LOVE IS ALWAYS by Michael Miles


Email this review


Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? The answer is a tear-soaked Yes! in this operatic, maudlin memoir by a former priest who married while still wearing a clerical collar. Miles, ordained in the late 60's and attached to a parish in Bozeman, Montana, met his future wife at an afternoon Mass. Their first kiss was instant Muzak: ""We stood beneath the streetlight like two figures within a crystal paperweight, her eyelashes shimmering as if with dew."" An illicit love, to be sure, but Vatican II was in the air. After much Byronic agonizing (""What was the meaning of a love fated to wander along the dark edges of life""), Miles decided to marry and stay in the priesthood. Against all expectations, his local parish and his bishop--""Dutch"" Hunthausen, who comes off as a genuine hero--backed his decision. But jealous priests and a watchdog Vatican soon intervened, and despite a paradisical honeymoon in Hawaii (""the world seemed as gentle as the palm leaves swaying overhead""), Miles learned that the world can be a harsh place for religious reformers. No longer a priest, he works today as special assistant to a Montana senator. Miles never seriously examines the theological issues surrounding celibacy, choosing instead to deliver personal anecdotes adrip with bathos. Brief appearances by theologians Hans Kung and Edward Schillibeeck provide a little ballast in a book that otherwise threatens to float away on its own soapy bubbles. Bring a towel.

Pub Date: July 21st, 1986
Publisher: Morrow