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.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Iconic Tale -- a Review in The Catholic Response Magazine

Not everyone gets Phil's book. The dumbest comment I've seen so far is from David Frumm, in which he takes Phil to task for misleading folks as to the book's content. Well, had Frumm read the book, he might not have been confused.

In contrast, Fr. Phillip W. De Vous understands that

Lawler’s book is really two books in one. Lawler gives extensive
background on the historical foundations of Catholicism in Massachusetts,
placing it within the context of the historical anti-Catholicism
that has been so much a part of the Church’s experience in

In light of this history of the Church in Boston, as well as the development of
the cultural, moral, and political power the Church amassed over
the decades is where Lawler’s second book emerges – the story of
the priestly sex abuse crisis that has led to the most destabilizing
moment in the Catholic Church’s history in the United States. In
this regard, the history of Boston Catholicism’s “success” and its
subsequent collapse becomes the iconic tale through which the
general crisis affecting every corner of the Church in the United
States can find meaning and intelligibility. [my emphasis]
You might be interested in this perceptive review of Phil's book in Fr. Stravinskas' magazine, The Catholic Response. This review isn't available online except here.

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