The Catholic Church in America is in a state of crisis. But what does the crisis really involve? Where did it come from? And how might the Church turn crisis into opportunity? Bestselling author and theologian George Weigel argues that the path to genuine Catholic reform does not lie in accommodating the truth to the spirit of the age, but in a renewed commitment to living the fullness of Catholic faith.
As no other commentator or critic has done, Weigel situates the current crisis of sexual abuse and episcopal malfeasance in the context of recent Catholic history. With unflinching honesty and critical rigor, he analyzes the Church's failure to embrace the great spiritual promise of Vatican II, resulting in the gradual but steady surrender to contemporary culture he dubs "Catholic Lite." Drawing upon his unparalleled knowledge of the Church in America and Rome, Weigel exposes the patterns of dissent and self-deception that became entrenched in seminaries, among priests, and, ultimately, among the bishops who failed their flocks by thinking like managers instead of apostles.
Weigel also reminds us that, in the Biblical world, a "crisis" is a time of great opportunity, an invitation to deeper, more radical faith. Every major crisis in the Church's past-including the Dark Ages and the Reformation-has led to reform and renewal when the people, priests, and bishops of the Church had the courage to be Catholic: the courage to reach back to Catholicism's deepest spiritual roots. Weigel lays out an agenda for genuine reform that challenges seminaries, priests, bishops, and the laity to lead holier, more intentionally Catholic lives. As he argues so persuasively, the answer to the present crisis will not be found in "Catholic Lite," but in a countercultural and courageous Catholicism that reclaims the wisdom of the past in order to face the corruptions of the present and build a renewed future.
George Weigel, a Catholic theologian and one of America's leading commentators on religion and public life, is the author of the acclaimed international bestseller, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, as well as numerous other books, including The Truth of Catholicism and The Final Revolution. A Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., Weigel writes a weekly column, "The Catholic Difference," that is syndicated to more than forty papers across the United States, and frequently contributes essays, op-ed columns, and reviews to the major newspapers and opinion journals. He is also an NBC consultant on the Vatican, and appears regularly on broadcast and cable television and radio programs.