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This is social history told though personal (family) history, well written and narrated-- a very easy, pleasant listen that puts mid-and late 20th century North American Catholic history in some perspective. In the last third of the book, the story shifts more to the son/author's own faith journey and then to clergy sexual abuse. The author blames mandatory celibacy as a major reason for pedophilia among Catholic clergy (a doubtful thesis, I think) as well as the lack of attention to psycho-sexual development in the curriculum of the overcrowded American diocesan seminaries of the 1950s. Since most seminarians were adolescents in that period and experienced teachers were in short supply, the latter is a more interesting thesis.
I think Manseau explains the Catholic elements well enough for non Catholics to follow the narrative. I don't know what the reviewer below referred to with the "Mary worship" comment as the Catholicism presented, even pre-Vatican II, is not that old sterotype. The author tries to maintain a respect for other branches of Christianity as well as other faith traditions and is (overall) respectful of Catholicism. While often suppporting marriage for priests, the story does not voice support so often for women's ordination; it does, however, give women religious credit for their often overlooked central contribution to the growth of North American Catholicism by mid century (the "brick and mortar" phase that they underwrote by their labor).
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A really good look into the lives of these people and into the heart of the Catholic Church during the time of change with Vatican II and the Charismatic movement. The author has a love for the ecumenical movement, which I personally do not share, nor do I share much if any of his "Christian Worldview", not being a Catholic. However, this book does give a person a much better understanding of the "Ecumenical, Charismatic, Catholic Worldview". If we are to bring them out of their "Mary Worship", we need to better understand where they are coming from. All in all, a very enjoyable, well written work. The narrator does a great job, especially with the Irish accents. I would purchase further works by the author as long as they are not on theology.
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