A CANTERBURY TALE: Experiences and Reflections, 1916-1976 by John Cogley

A CANTERBURY TALE: Experiences and Reflections, 1916-1976

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The conversational memoirs of the late John Cogley, the prominent Catholic journalist who became an Episcopalian at the end of his life. He traces his career from an unusually independent Irish Catholic boyhood in Chicago and the halcyon days with the Catholic Worker movement to theological preparation for the Episcopalian priesthood. The chronicle covers Cogley's long association with Commonweal as editor and columnist; his work for Robert Hutchins' Fund for the Republic and Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions; his religious reporting for the New York Times, especially the coverage of Vatican II. Particularly interesting are his anti-McCarthy activity in the Fifties, preparing John Kennedy for his famous confrontation with Protestant leaders in Dallas (testing him with scores of sample questions!), and the slow but seemingly inevitable drift toward Anglicanism as his true religious home. For many, Cogley was a model of ""Catholic action,"" demonstrating the vital role a committed, knowledgeable layman could play in secular affairs. But writing after a severe stroke, completing the book just before he died, Cogley seems to have lacked the drive to probe deeply into the meaning of his life and its motivations. Some ennobling memories and candid sketches (Dorothy Day, Michael Harrington, Gene McCarthy, et al.), but on balance a rather perfunctory performance.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Seabury