A MODERN PRIEST LOOKS AT HIS OUTDATED CHURCH by James Kavanaugh

A MODERN PRIEST LOOKS AT HIS OUTDATED CHURCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It would be difficult to deny today that the Catholic Church is, as an institution, less a human replica of celestial order than a monument to human imperfection. Father Kavanaugh, like many of his fellow priests, is unhappy about it, but, unlike so many of them, is determined to remain within that Church and to fight the injustices and particularly the inhumanity that he finds there. His book is therefore a plan of battle, as well as a catalogue of the failings of an institution the historical destiny of which seems to be ""always to be reformed; but never to have been reformed."" The basic problem, as Father Kavanaugh sees it, is that the laws of the Church embody, and attempt to enforce, an ideal of perfection which is simply beyond not only human effort but also human will. Individual chapters are devoted to illustration of that thesis in the areas of clerical celibacy, parish life, the notion of sin, sexual activity, divorce, birth control, and convent life. Kavanaugh's approach is affective rather than coldly historical or theological; he draws upon his experience as a teacher and in pastoral work to demonstrate that present restrictions do not lead to the end for which they were intended. It is therefore not a book which will have great appeal for the professional theologian, but for the priest at the parish level, the layman caught in the morass of outdated and arbitrary regulations masquerading as ""divine law."" The book is controversial, specific, and utterly candid. It is the sort of work that may well take off and attract a great deal of attention.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1967
Publisher: Trident