A Welcome Interruption – ‘Church, Interrupted’…by John Cornwell – a review

Austen Ivereigh writes in the Commonweal Magazine:

Every new book on the Francis pontificate has the advantage of being more up-to-date than its predecessors, and John Cornwell manages to squeeze in the Amazon synod and even “Francis in the Time of Coronavirus.” Yet for all its breadth and range, and the qualities that a veteran Church reporter brings to such a project,Church, Interrupted does not seek to be a systematic chronology of the Francis years. It is too perceptive, personal, quirky, and emotionally involved, which turns out to be its strength.


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  1. Paddy Ferry says:

    This is such an excellent review by Austen Ivereigh of John Cornwell’s latest book, “Church, interrupted.” It is worth reading even if you don’t plan to buy the book. I think I may buy it. 24 short chapters sounds appealing too.

    I bought and read “A Thief in the Night” many moons ago which you had to do as it was the natural progression from David Yallop’s “In God’s Name” which was the real eyeopener for innocent, gullible, devout, young believers like myself.

    A couple of lines stand out for me as I read this review. It tells us that after his devout, Irish working class Catholic upbringing in London and time at junior seminary he lost his faith but:

    “After marrying a Catholic, his faith was rekindled, but “there was no return to the Church of certitudes, ultimate truths and righteousness.”

    What a shame it took so many of us so long to question that “Church of certitudes, ultimate truths and righteousness.”

    I suppose we all enjoy reading another’s point of view when it coincides exactly with our own. It seems to me that John Cornwell’s opinion of John Paul II and Ratzinger does coincide exactly with my own.
    Also, I think it is hard to disagree that these final lines sum up pretty well the pontificate of John Paul II.

    “Cornwell was appalled by the abuse scandals and oppressive ecclesiastical culture—as he saw it—of the John Paul II years.”

  2. Ray Camiscioli says:

    Paddy, if you enjoyed “A Thief in the Night” (as I did), read Cornwell’s “The Hiding Places of God”. Published in the 90’s, it’s Cornwell’s examination of Catholic miraculous phenomena (things like faith healings, Medugorie, the liquification of the blood of St. Gennaro in Naples, etc.) I doubt the book is available on Kindle, but you should be able to find a used copy on Ebay or Alibris. The book is very well written and filled with humor and insight.

  3. Paddy Ferry says:

    Thank you, Ray. I think “The Pontiff in Winter ” would also be an interesting read.

    Have you read Fr. Tony Flannery’s “From the Outside” ? Brilliant!!

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