Item description for The Coming Catholic Church: How the Faithful Are Shaping a New American Catholicism by David Gibson...
Overview Rather than chronicling the well-reported sexual abuse scandal or advocating a particular reform agenda, David Gibson shows how the crisis in the church is unleashing forces that will change American Catholicism forever.
Rather than chronicling the well-reported sexual abuse scandal or advocating a particular reform agenda, David Gibson shows how the crisis in the church is unleashing forces that will change American Catholicism forever.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Coming Catholic Church: How the Faithful Are Shaping a New American Catholicism by David Gibson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
New York Times - 09/19/2004 page 24
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.28" Height: 0.97" Weight: 0.91 lbs.
Release Date Nov 14, 2014
ISBN 0060587202 ISBN13 9780060587208
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More About David Gibson
DAVID GIBSON is an award-winning journalist, author, and filmmaker who specializes in covering the Catholic Church. He is a national reporter for Religion News Service and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and for such leading magazines as New York and Fortune. David is also featured in the CNN series Finding Jesus.
MICHAEL MCKINLEY is an award-winning author, filmmaker, journalist and screenwriter. He has written several books, and wrote and co-produced the CBC TV documentary film "Sacred Ballot," as well as several documentaries for CNN Presents.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Coming Catholic Church: How the Faithful Are Shaping a New American Catholicism?
American Dreams Jun 7, 2006
It seems the one constant in American Christianity is its parochialism. Whether it be those on the right who equate the faith once delivered to the saints with conservative American domestic and foreign policy or those on the left who believe the Church will be saved by becoming more of a liberal democracy, the attempt to have American cultural, political, and religious ideals hijack the Church for its ends goes along undaunted.
David Gibson adds to this heritage in The Coming Catholic Church - his view of how the sex scandals plaguing the Catholic priesthood has altered the playing field in the Catholic Church and is reshaping American Catholicism. Indeed, Gibson goes as far as to infer that the entire ecclesial model the Catholic Church has used for over a millennium is being rendered obsolete overnight by happenings in the United States and, to paraphrase an adage, "What is good for American Catholics is good for the Catholic Church."
The book is divided into three sections on the laity, the priesthood, and the hierarchy. The overall presentation is one of an enraged laity demanding the institution be made more democratic, the bishops resisting these demands, and the some well-meaning priests caught in the middle. Beginning with the understandable sense of betrayal and outrage felt by American Catholics as the widespread nature of the scandals and the American bishops' complicity in covering up misconduct by their clergy became known, Gibson uses this as a springboard for describing how the state of the American Catholic belief and practice - that can at best be described by the moniker "Cafeteria Catholic" - is set to revolutionize affairs in the Church.
While Gibson does a solid job detailing the anger of many Catholics in America about the scandal, he then makes the unwarranted assumption that this will lead to a wholesale change in the Church. There is no evidence supporting a mass desire for change in Catholic doctrine among the faithful. The anger is over sexual misconduct and the irresponsibility of the bishops in not removing known sexual predators from the ranks of priests. While those calling for the ordiantion of women and other changes in Catholic doctrine are trying to add their causes to the cries for change, subsequent events demonstrate that such an expansion of the cause to things not related to the problem will not find much of an audience beyond those already committed to that cause.
Oddly enough, Gibson early in the book reminds Americans of the universality of the Catholic Church. Yet he fails to heed his own warnings that they not expect the Church to represent an American viewpoint. Apparently forgetting this point, he spends much of the remainder of the book defending the thesis that the problems of the American Church demand changes in the worldwide structure of Catholicism.
While certainly not a radical, Gibson does fall into the category of the pleasantly liberal Catholic who wishes the Church was more democratic and modern. Like many liberal Catholics, he ties the scandal to calls for reform that would amount to the Church repudiating traditional Catholic doctrine. Yet these "reforms" would do little more than turn the Catholic Church into another faceless liberal Protestant sect. As recent history can attest, these changes have led to disintegration and not renewal whenever they have been employed.
Also left unmentioned in Gibson's thesis is that the fact that almost all of these cases involved predators who committed homosexual acts. The thought that the scandal might be a problem involving homosexuality would no doubt fall on deaf ears with good liberals like Gibson, but, given recent developments, this is obviously well understood at the Vatican.
Gibson also fails to take into account those places where the Church in America is most healthy. While religious orders that have liberalized are grey and dying, those that have taken a traditional path are healthy and growing. Dioceses that adopted the more liberalizing tendencies in the past few decades are having the most trouble while those that are most conservative are among the healthiest. In addition, new converts are coming from Evangelical Protestantism and are invigorating the Church. The post-Vatican II American Catholicism that relies on some vaguely defined "Spirit of Vatican II" that appears nowhere in the Vatican II documents is largely a baby-boomer phenomenon that is destined to die with them.
Gibson closes his book looking towards the future and pinning his dreams on the hope that the successor of Pope John Paul II would finish the job begun at Vatican II, thwart the efforts of those backward traditionalists, and usher in the Church that any Western progressive thinker could respect. How ironic it was that when the great Polish pope did pass on to blessed memory, it was Cardinal Ratzinger - who comes off in the book as the staunchest of all conservative forces - that received the nod as Pope Benedict XVI.
With The Coming Catholic Church, Gibson does a fine job describing the perilous predicament within which the Catholic Church due to both the actions of sexual predators among its priests and the inaction of bishops in removing these monsters from service in the Church. However, by attempting to piggyback a whole list of unrelated issues to the crisis without any supporting evidence, Gibson's efforts come off as motivated more by a desire for his church's social respectability than its adherence to the truth.
Very Interesting, very well-written! Mar 19, 2006
David Gibson's book, The Coming Catholic Church, is very interesting and very well written. He is obviously very knowledgable on the subject. I look forward to his next book!
The Coming Catholic Church Dec 20, 2004
I found this book wonderfully thought-provoking. I agree with the author that the church needs change, and he presents the obstacles and challenges we as church will face in the coming years. Should be required reading for the laity in America, as well as our bishops, priests and seminarians.
The John Dominic Crossan of Catholic journalists Sep 5, 2004
Well, let's see. This is a really stupid book [...]It makes me understand why journalists are generally considered to be scum.
For example, the author ridicules Mary Ann Glendon, a perfectly respectable Harvard law professor, celebrated author, and conservative Catholic, while giving a free pass to "Catholics for a Free Choice," a group whose name is a contradiction in terms, kinda like if there were a group called "Cannibals Against the Consumption of Human Flesh."
You know what really irks me about this book? The author's supposed objectivity and fairness. Yes, he quotes both conservative Catholics and liberal Catholics, but not in any kind of even-handed way. As in the above case, conservative Catholics are always put in a negative light, whereas liberal Catholics (with a few key exceptions, when they are so far out that only a Matthew Fox or Margaret Starbird would affirm their position) are always put in a positive light.
Not only that, this book is sensationalist and pandering: sensationalist in the way it presents information, and pandering in the way it plays to fellow journalists and the media in general. After reading it, it made me realize how incredibly idiotic most journalists are, how craven, sold-out, and just plain dumb they are. Proof? Take the title of this book. Is it an unintentional bad pun? Who knows? And isn't it just a little bit arrogant to think you can prognosticate about what's gonna happen with Catholicism in the next few years? Hey, but so what? Divining the future sells books, doesn't it? So let's go with it, especially with the mildly prurient title.
In any case, [...] this should make the Garry Willses and David Traceys--as well as the rest of the puny but strangely influential (at least among themselves) ranks of disaffected, alienated Catholics--happy.
For a fair, balanced, nuanced look at the recent "Catholic troubles," see George Weigel's fine book, The Courage to Be Catholic (which the author, surprise! Surprise! dismisses).
A Fascinating Look at the Roman Catholic Church in America. Aug 8, 2004
David Gibson presents a broad and thoughtful analysis of the major issues confronting the Roman Catholic Church today. Moving beyond the headlines of the recent abuse scandal, he examines the changes not only in the Catholic Church itself, but also in secular society which have exacerbated the inherent conflicts between materialism, consumerism (among many "isms") and the life of the spirit.
THE COMING CATHOLIC CHURCH (published by HarperSanFrancisco, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.) focuses on issues confronting the laity, priesthood and the hierarchy, carefully exploring the background and composition of each intertwined segment of the church from a recent historical standpoint, current challenges within the church itself - locally, nationally and even globally - and opportunities for the future. Mr. Gibson's opinions and prescriptions regarding the future direction of the institutional church will undoubtedly generate controversy depending upon whether one favors more orthodox doctrine or embraces a more liberal approach to the faith. However, his ideas are based upon thorough research and a good understanding of the human institutions and composition of the church itself.
The book is an important one: regardless of whether you agree with Mr. Gibson or not, he presents the major issues and concerns which confront the Catholic Church in times of increasing challenge within a rapidly changing secular culture and society. How the Church - laity, clergy and hierarchy - deal with these challenges will determine its effectiveness in remaining true to the fundamental Gospel message.