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Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk…

Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church…

by Kerry Kennedy

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This was an interesting take on the Catholic faith and what it means to a variety of Catholics in America. All in the book relate their experiences growing up in the faith or converting to it and how they feel about the church now. What I realized in reading this is that the church is really its people and that change is slow. Most of all, there is a real dichotomy about being a faithful Catholic, growing up in the 60's, and now living in a global economy. ( )
  fletcher1235 | May 4, 2009 |
Ms Kennedy presents interviews of over 40 people who are or were Catholic, asking them about their upbringing, their current beliefs, their relationship with the Catholic Church (both past and current) and what they would do if they could be Pope. The range of interviewees is wonderful -- from a 19 year old wannabe nun to an almost 80 year old retired cardinal, from actors to activists,from Irish, Italian, and Hispanics descendants to first 1st generation immigrants, from college graduates to school drop outs, from priests to agnostics. Their experiences of Catholicism are vast, diverse, and fascinating. For someone who is Catholic, the read will be both comforting and frightening at the same time. It is a well-written and well-planned, although I would have loved to have have seen more of what she actually asked them. We only get to read an edited 'essay' and I'm not sure sometimes what was being asked.

These are easy to handle in short batches as each interview goes only about 4-5 pages. For someone who is Catholic it is reassuring to see others who struggle with aspects of Catholicism. For those who are not, the book presents an interesting look inside the membership of this vast flock of believers and non-believers. ( )
  tututhefirst | Mar 4, 2009 |
Being Catholic Now is a series of interviews from a broad spectrum of Americans who have a connection to the Catholic faith. The interviews range from moments of raw and painful emotion to uplifting and inspiring spirituality. It was not what I had expected. Kerry Kennedy successfully presents a great variety of stories of belief as well as cynicism with the church. I found myself saddened reading some interviews, identifying with some stories, and just shaking my head for others.

On the basis of the interviews alone I would give this book five stars, but I found the editing in some parts a bit confusing. I know these were transcribed from interviews, so perhaps that is why I sometimes felt like I was listening to half of a conversation, not always understanding how the narration went from A to B.

As a Catholic, I found this a very interesting read. I would recommend it for anyone who has struggled with finding a place in their faith. You won't agree with what everyone says, but you will realize you aren't alone and there are many interpretations of what it means to be Catholic today. ( )
1 vote jugglingpaynes | Nov 12, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307346846, Hardcover)

For Kerry Kennedy, who grew up in a devoutly Catholic household coping with great loss, her family’s faith was a constant source of strength and solace. As an adult, she came to question some of the attitudes and teachings of the Catholic Church while remaining an impassioned believer in its role as a defender of the poor and oppressed.

“Generations ago,” says Kennedy, “the search for spirituality came predefined and prepackaged. [The Church] not only gave us all the answers, it even gave us the questions to ask.” Now many of the old certainties are being reexamined. In an attempt to convey this sea change, Kennedy asked thirty-seven American Catholics to speak candidly about their own faith—whether lost, recovered, or deepened—and about their feelings regarding the way the Church hierarchy is moving forward.

The voices included here range from respectful to reproachful and from appreciative to angry. Speaking their minds are businesspeople, actors and entertainers, educators, journalists, politicians, union leaders, nuns, priests—even a cardinal. Some love the Church; some feel intensely that the Church wronged them. All have an illuminating insight or perspective.

Kerry Kennedy herself speaks of the joy of growing up as one of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s eleven children, of the tragedies that eventually befell her family, and of how religion was deeply woven through good times and bad. Journalist Andrew Sullivan talks about reconciling his devout Catholicism with the Church’s condemnation of his identity as a gay man. TV newswoman Cokie Roberts recalls the nuns who taught her and “took girls seriously when nobody else did.” Comedian Bill Maher declares, “I hate religion. It’s the worst thing in the world”—and goes on to defend his bold assertion. Writer Anna Quindlen depicts a common parental challenge: passing along traditions and values to a younger generation sometimes deaf to spiritual messages.

Through these and many other voices that speak not only to Catholics but to all of us, Being Catholic Now redefines an ancient institution in the most contemporary of terms.

From Being Catholic Now

“When my mom asked if I wanted to be a nun, I said I’d rather be a priest. . . . The nuns were always wonderful, but the power was with the priest.” —Nancy Pelosi

“There are aspects of studying the saints, with the candles, incense, and Latin Masses and some of the pageantry of the Church that, as an American historian, make me feel part of a larger wave of history. That it’s not a newfangled religion, which some people get great solace from. I feel that I’m connected to places.”
—Douglas Brinkley

“Faith isn’t like picking courses off a menu. It’s a journey, and it’s a path. If your path and journey have been within one structure your entire life, then simply leaving isn’t an option.” —Andrew Sullivan

“Why stay Catholic? Because the hierarchy is not the Church. . . .We [the people of God] are the Church. They can’t take that away from us.” —Cokie Roberts

“I was told very early on by the nuns that I had an ‘overabundance of original sin.’ I was a quiet kid, but I was curious. I asked the wrong questions.” —Susan Sarandon

“I don’t believe you can be authentically Catholic without being committed to the social doctrine of the Church. When I was in grammar school, we had these little boxes to help the poor. That was good, but that is half of it. The other half is to find out why there are so many poor people and how we can do something to help them.” —Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick

“I am reconciled to the oblivion that is coming. I see no proof of anything else, if it is a matter of faith. I admire people who have faith in God. It must be a great comfort to them, but I had to get out from under the fear and the guilt.” —Frank McCourt

“I went to church and the door was locked. I was knocking and ringing the bell. I waited and waited and nobody came. [The priest thought] there was an emergency, because of all the banging and ringing. He looked down at me and said, ‘What is it?’ I said, ‘I’m sorry to bother you, Father, but I’ve been away from the Church many, many years and I’d like to come back. I’d like to go to confession.’ He looked at me and something behind his eyes said, ‘You came to the right place.’ He knew that it was an important moment for me; he got it instantly.” —Martin Sheen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:00 -0400)

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Features over thirty interviews with celebrities, journalists, writers, politicians, and religious leaders who candidly discuss their Catholic faith.

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