CATHOLICS ON THE EDGE by Tim Unsworth

CATHOLICS ON THE EDGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A warm and highly readable discussion of the uneasy relationship many American Catholics today have with their Church. Unsworth (Here Comes Everybody!, 1993), a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, offers 16 vignettes about contemporary Catholics who--because of their beliefs, actions, or merely their gender--exist on the margin of the official Roman Catholic Church. Despite disaffection, they choose to remain in the Church and struggle. Barbara Blaine, a law student who also works with people who have been abused by priests, sums up the feelings of many when she declares that she could no more cease to be a Catholic than she could stop being a member of her own family--this despite having been sexually molested herself by a priest. Based on interviews, Unsworth's retellings of others' stories are equally compelling. Margaret Traxler, a nun, believes that any relation today between the teachings of Jesus and the pronouncements of the Vatican (which she feels ``traffics in money making'') is purely coincidental; nevertheless she continues to work in a parish on Chicago's South Side. The female students at the Catholic Theological Union continue their studies even though they cannot be ordained; the irony is that many may end up later teaching their male counterparts. Even bishops can be pushed to the ``edge.'' They are often ignored by the Church hierarchy until they run afoul of it and live their lives in fear of what the Vatican might think of their public actions; many do not have the courage to stand up for what they believe. The issues of abortion, birth control, and sexual orientation come up throughout the volume, forming a thread that links the lives of many chronicled. Compelling, though it will probably appeal primarily to American Catholics who feel in some way abandoned by a Church that they will nonetheless not desert.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-8245-1463-7
Page count: 192pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995




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