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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pre-order your copies of The Faithful Departed in paperback!

The paperback edition -- which is updated with corrections and a new preface -- is due out this coming April!

You can already pre-order on Amazon! And honestly, you could take care of so many people on your gift list with this book. Although the subject is dire, the way it's treated grips and leaves the reader not depressed but hopeful. Many people have told me that they were almost reluctant to start reading, but on the very first page they were drawn in by the sheer delight of Phil's prose.

He sure can tell a story. And what a story -- starting with the very earliest moments of Massachusetts history and building, both chronologically and conceptually, right up to the present day. Those same people told me they stayed up late, unable to put the book down. And I really don't think they were just saying this because I'm his wife :) I did it too.

So there you go! Pre-order today!
Also note that the book is available on Kindle! You won't even notice your flight if you take this book along.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Kennedy Funeral: Boston's Latest Scandal

In a chapter of The Faithful Departed, Phil tells the story of the gathering of prominent theologians and political heavy hitters at the Kennedy compound. Their mission? To make the legalization of abortion palatable to the Democratic party.

This event is a huge marker in the timeline of The Scandal -- pedophilia committed by priests and sanctioned by bishops.

The epicenter of The Scandal is Boston.

Thus, the virtual canonization of Ted Kennedy at his funeral is indeed part of the continuing scandal. Read Phil's essay on The Kennedy Funeral: Boston's Latest Scandal at Catholic Culture. Then buy the book!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Second Printing!

The Faithful Departed is now in its second printing!

I have not seen it, but Phil says that the mistakes have been corrected! Yes!

People often ask Phil if he's interested in writing a sequel. For sure, the story of the scandal is not over.

And Phil has been talking about a follow-up book. I think that some readers have the thought that has occurred to him as well: what to DO about the whole mess.

And the follow-up book would be an answer to that question, which has to do with reviving Catholic culture.

You know, for a long time people "on our side" thought that the problem was with orthodoxy -- that if people had their doctrine straight, there wouldn't be problems with practice.

I know I thought that as well.

But as The Faithful Departed shows, many orthodox priests were very much at the center of the scandal.

I remember very clearly a friend from Hingham telling me that the reason "they" were after Fr. Geoghan (the priest who molested hundreds of children and died in jail) was because he was "so conservative".

Yes, I think we've learned that the problem has to do with how you live. Of course, what you believe is a big part of how you live -- but not all!

And how you live is about your culture, which shouldn't just be sentimentally attached to your religion, but an organic outgrowth of it, encompassing your whole being -- not just how you worship, but how you live in your family, how you work, and how you rest.

Anyway, that's some of what we've been talking about in the Lawler household these days. We'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Faithful Departed!

For official purposes, The Faithful Departed was published one year ago today. After a year, and now into its second printing, I'm happy to report that my book is still selling well, still having an impact.
In one of the earliest reviews (appearing even before the official publication date), the late Father Richard John Neuhaus offered a few friendly criticisms but concluded with the generous observation:
The Faithful Departed is the best book-length treatment of the sex abuse crisis, its origins and larger implications, published to date.

Writing for Inside Catholic, John Zmirak went much further, calling it…
…the most important work about the Church to appear in the last two decades…

Not everyone has enjoyed the book. In Religion and Liberty, Kevin Schmiesing pinpointed the reason:
American Catholics and their bishops have not yet learned the lesson, Lawler thinks, and the evidence is with him.

Exactly. Even at this late date, all too many Catholic leaders would prefer not to confront the tough issues. The Faithful Departed has been quietly taken down from the shelves in many Catholic bookstores, presumably after calls from local chancery offices. In one less quiet episode, my speaking appearance at the Catholic University bookstore was cancelled.
Still the word is getting out. My calendar still shows several speaking dates that remain from the burst of invitations that came after the book's publication. (And there's room for more; if you have a group that might be interested, please let me know!) More and more Catholics-- and sympathetic non-Catholics-- realize that while it's sometimes painful to combat an infection, it's deadly to let the infection spread. As George Weigel put it:
Many Catholics understandably want to put the Long Lent of 2002 behind us. No one should do so without reading The Faithful Departed.