Item description for The Church That Forgot Christ by Jimmy Breslin...
Overview With sadness and rage, Breslin writes about the sex scandals within the priesthood of the roman Catholic Church and the apparent cover-up of those scandals by the church hierarchy.
Publishers Description Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jimmy Breslin has established himself as one of America's most distinctively Catholic voices. We have also come to know Breslin as the cocky guy from Queens, New York, who speaks insolently to powerful people and institutions, his words always tinged with a healthy amount of unsentimental outer-borough humor. Now, with a mix of sadness and anger, Breslin turns his sights on the Roman Catholic Church. After a lifetime of attending mass every Sunday, Breslin has severed his ties to the church he once loved, and, in this important book, filled with a fury generated by a sense of betrayal, he explains why. When the church sex scandals emerged relentlessly in recent years, and when it became apparent that these scandals had been covered up by the church hierarchy, Breslin found it impossible to reconcile his faith with this new reality. Ever the reporter, he visited many victims of molestation by priests and found lives in emotional chaos. He questioned the bishops and found an ossified clergy that has a sense of privilege and entitlement. Thus disillusioned with his church, though not with his faith, he writes about the loss of moral authority yet uses his trademark mordant humor to good effect. Breslin's righteous anger is put to use. Imagining a renewed church, along with practical solutions such as married priests and female priests, "The Church That Forgot Christ" also reminds us that Christ wore sandals, not gold vestments and rings, and that ultimately what the Catholic Church needs most is a healthy dose of Christianity. In that sense, Breslin has written a dark book that is full of hope and possibility. It is a book that only Jimmy Breslin could have written.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Church That Forgot Christ by Jimmy Breslin has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Century - 09/21/2004 page 50
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2005 page 15
Kirkus Reviews - 06/01/2004 page 523
Publishers Weekly - 06/28/2004 page 46
Library Journal - 07/01/2004 page 86
Booklist - 07/01/2004 page 1795
New York Times - 08/15/2004 page 7
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Studio: Free Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.4" Width: 6.36" Height: 0.95" Weight: 0.88 lbs.
Release Date Jul 6, 2004
Publisher Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0743266471 ISBN13 9780743266475
Availability 0 units.
More About Jimmy Breslin
Jimmy Breslin was born in Jamaica, Queens. He was awarded the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. His bestselling and critically acclaimed books include The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight; Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?; The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutierrez; several anthologies; and the memoir, I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me. He lives on Broadway, the Big Street, in New York City.
Jimmy Breslin currently resides in New York City, in the state of New York.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Church That Forgot Christ?
No going back Jan 25, 2007
The priest-pedophile scandal, whose exposure just celebrated its 5th birthday, is an issue that many in the Catholic hierarchy would rather forget. Let's put it behind us, they seem to say, and get back to yelling about abortion and gay marriage.
But writer Jimmy Breslin will not let the cardinal and bishops off the hook so easily. His book is a rambling -- but not incoherent -- narrative of his travels among the Church's walking wounded. Most striking is his ability to recall the time when the Church was an all-enveloping presence that gave shape and purpose to entire communities. His tour of his neighborhoods, blighted and without Church presence, severs as a yardstick of how much has been lost. His reminiscences of the days when his aunt could rely on the rosary to keep her loved ones safe is poignant. Enduring the absence of one's husband for 5 years during WWII is not a feat for the weak.
But that world is gone. Breslin rages at the pedophiles but also at the bishops and cardinals who allowed them to float from parish to parish, leaving a wake of damaged lives, drug abuse and suicide. Meanwhile, bishops happily evict elderly nuns from the convents, converting them into multi-million dollar mansions for themselves. And they cry "Abortion! Abortion! Abortion!" to distract the faithful from their autocratic and wasteful ways.
Breslin, a self-evident devout Catholic, is not always right, but he is always real. He is upset that the Church got rid of the rule against eating meat on Friday, less because of the rule than at the arrogance of priests who can just change the rules and expect everyone to follow along. His real target is the arrogance and spiritual destitution of the many who rule the Church, whose miserliness to the Church's people is highlighted by a few of the institution's real heros. That a bona fide Roman Catholic like Breslin could contemplate a Church that a) does not need priests to celebrate Mass, b) could ordain (and not just find personal pleasure with) women and c) should change its teachings about homosexuality and contraception, is stunning.
"The Church That Forgot Christ" is not a detailed, organized account of the Church's recent scandals. Neither does it offer a solution for the Church's many ills. What it does, and expertly, is to express the anguish of ordinary Catholics who are sick and tired of being pushed around by men who are interested only in themselves, and whose egoism has expressed itself in insularity, sexual predation, intellectual dishonesty and an absence of love.
An Important Read for All Faithful Catholics May 22, 2006
"The Church That Forgot Christ" is a sad book. Jimmy Breslin, prodded by friends and colleagues to investigate the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, takes up the cross and investigates abuse situations that are brought to his attention. With each new finding, Breslin's tone becomes angrier and angrier. His anger drips from each page.
Breslin goes into depth on how the priests gained the confidence of their victims and their families. He also provides details on how these priests were "treated" by higher level clergy once their activities became known. Breslin clearly shows there was a conspiracy in avoiding the truth.
Breslin found that the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Clergy (he also includes the story of a horny nun) was not just a crime of individual predators but also a crime of the Catholic hierarchy. Breslin implicates Cardinals, Bishops, and Monsignors by their avoidance of dealing with these situations in an appropriate and timely manner...hence "THE CHURCH" that forgot Christ.
As a contrast to the wayward Church, Breslin weaves the story of a Brooklyn priest, Fr. John Powis, throughout the book. Powis, who stays the priestly course, takes his vows seriously and faithfully does Christ's work. His life and work shows a shepherd responsibly protecting and caring for the flock entrusted to his care.
These predators and those who protected them represent the failure of clericalism. As Rev. Thomas Doyle, canon lawyer at the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C., wrote "The delusion is that the clergy are above the rest, deserving unquestioned privilege and stature, the keepers of our salvation, the guarantors of favor with the Lord. But the deadliest symptom is the unbridled addiction to power."
Catholics will be torn by what Breslin has uncovered. Breslin's book may serve as another wake up call to the laity. Transparency by the hierarchy and involvement of responsible laity is desperately needed. As Gary Wills wrote in "Why I am Catholic" - throughout Church history, it was not the hierarchy that saved the church in tough times, but some unknown lay person or priest who rose up to save the church. Who will it be this time?
Jimmy Breslin renewed my faith Jan 13, 2006
A recovering Catholic, I have long disagreed with the politics of the pope and his bishops. The one who chastsed John Kerry for his stand for women, was the same power that harbored priests who has abusd the kids. This is part of what Breslin writes about so well.
The book was written after he faced a dreadful theat to his life. His book I Want to Thank My brain for remembering me is grand. Most of those who have such a thret become more devout-- some craven. But Jimmy has courage. He does not recant his stand on the church.
Today we read of a bishop, Thomas Gumbleton who speaks out of his own experience as a kid-- abused by a priest.
making it personal Aug 21, 2005
I didn't enjoy reading this book, but I'm glad I read it. It was difficult to follow at times which I think is okay here because it seemed like Breslin was trying to make sense of his loss and anger. In some ways it made the read more real...instead of something where all the heart had been edited out of the piece.
I kept thinking as I read that I should just stop reading. It really is a depressing portrait of not only the Catholic church but also our society. Some readers may walk away feeling like it's primarily a Catholic church issue, but it's not. For Breslin, that is how he experienced it because the Catholic church was his church family. For others of us, it's about our church and our society that hasn't put forth any real effort to protect its children.
I'm glad Breslin told his story. It needs to be told again and again until people start to listen and act. No, a church held in the home, as he mentions, is not the solution. But if it is led by him and he refuses to keep his loud NY mouth shut about child abusers, then I'd feel at least a little safer about taking my own children there.
Jimmy has things upside down.... Mar 13, 2005
God knows that many prelates in the Catholic Church deserve the beating Breslin is determined to give them. But he has things absolutely upside down when it comes to the cause of the sexual abuse crisis.
The truth is that the presence of pedophiles in the clergy is the result of liberalization under public pressure. The Vatican has been telling the American Church since the 1960s not to ordain homosexuals. If American bishops had paid attention, there wouldn't have been a problem. It's no accident that probably the worst of the offending priests was a popular and "hip" street priest in Boston.
The institutional response as well is an American one -- businessmen covering up a scandal. The exact same thing has happened in (among other places) the Episcopal Church and numerous public school systems. Breslin is right that bishops should not be conscienceless businessmen -- but often they are.
If you think Breslin is right on target about the wickedness and venality of the Catholic Church -- and especially about its worldliness and materialism -- you need only consider the examples of Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day, both of whom were radically orthodox Catholics, far more so, alas, than most American bishops.
If Breslin got his way and instituted a kitchen church, clerical sex abuse would increase, not decrease.
Still, the critique of the bishops is to some degree valid and needs to be heard.