CATHOLICS IN CRISIS

AN AMERICAN PARISH FIGHTS FOR ITS SOUL

Good-guy liberals stave off defeat from conservative authority figures in this depressing look at a progressive parish, which Naughton (Taking to the Air: The Rise of Michael Jordan, 1992) sees as a microcosm of the conflicts within American Catholicism. Holy Trinity Parish in Washington, D.C., attended by celebrities such as Senator Ted Kennedy and Dee Dee Myers, is soft on doctrinal orthodoxy and seldom refers to the Church's moral teachings about abortion, homosexuality, and contraception. Naughton, a former reporter for the New York Times and Washington Post and himself a parishioner, offers a detailed account of the parish, beginning in the spring of 1992 and covering the tense period when the appointment of a new pastor threatened to upset the status quo of dissent from Vatican authority. Naughton tells us, for example, about the activities of the Working Groups on Sexism and how Ray McGovern insisted on standing throughout Mass as a protest in favor of women's ordination. Although Naughton's narrative is full of vignettes and the personalities of individual priests and parishioners, his ideological thrust is always to the fore. He scorns the traditional Mass for its ``turgid solemnity,'' compared with the ``boisterous'' worship at Holy Trinity. Naughton makes no pretense of evenhandedness: The pope represents a distant bureaucratic power structure with little moral or doctrinal credibility; there is no attempt to acknowledge John Paul II's far-reaching critique of free-market capitalism. As Naughton himself confesses, the conflict he has with the hierarchy has ``the libidinal urge'' at the root of almost every issue. By the end of the book we find that many of Naughton's ``progressives'' are no longer Catholics, and the pastor is off exploring options in Los Angeles's gay scene. Holy Trinity hardly qualifies as a typical Catholic parish, and Naughton's penchant for crude polarization ensures a superficial treatment of the issues he raises.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-201-62458-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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THE WEIGHT OF GLORY

The name of C.S. Lewis will no doubt attract many readers to this volume, for he has won a splendid reputation by his brilliant writing. These sermons, however, are so abstruse, so involved and so dull that few of those who pick up the volume will finish it. There is none of the satire of the Screw Tape Letters, none of the practicality of some of his later radio addresses, none of the directness of some of his earlier theological books.

Pub Date: June 15, 1949

ISBN: 0060653205

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1949

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