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The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform And The Future Of The Church [Paperback]

By George Weigel (Author)
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Item description for The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform And The Future Of The Church by George Weigel...

A Catholic theologian argues that priests' sexual scandals and their cover-up in the Catholic Church are due to secular influence and the lack of leadership and faith, and proposes a return to the Church's roots and its authoritative teachings. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.

Publishers Description
When sexual scandals rocked the American Catholic Church, many observers and faithful alike called on the church to abandon its tenets on the vocation of the priesthood and sexuality outside marriage-to, in effect, become more Protestant. Acclaimed theologian and best-selling author George Weigel saw the crisis differently: as a crisis of fidelity to the true essence of Catholicism. In this well-reviewed book that touched a chord with so many practicing Catholics, Weigel examines the scandal in the context of church history, and exposes the patterns of dissent and self-deception that became entrenched in seminaries, among priests, and ultimately among the bishops who failed their flock by thinking like managers instead of apostles.But, Weigel reminds us, in the Biblical world a "crisis" is also a time of great opportunity, an invitation to deeper faith. With honesty and critical rigor, Weigel sets forth an agenda for genuine reform that challenges clergy and laity alike to lead more integrally Catholic lives. More than just a response to recent failures, The Courage to Be Catholic is a bracing, forward-looking call to action, and a passionate embrace of life lived in faith.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Basic Books
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.04" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.72"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 3, 2004
Publisher   Basic Books
ISBN  0465092616  
ISBN13  9780465092611  

Availability  0 units.

More About George Weigel

George Weigel GEORGE WEIGEL, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, is a Catholic theologian and one of America's foremost commentators on issues of religion and public life. A Newsweek contributor and Vatican analyst for NBC News, Weigel is the author of fifteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

From the Hardcover edition.

George Weigel currently resides in Bethesda, in the state of Maryland. George Weigel was born in 1951 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC the Ethics and Public.

George Weigel has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Library of Religious Biography
  2. Pennsylvania-German History and Culture Series

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform And The Future Of The Church?

A true story I suspected but had no way of knowing  Jan 9, 2007
It does take courage to be Catholic in the modern world. And that's ok especially when the truth is at stake. Weigel has the background and the discerning intellect to present that truth without the varnish of political correctness and the attempt by self-appointed Catholic "Intellectuals" to out secularize the secularist.
The truth is always refreshing especially when put forth in a charitable but forthright way.
We presented it in a Catholic book club reading and it was very well received by all.
An important read for all Catholics in this age of persecution and attack on the church-[what age isn't].
The "Courage to be Catholic" does present a great gift of hope in the reforms we have already seen in the Church in the last few years.
A Call That Can Be Challenging  Aug 25, 2006
As the crisis in the Catholic Church unfolded in all its ugly details, a number of books were published with the intent of giving perspective about what has been happening in the Church. Three books that continue to educate and enlighten are George Weigel's THE COURAGE TO BE CATHOLIC which approaches the issue from a more traditional approach. David Gibson's THE COMING CATHOLIC CHURCH looks at the church from the point of view of a journalist and Catholic convert. Peter Steinfels' A PEOPLE ADRIFT has been dubbed "the liberal" book, perhaps because of Steinfels' association with the magazine COMMONWEAL.

I was prompted to write this review based on the number of one and two star reviews this book received as well as a book from a different ideological perspective--Peter Steinfels' A PEOPLE ADRIFT. Since matters of the faith are held deeply by people, people can have strong opinions, but I'm not sure that the reviews that were negative of both books were based solely on the respective book's content or the author's ideology. George Weigel may be a more traditional author and may hold the leadership of the Church in high regard, but he hardly buried his head in the sand during the crisis nor did he support those who caused scandal and did not hold Church leaders who covered up the scandal in high regard. Reading the book jacket alone alerts readers to his disgust. His book may not be critical enough for some people but he does keep the focus on two important areas, one being the importance of holiness and tradition among Catholics and the other being that there are signs of hope in the Church. What Weigel does well is separating the faith from the scandal and challenges us to live the faith.

Weigel does believe that many of the problems we face today can be traced to a failure to practice the true faith and believes that if dissenters of HUMANAE VITAE were dealt with earlier, things would be different. This may be somewhat simplistic, especially when we remember that many of the crimes were happening when the magisterial authority had a tighter grip on Catholics. However, his call to return to a more traditional faith is as much a part of Vatican II as is the expanded role of the laity and some of the progressive changes from the council. Sometimes the call to be traditional is just as difficult as the call to change, but there has to be a balance of both if the Church is to survive which is why Weigel's points are important to consider, even by readers who may be prone to disagree with much of what he has to say. Also, since perspective is important, the books by Gibson and Steinfels on these issues should not be ignored either.
Amazing Book!  May 19, 2006
This book is simply amazing. Before I read this book, I never understood the way the bishops and the Vatican reacted to the crisis of sexual abuse in America. Now that I've read this book, I do understand. Everything boils down to a crisis of faith, and a crisis of fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Every Catholic needs to read this book!
A Must Read for Catholics and non-Catholics Alike  Apr 20, 2006
This is an excellent book that I would very highly recommend to anyone gravely concerned by the Catholic sexual abuse scandals.

Mr. Weigel treats a very controversial topic with a fearlesness and clarity that are much needed. His analysis of the roots of the Clerical abuse scandals demonstrate an accute understanding of human weakness and sin, but also the noble heights to which we must strive. Rather than lowering the bar in the face of difficulty, Weigel calls for honest reflection, conversion, and renewal in the face of tragedy. Weigel avoids scoring political points and respects both the vulnerability of the victims and the integrity of the Church in light of the failings of some of Her members.

He pulls no punches in describing the massive spiritual and executive failings and systematic bureaucratic shortcomings of clergymen from the parish level to some in the Vatican. The tragedy of abuse by a few, compounded by the cowardice and poor judgement of others highlights the need for reform in the way the Church, especially Bishops, view and handle these cases. However, "restructuring management" will only treat symptoms, not treat the illness. Spiritual reform and renewal are needed. Streamlined bureaucracy cannot solve the problem of spiritual deficiency. Weigel makes a strong cases for a return to Catholic orthodoxy and true commitment to discipleship as the only true solution to the problem.
Benedict XIV: Just what the Doctor (Weigel) hoped for  May 22, 2005
"Historically knowledgeable and realistic people can understand that clerical sexual corruption has been and always will be a problem in the church. But there is no explaining the breadth of the corruption that was brought to public attention in the first half of 2002, or the lack of effective leadership from some bishops in responding to it, without taking full account of the invisible schism that the culture of dissent created in the Catholic Church in the US." That's why the elevation to pope of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (an event too recent to be included in this book) is an especially hopefull one (in the opinion of Catholics on the same page as Mr. Weigel) further reinforcing the fact that the crisis of 2002 was, in Mr. Weigel's view, "the last hurrah of the Catholic Lite Brigade." There's a reason why preistly "abuse seemed to be clustered in a period between the early 1960s and the late 1980s": that by that time and into the 90s the situation "had begun to be addressed, and rather effectively" by John Paul II, Mr. Weigel adds. Ships of state & the like cannot swifty change their bearings, of course, but if John Paul II was successful at anything (besides helping to bring down communism), it was getting a handle on, & muting internal dissent; "against those who insist that there is a 'spirit of Vatican II' that somehow transcends the Council's texts and, indeed, trumps the settled tradition of the Catholic Church." The results of such "faithful dissent" became utterly apparent owing to the crisis of 2002 and the exposure of what had been going on for too long. Such is Mr. Weigel's thesis; that while "some seminaries gained notoriety in the underground of Catholic chatter for their gay subcultures, which often included faculty members as well as students," others within the church increasingly questioned all manners of church doctrine as the cultural ways of the 1960s & on affected the Church as well. All this while many bishops came "to think of themselves primarily as conversation-moderating consensus builders and managers, rather than apostles." The latter situation, unfortunately still has not been addressed as effectively as have the seminaries, in Mr. Weigel's opinion. Hence the atrocious handling of the crisis of 2002, as Cardinal Law, amongst others, put damage control on a higher plane than his apostolic responsibilities. It didn't help matters either than John Paul II was hardly in a state of health in which to intercede more forcefully during this period. So, that excuses the church? No, it does not, Mr. Weigel argues, but rather than viewing the crisis of 2002 and its aftermath as a cataclysm, he sees it as an opportunity to complete that which John Paul II started in the 1980s: a return to fidelity; a return to the sanctity of vows for those priests wishing to remain such, and a return to roots; to not compromising on moral boundries or doctrine for the sake of consensus. Under John Paul II, who epitomised such, further reinforced by Cardinal Ratzinger's elevation as pope, the Catholic Church's message of late has been that the issue of the currently perceived notion of "modernity" is not something that the church ought simply surrender to, as "The Catholic Lite Brigade" proposes. Times change, after all, and have a cyclical aspect to them in some regards as well. The Vatican does not, consequently, have to compromise on issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and women priests just because "Cafeteria Catholics" had a great run under Pope Paul VI. It can wait out such storms. It's in it for the long run, after all. Moreover, do you really believe that say, older Europeans will flock back to the Church were it to become more "liberal"? For their children, the ones who flocked to see John Paul II in person wherever he went & were ubiquitious at his funeral, however, the Church has more resonance---in spite of church doctrine? Or perhaps because the Church is stalwart on doctrinal boundries in a world of seeming moral decay? God Bless.

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