The Boston Globe’s religion writer takes this Easter Sunday to review several books on Christianity, including Phil Lawler’s “Faithful Departed”, upon which he levies both disapprobation and tempered praise.
Doubt - as essential to thoughtful faith as to assessing politicians’ utterances - is too scarce in some of this season’s religion books, if doubt means less than strict adherence to dogma. In “The Faithful Departed,” Philip F. Lawler comes off the Grumpy Old Catholic in bemoaning the failure of coreligionists, in Boston and elsewhere, to follow traditional church teachings, even before the priestly sex-abuse scandal torpedoed the bishops’ moral authority. He won’t persuade doubting Catholics who respectfully dissent from their church on matters like gay marriage, contraception, and female ordination, exercising their privilege under Catholic doctrine of following their informed conscience.
But bravo for his condemning bishops who covered up the priest sex-abuse scandal and escaped punishment. Lawler labels as a liar the Rev. John McCormack, formerly an underling in Boston, who Lawler says assured a parent that a priest was safe when McCormack knew the cleric to be an alleged abuser. McCormack remains bishop of Manchester, N.H.
I would have much to say in response to this review, but as usual Diogenes does a much better job in fewer words than I would use:
“Bravo” says a Boston Globe reviewer in his drive-by 5-sentence review of Phil Lawler’s book, The Faithful Departed.
Now to be perfectly honest, if you trouble yourself to read the whole thing, you might question whether “bravo” captures the essence of the review. Indeed you might wonder whether your Uncle Di even read the whole thing. Fair enough. But then I wonder whether the Globe reviewer read Phil’s book, so I guess we’re even.