franck's respondents are a hand-picked group of hot-headed rebels or whether they are a true cross-section of the clergy. Controversial, and therefore somewhat popular.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1968
Publisher: Delacorte