The Truth at the Heart of the Lie: How the Catholic Church Lost Its Soul

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Random House Publishing Group, Mar 23, 2021 - Biography & Autobiography - 384 pages
“Courageous and inspiring.”—Karen Armstrong, author of The Case for God

“James Carroll takes us to the heart of one of the great crises of our times.”—Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve
 
An eloquent memoir by a former priest and National Book Award–winning writer who traces the roots of the Catholic sexual abuse scandal back to the power structure of the Church itself, as he explores his own crisis of faith and journey to renewal
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

James Carroll weaves together the story of his quest to understand his personal beliefs and his relationship to the Catholic Church with the history of the Church itself. From his first awakening of faith as a boy to his gradual disillusionment as a Catholic, Carroll offers a razor-sharp examination both of himself and of how the Church became an institution that places power and dominance over people through an all-male clergy. 
 
 Carroll argues that a male-supremacist clericalism is both the root cause and the ongoing enabler of the sexual abuse crisis. The power structure of clericalism poses an existential threat to the Church and compromises the ability of even a progressive pope like Pope Francis to advance change in an institution accountable only to itself. Carroll traces this dilemma back to the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, when Scripture, Jesus Christ, and His teachings were reinterpreted as the Church became an empire. In a deeply personal re-examination of self, Carroll grapples with his own feelings of being chosen, his experiences as a priest, and the moments of doubt that made him leave the priesthood and embark on a long personal journey toward renewal—including his tenure as an op-ed columnist at The Boston Globe writing about sexual abuse in the Church. 
 
Ultimately, Carroll calls on the Church and all reform-minded Catholics to revive the culture from within by embracing anti-clerical, anti-misogynist resistance and staying grounded in the spirit of love that is the essential truth at the heart of Christian belief and Christian life.
 

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The Truth at the Heart of the Lie: How the Catholic Church Lost Its Soul

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Born into a devoutly Catholic family as the son of an army general, Carroll attended Catholic schools all through college and entered the Paulist order, receiving his seminary education as Vatican II ... Read full review

Contents

In the Portico
3
The Murder of a Soul
17
Taut Wire
26
What Child Was This?
33
A Close Presence My Spirit Twin
39
Disabused
46
A Chosen People
55
Nulla Salus No Salvation
61
Clericalism and Male Supremacy
172
Contraception and Corruption
178
The History of History
190
A Priest Forever?
199
The Bishop of Gods Love
209
Respect and Obedience
229
Undisbeliever
249
Chosen Hope
269

Out of the Depths I Have
76
Good Boy No More
89
St Anselm God Damn
103
St Augustine Unindicted Coconspirator
114
Destroy the World to Save It
129
Some Damn Fool Like You
141
The Church Against Itself
155
How to Go Forward
284
Hope Is a Choice
305
A Catholic Manifesto An Anticlericalism
311
Acknowledgments
321
Notes
329
Index
359
Copyright

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About the author (2021)

James Carroll served as Catholic chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974. He left the priesthood to become a writer, and for twenty-three years he wrote a weekly op-ed column for The Boston Globe. He has written twelve novels and nine works of nonfiction, including his memoir An American Requiem, winner of the National Book Award; Constantines Sword, New York Times bestseller and winner of the National Jewish Book Award; and a history of the Pentagon, House of War, winner of the PEN/Galbraith Award. Carroll is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Boston with his wife, the writer Alexandra Marshall.

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