Carroll was deeply saddened by the refusal of the Church magisterium to accept responsibility for the horrors to which so many young people had been subjected. Further disappointment with the institutional Church and her all too human representatives have further challenged Carroll’s faith throughout his life ... Only in the final chapters does the author come clean about the type of spiritual focus he found his way to after all the disappointments ... In the light of scientific discoveries enjoyed in our current age he says literal belief in supposedly unchanging and unchangeable traditional doctrines is unsatisfying at best ... Carroll feels that Pope Francis had a good chance at ushering Catholics toward a more personal, and more evolved kind of faith, but laments that Francis is held back by the chains of clericalism and is therefore unlikely to pull this off ... While not listed as one of Carroll’s themes, the evolution of his spiritual stance could have been developed as one of the most important points in this work. A faith journey through specific stages that may vary greatly in the details, but share commonality in the general trajectory, has been described by scholars from various disciplines and spiritual giants from many faith traditions ... Had Carroll developed the story of his faith journey more fully, he could have provided a great service to his readers. A roadmap beyond belief toward a more personal, more inner dwelling spirituality is something that must be offered to people if any form of religion is to survive into the coming age. Carroll ends this work with a heartfelt manifesto on his vision for a future in which Catholicism can survive. But the Catholic Church is far from the only institution that will have to overcome clericalism—or its equivalents: racism, sexism, nationalism, and exclusivist political ideologies—to remain relevant as information becomes more difficult to suppress and awareness of our global connections expands.
More than four decades after laying aside his clerical collar, Carroll calls for a complete dismantling of the Catholic priesthood. In making that call, Carroll revisits the investigative journalism he did in the past to expose both the widespread priestly sexual abuse of innocent young parishioners and the ecclesiastical cover-up ... To many Catholic readers, Carroll’s argument will look like a surrender to liberal Protestantism, but the hard questions Carroll poses will stimulate vigorous debate.
A deeply personal exploration of what has broken the modern Catholic Church ... The author’s detailed, honest, and brutal treatment of his subject matter is consistently captivating ... Carroll looks back on centuries of warped theology and abuses of power while also telling his own story of growing up in the pre–Vatican II church and finding disillusionment later ... a book that seamlessly combines moving, forthright autobiography and searing critique. Balanced yet uncompromising, an urgent call to action for believers and a fitting capstone to a fruitful career.