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

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  253 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change In The Church And The Quest, by Kennedy, Kerry
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Crown (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ellen Keim
Jan 22, 2009 Ellen Keim rated it liked it
This book includes contributions across the religious spectrum: non-believers, those who were raised Catholic and have left the Church, including a convert to Islam, and Catholics who still find deep meaning in their church. There are priests and nuns, writers and politicians, movie actors and a college student. So it makes for an interesting mix.

I read this book in hopes of learning more about what ordinary people think of their Catholic faith, because I was leaning toward conversion. What I le
...more
Lindsay
Sep 19, 2008 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in a while. I drove Craig crazy reading passages out loud to him over the course of two days.

Being Catholic Now is a compilation of essays from American Catholics reflecting on their practice (or rejection) of Catholicism. There were too many great ones to describe, but some of the terrific ones came from Andrew Sullivan and Anne Burke. I thought a couple of them fell short of the mark: Bill O'Reilly (not a surprise because I don't thin
...more
Nancy
Aug 14, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it
An interesting collection of essays by prominent American Catholics from priests and nuns to actors, writers and other notable celebrities. Most are still active in the Faith, but some have drifted away. As a practicing Catholic myself, I found it enlightening to read about other’s personal views and experiences. I especially liked reading about the various speculations of Heaven and found it affirming to read how the Holy Spirit has affected others in their lives.
Rebecca
Sep 15, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I thought this book was really interesting, and have found myself bringing it up in random conversations (always the sign of a good book, I think). The author conducted a series of interviews with a variety of Catholics and former Catholics. The range of Catholics/ex-Catholics interviewed for this book is fascinating -- Nancy Pelosi, Martin Sheen, Bill O'Reilly -- a variety of folks doing a variety of things from a variety of political perspectives. I thought some of the common themes the interv ...more
Jessica
Nov 12, 2008 Jessica rated it it was ok
I chose this book for several reasons including my own struggles with staying a member of a church when I can't whole-heartedly agree with some of its most central tennets. I was hoping for something to show me that the church is vital and necessary. Something to bolster my faith, if you will. Kennedy includes many essays from lapsed Catholics, as well as a vitriol filled page from Bill Maher. While these people certainly are entitled to their opinion, perhaps they are best suited for a follow-u ...more
Michael
Dec 24, 2008 Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
At times, this book was good, at times disappointing. But I think it suffered a lot from its presentation. Kerry Kennedy apparently interviewed a number of famous American Catholics -- a term which, as used by the book, includes people who were raised Catholic but are not, now. But for some reason -- I struggle to think of why -- Kennedy's questions don't appear at all. Instead, you get what feels like a series of interviews with the questions lifted out and the answers spliced together to form ...more
Megan Uy
May 28, 2013 Megan Uy rated it liked it
Easy read--it was comforting to read the thoughts and beliefs of other (mostly) like-minded, liberal people who remain in the Church and why they do. I also found it interesting how many of the people interviewed are no longer practicing or converted to another faith--and yet still chose to participate in a book reflecting on Catholicism, seeming to prove "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic." That said, this was a pretty fluffy piece of work. Each contributor's segment/chapter was essentially a ...more
Ozma
Dec 25, 2008 Ozma rated it liked it
Shelves: free-copy
I was a little cynical staring this book. A book of essays compiled by a Kennedy progeny. . .what were the chances of this being a fluff contribution to the season's sales figures? But I was surprised. A lot of the essays are serious contributions to the challenges of being Catholic and are honest about the issues Catholics and the Church need to confront. Each essay, in closing, answers the question of: What if I were the Pope? It's interesting to see the different answers. And, as a Catholic s ...more
Su
Feb 14, 2009 Su rated it really liked it
Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert Kennedy, uses this book to describe her own feeling about the Church today,plus she asked 37 other Catholics, some lapsed and some practicing, to do the same. Some of these people were familiar names and some I had never heard of.I thought most of their essays were wonderful, reinforcing my own belief that it is the people that make up the Church,not the hierarchy. Just the knowledge that others feel this way was uplifting to me. A few of the essayists were ...more
Michelle
Dec 27, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it
This book changed my life. If you are a conflicted Catholic, a confused Catholic, a Catholic in crisis, or someone who wonders what kind of person can be a Catholic, read this book. I am a cradle Catholic who felt like I didn't belong, even though I knew I was who I was because of the Catholic Church. Today I can say with confidence that I understand my faith, I understand myself, and I BELONG in the Catholic Church.

This book offers essays from all different perspectives on Catholicism, from al
...more
William Dutton
May 24, 2014 William Dutton rated it it was ok
The biggest strength of this book is that 37 people are interviewed, which provides the reader with a wide range of perspectives. Every person interviewed was raised Catholic- with some still practicing and others who no longer practice. The focus of every interview was how the person experienced Catholicism growing up, what problems they currently see with the religion, and what he or she would change if elected pope. This book puts more emphasis on what is wrong with Church, and offers little ...more
Linda
Dec 16, 2008 Linda rated it liked it
Recommended to Linda by: The Today Show 12-16-08
Shelves: chcpl
This book is perfect for me and my sentiments. Since I was raised and am Catholic, I was very interested in people's thoughts and reasoning for either leaving or staying with the Church. Several of the people interviewed are no longer practicing Catholicism. The people included give diverse thoughts of what being Catholic means. Most of those who have lapsed from the church relate "once Catholic, always Catholic." Since I am mostly a liberal Catholic, I am encouraged by the number of men and wom ...more
Julie
Jun 23, 2009 Julie rated it it was ok
Although I thought many of the essays were thought provoking and well written, there were a couple in there that just ruined the whole thing. I understand that Kerry Kennedy was attempting to get points of views from all types of Catholics - liberal vs. conservative, converted vs. born into it, American vs. foreign, etc. BUT there was no reason for the fire and brimstone that some of the authors threw in there. There was also no reason for the shitty writing by some of the contributors (except m ...more
Julie
Jan 19, 2009 Julie rated it liked it
This is a collection of brief essays on what it means to be an
American Catholic today. Kerry Kennedy (daughter of Robert Kennedy)
asked the questions (e.g. what would you do if you were Pope,
describe your Catholic upbringing and education, etc.)
Some of the responses are very interesting, others not so much.
I enjoyed Cokie Roberts, Anna Quinlan, and James Carroll to name a few.
Bill O'Reilly's is an interesting contrast to most of the others.
It is a book you can pick up, read a couple, and put dow
...more
Christina
Jul 10, 2011 Christina rated it really liked it
Kerry Kennedy writes a very honest preface and introduction which both confirm that those Kennedys are hard core Catholic--yet Democrats! The essays from a wide variety of Catholics are quite good, not as much in their writing quality but in their views on and, for most of them, their struggles with Catholicism. The lesson learned is that most Catholics are "bad" Catholics who disagree with many of the Church's teachings. Many have been disappointed by the Church, and some have been hurt by the ...more
Michelle Ardillo
Jun 25, 2012 Michelle Ardillo rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Surprised by this book. Did not agree with most of the points of view expressed therein. Compilation of essays written by some famous people: Catholics, lapsed Catholics and ardently NOT Catholic. If you are Catholic, some of these will make you MAD, just a warning. Definitely a slant in the choice of included essays, author's pro-choice attitude featured throughout. Surprisingly quite a few of them wrote in favor of the ordination of women to the priesthood. As I said, if you are a practicing C ...more
Denise
Apr 25, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book for my dad at the Stone Ridge used book sale, but once I took another look at it I had to read it for myself first! This is a collection of essays by prominent individuals in various fields who were raised Catholic. Some are still Catholic, and practice to varying degrees, and some are not. They are fascinating partly because of who wrote them, and partly because they show what a wide range of beliefs there are within the church. Essayists include Anna Quindlen, Susan Sarandon ...more
Darlene
Oct 31, 2008 Darlene rated it it was ok
I wanted to read this to help my faith but it is not that kind of a book. I think the Being Catholic Now means now after the sexual abuse crisis. Many stories comment on the way the church handled the crisis. Also, I was very moved that some of the essays reveal their own experience of abuse from a priest. In issues of faith it was interesting to read the common experiences between Catholics. But in finishing the book I guess I was left with a dismal future for the Catholic church.
Nora
Dec 07, 2008 Nora rated it liked it
A worthwhile read for those who identify with the RC Church in any way. I absolutely hated some of these essays, loved a couple and learned a lot from almost all of them. In particular: Andrew Sullivan is so complicated but I totally get him and love his style. Also, I loved EJ Dionne's essay, particularly his thoughts on the job of the Catholic Church w/r/t "Liberal Catholics" and "Conservative Catholics" -- well-put, comforting and true.
Cassie
Oct 10, 2008 Cassie rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It has helped me realize that it is okay to question everything that I grew up thinking was the only way. The authors of all the short stories each share their individualized view of their Catholic (or Non Catholic, as the case may be)faith. I think that all practicing and non-practicing Catholics should pick this up just to get in touch with someone who probably views the religion the way they do.
Julie
Nov 20, 2008 Julie rated it liked it
Thought provoking. I wasn't crazy about the style it was written in (the author conducted interviews, but wrote it as if they were essays). If you're Catholic, it offers interesting perspectives with which to agree or disagree. If you're not Catholic, and you're curious why some of us are, it will either give you some insight, or offer some interesting questions that you can use as conversation starters with someone you know.
casey
Oct 19, 2008 casey marked it as didnt-finish
I wasn't happy with this book. I was looking for different perspectives but all I felt like I was getting was negativity. Most stories were about how people (mostly celebrates) aren't happy with the Catholic church. I started having a hard time with going to church myself because I began to doubt and wonder why I was going. After a couple week away from this book, I discovered I love going to church and I don't need to read a book about negative attitudes.
Nicole
Oct 01, 2008 Nicole rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough positive things about this book. It's probably a little less "modern" reading it in 2015 as opposed to when it was written, but I still found a lot of value in reading all of these different perspectives about their ties to the Catholic faith. It was an easy read and something I would read again in the future, if need be, to help strengthen some of the viewpoints I already have. Loved it!
Mary
Feb 08, 2009 Mary rated it it was ok
Compelling but disappointing. I was anxious to hear Kerry Kennedy share how she reconciles her pro-choice views with the pro-life movement in the church. I'm very disappointed in her (lack of) ability to reframe this debate.

I found the letters from Catholics about the pedophelia in the church to leave me thinking "WHY?" ...Be Catholic Now.

Edith
Feb 23, 2010 Edith rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This collection of essays features a broad range of perspectives from laymen and clergy, young and old, Hollywood and politicians. I liked reading about people's reflections on what faith meant to them personally. It is heartening to see people introspect on this question of identity whether or not they are currently practicing the faith.
Amy
Apr 05, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
This was really enlightening. I enjoyed the essays from prominent often liberal Catholics about their faith. I was also surprised to find that the people who stayed with the Church through their times of question wrote much more compelling essays than those who chose to leave. It was a wonderful Lenten affirmation for me during these times of difficulty in the Church.
Beth Yeh
Dec 01, 2008 Beth Yeh rated it did not like it
I enjoyed this book,but didn't like the topic. I thought I would be interested, but it just reminded me about how annoying I find the whole Catholic faith. Thus, it was helpful in my own quest for meaning, in reminding myself of what I already know. I find no meaning in the catholic faith. I few pages of this was enough for me to be clear on that and I returned the book.
Judy Desetti
Jan 22, 2011 Judy Desetti rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-adult
Saw it at library and picked it up. Want to learn more about how my religion works in todays world. Feeling a bit frustrated with the changes I see at church. The "church" seems to be going very conservatives.

Filled with essays from a variety of sources. Enjoyed reading what others had to say about their faith. It validated some of my own thoughts and feelings.

Mary-Ann Muffoletto
Not just for Roman Catholics -- Kennedy has assembled a diverse array of personal essays that tackle "catholic" issues of faith. Written by celebrities and non-celebrities: cradle Catholics, Catholics who've left the church, Catholics who've converted from other faiths, happy Catholics, angry Catholics, seeking Catholics
Mike
Jun 09, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it
Includes some very interesting profiles and I liked how Kennedy sought to frame the potential for the Church as a "big tent" institution in the face of a very fierce, fundamentalist movement. Some of the profiles were a little repetitive, but over all, I recommend it to others.
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