KEEPING THE CHURCH CATHOLIC WITH JOHN PAUL II by George A. Kelly

KEEPING THE CHURCH CATHOLIC WITH JOHN PAUL II

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A feisty sequel to the memoir Inside My Father's House (1989), in which the author, a priest and a research professor at St. John's Univ. in New York, assails American bishops for tenderly indulging ""pick-and-choose Catholics."" Less personal than its predecessor, this new work examines in greater depth what Monsignor Kelly sees as the ""preoccupation with humanist causes and the relaxation of traditional Catholic pieties"" that have sown discord and confusion among the American faithful since Vatican II. Kelly especially dislikes the sound of uncertain trumpets coming from the US church hierarchy about enforcing the Vatican line on papal infallibility, General Absolution, altar girls, contraception, and abortion: ""The extent of the Catholic disorder,"" he charges, ""has been concealed at the highest levels of the US Church."" Ordained in 1942 into""a remarkable priestly fraternity and pious lay community,"" this consultant to the Holy See stoutly defends Pope John Paul II's attempts to reinforce Church doctrine through the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Catholic Education, and the Curia. In today's American church, however, he sees an undisciplined organization in which rebellious priests, such as Charles Curran and Richard McBrien, run amok in nominally Catholic universities; Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and Archbishop Rembert Weakland steamroller conservative opposition to the bishops' peace and economy pastorals; and lesbian nuns and birth-control advocates dissent with impunity in The New York Times. Unapologetically polemical rather than analytical, this clarion call for a return to orthodoxy sometimes suffers from rhetorical excess (e.g., bishops have ""adopted a policy of appeasement of their internal enemies""). In the end, this is more of a sermon to the converted than an objective account of how the American Church has tried to cope with the furies unleashed by Vatican II.

Pub Date: July 23rd, 1990
Publisher: Doubleday