Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Faithful Departed and the National Shrine in Washington DC

The Washington Times reported that Msgr. Walter Rossi, Rector of the National Shrine in Washington DC, has pulled a book from the Gift Shop shelves, as well as, cancelling the book signing.

What book is this? It is The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture by Phillip E. Lawler.

According to the article:

The monsignor declined to discuss specifics but said he had received several complaining calls and had read through the book. I asked him why the book-signing had been pulled. "That fell through the cracks," he said. "That should have been vetted."

In his April 18 homily at Nationals Park stadium in Washington, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged bishops and laity to "foster healing and reconciliation and to assist those who've been hurt," Monsignor Rossi said.

"Benedict over and over again said it's time to move on," the monsignor said of the sex abuse scandal. "It's not over, oh my God, no, but he says there should be healing and to move on."

As for "The Faithful Departed," he added, "I don't know if it fosters healing and reconciliation. I thought it contributed to greater breaking down of the church, rather than building it up."

Now, I do not know Msgr. Rossi, and have never met him. As far as I can tell, as the Rector he has the final say on what can or cannot be sold in the Gift Shop. (If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.)

I will say that I have not only purchased a copy of the book but have read it, shortly after it was published. For the longest time, I have been meaning to write a review but have not had the time. This has sort of forced me to do one.

My recommendation: READ IT.

I am not saying that because I am looking at a way of getting back at Msgr.Rossi. Nope, not in the least bit. Nor will I make any money off the sales of the book. Don't know Mr. Lawler and have never met him.

I am not urging you to read this so that you can bash the Church.

I am urging you to read it for the following reasons.

First, Mr. Lawler is an editor at Catholic World News. This site is faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Everything that I have read on this site would never lead me to believe that this is the VOTF or Call to Action crowd. (Psst...go take a look at it yourself.)

Second, it is an excellent read. Mr. Lawler keeps things going at a good pace, linking events and people -- even those whom you least expect. I had to force myself to put the book down on a number of nights to get some sleep.

Third, there are really two parallel themes running through this book. First, there is the story of abuse. A terrible one which we have started to come to grips with but will last with us for many, many years.

The second theme, I believe, is more important. (I know that there are those who will disagree with me on this and call me cold hearted, mean spirited, etc.)

That theme is the how our hierarchy lost their moral voice in Boston. Some of it is through their own doing. Some of it is due to the radical left or so called Church progressives. Some of it is due to the overall secularization of society.

Why is this second theme more important?

Because when the members of the hierarchy lost their moral voice in Boston, it was a parallel of what was happening across the US. That theme has much longer and lasting implications on the Church in society that you may think. It has put the Church in the position where it is today (among others): Catholic politicians are spouting theology, members of religious orders pushing for the ordination of women, and parishes hosting dissenting groups (such as the VOTF Chapter at Holy Trinity in DC).

So, go out and read The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture.

What are you waiting for? Go.

1 comment:

Dymphna said...

I bought it and read it. I'm sorry it's not at the Basilica bookstore becuase it definitely should be there.