THE BATTLE FOR THE AMERICAN CHURCH by George A. Kelly

THE BATTLE FOR THE AMERICAN CHURCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A beleaguered conservative takes arms against a sea of troublesome liberals. Monsignor Kelly is, appropriately enough, ""Professor in Contemporary Catholic Problems"" at St. John's University in New York, and an intelligent, unblushing hard-liner. Note the ""American Church"" in his title: Kelly doesn't bother to add ""Catholic,"" because he represents a generation and a school of thought that still insists there's really only one (true) Church. And in this huge book he lashes out at all her disobedient sons and daughters--the whole corps of left-leaning priests, nuns, and laypeople who have flouted papal and episcopal authority by denying traditional dogma, praising contraception, practicing situation ethics, and otherwise doing their wrong-headed thing. Kelly wastes no time on generalities. He names his villains (Hans K(infinity)ng, Charles Curran, Andrew Greeley, etc.), quotes their books and public statements, assembles a bulky dossier of evidence to convict them of l≤se-catholicit≤. What a shame, he reflects, that these unruly, disaffected (and mostly clerical) intellectuals have managed to undermine a church built up by centuries of work and sacrifice. One may sympathize with Kelly and his fellow conservatives for their dismay over the chaotic conditions in the post-Vatican II world (married priests, nuns arrested in demonstrations, etc.), but aside from dismay Kelly doesn't have much to offer. He bombards the ""rebels"" with documentation proving they have subverted the old order--but they know that already, and they're proud of it. Like Louis XVI, Kelly needs someone to inform him that this is not a revolt, much less a mere battle, but a revolution, and no amount of preaching will make it go away.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday