Still Catholic After All These Years
A family incident caused me to re-evaluate my Catholic faith. My daughter asked me, in the wake of the priestly sexual abuse scandal, “Why do you stay, Dad?” I could not answer the question at that moment in 2010. But it was an important question and I too needed answers. My full answer is contained in this complete version of the book. My short answer is contained in this abridged version of the resultant book.
ABRIDGED VS. COMPLETE VERSION
If you are just dying to know more, the complete version of the book is available. It is a much more extensive exploration of the topic of Catholicism in its historical, mystical, philosophical and sacramental contexts. To call it a complete or full examination of Catholicism, however, is to understate the task. It is not theologically complete; that is beyond anyone’s capacities. And there are enough books on Catholic mysticism to fill a library. Neither is it a full examination of Church history and philosophy. It’s just the book I wish someone had written for me when it came time for me to decide if I should stay a Catholic.
When Alex asked me to review this book and write a Foreword, I had no idea what to expect. We have been friends for a decade, but I had never read his work. Of course I knew of his struggles with Catholicism, which he saw as caused primarily by the institutional Church, however, I had no idea of the depth of his feelings and the lengths he would go to find answers.
He thought that my experience of over fifty years as a Catholic priest, both in parish work and 24 years as a military chaplain, qualified me to comment.
Since my ordination in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey I have tended to focus on the Biblical and pastoral care aspects of Catholicism. To me God’s statement that “I Am Who Am,” is the beginning and end. Alex wanted to do more; he wanted to explain the philosophical, historical and mystical aspects, in addition to the sacramental nature, of our shared faith. He has succeeded. He has not shied away from the blemishes that have inevitably marred the Church’s messengers, but which have never changed the message.
The true value of this book is that it puts the Old and New Testaments into historical contexts. The Scriptures, commentators and philosophers are often long and tedious and written in archaic styles. As a third-grader called Jennifer wrote to God, “Dear God, In bible times did they really talk that fancy?” Not many have the ability or time to interpret these sources and to share their relevance with others who seek. Alex has made the philosophers, the prophets, the Messiah, the papacy, the mystics and theologians accessible in a changing world. But the intrinsic message, “In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas,” remains unchanged: in necessary beliefs Catholics are unified; in uncertain things freedom of interpretation is permitted; but in everything compassion.
He wrote this book for himself and his family. In fact all people need it. It is an important and efficient summary for any who believe, seek or doubt. It brings the Catholic Faith to life and will encourage people to seek out even more.
May every blessing be yours.
Reverend John Krozser
Chaplain-Colonel, United States Air Force (Retired)