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Monday, October 17, 2011

Jimmy Breslin: Candlelight Canon

It stands to reason that a writer who described JFK’s funeral from the standpoint of the gravedigger would also favor the masses over the Masses within the Roman Catholic Church.

Jimmy Breslin is just such a writer.  His 2004 book, The Church that Forgot Christ, begins with Breslin’s announcement of his self-proclaimed title:  Bishop Breslin.  He quickly explains that he has earned this title because he is not, repeat not, a pedophile.  What follows is a scathing indictment of the sorry state of affairs within the Church shadows.  For example, Breslin accuses then-Bishop Wilton D. Gregory’s church history of not being able to “stand the light of a heavy candle.”

Breslin not only critiques, but also offers solutions.  For one thing, “You have to have women priests.”  Not nuns, mind you, but priests.  Nuns, in fact, he
dismisses with the pronouncement that “all they do is bow to priests.”  And speaking of priests, at least some of them need to be married.  As Breslin then points out:  A parish is a great job for a man and wife.  Last – and, of course, first – The constituent work all week is the work of the Lord.  You serve the poor, not the country clubs.  Turn your parish into a church following the life of Christ.  

These are not the words of an atheist, an agnostic, or even a man who has turned his back on the Christian faith.  Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York, called this book a “stunningly real cri de coeur by a forever Christian, badly wounded by the church’s betrayal of the religion he clings to.”  Studs Terkel called it “a profoundly religious book,” and hoped that it could serve as “a challenge to the infallible ‘vicars’ of all faiths.”

May the light of 81 candles help to illuminate the path back to Christ’s true teachings.  Happy birthday,
Bishop Breslin.


Copyright October 17, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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