Waiting for the Apocalypse: A Memoir of Faith and Familyby Veronica Chater
Growing up Catholic in a family where the reforms of Vatican II are seen as the work of Satan.It is 1972, and Veronica Chater's parents believe that Vatican II's liberalization has corrupted the Catholic Church, inviting the Holy Chastisementan apocalypse prophesied by three shepherds in Fatima, Portugal. To spare his family this horror, Veronica's father
Growing up Catholic in a family where the reforms of Vatican II are seen as the work of Satan.It is 1972, and Veronica Chater's parents believe that Vatican II's liberalization has corrupted the Catholic Church, inviting the Holy Chastisementan apocalypse prophesied by three shepherds in Fatima, Portugal. To spare his family this horror, Veronica's father quits the highway patrol, sells everything, and moves the family of eight from California to an isolated village near Fatima.But Portugal is no Catholic utopia, and the family schleps home penniless to join the nascent Catholic counterrevolution: attending the Latin Mass in truck garages and abandoned buildings, serving meals to religious soldiers, breeding a new member of the faithful every year. As Veronica comes of age on the fringes of the American Dream, she rebels against a fanaticism that forbids anything modernclothes, movies, or music. This is the story, both sad and funny, of a family torn apart by religion and brought back together in spite of the injuries it inflicted on itself.
The Washington Post
As a young child, freelance writer Chater learned from her parents that the reforms of Vatican II brought "the Smoke of Satan" into the Roman Catholic Church. Then one day her father announced that the family would be leaving its Northern California home and moving to Portugal so they could be closer to the true faith. That trip turned out to be a disaster, and this powerful memoir becomes increasingly grimmer as the Chaters return home and become involved in increasingly conservative religious groups plotting "the Catholic counter-revolution," until being forbidden to wear "modern clothes" like blue jeans is the least of the teenage girl's problems. Chater finds plenty of dark humor in the way her father's religious obsessions blinded him to reality and led the family into financial hardship, but she never turns him into a cartoon villain. Even when he turns out to be a Confederate sympathizer and a monarchist, or after he kicks her and her sister out of the house for engaging in premarital sex, she handles his story with sensitivity and grace. Chater's memoir reminds us how easy it can be for ordinary families to get caught up in religious fervor, with emotionally devastating consequences that linger long after faith has been abandoned. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In her first book, Chater takes readers through her childhood in the 1970s with a dogmatic father who believes the reforms of Vatican II will cause an apocalypse called the Holy Chastisement, a practical mother, and (eventually) ten siblings. In 1972, the family leaves liberal California for Fatima, Portugal, hoping for a Catholic utopia. Unfortunately, Portugal has also adopted Vatican II, and the business that would support them never materializes, so it's back to California. For the next several years, the family moves around in search of traditional Catholic schools, churches, and societies and other counterrevolutionaries against Vatican II. Chater's father is too easily persuaded by other traditional Catholics, even sending two of her brothers to a cultlike seminary and training program. Throughout the book, Chater struggles to balance her love for her family with her increasing doubts about their beliefs. A final chapter and an epilog bring resolution to the tale, summarizing the family's status today. This memoir is recommended for most public libraries.
Erica L. Foley
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Meet the Author
Veronica Chater has written for national women's magazines and This American Life. Her stories have also appeared in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Guardian (London), and various anthologies. She currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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