Philip F. Lawler
Phil is the editor of, which brings you daily news headlines from a Catholic perspective. He is the author of The Faithful Departed, a history of the Church in Boston and the scandal of the abuse of children by priests.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Just when you think the dust has cleared....

... tornado season hits.

Some objections that I hear to reading The Faithful Departed are-

1. Isn't the crisis pretty much over? Can we please get back to our regularly scheduled programming now?

Well if you've been following the story in Vermont (of personal interest to me since I grew up there and had not 1 but 2 pedophile priests in parishes from a total of 5! )you may be familiar with the latest blow. With only one judgment the Diocese is on the hook for $ 8.7 million. (This perpetrator has 17 more pending suits and in another show of stunning incompetence, they claim they have an insurance policy that will cover some of it but can't find it and have sued the insurance company for a copy. Really.)

2. Secondly I hear, "Isn't the book depressing? I mean we all know what happened."

I didn't know what had happened even though I've been following the story slavishly (as family commitments allow) and ever since I saw the jaw dropping press conference in Boston when the Archdiocese's files were finally released. And the lies were exposed. Finally.

This book identifies the way efficiency (with apologies to Frank Gilbreth) was substituted for ministry and led to an environment where such abuse was able to continue for years. Victim after victim, parish after parish, lawsuit after lawsuit.

3. Finally, with the pending closure of Holy Trinity in Boston scheduled for June 30th we are reminded that our loss will continue into the near and perhaps not so near future. And the future isn't bright, but as the conclusion of this book reminds us, Our Lord needed only a dozen men to evangelize the whole world. Surely we've grown some since then.

I don't know, this book fired me up to continue working for a transformation of the culture to reflect Catholic principles. It reminded me that the Church will prevail, she's worth fighting for, and is still something to be proud of.

I think there are still a few First Editions left. But I wouldn't wait.

1 comment:

Boko said...

What's up with the cancellation of the book signing at the National Shrine in DC? The book has been removed from the shelves, apparently by order of the rector.