If you are a Catholic who:
*has had a growing lack of confidence in Church leadership, exacerbated by the priest-pedophile scandals and their cover-ups by bishops and cardinals;
*resolved your conscience on birth control and human sexuality long ago, contrary to Vatican teachings;
*finds a dichotomy between the words of Christ's invitation: "Take this and eat, ALL OF YOU" and the mandated communion practice: ("Take this and eat, MEMBERS OF OUR CLUB") and hopes for a more inclusive Eucharist to include divorced/remarried persons;
*would like to see an open discussion of ordination of married persons and women without recriminations from the Vatican;
then this is a book for you.
It's written by a lifelong (70 years) faithful Christian Brother, recipient of a Pontifical Award conferred by Pope John Paul II and honorary degrees from five U. S. colleges. He was president of St. Mary's University in Minnesota for twenty years, and now serves the Christian Brothers organization in Rome. So he's part of the institutional church that he is now challenging to begin operating with a concern for service and justice, and to shed its obsession with secrecy and power.
Brother Louis defines tradition to acknowledge that the Church has inevitably undergone change throughout its 2000-year history, and to mandate a common-sense reading of the times by the people of God. He points out that the Church has been placed in a tumultuous era of change about every 500 years: (the Reformation of 1500s; the Great Schism of the 1000s; and even in 457). We're in this era again. What's emerging is a democratic, questioning, non-hierarchical, Jesus-oriented Christianity.
This change is unstoppable. Brother Louis doesn't ask the question posed by Stalin in regard to Papal power: "And how many divisions does the Pope have?" The point then and now is that the Vatican doesn't enforce its dictums with an army. The hierarchy can be a part of change, or it can resist. It would seem prudent (not to mention Christian!) for the Vatican to participate by focusing on a concern for service rather than power, by shedding its mania for secrecy (which always leads to corruption), and by becoming involved, as Brother Louis hopes, "in SHARING THE PERSON OF JESUS rather than in doctrinal statements trying to EXPLAIN Jesus." But whether the hierarchy can change its modus operandi seems beside the point. Change is occurring in the lives and minds and hearts of the Church, (the people), and Brother Louis sees this as the working of the Holy Spirit in Christian history.
His book discusses this phenomenon with candor and a love for the Church he's always served. This book could lead to a powerful parish book club discussion. Invite your pastor!
In accordance with Amazon policy I disclose that I received a free copy of this book for review. I was not asked to submit a positive review.