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3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  257 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
“The story is told with . . . superb grace and wit.”—The New Yorker

“If reading it upsets you, do not be surprised. . . . Moore has eliminated our standard escapes from God—a secularized Kingdom or a romanticized past.”—America

“A neat and striking story.”—Times Literary Supplement

In the not-too-distant future, the Fourth Vatican Council has abolished private confession, cle
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Loyola Classics (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

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mark monday
Feb 10, 2016 mark monday rated it liked it
a study of faith and the faithful, and why the faithful adhere to their faith. Moore's analytical tools are precisely calibrated so that neither side of the argument, if it can even be called that, is given unfair weight. on the one side we have the true believers: people who connect to the ceremony and mysticism, people whose attention span must be kept by shrouding worship in awe and mystery, people who think as a people rather than as individuals. clever Moore has that side led by a man who s ...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
Feb 20, 2015 Dhanaraj Rajan rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, irish-lit
A prerequisite to read this book:

One should be a Catholic or at least should know about the Catholicism. That is not exact qualification. The reader should be aware of Catholicism before and after The Second Vatican Council.

It is about:

As it is mentioned above it is a critical look into Catholicism before and after The Second Vatican Council, that brought many changes/reformation/revolutions. The Second Vatican Council is specially remembered for the Liturgical Changes that were brought into ex
Sep 27, 2013 William rated it really liked it
I recently went into the "chapel" in a local hospital. Designed, we suppose, to appeal to the transcendent/religious/spiritual sensibilities of everyone, without giving undo favor to any particular religion. A few years ago, we might have expected some stained glass, a candle or two, perhaps some pews where one could both pray silently and alone, or whisper with a friend. This one was decidedly "zen." A set of smooth stones with water trickling over them, no furniture. Two "chairs" were set into ...more
Brian Moore, nel suo Cattolici, immagina una piccola comunità relegata su un'isola al largo della costa irlandese. Un luogo inaccessibile, quasi respingente. Le montagne, il mare e i venti contrari: la natura sembra lottare per tenere fuori tutti gli altri, dentro soltanto loro. E loro sono i monaci dell'abbazia di Muck. I monaci hanno sempre vissuto nel rispetto della dottrina così come la chiesa l'aveva concepita. Ma un nuovo Concilio Vaticano, il IV, impone un cambio di rotta: Roma esige un c ...more
One in the books in the Loyola Classics Series. I'm not sure I really liked this book, but it's very intriguing. Set on a remote island monastery (Muck Abbey) off the coast of Ireland in some future post-Vatican IV timeperiod, Catholics presupposes a new Dark Age where it remains for these Irish monks to again 'save civilization', the premise of Thomas Cahill's, How the Irish Saved Civilization The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe.

In Moor
Apr 18, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“He believes there can be a future for Christianity, provided it gets rid of God.”

Seven years after the close of Vatican II, Brian Moore published the novella Catholics. Its story is set in the near future and concerns an abbey on a small island off Ireland’s Atlantic coast where the monks have defied Vatican IV and continued, among other things, to conduct Latin Mass and private confessions. An emissary from Rome is sent to deliver a letter of rebuke and insure compliance with the Church’s new
Christian Engler
Sep 21, 2013 Christian Engler rated it it was amazing
Catholics is a slim, simply written novel that raises good questions on faith, Catholic-Christianity, obedience and all the things that are all the core tenets of the Catholic Church. Set in the future, the Fourth Vatican Council has gotten rid of private confession, clerical attire, the Latin Mass and all the primaries that one would associate with a Catholic identity. Yet, in the nether reaches off the Irish coast, there is a monastery-Muck Abbey-whose monks are not following the rules of law, ...more
Richard Duncan
Apr 25, 2015 Richard Duncan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-group
I'm not sure I can be objective in reviewing Catholics. Rather than reading it for the first time, I was re-reading a book I had loved when in college, some decades ago.

My introduction to the book was an exercise in a creative writing class, in which we manually copied a particularly beautiful passage, as a way of learning, word by word, how Moore created powerful images with a few carefully chosen words.

I was concerned whether the book would live up to my memories of it, as I had not revisited
Michelle Treviño
Oct 30, 2014 Michelle Treviño rated it really liked it
What the what? I read it too quickly, and on a plane, so I felt kind of like a fool when it finally slapped me upside the head that this was a futuristic dystopia. Vatican IV! Transubstantiation and private confession has gone by the wayside because it's too "icky" and ridiculous! A stalwart of tradition bucking heads with the new world order!

The book is beautifully written in that spare, modern way that was so popular in the 70s. It's what they call a "slim volume," and like all modern literat
Feb 12, 2015 Allan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short review for what is a novella rather than a novel.

Kinsella, an American priest from a holy order is sent from headquarters in Amsterdam to a remote monastery situated on an island off the Co Kerry coast, in response to their refusal to change their delivery of mass from Latin to English. Will he be successful in his mission?

I'm not well versed on the ecumenical thrust of Vatican IV, but Moore seems to have captured the debate that must have occured in conservative wings of the church at t
May 11, 2009 Justin rated it it was ok
Shelves: spirituality, fiction
I liked the writing in this book, and as I started reading it, I had high hopes. However, I just felt that it lacked any real sense of transcendence that I was looking/hoping for. I can make guesses as to the state of mind the author was trying to protray at the end, but for me it just really fell flat and lacked the redeeming quality I might have hoped for in the ending. I would probably give it 2 & 1/2 stars if I could.
Stefan Garcia
Dec 02, 2013 Stefan Garcia rated it it was ok
Books set in monasteries I tend to love, but I felt that this book was curiously lacking in real presence. Too short, I would say. I didn't really get a sense of character much, and I think the argument on religion is a bit farfetched and does not add anything new.
Marjorie Campbell
Aug 24, 2013 Marjorie Campbell rated it it was amazing
This is a movie, too. Both are worthy. Both are disturbing, provocative and lasting. Imagine the Catholic Church declaring that the Eucharist is symbolic only - and there's no one to say otherwise.
Mar 01, 2009 SuzanneG rated it liked it
Good depiction of monastery life. The ending left a lot to be desired. Wasn't resolved.
Alex Stroshine
Jun 24, 2015 Alex Stroshine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Yes, one should have some understanding of what happened at Vatican II in order to comprehend what this novel is about. The island of Muck is home to a rogue order of monks who refuse to adopt the modern, ecumenical revisioning of Roman Catholicism that has swept the post-Vatican IV Church. The Vatican dispatches Fr. James Kinsella (who has a fondness for combat fatigues) to find out why they resist and to bring them in line with the wider Church (e.g. the priest faces the congregation). While s ...more
Sarah Sammis
Sep 03, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
"Catholics" is a near future, sometime after the death of Pope John Paul II, at a time when the Vatican has radically altered the traditions of Catholicism to modernize the religion.

Father James Kinsella is sent by Rome to the island parish off the Kerry coast in Ireland. An abbey there has ignored the edicts from the Holy See and are sticking to the old traditions. Their old fashioned way of holding mass and hearing confessions has drawn huge crowds, whom the Vatican have labeled as pilgrims. F
Sarah Sammis
Oct 27, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
"Catholics" is a near future, sometime after the death of Pope John Paul II, at a time when the Vatican has radically altered the traditions of Catholicism to modernize the religion.

Father James Kinsella is sent by Rome to the island parish off the Kerry coast in Ireland. An abbey there has ignored the edicts from the Holy See and are sticking to the old traditions. Their old fashioned way of holding mass and hearing confessions has drawn huge crowds, whom the Vatican have labeled as pilgrims. F
Feb 16, 2015 Bm rated it liked it
I did like this one and it's stayed with me. It does feel like parts of it were underdeveloped however - the revelation near the end that the Abbot has lost his faith long ago, or the final climatic scene. Yet overall the dying island life of the monks is stirringly captured and the fear and trembling of the final scene really does stick in your mind.
Sep 10, 2015 M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Occasional flashes of inspiration, but mostly this just left me with a profound sense of 'Oh... Is that it?' Very disappointing. Could've been so much more substantial than it was.
May 17, 2015 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Long a fan of Brian Moore's work, I re-read this after many years. Still an intense read and a small masterpiece.
Apr 10, 2009 Kara rated it liked it
Shelves: monks-and-nuns
In the not-too-distant future, the Catholic church puts in a place in a new set of standards, mostly based on Vatican II. One tiny, lonely, Irish island monestary sticks to the old ways.

I'm not sure what he was trying to say here. Clealry, there was no revolution or counter revolution on the brink of breaking out - just a group of men very distrubed to see thier fairth taken away. Is this book about faith? Dogma? Globalization? Or just the same old story of the fear/anger/sadness felt by those
Judy Perkins
Not sure why I liked this so much ..... One of the few books I've re -read
Dec 04, 2010 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brian-moore
More of a novella than a novel. Lovely writing and evocation, almost like some of the Blasket Island writers in flavour. The perspectives on personal faith underlying the novel are interesting ones.

The Abbott of Muck is excellently drawn. As is often the case in Moore's novels there are a couple too many peripheral characters which don't get as much colouring as they deserve.

Either I should have a better appreciation of all the subtle links to church history, or the novel could have taken the sc
John Pappas
Jul 27, 2011 John Pappas rated it it was amazing
Speculative fiction at its finest...beautiful prose depicting a small island community of monks in the near-future, living off of the coast of Ireland. They reject the Vatican IV secularization and impending merge of Catholicism and Buddhism. At times hilarious, others poignant, Brian Moore's short novel is a quest for the true meaning of faith and the purpose of religion and spirituality in an increasingly secular world.
Aug 07, 2007 Talia rated it really liked it
Very short, quick read. Set in the 'near future' when Catholicism looks completely different. It is the fictional story of one small group of Catholic priests (on an island off the coast of Ireland) who are trying to preserve certain aspects of Catholicism, and their stuggles with the larger church. Definitely interesting to read, if you're at all interested in the current struggles within the Church!
Feb 04, 2010 Anna added it
this was thought-provoking, short, and easy to read, which means i read it in like a second without thinking about anything. i have to reread it. you should read it, though. it is set in the near future and involves seeing catholicism more as an instrument of social change than a matter of believing in miracles and a thing about melding buddhism and catholicism. i like it i think.
A. Mary
Mar 18, 2012 A. Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: irish-novels
It's a relatively quick read, exploring the power structure and dynamics of the Roman Catholic Church. Moore creates a situation where an orthodox religious community in Ireland is given an ultimatum by Rome, to adapt and relinquish treasured practices or else. What decision will the abbot make and why--that's what makes it interesting.
Daniel S
Mar 06, 2010 Daniel S rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, fiction
"...he knew the hell of he metaphysicians: the hell of those deprived of God. When it came on him, he could not pray, prayers seemed false or without meaning at all. Then his trembling began, the fear and trembling that was a sort of purgatory presaging the true hell to come, the hell of no feeling, that null, that void." [99:]
Raimo Wirkkala
Jun 19, 2011 Raimo Wirkkala rated it really liked it
Although first published 40 years ago, this novella still holds up. Moore explores the impact of Vatican II on the Catholic faith. The symbolism of the island is not lost on the reader.
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Brian Moore (1921–1999) was born into a large, devoutly Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father was a surgeon and lecturer, and his mother had been a nurse. Moore left Ireland during World War II and in 1948 moved to Canada, where he worked for the Montreal Gazette, married his first wife, and began to write potboilers under various pen names, as he would continue to do throughout ...more
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