The Catholic Labyrinth: Power, Apathy, and a Passion for by Peter McDonough

By Peter McDonough

Sexual abuse scandals, declining attendance, a meltdown within the variety of clergymen and nuns, the last of many parishes and parochial schools--all have shaken American Catholicism. but conservatives have more and more ruled the church hierarchy.

In The Catholic Labyrinth, Peter McDonough tells a story of a number of struggles that animate numerous groups--the Survivors community of these Abused by means of clergymen, Voice of the trustworthy, and the management Roundtable leader between them--pushing to modernize the church. One contest pits reformers opposed to those that again age-old criteria of sexual habit and gender roles. one other region of competition, related to efforts to keep up the church's far-flung operations in schooling, social prone, and healthcare, increases constitutional matters in regards to the separation of church and nation. as soon as a sidebar to this debate, the bishops' crusade to manage the phrases of employment and entry to contraceptives in church-sponsored ministries has fueled clash further.

McDonough attracts on behind-the-scenes documentation and private interviews with best reformers and "loyalists" to discover how either retrenchment and resistance to clericalism have performed out in American Catholicism. regardless of becoming help for non-compulsory celibacy between clergymen, the ordination of ladies, and related adjustments, and in the course of a variety of departures from the church, immigration and a lingering response opposed to the upheavals of the sixties have helped maintain a favored traditionalism between "Catholics within the pews." So have the polemics of Catholic neoconservatives. those demographic and cultural factors--as good because the silent dissent of these who easily forget about instead of oppose the church's extra regressive positions--have strengthened a tradition of deference that impedes reform. whilst, selective managerial advancements express promise of advancing incremental change.

Timely and incisive, The Catholic Labyrinth captures the church at a old crossroads, as advocates for switch fight to reconcile spiritual mores with the demanding situations of modernity.

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It wasn’t pretty. 2 m Murray’s contribution was seminal; it was also ambiguous and incomplete. He loathed “maximalism,” “absolutism,” and the assorted extremisms that he associated with the over-the-top politics of continental, particularly Spanish and French, reactionaries and their revolutionary antagonists. The Italians could bear watching as well. An intransigent ardor for tradition was nearly as repugnant to Murray as radical talk of strangling the last capitalist with the guts of the last priest.

Sexual hierarchies are, or should be, ageless. Desire and disorder circle one another like dancers. Saint Augustine, that most sensual of metaphysicians, is often thought to be the genius at the root of this part of the Christian canon. Nothing better illustrates the tension in Murray’s thought than the backand-forth between the conciliatory ideal—the supreme good of comity—and 32 The Dynamics of Tradition the adversarial ethos, which he understood as masculine assertiveness. There is the Church Militant, and there is Holy Mother Church.

The power and prerogatives of the bishops are to be contained, in the Cold War sense. Indifferent to the doctrine as well as the institutional architecture of the church, SNAP does not style itself as a Catholic or sectarian organization at all. The results it seeks are changes in behavior. Transformations in the structure and teachings of Catholicism, if they occur, are by-products. The Leadership Roundtable’s arsenal doesn’t include litigation. Founded in the opening decade of the twenty-first century by Catholic benefactors and philanthropists from Wall Street and Silicon Valley, in reaction to what they perceived as the managerial fumbling of the bishops in concealing sexual abuse and the embezzlement of parish funds, the Roundtable promotes managerial modernization over touchier, possibly more sweeping institutional reform.

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