Why I Am a Catholic by Garry Wills

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In this provocative work, which could not be timelier, Garry Wills, one of our country's most noted writers and historians, offers a powerful statement of his Catholic faith. Beginning with a reflection on his early experience of that faith as a child and later as a Jesuit seminarian, Wills reveals the importance of Catholicism in his own life. He goes on to challenge, in clear and forceful terms, the claim that criticism or reform of the papacy is an assault on the faith itself. For Wills, a Catholic can be both loyal and critical, a loving child who stays with his father even if the parent is wrong.
Wills turns outward from his personal experiences to present a sweeping narrative covering two thousand years of church history, revealing that the papacy, far from being an unchanging institution, has been transformed dramatically over the millennia -- and can be reimagined in the future. At a time when the church faces one of its most difficult crises, Garry Wills offers an important and compelling entrée into the discussion of the church's past -- and its future.
Intellectually brisk and spiritually moving, Why I Am a Catholic poses urgent questions for Catholic and non-Catholic readers alike.

About Garry Wills

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GARRY WILLS has written many acclaimed works and is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is professor emeritus of history at Northwestern University and lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Published October 8, 2003 by Mariner Books. 412 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Arguing against generations of doctrine on such matters as women’s unsuitability for the priesthood, papal infallibility, and “peripheral stances taken by church authorities, some of which are not only non-binding but scandalous and morally repulsive,” the author takes a long tour through Catholi...

Jun 15 2002 | Read Full Review of Why I Am a Catholic

Book Reporter

Garry Wills is a bonafide intellectual, with a lot of prestigious book awards as proof --- but don't let that scare you off.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Why I Am a Catholic


Church leaders have turned over priest files and adopted a new policy on sex abuse.

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Wills, with rosary in one hand and these familiar words on his lips, is willing to be a Catholic regardless of the pomposity and arrogance of the popes and the downright wrong-headedness of its institutional structures because he has found no other better framework on which to build a life.

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Daily Kos

The indictment read as completely contemporary - nothing has changed with the Catholic Church - it's just that the American Evangelicals have made a strategic political decision to ally with the Catholic Church against people they hate more - the gays, say, or the gynecologists.

Nov 26 2009 | Read Full Review of Why I Am a Catholic

PBS Parents

Westervelt, an associate professor of history at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, takes the measure of Garry Wills's most recent book, WHY I AM A CATHOLIC, and ponders his own reasons for being a Catholic: Garry Wills is one of the few viable candidates in this country for the assignm...

Jun 20 2003 | Read Full Review of Why I Am a Catholic

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