Catholics In Crisis: An American Parish Fights For Its Soul

  • Publish Date: 1996-09-25
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Jim Naughton

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Polls illustrating the gulf between the Roman Catholic Church and its American flock appear with numbing frequency. But behind the statistics are millions of people struggling to reconcile their lives with their faith. Catholics in Crisis is a vivid portrayal of this struggle, told through the narrative frame of a single, albeit highly influential, parish.Holy Trinity in Washington, D.C., one of the most prominent and popular churches in the nation, has long enjoyed a reputation as a place where post-Vatican II Catholicism is at its most vital. It is also a community in which American dissent from Vatican teaching is clearly articulated. But when a lone parishioner stands up through a Sunday Mass to protest the exclusion of women from the priesthood, he ignites a fire-storm of controversy that exposes deep rifts and threatens to tear the community apart.The Standing, as it came to be called, is but one of the stories that Jim Naughton skillfully weaves together as he examines the issues that can divide parents and children, husbands and wives, priests and the laity, Rome and America. The rich cast of characters includes: the pastor of Holy Trinitydeeply spiritual, charismatic, and about to leave the church; the female director of liturgy, caught between liberal and conservative factions; a parishioner and parent, who is appalled at the CCD program that he feels substitutes liberal platitudes for Catholic truth; a young priest, who is struggling with his vow of celibacy; a powerful bishop, who believes that Holy Trinity goes out of its way to flout Church rubrics, and is determined to bring it to heel; and a handful of others who play out the realities of divorce, remarriage, abortion, and premarital sex against the background the church's teachings.

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