Practicing Catholic

by James Carroll

From a National Book Award-winning and bestselling author, James Carroll's examination and explaination of why he is till a practicing catholic, set against the history of the Catholic Church in America and the sometimes glorious, sometimes discouraging actions of its leaders.

Practicing Catholic is a personal history of the American Catholic Church during James Carroll’s lifetime. It traces the transformation of a medieval institution suspicious of American ideas of freedom and democracy into a church that has begun to embrace basic American principles of pluralism and respect for conscience. The book tells the story of heroes (Pope John xxiii, Thomas Merton, Cardinal Richard Cushing, William Sloane Coffin), and great events (Vatican ii, the Kennedys, the end of the Cold War). Considering the new meaning of belief in a secular world, it stands against the fundamentalisms of “neo-athetists” as well as of born again Christians. The book shows how and why the world needs a renewed, rational, vital Catholic Church. All of this is centered in the life-long journey of its author, who embraced the priesthood in his youth, but who finds in the writing life a renewal of religious belief. For James Carroll faith is a practice-- like all practice, it aims at getting better.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780547336268
  • ISBN-10: 0547336268
  • Pages: 400
  • Publication Date: 04/02/2010
  • Carton Quantity: 24

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About the Book
About the Author
  • A clear-eyed and personal examination of the Catholic faith, its leaders, and its complicated history by National Book Award–winner James Carroll


    James Carroll turns to the notion of practice—both as a way to learn and a means of improvement—as a lens for this thoughtful and frank look at what it means to be Catholic. He acknowledges the slow and steady transformation of the Church from its darker, medieval roots to a more pluralist and inclusive institution, charting along the way stories of powerful Catholic leaders (Pope John XXIII, Thomas Merton, John F. Kennedy) and historical milestones like Vatican II. These individuals and events represent progress for Carroll, a former priest, and as he considers the new meaning of belief in a world that is increasingly as secular as it is fundamentalist, he shows why the world needs a Church that is committed to faith and renewal.