In view of the major scandal of child sex abuse by priests that has shaken Roman Catholics in the past year, CATHOLICS USA: Will they survive? will fascinate many readers. It is a much needed explor- ation of the Church today from the viewpoints of American Catholics themselves.
25 Catholics, those of high rank or ordinary church- goers, all of opposing and emotion-filled views, put up their mits in a verbal battle on how and in what direction their Church should go. Must it lessen its hold? What to do with homosexual priests? Should it allow abortion, divorce, married priests, women priests? These and other questions are projected on the group and the author skillfully allows readers to overhear these sometimes harmonious, sometimes clashing, always interesting views. Anyone hoping to understand the Church today will see things more clearly after reading CATHOLICS USA: Will they survive?
"If the Catholic Church in America ever needed defining, this may be the moment. In Catholics USA: Will They Survive? Linda Brandi Cateura does quite a job of getting a diverse gbroup of Catholics to talk…from J. Peter Grace to the president of Notre Dame, to Mario Cuomo and Andrew Greeley. And what an outstanding contribution from Ted Kennedy, who says he once considered the priesthoo! A varied and often surprising look by Catholics at themselves and the Church."
—James Brady, columnist and author of The Marines of Autumn.
"Catholic diversity is abundantly evident in this collection of profiles with 25 living American Catholics. There are two nuns, one the former Webster College president Jacquellne Grennan Wexler, who has left the sisterhood, and the missionary nun Melanie Persche; a teenager; three b ishops, one Black, another Native America; six priests (two resigned from ministry); a religious Brother, and others. Among my favorites is Bill Reel, columnist for the New York Daily News, who puts his own earthy spin on the nostalgia that affllicts many of today's Catholics. 'We've got practically every high-school girl in Brooklyn running around pregnant and we have AIDS and herpes problems. I don't know whether you can blame the Church…but you almost crave for aged monsignors to come back and tell you that you'll go blind if you play with yourself. It's almost gotten to the point when you wish they were back talking that nonsense again because the reaction against that nonsense has been worse than the nonsense."
John Jay Hughes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
CATHOLICS USA: Will They Survive? is like a family gathering of believers. Its members are of different ages and opinions,, but their spiritual energy and love of their tradition is evident. Anyone who wishes to understand Catholicism must read this book."
Eugene Kennedy, author of Fixes and numerous other books
"What different people who feel equally committed to being Catholic mean by Catholicism differs enormously. Cateura's CATHOLICS USA:Will They Survive? captures that diversity."
Rosemary Radford Ruether, theologian, author and professor
"A very impressive book."
Robert F. Drinan, former congressman from Massach-
Quotes from CATHOLICS USA: Will They Survive?
Father Andrew Greeley: "There are 3 very big problems (in the Church): the preaching is terrible, women are second-rate citizens, and the morale of priests is so bad they don't want to recruit young men."
Father John McNeill (a gay ex-priest): "Some of the gay priests have left—-they can no longer serve in a church that hates gays. They should remain as a lobbying force."
Mother Angelica (televangelist): "When people ask me how I did it, how I built this cable TV empire with a handful of unskilled nuns and $200 in the till, I respond by talking about the theology of risk. The world today is filled with the theology of assurance. This means that b efore you start any enterprise, you have to have everything you need. You have to have competent people, you have to have enough money, you have to have the assurance of success. But that's how you run a corporation! The theology of risk, on the other hand, is a total dependence on the providence