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The Good Bishop
The Life of Walter F Sullivan
by Phyllis Theroux
Publisher:Orbis Books from Alban Books
Bishop Sullivan was a model bishop who exemplified in every area of his life the love and compassion of Christ. As RC Bishop of Richmond, Virginia, he was a pastor to the pastors, visited prisoners, cared for the elderly, embraced gays, worked to end the death penalty and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Theroux's biography is drawn from personal interviews with Sullivan and with many others as well as contemporary documents. In his desire to incarnate the life of Christ he was loved by many but also found himself at the receiving end of much vitriolic criticism from within and without the Roman Catholic Church.
The book has a particular resonance in describing how demonstrating and proclaiming gospel truths can bring a backlash from those one would expect to be supportive. It is also very revealing of the almost unknown conflict existing between bishops and pope. Is that a particular North America experience? Sullivan experienced popes who were open to new ways of doing things and to new thinking among their bishops and also those who exercised a much more conservative and restrictive rule. It's a well-written, entertaining and enlightening read, particularly for readers from a protestant church tradition.
Reviewer: Graham Wise (11/02/14)