Kennedy Townsend recalls what it was like to grow up as a member of a prominent Catholic family at a time when both America and the Church were undergoing a revolutionary transformation. She shows how today's churches, allied with the political right, have created a new social agenda and have become obsessed with fighting legislative battles about personal and private issues, while the neediest of our country are forgotten. But opposition to this distortion of Christian traditions has been growing. Powerful and provocative, this book demonstrates how Americans can reclaim their religious traditions and transform their churches, their lives, and this very nation.
©2007 Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Watch for elements of Townsend's well-framed argument at the 2008 Democratic convention." (Kirkus)
"Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is a woman of passion, integrity, and faith. Her Christian witness requires her to remember and act on Jesus' repeated instructions to love our neighbors, care for the poor, and repair the breaches among us. She makes a compelling case for those who share her faith to do the same." (Bill Clinton)
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's book is more a memoir than a real engagement with issues troubling the Church or American society. Her book contains long, rather dull accounts of her experiences with her father and other Kennedy relatives. I stopped reading part way through, lost somewhere in these sections. Her engagement with the Churchs strikes me as a safe, upper-class liberalism that isn't nearly radical or learned enough. Read Hans Kung's work if you have an interest in more radical critiques of the current dire state of the Church. This book will certainly entertain as a memoir of the Kennedy period. It will probably also appeal to a less academic interest in challenging current conservative trends in the Church and American religion. With its lack of sophistication and rigor, it is sure to dissappoint academically inclined listeners. As other reviewers have noted, the narrator is mismatched. She sounds like she's reading Anne of Green Gables.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend expressed my thoughts and feelings exactly. I admire her courage for standing up to our church and trying to make it better. I only hope she has better luck than Galileo.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend knows her Church as well as any lay person of her generation. In language that is both inspirational and scathing, she brings the myopic, male hierarchy to task for choosing to protect its own slipping power structure instead of holding true to its founder's call to live lives of justice and love. Undoubtedly a book that will be condemned by Rome, "Failing America's Faithful" is nevertheless one that should be read by every American Catholic. What they will bring away from this reading is a glimpse of the pride Americans would know today had Robert Kennedy been able to serve as President during what became the Nixon years. They will also know how much Catholics and Protestants have in common and how, working together, progressives can bring sanity to the country. If there is a negative to add to this comment, it is that Audible.com ought to be more careful about using readers who understand the content and know how to pronounce its important -- often Latin -- words and names. Even though the company may have selected the wrong reader for Ms. Townsend's book, its power comes through nearly intact thanks to the author's willingness to speak the truth to power. I think I'm going to buy a copy for my bishop.
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