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A Path To Healing A Nation
by Frances Hogan
This is a book written for and about the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Republic of Ireland.
Not only is its focus ecclesiologically and geographically narrow, its outlook is shaped by a yearning for a very particular kind of renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and nation of Ireland. Frances Hogan has a clear dislike for the Second Vatican Council and the wave of liberal optimism it unleashed. From her introduction:
”There is rebellion among some priests against the Church and against the Pope…we have religious communities who do not want to be different from lay people, priests who want to get married and women who want to be priests!”
Many of my Roman Catholic friends might respond to this by exclaiming; “Yes, thank God!” which serves only to underline the depth of disagreement that is to be found in the Roman Catholic Church. This also makes it difficult for those of us outside the Roman Catholic Church to truly understand what it feels like to be a Roman Catholic, let alone an Irish Catholic dreaming of a world in which the Church once again had power and privilege within the life of the State and Nation.
Despite this critique, Frances Hogan is a remarkable biblical scholar and commentator on the waywardness of Western ‘civilisation’ and there is much to commend in her analysis of both. But this is not a volume to read without balance from other voices on the steps we might take to restore sense and morals in our lands.
Reviewer: David Ford (05/07/14)