Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning

Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning

by Kerry Kennedy


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Some of America’s most extraordinary celebrities, artists, and thinkers reveal what they believe Catholicism is–and what it should be

In this illuminating collection that redefines an ancient institution in the most contemporary of terms, human-rights activist Kerry Kennedy asks thirty-seven American Catholics to speak candidly about their own faith–whether lost, recovered, or deepened–and about their feelings regarding the way the Church hierarchy is moving forward.

“Has something to say to almost every Catholic, or even one-time Catholic, who cracks open its pages. . . . One finishes the book feeling grateful for [Kennedy’s] subjects’ honesty and moved in a hundred different ways by what they reveal of their aspirations and struggles.”–National Catholic Reporter

“Revealing . . . offers an unusually intimate view of how much being raised Catholic shapes the identity of many prominent Americans, but also how much tension many feel with the institutional church.”–Boston Globe

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307346858
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 613,560
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

KERRY KENNEDY established the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights in l988 and, while leading more than forty human-rights delegations to more than thirty countries, has worked on diverse human-rights issues such as child labor, disappearances, ethnic violence, and environmental protection. Kennedy is the author of Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World, which birthed an internationally show­cased play, a stirring photographic exhibition, and a PBS documentary film. Kennedy is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School. She is also the mother of three daughters: Cara, Mariah, and Michaela.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xiii

Preface Kerry Kennedy xix

Anna Quindlen 1

Andrew Sullivan 9

Bill O'Relly 19

Cokie Roberts 25

Bill Maher 33

E.J. Dionne JR. 39

Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. 45

Dories Kearns Goodwin 53

James Carroll 59

Donna Brazile 67

Nancy Pelosi 75

Frank McCourt 81

Frank Butler 87

Gabriel Byrne 93

Susan Sarandon 101

Grace Wright 109

R. Scott Appleby 113

Dan McNevin 121

Laurie Brink, O.P. 129

Ingrid Mattson 137

J. Bryan Hehir 143

Kiki Kennedy 149

Anne Burke 153

John Sweeney 163

Robert Drinan 169

Lucab Benitez 175

Allouisa May Thames 181

Dan Aykroyd 185

Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick 195

Thomas S. Monoghan 201

Mary Jo Bane 207

Betsy Pawlicki 211

Douglas Brinkley 215

Gay Talese 223

Steven Otellini 229

Martin Sheen 233

Peggy Noonan 241

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Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She quotes too many people as Catholics who are not Catholics in good standing and should not in any way be representing themselves as Catholic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is redundant with errors of the basic teachings of the Catholic Church and quotes poorly from people who are Catholic in name only but not in practice. Definately does not accuratly portray reality but is crafted to trumpet the author's flawed knowledge and opinion of the Catholic Church For an accurate assessment of what it is to be Catholic now read the book by Colleen Carrol, "The New Faithful, why young adults are embracing Christian Orthdoxy" which combines investigtive reporting with profound analysis in a professional and unbiased jounalistic approach which is lacking in Ms Kennedy's book
SeekerJA More than 1 year ago
People interviewed provided limited information about their feeling and the reasons for those feelings
JMJ33 More than 1 year ago
This book makes me very sad for the one's interviewed that have no idea or knowledge of the rich teachings of the Catholic Church. They obviously would benefit in educating themselves on Catholic Church teaching. The Church holds a rich treasure that its members can enjoy through the graces received from the Sacraments she offers her children. The Catholic Church has been in existance for over 2000 years and has not changed its core beliefs and is consistant with truth. In closing, I think Ms. Kennedy's title,'Being Catholic Now' is misleading. The title should have been, 'Being an Uninformed Catholic Now'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a non-Catholic dating a fervent one, I have always found myself a tad reluctant to wade into any kind of debate about this rich faith and its teachings. I guess I harbored a sense that Catholics are terribly doctrinaire. `Being Catholic Now' taught me something new, that there are many ways to be a Catholic, and sometimes made me laugh along the way. What I found so engrossing about Ms. Kennedy's effort is that it really shows the broad interpretations that all co-exist under the same tent. Sure some of those interviewed have left the church, but it still stamps their identity. There is no one way to be a good practicing, Catholic. Just consider for a moment that when her uncle was running for president, the whispering campaign was that the Vatican would run America through a special pope-line to the White House. It did not turn out to be true, of course. Now, several generations later, Ms. Kennedy shows that if American Catholics want to fervently follow the Pope, that is fine. But they can still be strong Catholics and strong Christians while disagreeing with some of the directives from Rome. Both the light and darks sides of faith and the Catholic Church are discussed, so I find myself less reluctant to talk about the faith now. Also some anecdotes are priceless, worth the cost of the book alone! Like Susan Sarandan as a little girl thinking that she was about to have a vision because her rosary beads were illuminated under her blankets, not realizing that her aunt bought her a glow-in-the dark set!
fletcher1235 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting take on the Catholic faith and what it means to a variety of Catholics in America. All in the book relate their experiences growing up in the faith or converting to it and how they feel about the church now. What I realized in reading this is that the church is really its people and that change is slow. Most of all, there is a real dichotomy about being a faithful Catholic, growing up in the 60's, and now living in a global economy.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ms Kennedy presents interviews of over 40 people who are or were Catholic, asking them about their upbringing, their current beliefs, their relationship with the Catholic Church (both past and current) and what they would do if they could be Pope. The range of interviewees is wonderful -- from a 19 year old wannabe nun to an almost 80 year old retired cardinal, from actors to activists,from Irish, Italian, and Hispanics descendants to first 1st generation immigrants, from college graduates to school drop outs, from priests to agnostics. Their experiences of Catholicism are vast, diverse, and fascinating. For someone who is Catholic, the read will be both comforting and frightening at the same time. It is a well-written and well-planned, although I would have loved to have have seen more of what she actually asked them. We only get to read an edited 'essay' and I'm not sure sometimes what was being asked. These are easy to handle in short batches as each interview goes only about 4-5 pages. For someone who is Catholic it is reassuring to see others who struggle with aspects of Catholicism. For those who are not, the book presents an interesting look inside the membership of this vast flock of believers and non-believers.
jugglingpaynes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being Catholic Now is a series of interviews from a broad spectrum of Americans who have a connection to the Catholic faith. The interviews range from moments of raw and painful emotion to uplifting and inspiring spirituality. It was not what I had expected. Kerry Kennedy successfully presents a great variety of stories of belief as well as cynicism with the church. I found myself saddened reading some interviews, identifying with some stories, and just shaking my head for others.On the basis of the interviews alone I would give this book five stars, but I found the editing in some parts a bit confusing. I know these were transcribed from interviews, so perhaps that is why I sometimes felt like I was listening to half of a conversation, not always understanding how the narration went from A to B.As a Catholic, I found this a very interesting read. I would recommend it for anyone who has struggled with finding a place in their faith. You won't agree with what everyone says, but you will realize you aren't alone and there are many interpretations of what it means to be Catholic today.
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Washingtonian More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be fairly good at looking at much of the spectrum of Catholicism (as it is felt and practiced) in the U.S. While I agree with many of the progressive ideas that people are hopeful about seeing put into practice, I found the book lacking in an overall perspective of the totality of Catholic thinking, to some extent in the U.S. but especially through-out the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I purchased this book, I thought it would be Ms. Kennedy's thoughts on how she viewed the Church of today. However, after reading the prologue, I was even more fascinated. The idea of putting in book form all the differing ideas and thoughts of the people who shared them with her was tantalizing and enlightening. I found it so thought provoking and inciteful, that I recommended it to my Priest and the Deacon who is conducting the Catholics Returning Home series for lapsed Catholics. I'm sure this book will make a lot of lapsed Catholics realize they are not alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the kind of book that makes for interesting conversations, and possibly as a starter for friends of whatever tradition to talk about their own faith journeys together. It is a good 'gift' type of book for Catholics who would be surprised to know who are among the baptized.
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Huskerfan More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book more for the thoughts of the author, rather than the context of the book. I was very pleasantly surprised by both. It was comforting to read that so many of the people my age; older and younger are asking some of the same questions and having the same experiences that I did. Many of the people interviewed had good feelings, and others did not. I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of the book to an older Jesuit priest friend; he will enjoy seeing the good effect(or not) his brother priests have had on men and women of the recent past. Ms. Kennedy, being as well known as she is (perhaps by last name only if you are not familiar with all of the nieces and nephews of JFK) speaks of a time when a large number of us were raised with the Catholic tradition that no one- our parents or grandparents before them ever questioned- and ours is the first generation to really have the nerve to question that authority - for good and or bad. Hers is a splendid book that I will be recommending to a large number of readers.