Tuesday, October 4, 2011

As if I didn't have enough on my plate — oh, wait, I don't ...

My reversion to orthodox Catholicism began in 2002, when I started to write a book defending Catholicism against Protestant anti-Catholics in the wake of the sex-abuse scandals. The book, which I did complete and was in the process of revising, disappeared in a hard-drive crash. (Important safety tip: back your s*** up!) While I regret losing hundreds of hours of work spent over the course of six years, researching the gaps in my knowledge led me to an even deeper appreciation for the One True Faith, while writing the book led me into further understanding ... and that I don't regret at all.

Recently, a correspondent asked me if I intended to write a book. Since the Catholic niche market is flooded with traditional apologetic works, I have no intention of picking up my original project again. However, that left me stumped for a hook on which I could hang another project. Then an idea almost literally fell off my bookshelf, when I picked up a book I haven't read for over ten years: The Catholic Why? Book, by Andrew M. Greeley. (It's now out of print, but Amazon has access to a few copies.)

 I have a lot of respect for Fr./Dr. Greeley as a priest, social scientist and best-selling author. He was responsible for opening my eyes to the tremendous cultural and symbolic heritage of the Catholic Church, and how the Catholic imagination affects one's response to the world. Nevertheless, my change in perspective since 2002 has led me to question and even challenge positions he has taken over the years, especially in The Catholic Why? Book. As well, Fr. Greeley wrote in 1983, and is possessed of no more than mortal precognition, so he didn't foresee all the changes of the last twenty-eight years and how they've impacted the post-conciliar Church, especially in the US.

The book answers eighty-eight questions posed from the point of view of a person raised in the pre-conciliar Church who doesn't quite get all the changes. I propose to answer questions posed from the point of view of a Catholic raised in the post-conciliar church, or an interested non-Catholic, who is puzzled by and wary of the resurgence of the "old Church". Like Fr. Greeley, I intend to pull the questions apart, look at the assumptions beneath them, and explain where the assumptions are incorrect, then proceed to an answer based on a correct understanding. Also like Fr. Greeley, I intend to keep the answers as short as possible; one addition I propose is a "bottom line answer" summing up the response in one sentence. [A sample section has been published on The Other Blog.—TL] While many if not most of the questions will remain as Fr. Greeley originally phrased them, others will be dropped and added, some will be re-phrased, and the text of the answers will all be mine.

If anyone has thoughts or suggestions, I'd be more than happy to hear from you!