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Description - Enormous Prayers by Thomas Kunkel

What has become of the Catholic priesthood in the late twentieth century? The media image of the typical priest has shifted from the beloved, benevolent shepherd to that of a social misfit harboring pedophiliac fantasies. Even as the number of American Catholics has increased to approximately 70 million, the number of priests has steadily declined. How could this turn of events happen within what has been a historically admirable profession? What does it mean for the future of the Catholic church? And how are todays priests coping with the changing social and cultural tides of our time?Enormous Prayers eloquently addresses the current state of American Catholicism. Inspired by his Catholic upbringing, journalist Thomas Kunkel takes the reader on a personal journey through the priesthood. Through absorbing portraits that enable each Father to speak for himself, a broad painting of a diverse and changing Catholic church, and an even larger mural of contemporary America, emerges. Kunkel purposefully interviews a variety of priests, from those who are part of monastic communities to those who are responsible for parishes in impoverished inner-city neighborhoods. Without shying away from the very real problems plaguing the priesthood, Kunkel still manages to provide a humane view of these very moral men who have taken on the yoke of living in a godly fashion. The result is a compelling documentary that brings us deep into the heart of what it means to commit to a Catholic life.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780813367149
ISBN-10: 081336714X
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 153mm x 17mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Westview Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 26-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - Enormous Prayers by Thomas Kunkel

Book Reviews - Enormous Prayers by Thomas Kunkel

US Kirkus Review » A winning ethnographic portrait of 28 American Catholic priests. Journalist Kunkel has ventured into biography once before, with Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of the New Yorker (1995). This collection of essays is as engagingly thoughtful, but more personal; Kunkel writes as a Catholic seeking to understand the tumultuous changes of the post-Vatican II Church. To find the answers, he turns to the same source many Catholics do: the priesthood. Kunkel based these short chapters on extensive interviews with dozens of priests, and the diversity represented here offers a valuable window on the changing face of the Catholic Church. The multiracial priests come from inner-city, suburban, and rural churches; some parishes are affluent, while others are struggling to survive. But one strand connects these very different clergymen: They are members of what seems to be a dying breed. The American Catholic priesthood is aging, and with so few young seminarians stepping up to renew it, in ten years there may be only one priest for every 3,000 American Catholics. The priests interviewed here often serve several parishes. They may also be social workers, administrators, school principals, fund-raisers, and authors, in addition to their ecclesiastical duties. One Jesuit father is a medical doctor and an AIDS activist; another priest is executive director of a children's rescue agency in Chicago. These priests actively embrace a changing clientele of blacks, Filipinos, and Hispanics; they are open to the charismatic renewal movement. But they also manifest a strain of traditionalism, especially (and surprisingly) the few young priests. Their "back to basics" approach seeks to adopt the best legacies of Vatican II but not abandon the core doctrines of the Church (reverence for the host, for example). Kunkel's priests are energetically combining radical change and conservative standards. With economy and sensitivity, Kunkel brings these priests to life, portraying them as both fully human and a breed apart. Essential for thoughtful Catholics. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Thomas Kunkel

A journalist by training, Thomas Kunkel is now a professional author and director of the Project on the State of the American Newspaper (funded by the Pew Charitable Trust). He was an editor for the Knight-Ridder newspaper organization for many years and has had material published recently in The New Yorker and George. He is the author of Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of The New Yorker.

Books By Thomas Kunkel

Man in Profile by Thomas Kunkel
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Letters from the Editor by Thomas Kunkel
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