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Laws of Heaven: Catholic Activists Today

Laws of Heaven: Catholic Activists Today

by Michael Paul Gallagher

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This gently probing examination of personal commitment profiles 15 Americans whose practice of Catholicism has placed them at odds with church and country. Among the activists are Philip Berrigan and his wife, Elizabeth McAlister, two well-known proponents of civil disobedience techniques and members of the Catholic peace movement. Others who have taken a public stance against American nuclear armaments and support of repressive regimes in Central and South America include Raymond G. Hunthausen, the beleaguered archbishop of Seattle (now retired), whose anti-government position and gay-rights advocacy evoked church censure; William P. Ford, who continues to seek justice in the case of his sister, a Maryknoll nun murdered in El Salvador; and Gordon Zahn, a tireless spokesman for pacifism whose rejection of civil disobedience makes him a target for criticism from radicals as well as conservatives. The author, a former Jesuit seminarian and now a contributor to Commonweal and a professor at John Carroll University in Cleveland, sees these men and women, who follow their own lights in putting their faith into practice, as emblematic of contradictions among American Catholics. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Many American Catholics are not aware of the priests, nuns, and ordinary people who are taking part in civil disobedience movements such as Catholic Workers or Plowshares. The stories of individuals promoting controversial ideas through civil actions are offered without interpretation by Roman Catholic doctrine. The involvement of activists in prolife, antinuclear, anti-capital punishment, and antipoverty efforts is shown. These individuals come out of isolation to better serve those who need them. Readers are only shown the idealistic heroes, not those who feel repercussions for their actions and are mentally and physically defeated. For larger collections.-- L. Kriz, Sioux City P.L., Ia.

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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