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.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

more friendly criticism

One of the brothers lent me Philip F. Lawler's The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture, and I couldn't put it down.

Thus begins a very perceptive review by Brother Charles on his blog. He's a reader who understands the book-- largely because he understands the situation that the book describes.

Brother Charles has one significant criticism, which I can accept: that I should have been more careful in the use of the terms "liberal" and "conservative" as applied to Catholicism. It's true that those can be misleading terms. I'd have to disagree with Brother Charles when he claims the US bishops' pastoral letters on nuclear weapons and on economics were successful. (For a critique of the peace pastoral, see my book The Ultimate Weapon). But that's another argument.

Brother Charles is dead wrong when he describes his own entry as a "rantish and verbose review." Not at all. It's well written and insightful.

1 comment:

Brother Charles said...

Thanks much for the book, which is circulating among us younger friars in my community. As you say, I understand because I know the situations you describe, often with great anguish, from the inside of religious life and the clergy.

Pray for us, younger religious who are often dismissed by our spiritual fathers and grandfathers for whom liberation from religion was so formative.

Thanks again, and keep up the good fight. As St. Francis wrote in his Testament, ut melius catholice observemus!